Affairs often include emotional entanglement. Other times, when there are multiple affairs, the sex is more about sexual addiction. Sexual addiction is still more of an emotional issue, though that doesn't seem to be the case on the surface.
A few years ago I read a thorough and personal book about female sexual addiction. The title is, No Stones: Women redeemed from sexual shame by Marnie Ferree. I've recommended this book many times over the years.
The secondary title is most important. Shame is a huge component of sexual addiction for men and women, but there is an extra stigma for women. As sex, or the pursuit of it, becomes a woman's style of getting high or covering pain, more shame is built. After numerous vows to quit and subsequent relapses, the shame and depression grow to seemingly unovercomable levels.
Marnie begins with the story of the woman caught in adultery in John 8.
Jesus sends the woman away without condemnation and says, "Go on your way. From now on, don't sin."
These are words of hope. Some people can misuse these and beat the woman over the head with Just Say No. But any addiction has a complicated physical, emotional and spiritual recovery process. Those words are hopeful because they offer a woman a different life. An addict has tunnel vision of how life can be. She believes that she'll always have to offer her body to get some taste of closeness. These words of hope invite a sexually addicted woman out of a life of empty sex toward a life of true intimacy with God and others.
Are you sexually/relationally addicted?
Keep reading to take Marnie's self-test.
1. Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual behavior or thinking?
2. Have you tried to stop or limit what you felt was wrong in your sexual or relationship behavior?
3. Do you use sex to escape, relieve anxiety, or as a coping mechanism?
4. Do you feel guilt, remorse, or depression afterward?
5. Has your pursuit of sex or a particular relationship become more compulsive?
6. Does it interfere with relations with your spouse?
7. Do you have to resort to fantasies or memories during sex in order to be aroused or satisfied?
8. Do you keep going from one relationship or lover to another?
9. Do you feel the right person would help you stop lusting, masturbating, or being so promiscuous?
10. Do you have a destructive need--a desperate sexual or emotional need for someone?
11. Does the pursuit of sex or a relationship make you careless for yourself or the welfare of your family or others?
12. Has your effectiveness or concentration decreased as sex or a relationship has become more compulsive?
13. Have you experienced negative consequences as a result of your sexual or relational behavior?
14. Are you depressed?
15. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent?
If you answered "yes" to 3 or more questions you certainly could benefit from addressing this issue.