What are sex addiction symptoms? Let me explain the difference between the signs of sex addiction and its symptoms. We will focus specifically on women addicted to sex and answer the question “Am I a Sex Addict?” as well as discuss my own sex addiction story and recovery journey.
This blog post is highly-focused on the symptoms of sex addiction. If you want to understand sexual addiction in general, if you want to know “What is a sex addict?” or how to deal with sex addiction, read the blog I wrote to help you get a detailed overview of all those aspects.
Female Sex Addiction
Female sex addiction is extremely secretive, yet very common. You may not know any women addicted to sex, but it’s not because they aren’t around you; it’s only because they never talk about their addiction to sex.
I am a sex addict in recovery.
RELATED: What Is a Sex Addict?
Women in our society are expected to be nice, sweet, meek, and submissive. We must be mothers and wives. We’re taught publicly that sex is the business of men, it’s dirty, shameful, and an overall taboo but in private we’re taught to obsess with the way we look, how we present ourselves, and how we are perceived by the outside world, aka men.
In real life, a female sex addict is very common. She’s filled with shame. She’s suffering. She’s confused. She is afraid to be condemned and so she is unlikely to attend Sex Addict Anonymous to get help.
RELATED: Sex Addicts Anonymous
Women addicted to sex are doomed to enduring their powerful affliction, getting pregnant and having abortions, becoming infected with AIDS, or committing suicide. Can we pause here?
Let’s ask ourselves this question: where do women addicted to sex come from? From their families, my dear, yep, from the family of those sweet people everyone adored and worshipped at your church, aha, that one.
The mother who teaches her daughter that the most valuable thing about her is her body and sexuality, the mother who teaches her daughter to be obsessed with her looks and how she presents herself to men, that mother is the reason why the girl grows up and becomes a female sex addict.
This has to do with the identity of a woman in society.
But where did that sexuality-obsessed mother come from? Yep, from her mother who taught her to be obsessed with looks, flirting, men, and sex.
Women addicted to sex is an epidemic today.
It’s a secretive epidemic though, because, filled with shame and fearing the condemnation by society, women do not ask for help and keep their secret to themselves, unless, of course, they hit the rock bottom and end up at a mental institution, suicidal hospital, or on their knees asking for help from Jesus, which was what I did.
RELATED: Who Is Jesus?
Here’s a poem about how it all happened.
The number of people in the United States living with sex addiction is currently estimated at 12–30 million. Both men and women can be affected, though little research exists on female sex addiction. Men with sex addiction have an average of 32 sexual partners, while females have an average of 22 sexual partners. A strong correlation exists between sex addiction and childhood trauma. Surveys of people with sex addictions show that during childhood:
– 72% were physically abused
– 81% were sexually abused
– 97% were emotionally abusedThe Recovery Village
I had more than 32 partners. And the one who encouraged my addiction to sex was my mother. She was obsessed with porn, with my sexuality, with how I presented myself to men, and with what I’d need to do when the lights go off at night, as well as the idea of multiple orgasms.
RELATED: Narcissistic Mother
Female sex addiction starts in childhood when girls are sexualized by their family members. I was molested by my mother who touched me inappropriately, was obsessed with my clitoris, taught me how to masturbate using a warm water stream in the shower, and that resulted in me screaming and fighting to not have her in the bathroom with me.
She walked around naked, loved talking about my vagina as well as her own, and she addicted me to porn when I was just five years old.
Why did I become a female sex addict?
You tell me.
Sex Addict Characteristics
I know reading all this is shocking because you most likely never ever heard anyone talking so openly about their sexual addiction in such detail, especially a Christian woman on a Christian Discipleship blog.
This blog is for you to understand sex addiction symptoms. If you do have a sexual addiction, which you’ll probably realize while reading my content, I want you to avoid falling into the damaging self-condemnation trap and, instead, I want you to understand what happened that led you to become a woman addicted to sex.
I want you to give up your shame and accept the grace of God whose mercies are new every morning, and I want you to step into your divine power by accepting an identity in Christ.
If you want to know the 52 Biblical truths about your identity, if you want to find out what God says about you, download my free ebook revealing who the Bible says you are: loved, accepted, beautiful, and forgiven.
What I want you to know is this: sexual addiction is not something women addicted to sex know about or are aware of having.
Female sex addiction is a state of denial.
I considered myself and my addiction lifestyle totally normal. In fact, I wrote a blog post revealing how I felt when I discovered I was addicted to sex. My accomplishments in the area of education and career blinded even me, and it appeared as if I were a good woman living a pretty normal life.
Except, I was dead, dark, and desperate on the inside. That’s why I fell on my knees in April of 2014 and asked Jesus to come into my heart and save me, rescue me, lead me, and guide my path.
RELATED: My Testimony
Sex addict characteristics are divided into two categories: sex addiction symptoms and signs of sex addiction. Signs are visible and observable from the outside, while symptoms are hidden, invisible, they are experienced on the inside only.
I already wrote a detailed blog post about the signs of sexual addiction where I also provided my personal examples so that you can see all this comprehensive information in the context of real life. I hope that the blog post helps you on your journey.
Here it is if you want to read it.
Now, let’s discuss the invisible, hidden, secretive, unknown to the outside world, unsuspected sex addiction symptoms.
