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Keywords:

  • risky sexual behavior;
  • sexual compulsion;
  • sexual addiction;
  • women and addiction

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.