Symptoms of Sexual Addiction for Women

While many people assume that the majority of sex addicts are men, that’s not necessarily the case. Studies have reported that about 25 percent of those in sexual addiction recovery programs are women. However, because of this misinformation, addiction behaviors in women are more difficult to spot and are often viewed as issues with “romance” or “relationships,” rather than issues with sex.

Symptoms of sexual addiction in women could include:

  • Remaining with partners who are abusive
  • A history of failed relationships where sex is the primary bond
  • A pattern of inappropriate relationships
  • Taking money or encouraging gifts in exchange for sex, or visiting unethical massage therapists or physical trainings, but not viewing this as prostitution
  • Seeking emotional or physical partners outside a primary relationship 
  • Using sex as a way to feel loved, wanted or validated

However, in addition to symptoms of sexual addiction, women also differ from men in their “love addiction.” While men are just as likely as women to experience this, women are generally more stimulated by emotional connections and relationships, whereas men are more often stimulated by visual sexualization.

Love addiction uses intense romantic fantasies, the same way and for the same purpose, a sexual addict would use pornography. The meaningless “high” of picturing a relationship creates the same emotional crutch as using a drug for an addict. These romantic fantasies create a chaotic world of pitfalls, anxiety, and pain when the idealized moment or event doesn’t happen.

Symptoms of “love addiction” in women include:

  • Mistaking sexual experiences, sexts or webcam sex for love
  • Constantly searching for love through dating sites, apps, social media or hookup sites
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships after the “newness” of a new sexual partner has worn off 
  • Feeling detached, fearful, unhappy, desperate or alone when not in a relationship
  • Giving emotionally or finically to partners who require a great deal of care, and who do not reciprocate

While exhibiting one of these behaviors does not mean that someone is a love addict, repeatedly showing signs of symptoms on the list (or similar behaviors) could be cause for concern. If you’re worried about your use of sex or relationships, talk to a counselor.