Sex Addiction Symptoms
Risk-taking for the sake of sexual pleasure is the number one symptom of sex addiction. You find yourself willing to have sex in parking lots, in public bathrooms (I did that), in the car while driving (I did that as well), in stores (I did that overseas), in public swimming pools (I did that at some luxury hotels in exotic countries), in your family home where you can easily be caught, at work where you can lose everything, etc.
Studies have demonstrated a strong link between sexual addiction and risk-taking.
The risks I took for the sake of satisfying my sexual temptations were many.
I sacrificed my professional reputation, close friendships, personal integrity, financial stability, physical wellbeing, and mental health. I sacrificed my dreams of a peaceful and joyful life because I hated the life I lived and I always wanted a vacation from myself, but anywhere I went, there I was again! There was no way to escape me, ever.
Below are the 15 sex addiction symptoms for you to know.
The 15 Sexual Addiction Symptoms:
- Inability to contain sexual urges and respect the boundaries of others
- Feeling of detachment leading to sexual activity not being emotionally satisfying
- Obsession with seducing people for the sake of sex
- Feelings of guilt and shame
- Awareness that the urges are uncontrollable
- Pattern of recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses
- Engagement in sexual behaviors for prolonged periods of time
- Attempts and failure to stop the behavior
- Energy investment allocated to obtaining sex, being sexual, or recovering from a sexual experience is significant
- Rage resulting from an individual becoming distressed, anxious, restless, and possibly violent if unable to satisfy sexual temptations
- Preoccupation with sex that is all-consuming and is used as a way to escape reality
- Escalation of uncontrollable sexual temptations over time as they become riskier and more intense to chase the desired sexual thrill
- Inability to fulfill obligations, for example, missing work due to sexual indulgence or not paying the bills because of sexual pursuits
- Withdrawal felt intensely and painfully when trying to stop
- Dominance of sexual pursuits in an individual’s mind
That’s what a sex addict feels on the inside.
This is an internal battle, even when it is not apparent to anyone on the outside and everything looks ok. This is the very foundation of feeling powerless when facing your own genuine desire to stop your unwanted sexual behavior, yet, being unable to do so.
When sexual temptations get in the way of living life as a productive member of your community, you are addicted to sex. You are at the point of feeling powerless and need help.
RELATED: Sex Addiction Help
I needed help. I needed to be saved from myself and my own destructive behavior. That’s how I met my savior – Jesus Christ. And once He healed me, I started a ministry to share the good news with you and to help you see yourself the way God sees you, to know that you’re loved, and to understand who you are as a precious child of God.
That’s how my ministry, Online Discipleship For Women, was born. You can support this ministry by making a donation now.
“Whoever Brings Blessing Will be Enriched” Proverbs 11:25
Bless Online Discipleship For Women
Sex Addiction Symptoms Explained
Inability To Contain Sexual Urges and Respect the Boundaries of Others
Sex addiction is an obsession. You want to do the right thing but there’s a powerful force that’s causing you to take the wrong action.
You may be flirting in fun and “innocent” ways while undressing the guy who is confused and is fighting back. You might be cornering someone in a public place demanding sex. You might be finding yourself on top of a friend who’s in shock and is confident that you’re kidding but you’re not, you’re going for it. You might be doing all sorts of really weird things sacrificing relationships and violating the boundaries of people who might not even fully comprehend what’s going on with you.
I remember vividly one night when my three friends stayed over after we were out partying all night. I only had one bed, and my girlfriend was sleeping on the floor with her boyfriend whose friend was this other guy who was in my bed when I started making my moves on him. He was not in the game and he expressed his boundaries very clearly but… Long story short, I had sex with this guy and those friends avoided me ever since.
RELATED: Lifestyle-Based Sex Addiction
I didn’t know that anything was wrong with what I did because back home, every day, my mom was interviewing me about my sexual experiences, encouraging my promiscuous behavior, and telling me what else I should try to seduce more guys. I loved my mom and thought she was teaching me life’s wisdom. I had nothing else to compare my mom to, so being my only parent, she appeared wise, smart, powerful, and very mature.
Feeling Detached and Unable To Be Emotionally Satisfied By Sex
You hunt for sex and you get it but after the fact, you feel like a zombie. You’re empty. You thought you’d get something out of it but no, your life is sucked out of you and you’le left lifeless at the end.
You’re not making love with him (or them).
You aren’t connecting emotionally. You’re hooking up, f..ing, and that isn’t what you actually want or need. You don’t want to f…ck.
You want to be loved, accepted, appreciated, cherished, nurtured, adored, but you’re not getting anything like that at all. You’re treating yourself as an object, and you’re viewed as a commodity by those you hook up with.
You’re detached, and you have no idea how to be alive again.
You feel this way because you’re dead on the inside, and another f…ck won’t bring you back to life. Another d…ck can’t resurrect your buried soul.
But Jesus can!
Obsession with Seducing People for The Sake of Sex
You’re not only actually seducing people for the sake of sex but also you’re dwelling on how and whom you had seduced in the past and whom as well as how you plan to seduce in the future.
You’re planning everything in detail, and your battlefield is your mind. There, you have all your tools laid out for review: your flirting tactics, your lingerie, your poses and words, and all that I call your “sex net” because those tools help you “fish” for sex.
