Sex addiction, the female edition

The World

Crystal Warren of Brighton, England is a 42-year-old woman breaking the glass ceiling of gender stereotypes. She is a female sex addict.

“We’re normally the ones accused of making excuses before the lights go off but with me it’s different. I think about sex all day,” she told The Daily Mirror. She has accumulated over 1,000 headboard notches since she lost her virginity at the age of 15, according to the Mirror. On a bad day she would have sex with seven different guys in 24 hours, sometimes a few at a time. 

Like any addiction, if Crystal doesn’t get what she wants she feels moody and frustrated. “I’d begin to feel hungry for sex,” she describes in the Daily Mirror article. “I’d go on the prowl for men on my lunch breaks. If I didn’t manage to have sex I’d be unproductive all afternoon.”

Sex addiction — male or female — is still in that unclear, disputed territory, categorized somewhere between “a disease” and “a hobby.”

In a recent article titled “Why there’s no such thing as sex addiction,” a leading British psychologist David Ley said he has never diagnosed anyone with sex addiction. According to him, an over-the-top appetite for sex is not a disease, it’s a weakness.

Also, he argues, dependence on sex should not be compared to alcohol or drugs because they are different beasts. Nobody has ever died going cold-turkey on sex, he said.

His perspective keeps angering Ethlie Ann Vare, the author of Love Addict: Sex, Romance and Other Dangerous Drugs, who believes her struggles with sex and love are exactly that: an addiction. In her recent Huffington Post blog, she fires back at Ley:

“First, ‘experts’ never said that too much sex works like a drug but that all sex works like a drug. You could be an anorexic sex addict who hasn't gotten laid since the Carter administration, but orgasm still creates the same neurochemical reward cascade in the limbic region of the brain that cocaine does. So does the intoxication of romantic infatuation. It has nothing to do with the amount of, the variety of, or the type of sex you're having. It's all about the brain that's receiving the input.”

So, which is it? Disease, weakness or hobby?

Or none of the above?

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