Sex addiction is a major topic in the world of celebrities right now, but only male celebrities are admitting to this mental disorder. This leads the rest of us to wonder if women have sex addiction as well and how prevalent it is.
It is important to remember that when talking about sex addiction, this is an informal diagnosis. It is not officially recognized in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and it is often associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse control disorders, emotional disregulation and adjustment disorders. This is because people with a ‘sex addiction’ can have compulsive behavior that they can’t control.
About three to five percent of the U.S. population has been estimated to meet the criteria for sex addiction, though the number could be higher, said Robin Cato, the executive director of the Society for the Advancement of Sexual Health.
She said in an e-mail that about 80 percent of sex addicts are men and 20 percent are women.
Society, culture and people in general still tell women that it is not acceptable if they have multiple partners or are highly sexual, while it is generally more acceptable and sometimes even expected of men. Therefore, it’s not surprising that women don’t come forward as often with their tales of sex addiction. It is more of a silent battle of denial and misunderstanding.
Andy Hogg, a psychologist at the Flagstaff Child and Family Counseling Center and education representative for the governing council at the Arizona Psychological Association, said that society and culture can play a part in women hiding their sex addiction.
“Women get blamed for being sexual,” Hogg said. “Men get rewarded for being sexual. Women won’t be blamed for easily falling in love, they will be blamed for actively seeking sexual partners.”
There are some obvious differences between men and women when it comes to sex, Hogg said.
“Whereas men tend to sexualize love, women tend to romanticize sex,” said Hogg, who is a certified sex therapist. “Women will talk about one love relationship after another, and they don’t talk about the sexual side of it unless you really ask more questions.”