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Compulsive masturbation and dating an intimidating guy

“One of the most important things in the treatment process is learning that you have rights, you have limits, you get to say no,” says Hudson.

Sex and relationship addicts can be so accustomed to accepting “crumbs,” as de Guzman put it, that they may not know how to leave a relationship that doesn’t feel good.

When she got to the place where she felt suicidal over the guy who wouldn’t text back, “I wanted crumbs from guys at that point.”It’s a story that sounds familiar to Lee Riley*, a 60-something woman (she declined to share her exact age, preferring to identify as “old enough to know better”) living in Los Angeles who is also a sex addict.“From as early as I can remember, I would be what was called boy-crazy by anybody who was watching,” Riley says.But this "boy-craziness" didn’t stop in her teenage years, or her 20s, or even her 30s.Charlene de Guzman says her sex addiction started as a “hunger for love and attention and validation.” For her, the confusion came from misplaced messages about her self-worth.“I had this story from a very early age that a woman who was sexually desired, a woman who was sexual, a woman men wanted to have sex with, was of value,” she told .“We don’t do it because the addictive substance feels so good, but because nothing else in life feels at all.”Recovery for de Guzman and Riley came from joining Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA).Like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, it’s a 12-step group that provides a support system for anyone seeking to control an addiction, though individual therapy can be helpful as well, explains Linda Hudson, the counselor.’” The expansion of women’s sexual freedom made it easier for Riley to justify her harmful behavior as “rebellious” or “antiauthoritarian,” she said, because it’s more palatable to consider yourself “free-spirited” than, say, a homewrecker.“I look back on it now and I think, Wow, I was really hurting a lot of people."But as with any type of addiction, the addict in question probably isn’t thinking clearly about who her behavior could hurt.As Gwyneth Paltrow’s character jokes in the 2014 film , when she learns the guy she is dating is a sex addict, “Isn’t that just something guys say they’re doing when they get caught cheating?”In reality, sex addiction is much more complicated—and it doesn’t only affect men.

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