I am a very sexual person.
When I’ve spoken about this openly in the past, both in my writing, and to a so-called ‘life coach’, I’ve been labeled a ‘sex addict’. Because, as far as our society’s concerned, there’s something wrong with a woman who has a lot of sex, and definitely something very unusual about a woman who openly talks about it like it’s no big deal. Consequently, we tend to scrutinize, medicalize and shame these women.
And, naively, I bought into this ideology for a while. I believed I was dirty, bad, damaged, in some way. I even wrote articles about female sex addiction, and spoke about my experiences with it on television. But being labeled an ‘addict’ for using casual sex as a catalyst for healing after my marriage breakdown never felt like the clarifying, liberating experience receiving my BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) diagnosis had. Instead, it just felt alienating and shaming.
But while I never personally referred to myself as ‘a sex addict’, I didn’t stop anyone else from calling me one, either. Who was I to correct them? Because, what sort of woman is always turned on and thinking about sex, anyway?? It’s ‘disgusting’. ‘vulgar’ – I should ‘get some self-respect’, the comments on the articles informed me.
Except, when I started confiding in other women about my high sex drive, more often than not, they privately related.
“Oh I’ve snuck out of work for a shag on my lunch break, too!” one agreed.
“I could easily have sex multiple times a day if there was time,” said another.
“It’s me, not my boyfriend, who’s usually initiating the sex,” came a third.
Were these women all coincidentally ‘addicts’, like me? Did that also make them ‘disgusting’ and in need of a self-respect makeover? I started digging deeper, determined to find a hard answer (pun unintended).