My obsession with seduction was taught by my mother. She gave me a book called “Emmanuelle” and she showed me the film made per the book. It was hard-core porn, and my mom loved discussing how the characters there seduced one another. That was when I was five but at 16 I was demanded real experiences. Yet, I was still a virgin, and that didn’t work well for my mom. She persuaded me to seduce someone. I got very drunk and did that. My mom was so happy! She’d teach me how to seduce more men and then interview me on how I did it. She’d say: “Go have multiple orgasms for you and me since I never had men pay attention to me!”
The obsession with seduction was born.
Feeling Guilty and Ashamed
You’re a sophisticated professional woman and you appear happy, optimistic, and well put together. Everyone thinks you’re awesome, and you smile a lot, so people can swear on the Bible that you’re very happy and light-hearted. But nothing can be further from the truth.
Your heart is heavy. You’re filled with guilt and shame.
You hide it well, even from yourself, which is why you avoid spending one-on-one time with you: you can’t stand yourself. You’re afraid of yourself. You can’t trust yourself. You know that your self is capable of the kinds of things you don’t approve of. You try to stay very busy and surrounded by people, just so you never have to deal with the person in your mirror.
It’s all because of guilt and shame.
They won’t go away. Someone has to pay for all your debts. Everything you owe is weighing on you like a burden. But the truth is this: Jesus redeemed you at the price higher than the debt you owe for all your sin.
Accept the gift of forgiveness from Jesus.
RELATED: You Are Forgiven
Forgiveness is like a gift under the tree: it’s there already, all you need is to reach out and accept the gift. Or you can just pass by and dismiss it…
It’s up to you.
Awareness That The Urges Are Uncontrollable
You feel on the inside that something must not be right. You’re exhausted. Though you do believe in your conscious mind that you’ve got this and it’s not at all that serious, deep down you do know you are powerless.
You’re out of control. You’re devasted. You’re overwhelmed by your own behavior and actions. You don’t understand what you do and why.
Well… Guess what? This is not a new problem.
Thousands of years ago, Paul journaled about his own powerlessness, and that journal is now called “the Bible.”
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.Romans 7:15
Your frustration with yourself only leads you to feel more shame, which results from all the guilt you feel for letting yourself down, letting others down, and maybe even letting God down.
The truth is this: Jesus is the proof of God’s grace.
Accept God’s forgiveness, surrender your desire for control, and let Christ in you live through you. Then, you’ll experience the real power and learn that you can do anything and everything through Christ.
Pattern of Recurring Failure To Resist Sexual Impulses
On the outside, it seems as if you’re having fun. No one knows that you actually hate to do what you do and that you’re in pain. You’ve tried hard to resist your sexual temptations but you’ve failed over and over again.
Me too, I was in your shoes. That’s why we need Jesus.
When you realize that Jesus died on the cross for you personally because you’re that precious and valuable, you’ll see yourself very differently. You’re a masterpiece, that’s who you are. God created you with love and intention. He has a great purpose for your life, and I have a feeling it’s much bigger than you can ever imagine. You’re not random. You’re a gem crafted by God, made perfect in His own image. You’re a royal child of God. God made you intentionally, and He wants to perfect you eventually, yes, but right now you’re already loved and accepted as you are, so ask Jesus for help.
Engagement In Sexual Behaviors for Prolonged Periods of Time
I remember going away with one of my sugar-daddies and just having sex for days non-stop. We’d leave the city, have people cooking for us, and we’d just be acting like the world didn’t exist, like there were no responsibilities, like he wasn’t married, like life was love and love was sex.
Did I mention that I would skip work, too?
Well… soon, I had no job and he got me a beautiful condo downtown Kursk, Russia, and we’d escape into sex-marathons without even escaping the city.
That was my life. Meaningless and empty.
God created me to live out my purpose.
Same with you.
Attempts and Failure to Stop The Behavior
I attempted to stop my behavior, yes, but I had no way to succeed because I didn’t understand boundaries. You see, my boundaries were constantly violated as a child. Establishing boundaries for myself always resulted in my mother’s screaming, yelling, cussing, and abandoning me. She blamed me for being a trader and a liar when I asked her to stop fingering my vagina while bathing me. My mother violated my boundaries and blamed me for even attempting to draw a line between her desires and my lever of acceptance of her molestation.
RELATED: Boundaries-Based Sex Addiction Help
More on this later when I share my story with you below. The bottom line is this: if you have tried to stop and failed, you can’t keep trying the same thing expecting different results. That’s the definition of insanity. What you need is a new you.
The only one who can make you new is Jesus.
Energy Investment Allocated to Obtaining Sex Is Significant
You’re working full-time as a hookup event planner for yourself. You spend significant time, energy, effort, and money to plan when, where, how, and with whom you will hookup.
You literally could make a full-time job out of all that hustle, but the one paying for this is also you, so you don’t benefit yourself but instead, you overwhelm and exhaust yourself.
What you feel on the inside is overwhelm and emptiness but on the outside, you surely appear to be having a good time.
I was always buying expensive lingerie, planning luxurious trips, staying at five-star hotels, dining at high-end restaurants, and running around with my head cut off to beauty salons for an all-day cellulite treatment to ensure my butt looked great when I was having sex…
Thanks to the God of kindness and unconditional love, my life is so much better and more meaningful now. And I have an honest, vulnerable, good relationship with myself and others.
