Female sex addiction on the rise, say psychiatrists

Sex addiction among women is increasing, according to academic research which blames the internet for the growth of an obsession once thought to be almost exclusively male.

Sex addiction among women is increasing, according to academic research which blames the internet for the growth of an obsession once thought to be almost exclusively male.

The rise in cases coming to light follows increases in alcoholism and drug use among women. For the first time, women-only sex addict meetings are being held each week in London to help people tackle their problems.

The research found that between 1 and 2 per cent of women in the UK now suffers from sex addiction. In women, the condition has been largely ignored, often because those affected have not sought help. An international study by a US university concludes that the problem is extensive and under-reported.

While fictional characters such as Samantha in the TV series Sex and the City boast of their sexual conquests, in real life women are generally ashamed of their behaviour.

Dr Cyndi Roller, author of the report Sex Addiction and Women, said women addicted to sex believe they are worthless, that no one loves them, that their needs will never be met and that sex is their most important need.

Robin Cato, the chief executive of the National Council on Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, said: "A man can go out [with] all these acting-out behaviours and society considers them macho - it's what a man does. But if a woman does it, she's a tramp."

Dr Sidney Crown, a London-based psychiatrist and sex counsellor, said: "I think the internet has played a part in the increase. Sexual appetite can always be titillated and an appetite for anything can lead to addiction. It is also the case that society is now much more permissive; if, a few years ago, a woman had openly said she wanted sex, it would have raised eyebrows. It is more acceptable now."

Don Serratt, founder and chief executive of Life Works, an addiction and mental health treatment centre in Surrey, said: "The internet is the crack cocaine of sex addiction. People have just gone off the wall with it because it is so easily accessible. We have treated about 20 women since February, our youngest was 19 and the oldest was 58 - all from very different social strata, including a few high fliers."

One "recovered addict", June, 38, who helped to set up a women-only sex addict meeting in London, said her compulsion probably began in her teens. She had had about 150 sexual relationships.

She said: "I came from a fairly dysfunctional family around sex, and I had a lot of fear and shame around my sexuality. Sex was another drug, another fix. It was a way of getting affirmation and power and being able to manipulate people .... My self-esteem came with being a plaything, or a sex object .... It is like a different form of self-harm. It gave me the illusion of being in control of how I abused myself.

"A lot of the time it was never about having sex to have a relationship. A lot of the people I had sex with I didn't want to be seen in public with."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas