Although women sex addicts who seek treatment are still considered a minority, their voices are gradually being heard.
One woman sex addict decided to tell me part of her story. She volunteers for Sex Addicts Anonymous and did not want to provide her real name due to the sensitive issue, so she will be referred to as Jennifer.
She said her sex addiction started in 2003, about three years into her marriage.
“I was unable to stay faithful to my husband,” Jennifer said.
She said she’s not sure why the American Psychological Association doesn’t recognize sex addiction as a real diagnosis, but it’s real for her.
“I just didn’t want to feel any negative emotions, so I was just constantly looking to medicate any kind of negative feelings and my drug of choice was men,” Jennifer said.
She had been to a psychologist and to an inpatient treatment facility specializing in sex addiction for 75 days in 2004.
“It totally saved my life,” Jennifer said. “It really got underneath what was causing everything.”
She said she also started going to Sex Addicts Anonymous in 2004.
“It’s completely transformed my life,” Jennifer said. “I got my brain back. I don’t focus on acting out. I don’t focus on how I’m going to find men. My whole life was about finding men and concealing it from my husband. One partner was just absolutely not enough. Everything’s different now. I feel satisfied and serene and happy and I have my life back. My whole life revolved around cheating and how to cover it, and that’s what all my energy was spent on, and so now I have all my energy back.”
She goes to women’s meetings and mixed meetings.
“My first year I did have some attractions to some of the men that I was recovering with,” Jennifer said, but now she doesn’t.
She said her first husband caught her "acting out," which means engaging in the addictive behavior.
“We tried to work it out, but too much damage had been done,” Jennifer said.
However, she just got remarried a few months ago.
“My husband knows my whole story, and that was important to me, to find somebody who knew my story and was OK with it,” Jennifer said.
To read more of Jennifer's story, including how her dating life was affected, check EmpowHER on Tuesday. The second part will also feature information from Sharon O'Hara, the clinical director of Sexual Recovery Institute.