Online Female Sex Addiction: A Problem Largely Underdiagnosed
Even in our increasingly progressive climate of sexual freedom and liberation, female sexuality is still underestimated and stigmatized. The combination of a history of repression, massive objectification, and the statistics of sexual violence, create discomfort around women openly displaying their sexuality.
So imagine a context in which women have unlimited access to sexual expression, and the option to keep it secretive, and physically safe? Enter: the internet.
From chatrooms dedicated to sexy-time, to online dating, sex apps, snap-chat, cam-girl websites and beyond, the internet is a verified jungle of sexual opportunity, and women are finding themselves on highly demanded and desired from every corner of it.
Psychotherapist Paula Hall who primarily treats sex addicts says a common misconception about sex addiction is that it’s innately tied to orgasm/sex itself, whereas a large number of sex addicts are addicted to the chase of finding a partner, being desired, and exchanging the desire, whether it’s physical or not. Women are a lot less likely to come forward with their sex addictions because of stigma, and will often be misdiagnosed as merely “craving validation,” rather than having a full-blown sex addiction.
But the numbers are there: if you enter any NSFW forum, you will find large numbers of women soliciting cyber sex, phone sex, and various IRL fetishes. Polls show, because of the increased danger for women (pregnancy, rape, slut-shaming), more active women are limiting their sexual pursuits to the web/texting, where it can get explicit but feel protected.
In this sense, the internet’s wealth of sexual opportunities provide a double-edged sword of benefit and danger. Yes, women are able to seek out sexual satisfaction in ways that they feel physically safer with, but at what cost? Is the internet sex-world causing further denial of sexual addiction? Is it perpetuating a culture of secrecy about the intensity of female sexuality? I think the answer is: All of the above.