Overcoming the Stigma of Being an LDS Woman with a Sexual Addiction

Administrator’s note: This is a guest post from Sidreis whose website ByTheLightOfGrace.com deals with sexual addiction among LDS women. Great stuff! Read on…

I would like to take a moment and express my thoughts regarding the stigma surrounding LDS women who struggle with sexual addiction.

It is a common misconception that sex addiction is a “man’s disease.”  For some peculiar reason it even seems to be a socially acceptable addiction among men, even Latter-day Saint men.

I’ve often heard phrases like “Oh, it’s normal for men to do it” or “Men are hardwired for sex.”  I feel this perspective is engrained in us early in life.  Young men are labeled as the predators and young women as the prey.  Often times we hear young women being counseled to “watch out for ill intentions of young men.”

Although it is widely known that many young men and men struggle with sexual addiction, it is important to recognize that women struggle, too.  Think about it.  We as human beings are each given the gift of sexual intimacy.  This intimacy is comprised of two purposes.  First, for procreation; a very special and sacred gift designed to grow new little bodies for those sacred spirits waiting to come down from heaven.  The second has been granted to us to nurture and secure loving relationships between husband and wife through sexual closeness.  Both of these gifts help sustain God’s central plan of nurturing the family.

Knowing that Satan’s ultimate goal is to destroy families, would it not make sense that he would utilize all his tactical advantage to destroy something so beautiful?  Would it not make sense that he would not only attack men but also women in order to hasten as much soul rotting destruction as possible?

Absolutely!

Sexual addiction is not a man’s disease, nor is it a woman’s disease.  It is a human disease.

Even though there are no differences between men and women at the very core of sexual addiction, to the world there are distinctive variances.  Oftentimes, men high-five each other for their sexual conquests. Sometimes, male behavior is just dismissed as “men behaving like men.” In contrast, sexually aggressive women are commonly stereotyped as loose, promiscuous, slutty, diseased, dirty, used and untouchable. Each gender suffers from its own set of stigmatized standards, in and out of the Church.

I can’t judge others too harshly here though, because I myself used to fall subject to the false belief that LDS women who struggle with any sort of sexual addiction “look” a certain way or “act” a certain way.  I thought for sure I’d be able to pick them out of a crowd.  They were the ones in high heels, short skirts and revealing tops.  They were the loud, obnoxious ones, the black sheep, and the inactive members of the Church.

I remember the first time I went to a 12 Step support group for women with sexual addictions.  After two months of visiting regularly with my bishop and trying to work my recovery program on my own (in isolation), I came to realize that I needed more support.  I finally surrendered to the fact that as awesome as my bishop was, he couldn’t offer me the support structure that I truly needed to kick this thing.

But I was still scared.  I thought I was the only one “like me” who struggled with addiction to pornography and masturbation.  I was a good person, a mom and a wife.  I didn’t attend church much but that was because I felt too ashamed to go.  I had already created many levels of separation in my head between me and the sisters I was preparing to see at the support group.  I am not kidding when I tell you I full on expected to walk into that group meeting and see a bunch of women in “hoochie boots and miniskirts.”

I was wrong.

Instead, I walked into a room full of beautiful women; bright, happy women; women who, if I saw them in a Relief Society, would completely blend in.  Women that looked just like me.  Women who attend my support group range in age from mid-teens to mid-60s.  They are Relief Society presidents, visiting teachers, wives, mothers, single women, daughters of General Authorities, students and professionals.  They are shy and outgoing, reclusive and extroverted.  They are your sisters, your aunts, your nieces and your mothers.  They are your friends, your friend’s wives, your co-workers and your teachers.  They are temple workers and missionaries.  They are the very women that you love and cherish.  We come from ALL walks of life.

There are women walking among us right now who struggle with sexual addiction but are silenced by fear and shame.  They feel alone and lost.  They feel worthless and hopeless.  They feel isolated and judged.  Satan’s whisperings fill them with such intense dread that they are terrified to talk to their sweet bishops for fear of being scrutinized and hated.

Please know that you have a voice in this.  By recognizing that sexual addiction is a human disease, affecting both men and women, from all walks of life, we are in essence crippling Satan’s army.  It is imperative that we work together as addicts, loved ones of addicts, bishops, stake presidents and fellow brothers and sisters to spread awareness of the far reaching ripple effects of this disease.

Less judgment…more acceptance.

