It’s Not Just A Guy’s Thing – Muslim Women and Sex Addiction

Are you a sister struggling with unwanted sexual behaviours? Perhaps the question on your mind is, isn’t this a “guy’s problem”?

When I first started the Purify Your Gaze program back in 2010, I have to admit that my marketing and content was geared a 100% to the male audience. As I looked through our roster however, I was surprised to see the names of Muslim women in the list of registrants of the program.

My initial reactions were that they must be wives of addicts, who are seeking help for their spouse. But I was wrong.

Culturally speaking, a woman must be “pure”, “honorable”, “virgin”, “untouched” and “modest” and any minor infraction automatically deems her as either “loose”, “damaged goods”, or a “whore”.

While some of those sisters were indeed seeking help for their spouse, a majority of them in the program were in there for themselves. Most of them are single sisters who are struggling with unwanted sexual behaviours, as well as a portion of married sisters who are also struggling as well. This experience of having sisters participate in the program allowed me to grow into catering for their needs as well.

There is a greater stigma attached to women struggling with unwanted sexual behaviours than it is for men.

Culturally speaking, a woman must be “pure”, “honorable”, “virgin”, “untouched” and “modest” and any minor infraction automatically deems her as either “loose”, “damaged goods”, or a “whore”.

Those same standards do not apply to men. Statements such as, “boys will be boys,” or “It’s just a phase boys go through” are often used to minimize and easily let them off the hook. In fact, more often than not, the more a man is sexually active and has different sexual partners the more honorable he becomes! His sexual proliferation is a statement of his manhood!

Here is the reality: addictions are genderblind both in how they start and how they affect the individual.

When you are struggling with a sexual addiction, regardless of whether you are a man or woman, the forces that drive the addiction, such as core self-limiting beliefs, feelings of deep inadequacy or low self esteem, are all the same for both genders. The social consequences such as the inability to bond with yourself, others, and Allah are the same. And finally, a strong desire to escape from painful situations or emotions, as well as unresolved wounds from the past are all of the same things that contribute to the sexual addiction. There’s no difference.

Naturally with this amount of pain and suffering, it will push any human being towards wishing someone could help them, but for a woman, especially a Muslim woman whose life has been impacted by the effects of sexual addiction, there are barriers: socially constructed barriers that make it difficult for them to reach out.

Perhaps you are one of these sisters. You may be feeling a compounded sense of shame, of first of having a “guy’s problem” and secondly of being “female.”

Let me assure you that it certainly is not just a guy’s thing.

Clinicians who have studied sexual compulsivity at a national-level within the United States typically state that 10-15% of those who seek treatment are females. I’ve seen the same hold true amongst our members participating through the various Purify Your Gaze programs with about 12% being women.

Although Purify Your Gaze was initially created as a safe, 100% anonymous place for Muslim men to find healing, alhamdulilah with the input from our female members we have support personalized for your needs and concerns as well.

One of the really nice things we have is a very solid group of sisters in the program, who are there to help you at every step of your recovery, by providing an active support system.

In fact, what may surprise you is that it is more often our sisters in the program who have experienced the biggest success and changes in their lives more so than even the men! Alhamdullilah.

You are not alone in recovering from your unwanted sexual behaviours. With the help of the support system and the program, you can also break free bi’itnillah.

About the author

Zeyad Ramadan

Zeyad Ramadan is the founder of Purify Your Gaze. Through his leadership, Purify Your Gaze has served as the personal recovery guide for thousands of Muslims coming from over 35 different countries around the world in the various stages of their healing journey and has provided support to its members through its addiction recovery tools, its workshops, and personal 1-1 coaching. Zeyad has successfully lead workshops and delivered talks dealing with sexual intimacy, addiction recovery, embracing true gender roles, and spirituality. He currently lives with his wife and four kids in Orange County, California. Connect with Zeyad on Facebook and Twitter.

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