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

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Are you a sister struggling with unwanted sexual behaviors? 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 behaviors, 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 behaviors 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 behaviors. With the help of the support system and the program, you can also break free bi’itnillah.

  • Sister Huda says:

    Salam Alaikum,
    I just wanted to say to any sisters who may be reading this and feel intimidated to begin the process of healing…don’t be afraid. I am a sister who joined the program and had the most life changing 6 months of my life. Alhamdullilah, the realizations Allah swt helped me make through this program were critical to my growth, not only to end this addiction, but to be a better human being and Muslim. Everyday of those six months was a new learning process and in retrospect was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life as I could feel myself growing closer and closer to Allah swt. Now, over a year later, I am still learning more about myself.
    Please don’t let any of this “it’s a guy thing” make you feel bad or embarrassed. It’s definitely not a guy thing, we all deal with our hurt and pain from life differently and there are PLENTY of women who have turned to pornography or sexual addiction. You owe it to yourself, as the highest creation of Allah swt, as a person who will make mistakes and have ups and downs, to start on this path to change.

  • Mira says:

    Salam, I need help, I’m 25, married to my convert husband and I think I have a problem. I need advice and help really bad, I feel like I have crossed the line already and don’t know what to do. I feel embarrassed and completely ashamed of my thoughts and behaviors. My husband thinks it’s just normal or that I have a problem. I know I do. But I don’t know who to turn too.

    Please help me.

  • Husna says:

    Asalaamualaikum, I’m a 27year old married mom of two. I have an extremely high sex drive to the point where I’m unable to stay a day with out sex. My husband on the other hand can abstain for weeks on end and this makes me very depressed and sad. I think he deliberately punishes me at times. I’m now starting to grow resentment towards him. What do I do? Please help.

  • Suzzanne says:

    I have had a past of satisfying my needs through mastrubstion at a young age even though I remained a virgin till I got married , it only continued a few times when I got separated from my first husband but than I got divorced . During the time of being alone I never over stepped the boundaries of mastribation or pornsgrahy as I felt strong and closer to Allah . I remarried to an amazing husband a few layers now but at times he is unable to make me reach climax together so I mastribute with him and he helps me this way, I try hard not to fall back to old habits that I had in the past, I’m not sure if this is allowed in Islam but I don’t feel like it’s the same as when you do it alone but at times I do think about doing it alone but I haven’t acted upon it in a long time . My husband is righteous man my husband doesn’t feel it’s wrong when we do this together as he feels this is my way to be satisfied occasionally, he kisses me touches me and we both do foreplay but I also play with myself to reach orgazim . Occasionally maybe once a week . Is tbis allowed in Islam as he suffers from early ejaculation . Barak Allah feekoun .