I wasted so much energy…
Rage Resulting from an Individual Becoming Distressed If Unable to Satisfy Sexual Temptations
With all my effort invested into having exciting sexual adventures, I’d not feel satisfied because what I was truly looking for I couldn’t find in sex. So, I’d feel irritated, irate, enraged, so angry!
Today, I have peace in every way, and it’s sacred.
Preoccupation With Sex That Is All-Consuming and Is Used As a Way to Escape Reality
Your reality is dramatic and traumatic. Even if today it appears as if you made it, you carry a burden of trauma that you’re not even aware of and can’t even begin to process all at once. There are repressed and suppressed memories that need to be avoided and forgotten. There’s tremendous amount of emotional pain and heartache that needs to be faced and grieved. But… it’s too scary, so you avoid it.
You keep yourself preoccupied with sex, and that is how you avoid your trauma. Sex keeps you busy and provides the false facade of fun or happiness, which of course is just an illusion because you’re only more hurt by your promiscuous lifestyle, however, it does help you avoid your real pain – the pain of what happened in your childhood.
You keep going, every day, hoping that sex will resolve your emotional burdens. Your hope is in sex. How about you place your hope in Christ?
That’s how it was for me: I hoped in vacations, in the most prestigious hotels, in the most extravagant outfits, in the most provocative lingerie… There, soon, finally, I will find that what I am seeking: wholeness! Nope… I never found it, until I had an encounter with Jesus Christ.
He made me whole. He gave me joy. He blessed me with love.
Occupy your headspace with who God says you are and how much He loves you, and you’ll become whole, joyful, and peaceful. Face your pain with God’s grace, which is sufficient for you, and process your painful feelings, one at a time. Learn how to feel, how to be fully human, and you will no longer need sex as a drug to escape your reality.
RELATED: a List of Feelings
Here’s a poem I wrote about feeling my feelings, which I avoided my entire life as a sex addict. When I met Jesus and accepted God’s grace, one at a time, I accepted my feelings and have been processing my emotions ever since, one at a time, by being in their presence and not escaping them.
"Feeling the Feelings" #PoemsFromGod
Do you know how to feel feelings?
I mean - the whole range of them, all of them?
Like fear, faith, joy, surprise from others' dealings,
Like anger, peace, responsibility or defensiveness when people you condemn?
Do you know how to feel sadness and grieve appropriately?
Like sitting down with your sad thoughts and allowing yourself to cry?
Like writing heartfelt entries in your journal openly,
Without pretending and without saying a lie?
And just really pouring your heart out,
Just putting out all your emotions in the universe,
Just being open and vulnerable, without a doubt,
Just being yourself, who you really are, without any rehearse?
I've learned slowly how to feel my emotions.
In the past, my primary feelings were anger and rage.
I've been intentional about using the experience to write devotions
To help others with their own emotions to engage.
Please take the time to be still and feel uncomfortable.
Please make it your priority to focus your mind
On the important intention of being vulnerable,
So you can that special place of humanness within yourself find.
There's actually nothing much more to it:
Just sit, be quite, be still, and feel.
When you're feeling though make sure you do admit
And label each emotion, without pretending, be real.
If you feel joy, say I feel joy now.
If you feel sadness, say I'm very sad.
If you're crushed, then the experience of pain allow
By saying I'm in pain and on that in your journal reflect.
It will feel odd and weird at first. It's normal.
Vulnerability is a skill like learning to drive a car.
Keep going, keep feeling, this process is very informal.
Soon, you’ll develop your powerful vulnerability inner star.
© Anna Szabo, JD, MBA 9/24/17
Escalation of Uncontrollable Sexual Temptations Over Time as They Become Riskier and More Intense
Your brain is craving dopamine, and you get it from sex. But there’s a level of tolerance that’s developed over time. Consequently, soon you need more sex to produce the same level of dopamine effect in your brain.
RELATED: Brain-Function-Related Sex Addiction
You spice things up, start taking risks, sleeping with strangers, maybe using some dangerous role-playing, maybe using some chocking, blinding, beating, public sex, sex on a motorcycle, sex with three and five or seven partners, but nothing satisfies you the next time the same way, and you have to up your game to achieve the same level of result.
It’s a vicious cycle. Escape it into the arms of your Heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally without Victoria’s Secret lingerie on or a leash around your neck. You are loved by God, right now. Accept His love wholeheartedly and step into your identity as a royal child of the King.
Inability to Fulfill Obligations Due to Sexual Indulgence
You might be not paying your bills, taxes, rent… You might be disregarding your everyday life chores, such as laundry, dishes, cleaning, grocery shopping, and cooking…
So, here you are: screwing around, then, dying from shame in guilt on the inside, in a dirty home, with a hot mess everywhere and your bills unpaid, or maybe even your job nowhere to be found anymore.
Indulging in sex leads to death. Indulging in Christ leads to life.
If you love to indulge, here’s a good book for free – it has 52 beautiful things God says about you. Indulge in finding out how much He loves you, the purpose He planned for your life, the good work He prepared in advance for you to do, the precious value of who you are as a child of God…
Download my #52Devotionals ebook now for free and enjoy indulging in Biblical truth about yourself as a Princess, a daughter of the king.
Withdrawal Felt Intensely and Painfully When Trying to Stop
Sex addiction is like any other addiction – it causes your brain to demand the chemicals you’re addicted to, so when you stop your indulgence in sex, you will feel intense withdrawal symptoms.
