Sexual addiction: what happens when you can’t get enough sex?

naked-woman-photo-by-raggle-flickr-creative-commons
I’m a woman who loves sex! In fact, I can’t get enough of it. Is this a problem?

Question:

Answer: 
In a world in which many people feel bad about sex, it’s refreshing to hear from people who enjoy their sex lives. However, sometimes I sense a concern that it’s not okay to enjoy sex a certain amount (especially from women) or a concern that too much sex is a bad thing. If this concerns you, here are some things to consider:

Does your  sex life or sex drive get in the way of work, school, or taking care of your children? Is your partner or husband annoyed, angry or fending you off with a stick? Are you frequently having sex with people that you later wonder what you were thinking, followed by distress about your possibility of infection or pregnancy? Are you personally bothered by your sexuality? Is your body in serious pain due to your constant attempts to give it More. Sex. Now.? No? Then you’re probably okay.

As much as we sometimes hear about “sex addiction”, the idea has been overblown in some newspapers and magazines. Yes, some people truly do have problems controlling their sexual behavior, but those tend to be very extreme cases. Many people who wonder if they have a “sex addiction” simply have a high sex drive. And since so many sex-lusting women in the media are portrayed as whores or homewreckers, we have few models of what it means to be a normal woman who enjoys frequent sex.

That said, you didn’t give much information about what you mean by not being able to “get enough of it”. If your body remains physically aroused no matter what you do with your partner or vibrator, then you may have what’s been recently termed “Persistent Sexual Arousal Syndrome (PSAS)” or “Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder (PGAD)” (both terms have been used, though PGAD is more common at this point). This seems to be an uncommon – but troubling – condition for some women that involves a near-constant state of arousal that won’t get away, and is bothersome. If this is what you’re experiencing, you might want to meet with a sex therapist who can help you to address this issue (see www.sstartnet.org to find a therapist in your area).

If, however, you enjoy your sexual desire and your sexual activities, then hoozah! As a sexual health professional who has heard from thousands of women who are troubled by their lack of desire, I would encourage you to kick back and enjoy what you have for as long as you have it. You also might want to browse The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex or my new book, Because It Feels Good: A Woman’s Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction (it has tips and techniques galore!!), for ongoing inspiration related to sexual play and exploration.

If you have a question about sex or relationships, send it my way to drdebby@mysexprofessor.com. Your confidentiality will  be respected.

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[Image by raggle via Flickr Creative Commons]

About Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is a sex researcher at Indiana University, sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, columnist, and author of five books about sex and love. Learn more about her work at www.sexualhealth.indiana.edu.

  • Nathan

    I am definately not an expert on the subject, I have just been completing some research lately. It seems to me that (especially in this country) people are quick to say they have a disorder or addiction. They do not want to admit that they just don’t want to practice any self control. I’m not sure if I believe that sexual addiction is real, but hopefully with some more insight on the subject I can understand what this woman is going through.

  • Nathan

    I am definately not an expert on the subject, I have just been completing some research lately. It seems to me that (especially in this country) people are quick to say they have a disorder or addiction. They do not want to admit that they just don’t want to practice any self control. I’m not sure if I believe that sexual addiction is real, but hopefully with some more insight on the subject I can understand what this woman is going through.

  • Debby

    Thanks for your comments! The notion of sexual addiction is quite a controversial topic in sex research. You can learn more about it by searching for information about compulsive sexual behavior as well (another term that is sometimes used).

  • Debby

    Thanks for your comments! The notion of sexual addiction is quite a controversial topic in sex research. You can learn more about it by searching for information about compulsive sexual behavior as well (another term that is sometimes used).