Sexually Compulsive/Addictive Behaviors in Women: A Women's Healthcare Issue


  • Cyndi Gale Roller CNM, WHNP, PhD

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    • Cyndi Gale Roller, CNM, WHNP, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at Kent State University, Kent, OH, where she also has a practice at the DeWeese Health Center Women's Clinic.

113 Henderson Hall, P.O. Box 5190, Kent State University College of Nursing, Kent, OH 44242-0001. E-mail:


Sexually compulsive/addictive behavior is a pattern of sexual behaviors that cause distress and/or impairment of social functioning. It is marked by obsessive thoughts, compulsive behaviors, and the individual's inability to stop the behaviors despite negative consequences. Women experiencing sexually compulsive/addictive behavior are preoccupied with sex not as a response to desire but rather as a behavior that serves the purpose of anxiety reduction. Sexually compulsive/addictive behavior is associated with a number of health consequences, including sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, abortions, and violence. It is important for providers to have an understanding of the addiction process, assessment, diagnosis, and interventions for these women.