That being said, you will survive.
Kneel before God, pray, cry, weep, ask for help, declare Bible verses and God’s promises back to Him, meditate, and lean on the Lord instead of your own understanding. He helped me and He will help you.
You can do this.
Dominance of Sexual Pursuits In an Individual’s Mind
Sex obsession has been planted in your mind when you were a little girl. It’s been years, and you’re now in the habit of obsessing about sex in order to get satisfaction. It’s understandable. Dig deep and find out what you’re longing for, then review your pattern of behavior and answer honestly: has sex ever given that what you’re seeking to you? No. It hasn’t and it won’t.
I’m speaking from experience. Trust me, I was in your shoes. The battle was intense, and my struggle was visible. I even wrote a blog about it called “The Ten Signs of My Sex Addictions.“
I know there’s a better life on the other side for you.
Pursue wholeness, joy, peace, and satisfaction by focusing your mind on your personal relationship with Jesus and who you are in Christ: a Princess, a royal child of God, the king of the whole universe, created perfect and beautiful and smart and courageous… Yes, you, Princess!
Am I a Sex Addict?
Remember… I am not a therapist, I have no mental health training, I share my personal experiences only, and this information is what I discovered for myself from my own sex addiction journey.
You need to see a trained mental health professional in order to receive an actual diagnosis for any of the behavioral issues you might be dealing with.
That being said, here’s a quick quiz with a few questions you can answer to determine if you might possibly be a woman addicted to sex.
Sex Addiction Quiz
- Is my mind constantly preoccupied with sexual ideation?
- Do I typically feel guilty and ashamed after sex?
- Has my sexual behavior ever caused problems?
- Did my sexual behavior ever hurt people?
- Do I ever hide my sexual activities from others due to shame?
- Do I ever feel that my sexual desire controls me?
- Have I been neglecting my life because of my sexual pursuits?
- Do I use sex to escape from my reality or avoid dealing with life?
- Do my sexual pursuits cause drama in my life?
- Do I watch porn and masturbate regularly?
If you answered truthfully, and the majority of your answers are “yes,” you might be a sex addict and need to get sex addiction help.
RELATED: Sex Addiction Help
I promised you to share some of my own journey with you.
Here’s my story of sex addiction recovery.
I Am a Sex Addict
When I first went to a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting at Peachtree Presbyterian Church, everyone had to speak, and the way everyone’s speech started was by saying “I am a sex addict.” I didn’t like that.
I remember saying “I am a Princess, a daughter of the king of the universe, God of all creation,” but the leader of that meeting, John, didn’t appreciate my creative ideation, I guess, and I was no longer welcome, he said.
I am a Princess who is also a sex addict in recovery.
Admitting this was painful and liberating all at the same time. It was at first shameful and confusing, then, it empowered me to learn more about myself and my story, dive deep into my subconscious and bring up the hidden memories, heal, and experience genuine compassion for little Anna.
I understand what happened to me and why I became a sex addict.
My Sex Addiction Story
Everyone’s story of sexual addiction begins in childhood.
I was raised by real creeps, crazy people whom I’m really scared to remember. To write all this content for you, I had to go deep and not only recall my memories but verbalize them. I first, journaled about my memories of Anna and her family. Only then, after recording things in the third person, was I able to say words like “I” and “Me” in the first person.
It’s been over five years of processing my pain.
I’ve also learned to set boundaries.
Today, I’m able to share almost anything in the first person and own my story. I’m comfortable (most of the time) to say I, my mom, my grandmother, etc. But sometimes, I still say “Once upon a time, The Wicked Witch did this and that to Princess Lana…” and people understand.
My mother had an enmeshed relationship with me.
When I was five, my mother taught me about sex, explaining to me that I was for sex and sex was love. It was 1988. She used to leave a hard-core pornography book called “Emmanuelle” on a table for me so I could read it.
“Emmanuelle” was also a film I was encouraged to watch to learn about love. This porn series, which was banned by the President of France initially until the new government authorities set it free, includes group sex, lesbian sex, sex with children and strangers, and even rape.
I was a little innocent girl when those images and videos were introduced to me as love.
In the first 14 weeks when this porn film was released, 2.5 million Frenchmen stood in line to watch it. That film was shown to me causally to educate me about love and my identity as a woman.
I was taught from that point on that to be a woman worthy of a man, I must be as sensual and sexual as the Dutch model and actress Sylvia Kristel.
Why was she Dutch in a French porn series?
Because the pornography was so mind-boggling that the producers were unable to find French actresses to play Emmanuelle.
Here’s elderly Kristel herself explaining that “Emmanuelle” was not even expected to ever be released because it was such a hard-core-porn film.
Yet, to me, a little Russian girl, the film was shown very casually and presented to be about the kind of woman I must become teaching me what love is and how to love.
Released in 1974, the soft-focus French film was one of the first erotic movies to be shown in mainstream cinemas. Sylvia Kristel described the film as violent, humiliating, and disgusting.
She hoped her mother would never see it but it became the most popular film in France and other countries around the world for over a decade.
In Russia, my mother even took me to movie theaters to watch pornography. She was single and obsessed with sex. Emmanuelle was the book popping up everywhere I was. When I saw my mother reading at home, it was Emmanuelle she was holding in her hands.
