These are some of the most potent jewels in the human treasure chest.
They are also instrumental in addiction – namely sex and love addiction.
Female Sex and Love Addiction – Is It Real?
Female sex and love addiction is like the crumbs that gets lost underneath the carpet.
It can easily go unnoticed until it piles up.
We don’t really talk about female sex and love addiction.
It’s either written off as a cliché or it is stigmatized. Other times, it stays quiet because many women dealing with sex and love addiction often appear to have it all together.
Unlike a substance addiction, this one packs up well under the façade of looking good. But what lies beneath is profound loneliness, self-doubt and confusion. Endless pursuits for the next relationship or the next interaction fall short to truly satisfy.
Looking for the next ‘hit’ becomes intoxicating – but the end result is emotional pain.
Seeking relationships and having sex is ideally a healthy and emotionally connecting thing. But for sex and love addicts, the pursuit of sex and love starts and ends in loneliness, restlessness and disconnection. Even though it would seem like female sex and love addicts love sex and love too much, the essential problem is often the opposite - they cannot bond in a healthy way.
Sex and love is used as a way to feel whole and validated. Sexuality becomes currency – something they use to get something as opposed to being something they embody and bring to a partner.
The Distorted Fairy Tale
For female sex and love addicts, desire and intensity are the keys to the kingdom. This is where she is seen and how she feels power. Even if it is momentary, being desired validates her. It tells her she’s enough and fills the void. The problem is that it doesn’t last.
As with all good fairy tales, the element of fantasy is essential. Fantasy also happens to be a powerful brain neuropathway in addiction.
There’s always an imaginary component the addict plays out when they anticipate the high.
However for the female sex and love addict, instead of sliding into the glass slipper, she descends into shame and the cycle which becomes like Groundhog Day.
When the clock strikes 12, she returns to being enslaved by her desires and her fears. But all the while, her Cinderella brain keeps telling her that the next time, it will be different and she returns to the fantasy...
It’s as if her internal clock is automatically set to seek the next relationship or experience when she feels the familiar triggers: loneliness, boredom, feeling uncomfortable in her own skin and feeling the overwhelming need to grasp on to something when there’s nothing tangible in site.
The Architecture of Sex and Love Addiction
As with all addictions, sex and love addiction runs on a continuum.
Addictions begin with use that graduates to misuse, then dependency. Eventually the behaviour becomes more compulsive and it ends in what we call addiction.
Addictions can stand alone or they can interact with other addictive behaviour.
Sex and love addiction in women can be an issue in and of itself, however it often runs parallel to other addictions and like Russian Nesting Dolls; it’s usually nested in something bigger. For these women, it's usually past trauma.
Many women in recovery find that after a few years of sobriety, their issues around sexuality begin to surface.
This can happen because they now have more room to focus on other aspects of themselves instead of being consumed by their addiction.
They might start examining how they have acted out with men (or women) and how they have used romantic partners to feel desired or gain a sense of self-esteem.
For others, they might have quit alcohol or drugs – but compulsively acting out with sex and relationships becomes the last addiction that they don’t want to part with.
In this blog, I wanted to bring some much needed attention to the issue of sex and love addiction in women.
If you can relate to any of these issues, it is so important to know that you are not alone and that help is available.
Part two of this blog will address more of the 'how and why' sex and love addiction develops for women as well as how you find healing.
In my practice, I work with women who are dealing with varying degrees of relationship and intimacy challenges.
If you are not being loved or loving the way you want or you constantly find yourself in unhealthy relationships, feel free to contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 778-882-8204.