I’m reading a thoughtful book called, No Stones, Women Redeemed from Sexual Addiction, by Marnie Ferree (IVP, 2010). Though I’ve known a lot of men who struggle in such realms, I was unaware that women struggle at similar frequencies and degrees. Ferree’s spiritual, psychological and practical insights are quite remarkable, and definitely recommended. Consider some of the following quotes:

Why is this called “sex addiction”? I hate that label! Don’t you get that it’s not about the sex! Sex is just what I have to give to get what I really want, which is love, and touch, and nurture and assurance I’m okay” (a Christian woman battling sex addiction…married with young children and teaches in a private Christian school). Page 56

More and more women, primarily younger women who’ve grown up in the media-saturated culture, are becoming addicted to pornography. In fact, many clinicians believe that culture is literally rewiring women’s brains to be more visually oriented. P 62

Initially it was suggested that 6-10% of the adult United States population is sexually addicted. Estimates now range as high as 45%. Of that number, probably 40-50% are females. P 71

To the sexual addict, “Just say no!” advice isn’t helpful. Yes, this campaign may have helped some young people avoid initial experimentation with drugs or alcohol, but to an addict already established in her addiction, the admonition is pathetically ineffective. P 79

Anecdotal evidence shows that most religiously oriented unhealthy families, especially evangelical Christians, fall into the rigidly disengaged categories. That means they’re rigid in their boundaries and there’s little intimacy among family members. The family environment is performance-based instead of relationship-based. Love feels conditional. This kind of family provides a setup for later addictive behavior. P 118

When parents don’t impart knowledge and healthy messages about sex and when the church is silent (other than preaching against sinful expressions of sexuality), children turn to culture, including pornography, to get their information and satisfy their curiosity. As families and as communities of faith, we’re abandoning our daughters to the sexual teaching of the world, including the lessons of sexual exploitation and abuse. We’re abdicating our roles as teachers and protectors. We’re giving our daughters into dangerous hands. P 137

There can never be healing in a relationship and true intimacy unless there’s complete disclosure. P 173

As frightening as it may seem to be known in the fullness of your story, there is no other avenue to healing. Period. No one can recover in isolation. P 185

…tools of recovery don’t heal you, but they put you in a place where God can work with you. P 198

Our fantasies are our various attempts to resolve trauma. We seek to overcome our experiences of loneliness by imagining touch or nurture or connection. Or we rewrite the script of our abuse by providing images of safety or escape. Or fantasy sometimes re-creates the pleasurable parts (sexually) of our trauma experiences. Understanding your fantasy is key to understanding your trauma. The objective isn’t to figure out a way to stop fantasizing. Rather the goal is to find healthier ways to resolve your trauma. Ultimately healthy relationships and healthy trauma resolution will free you from obsessive fantasy. P 223

Ultimately recovery is about practicing a new way of living, not simply about avoiding the practice of an addiction. Recovery is a commitment to a different life, forever and ever. To stop recovery because you’ve been doing it a long time is like deciding to stop breathing—ludicrous. (And life-threatening.) Walking in recovery is a “forever” journey. P 253

The application for the modern recovering woman is simple: God alone can fill the aching hole in her soul. The desperate attempts to still the longings through addictive partners or compulsive activity will never satisfy. Only God will be enough. Intimacy with Him is the goal of all recovery. The surrender, the meetings, the boundaries, the accountability, the fellowship—all are vehicles to closer communion with God. And this redemption of the once-broken relationship with the Father doesn’t happen because the addict is more deserving after recovery. It’s not that she’s more worthy when she’s sober. Not at all. It happens because she’s more receptive and responsive to the love God has lavished on her all along. It is she who’s more available for intimate relationship, not God. Her recovery from the intimacy disorder called sexual addiction allows her to connect intimately with God. P 260

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2 Responses to Female Sex Addiction

  1. mollybrew777 says:

    Thanks so much for this post. This sounds like a wonderful book. I found the part about fantasy as a way to resolve trauma to be very interesting and enlightening. I also feel, with all the attention that sex addiction has gotten recently via celebrities, women get rather forgotten in the malestrom.

    You know, I was recently introduced to a book called Erotic Intelligence by Alexandra Katehakis and it explores the to integrate sex after a person becomes “sober” from compulsive sexual behaviors. It’s truly a groundbreaking read on the subject. I highly recommend it!

    Thanks again for the post, and the review of what sounds like an important, informative book.

  2. Abbie Smith says:

    Appreciate your thoughts here, Molly.  Thanks.  Anxious to check-out "Erotic Intelligence." 

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