My mother never wanted to hold me for comfort as other parents I saw did with their children. She would give me affection by gently petting my back with something soft if I agreed to do the same to her…
Molested by My Mother
My mother had a very unhealthy relationship with me. I always knew it. I just didn’t know why. I felt awkward about my mother. I loved her and hated her, I worshipped her and was scared of her, I wanted her attention but not the kind of attention she gave me… I was so confused about my mother, and when I tried to talk about it, I was accused of lying and making things up, I was shut down when I tried to communicate, so I learned to rage, scream, yell, cuss, and be aggressive to stand up for myself.
When I lived with my mother, I had a taser and pepper spray to help protect myself from her. She was violent, cruel, hateful, manipulative, and she molested me as a child, for an extended period of time, in a very f..cked up way that blows my mind when I think about it even today.
Let me start from the beginning…
My mom was the second of four sisters, one of whom died as a baby, so my mom was the oldest and the most hated one by my grandmother, who was abusive, violent, pretentious, manipulative, and a liar whom everyone adored outside of our home.
The three of them – mom and my two aunts are “all of them” in my story, plus grandma and her sister who was crazy and had two daughters, one of whom was a believer in Jesus Christ and was considered crazy, too (Vera, which is translated to English as “Faith”).
There are also “all of us,” let me tell you who “we” are in my story.
Each of “them,” aka the three sisters, had a daughter, of whom I was the youngest (Anya, that’s me) from the oldest (Lyuda, my mom), the middle one of us (Yulya) came from the middle one of them (Sveta), and the youngest one of them (Ira) had the oldest of us (Vika).
So, to summarize, there were three of “them” and three of “us.”
My mom was single, and she liked Sergey, my youngest aunt’s boyfriend, so she f..cked him one day at his mom’s condo when his legs were broken. And because she used no condom, she got pregnant. Surprise! So, she went to abort me but couldn’t get it done for health reasons.
On January 18th, 1983 my mom had a baby girl, me, which was a problem because neither did she want the baby nor the girl. So, she called the baby girl a boy’s name Anton and dressed her up as a boy. Yes, yes, I’m talking about me. I was the girl dressed as a boy and called a boy’s name. Here’s the picture of me at six months old. Yes, this boy is me.
As you can see, my mom is wearing a wedding band but she wasn’t married. My father had many children with many women, and he spent most of his life in prison for various crimes. Everyone in my family talked negatively about him and me calling me a miscarriage and many other names, rejecting me, making fun of me, hating me, and abusing me.
My grandma prohibited me from calling her grandma because she was ashamed of me being fatherless and having been born out of wedlock. So, they all referred to me as “shame.”
Did I mention that we all lived together in a small four-bedroom condo?
My grandma walked around the house naked and would purposefully bend her entire body into the pose called “Bridge And Tunnel” and expose her vagina to us girls. She would stand there like that for prolonged periods of time. It was always awkward. She often walked around the home with her fingers placed inside her underwear, but when I expressed my discomfort, she’d pretend it never happened and call me a liar.
My middle aunt, Sveta, did the same thing, and she loved talking about how every night she neede a d…ck and could never go to sleep without it. She was an alcoholic who brought many men home to f…ck them in front of my grandma who was super-protective of my aunt and always paid all her living expenses. This aunt loved walking naked, touching herself in front of us girls, and most of the time I remember her she was drunk and violent.
So, that aunt and my grandma loved exposing their vaginas to us regularly by getting into the Bridge And Tunnel position and holding it.
My youngest aunt never walked around naked, nor did she ever expose her vagina to me. She eventually moved out of our condo but visited often.
She was married to my one and only uncle Victor who was in the military, and she also had a son my age who was mentally ill, Valera.
That aunt was an alcoholic, too, she cheated on my uncle in front of us by bringing her lover, Sasha, to our home, and my grandma always allowed it and encouraged them to come back any time. That aunt hated me when I was little because she was in love with my father, she tried to kill me once with a knife, but later in life, she was the only one whom I respected out of all of them.
She was hard-working, entrepreneurial, independent, non-violent in her later years, she was adaptable, sophisticated, smart, and she never exposed her vagina to me, nor was she curious about mine. I loved my youngest aunt Ira.
My mom had a habit of exposing herself to me regularly, touching herself sexually naked while talking to me, fingering herself under the cover with her legs wide open while having a conversation with me, washing herself in front of me with a warm showerhead for prolonged periods of time with her legs wide open refusing to shut the bathroom dood, and having sex with random men next to my bedroom while being very loud.
When I was five, she started talking to me about sex all the time, and before I was six, our relationship was completely ruined. By the time I was seven, she cussed at me, abused me violently, kept me in the corner on my knees for hours, and was a real-life Wicked Witch because I no longer tolerated molestation, being called a boy’s name, and her make-believe game where she was my erotic partner and I was a boy.
I couldn’t pinpoint how this was weird because, of course, I had no perspective, but I deep down felt so resentful and I knew this was really f…cked up, so I had to stand up for myself.
When I was five, she stopped standing up for me or protecting me in any way. She was in the kitchen one day in the Summer when I came to the sink where she was washing the dishes and asked for help: the neighbors were out protecting their children but she refused to go saying “Go protect yourself!” which I did, and life has never been the same ever since.