Less separation…more inclusion.

Less addiction…more connection.

Less fear…more faith.

Less shame…more hope.

Let us recognize that we are innately virtuous and noble sons and daughters of our loving Heavenly Father and that through the power of our Savior’s Atonement we can each be healed and freed from Satan’s grasp.  Of this I bear solemn witness.

www.bythelightofgrace.com

Comments

Overcoming the Stigma of Being an LDS Woman with a Sexual Addiction — 10 Comments

  1. Yeah, Sidreis! You just threw a body blow at satan! Now it’s up to the rest of us to each take a wrap around him with a flaxen cord, by adjusting our attitudes, confessing our sins, and reaching a hand out to the men and women who are struggling with addiction, until we have bound him up tight with our own strong cords, no more to bother us!

  2. bah! I LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Thank you, thank you for posting this, and thank you Sidreis for writing this. 🙂 This is true and powerful. We women in addiction NEED support. We NEED to know that we are not alone! Thank you.

  3. Sidreis, thank you for sharing your story! Andrew, thanks for featuring her story. I’ll be linking to it at MW sometime in the next couple of weeks.

  4. More of these posts need to be here, for sexual addiction pertaining to women needs to brought out into the light, so women who are suffering can realize they are not alone. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Thank you so much for this. I’ve been too scared to go address my addiction for fear of being harshly judged (even by my bishop). I was desperately searching for stories of other women struggling with pornography addiction in the way that I have, so that I could know weather I was alone or not. Now I know that I am not alone and I have no doubt that Heavenly Father was working for you. After reading this, I made an appointment to talk with my bishop on Sunday and plan to seek out even more help. Thank you!

    • Hello! I’m so happy to hear that my story helped you! My heart is truly warmed. I’m so glad you made an appt with your Bishop too. That personal relationship with him is so important to recovery. Feel free to keep in touch, I’d love to hear of your progress! Much love, Sidreis (bythelightofgrace (ag) gmail (dot) com)

  6. Just wanted to post that something the readers may not have considered: something like 1 in 3 women is molested in their lifetime. As a small child, I was that statistic. It eventually made me not only overly curious about sex, but I was compelled to have a sense of control over it so no one would have power over me like that again. Although the responses to what happened to me were clinically “normal” ones, considering the trauma, they were detrimental to the formation of proper intimacy and left me “broken” in ways I didn’t even understand, until one day I found myself fantasizing about being raped. I was both tantalized and agast at the idea as I stumbled upon something online. It took some time for me to realize, but I was once again trying to feel “in control” over something that I had no control over. It was the adrenaline rush of the fear, knowing I was “safe” watching it from afar. This is another lie that satan tells us. We are NOT safe just watching porn. Each time we watch something, our brain stores it as if it actually happened in our communities, our lives, sometimes even to us. It doesn’t store it as “this is fake, forget it”. This is why horror shows can make us have a fear of showers or basements. The point I am trying to make is that, sometimes we have something happen to us that damages us way before the first accidental or purposeful viewing of pornography happens. It’s so important to know WHY we are being drawn to these images (and yes, sometimes the answer is simply “satan is using this to try and pull me away from God”) and work on correcting those issues, so that we are not overcoming one addition after another. My finding out where my brokenness lies gave me the ability to prayerfully plan a path to recovery. In my case, I’ve needed outside help from my bishop, counseling, and my family. It is not a quick fix and it does leave scars, but I don’t have to make choices that lead me further away from my true path anymore. I can heal and overcome through His great mercy. In many ways, my blessings received through overcoming my trauma have made me more empathetic and understanding to those going through similar suffering. I have found that as I choose to stay in the light of Christ, I can be better prepared to also help others out of darkness as well. This has made the suffering much more bearable for me. I am grateful to a Father who knows and loves me, and who gently leads me away from the gates of hell and back into his presence.

  7. Thank you for sharing your story! Such faith, hope and courage you have to come forward publicly to help others. May the Lord bless you with His infinite love as you go forward!

    i’m an excommunicated Mormon male in my 50s. Although you are female, your story is mine. I have a copy of Rowboat and marbles, along with others. I’m attending an SA group, which is invaluable to recovery. For me, it is even more effective than the LDS 12 Step group. Also seeing a therapist. This has been a lifelong scourge, but I know that with my Savior’s loving Atonement, I will overcome the guilt and shame that have been with me my entire life! I know that there is hope!