From years of experience of defending myself, I became very defensive. From years of cruelty and aggression I endured in that family home, I became angry and aggressive. Eventually, I even was locked up in jail overnight but it’s a whole other story.
Let me tell you how I fell out of favor with my mom.
Here’s how it happened.
My mom loved touching me in a sexual way.
One evening, she was giving me a bath, I was six, and she got her fingers inside my vagina and started maneuvering in there, which I didn’t approve of, so I told her to stop, but she didn’t.
I screamed and I was in pain… She told me the pain was from bad soap. From that point on, I locked my bedroom from her, I hid under the tables and in wardrobes, I was scared of her, and I acted really weird because I was sensing that what she did with me was inappropriate, yet I had no words or voice to overpower her combat.
She told everyone that I was crazy and had schizophrenia.
From that point on, she withheld her affection from me, unless I agreed to do erotic things to her, which I refused. She told everyone that I was a stubborn and resentful child making motherhood a terrible experience for her. My mom caused me so much pain and so much confusion…
At seven, I prohibited her from calling me Anton, which was the boy’s name she used to address me. I wanted to be called Anna, and until this day I do not allow people to call me anything but my actual name.
Then, she became violent, tried to kill me with an ax, a carpet beater, leather belts that were thin to cause scars on my skin, and by spilling hot oil on me. She screamed at me every day, called me names, humiliated me publicly, made lies about me, and she encouraged me to commit suicide, which I did attempt twice. She used to look me in the eye and scream: “I hate you and I just want you dead!”
I loved my mom dearly and I cared for her wholeheartedly. There was no telling whom I’d come home to: one hour she was fine, then irate, then abusive, then try to kill me, then come to me in tears saying she loves me and wants the best for me. It was a highly-vacillating relationship that left me traumatized, anxious, and avoidant. It was a very dramatic experience.
The scars my mom left on my body are long gone but the emotional and mental scars are deep wounds that I must take up with Jesus daily.
I forgave my mother the way God forgave me.
But I didn’t forget anything.
I stay away from my mom.
And always will.
Molested by My Father
I never had a father in my life, yet I did have a father.
He was a man much younger than my mom and lived in the same city sometimes, while other times he was in prison, which was a secret.
He showed up when I was five, and I was the one who opened the front door, so when the guy told me he was my father, I told him to f…ck off, which was how people in my family talked, so that was pretty normal.
He did f…ck off, and my mom never forgave me saying I ruined her love life with my bad temper.
So, I guess instead of trying this again, my mom decided to let him into my bedroom at night and molest me. That was much better than hearing me tell him to f…ck off again. It was nearly a decade later.
Here’s what happened.
It was dark, I was coming out of our one and only bathroom, entered into my bedroom wearing my little pink robe, and as I took it off and lay down in my bed, there was a hand touching me erotically from behind…
I freaked out, jumped out of bed, and saw a man sitting on a chair next to my bed and my school desk, in the dark.
It was my father.
I screamed off the top of my lungs at all those as…oles called “adults” in my home who let him do this. I kicked him out physically and told him to f…ck off. I never saw him again until he reached out to me on social media when I was already living in America. He was asking me for money.
You just have to take a hard guess as to what I told him to do.
Yes, I told him to f…ck off.
Though you do know how things played out for me in real life, in my imagination, I used to escape my reality and spend a lot of time in my head.
Note that I also graduated from four universities, three with high honors. But I did imagine a beautiful reality in my mind.
I fantasized about my father a lot and I had so much hope that he’d appear one day, a grownup adult, wise, protective, and passionate about helping me become a productive grown-up adult, too.
I waited for my father, especially on my birthdays, and one night on January 18th he did show up. It was snowing as always, and someone was throwing snowballs into our kitchen window.
My mom said she would go check it out and disappeared for good. When she returned after a long time, she said it was my father and he was back from prison, wanted money but was scared of me.
Good, he should be!
I forgave my father in 2014.
Forgiveness is liberation from debt. He owes me nothing. I’m at peace and wish him peace, too. I never tried to meet any of his other children but my mother did and she even managed to establish a relationship with his mom.
As for me, I have a good father now.
Molested by My Cousins
My cousins always took a bath together and were left there without supervision, while I was bathed by my mom, and you know how that went.
So, one time, the sisters decided to save water and bathe me together with my cousins. Once we were left alone, they showed me how they do cunnilingus on each other and forced me to also do it on my oldest cousin.
After that, I never took a bath with them, but I was left with them alone many times, and they showed me what their vaginas looked like, how they used veggies to please one another sexually by sticking vegetables “down there,” and exactly what happened when a tampon was placed inside my cousin’s vagina.
Each of them got pregnant and had an abortion.
Then, at seventeen, I got pregnant, too.
My mom was so excited telling me how she’d raise my baby, and just thinking about that misery stressed me out so much that, on International Women’s Day, I miscarried and was taken to the hospital.
I never got pregnant again.
Only one of my cousins has a child and another one became a prostitute and still lives with her mother, the only aunt I ever respected.
My mother also lives with her mother and has for the past 64 years, and so is her middle sister. I’m not in contact with any of them.
But I forgave the debt they owed me.
I pray for their hearts daily.
Healed by Jesus Christ
Sometimes life rocks and sometimes it sucks.
My life has been like that, and so has yours, I’m sure. No one has a rainbow-unicorny life. The happiness illusion often causes us to spiral down into the comparison trap thinking we have it worse than anyone we know when, in reality, everyone has the good and the bad in their lives.
My family life was filled with poverty, alcoholism, sexual abuse, physical violence, rejection, manipulation, and total confusion. Yet, my passion was for learning, higher education, personal development, and a better future, which I visualized for myself every day.
The impact of my education resulted in me graduating from high school with high honors at 15, graduating from a teaching college with high honors at 19 after performing poetry publicly for years, graduating from a business school with high honors at 25 after speaking publicly there for five years at local, regional, national, and international business conferences, graduating with high honors from a law school at 25, and moving to America where I graduated from Georgia State University in 2013 with a 3.9 GPA after teaching myself English listening to Frank Sinatra.
The impact of my family on me resulted in my addiction to sex, masturbation, compulsive binge eating, excessive drinking and smoking, bad attitude and raging madnesses, OCD, Complex PTSD, and suicidal depression.
In 2014, I had a personal encounter with Jesus, during which I gave my life to Him and became celibate. Remember my aunt who was the only one believing in Jesus, for which she was considered crazy? Yes, Vera, aka Fath. She told me when I was little that I will live a single and celibate lifestyle and belong to Jesus. My mom shut that talk down quickly, and I didn’t even know who Jesus was, so I was confused.
Today, I’m 36, I live a single and celibate lifestyle, and I belong to Jesus.
By the grace of God, through Christ, my heart was healed and my addiction to sex resolved. I started this ministry, Online Discipleship For Women, to help you create a joyful life by embracing God’s word.
You can support this Christian Discipleship by donating.
On my journey of healing, I developed new habits. I want to share them with you. These came as real breakthroughs because I never was introduced to healthy habits by those who were supposed to teach me in the way I should go. Here are my eight life-changing breakthroughs for you to reflect on your own lifestyle and perhaps adopt some of these healthy habits to help improve your life as well.
My Eight Life-Changing Breakthroughs
- Meditation instead of Masturbation
- Reading instead of Eating
- Thinking instead of Drinking
- Walking instead of Smoking
- Gratitude instead of Bad Attitude
- Gladness instead of Madnesses
- Every season has a Reason
- My life is a Story for God’s Glory
I hope that you feel encouraged and empowered by this sharing of my own sex addiction experience. As you embark on your journey of recovering from an addiction to sex, lean on the Lord and not your own understanding.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.Proverbs 3:5-6
Reach out to me if you want to, I’m here to support you. You’re not alone. There’s help available to you. You can do this. You deserve a peaceful and joyful life. You’re worthy of the effort healing takes.
Writing this blog post for you has been heartbreaking but God is in the business of healing and restoring the broken hearts. I pray that my burdens will be your blessings and that you get the beauty out of my ashes.
Life sometimes rocks and sometimes sucks.
Yet, it’s worth living.
Live it well.
In this article, I shared some very serious things, very painful parts of my life, very confusing aspects of my identity.
Some people say that the best predictor of your future is your past. I disagree. The best predictor of your future is your hope.
Hope in Christ.
Though I shared in this blog post exactly how I felt about the inappropriate, unacceptable things that were done to me as a child, and I even used some honest language, the truth is that I forgave my family members.
I didn’t excuse them, no, I forgave them.
It means I freed my heart from the burden of the pain they inflicted on me. They don’t owe me anything. I’m not bound by their hateful abuse anymore. I’m free to live with joy and meaning, walking in my purpose.
My purpose is to shine God’s light in the darkness everywhere where it’s needed. If you were enlightened by this content, it’s only because of God’s light in me. His plan is good. He prepares us for ministry through painful life experiences. God comforted me in my adversity so that I can comfort you. The goal of my ministry is to encourage and empower hurting women.
God loves me and I love Him. This truth set me free.
He also loves you. He planned a life of meaning and purpose for you. All you need is to accept the gift of God’s amazing grace and claim your divine power over the sexual sin that’s trapped you in misery of the addiction.
Sin is not your master.
You can do all things through Christ.
- Invite Jesus into your heart and accept Him as your lord and savior
- Accept your royal identity as a child of the most-high God, a Princess
- Ask God for forgiveness, accept it, and give it also to those who hurt you
- Step out of your obsessive sex addiction and into your divine power
- Take every thought captive and submit it to the truth about who you are
Find out who you are in Christ: download my ebook of #52Devotionals.
Sex addiction symptoms are your inner battlefield, only you know all your struggles. No one else does. Don’t run away from yourself: there’s nowhere to go. Anywhere you are – there’s your precious self again! Face your trauma, feel your pain, accept your past, understand what has influenced you up to this moment.
Then, take it all to God.
Allow Him to turn your wounds into wisdom.
Let God give you beauty for your ashes.
Ask God to transform your burdens into blessings.
Pray that God will convert your struggle into His success.
Declare God’s promises over your promiscuity.
See yourself the way God sees you: a precious masterpiece made perfect for a purpose. God loves you, unconditionally.
You are loved.
Anna Szabo is the founder of Online Discipleship For Women, a Christian ministry committed to alleviating suicide among women globally by sharing hope in Christ. Anna teaches how to create a joyful life by embracing God’s word based on her own journey of faith and fortitude.
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