Sexually compulsive behaviors amongst young women can have serious consequences. Women who use sex to cope with life’s problems as they arise are at risk for lifelong consequences such as unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, and mental health problems. In fact, some studies reveal that teenagers who engage in sexual intercourse are 3xs more likely to suffer from depression then their peers who choose to not engage in sexual intercourse (McIlhaney & Bush, 2008).
In addition to the consequences mentioned above, engaging in sexual intercourse as a young woman can have major impacts on the brain. McIlhaney & Bush (2008) discuss the powerful bonding hormone, Oxytocin that the female brain produces when engaging in sexual activity. Oxytocin is released in females when they engage in sexually intimate behaviors, intercourse, and it is also released in females during labor and breast feeding. Oxytocin has its origins in evolution, as its purpose is to bond the female with her sexual partner. From the perspective of survival, the infant has a better chance of surviving if his/her mother has a mate. Oxytocin released in the female during labor and breast feeding bonds the mother strongly with her infant and gives the baby a higher rate of survival.
As a therapist who works with teenage girls and young women, this scientific information supports what I often see clinically. In many cases, clients seek therapy because they are struggling with letting go of a relationship with someone that they were intimately involved with. Often times they are confused as to why it is so hard to let go of a relationship that they know is unhealthy. Cognitively, it makes sense for them to end the relationship, but emotionally, they have a hard time letting go.
What if there was a way to prevent young women from turning to sexually compulsive behaviors to cope? What if we could provide interventions on a preventative level, before these behaviors reached the level of compulsion?
Certified sex therapist, Dr. Sibylle Georgianna (2015) has provided us with a tool to do just that. After reviewing years of peer reviewed articles on sexual compulsion, she has identified 5 risk factors that lead to sexually compulsive behaviors in young women. In addition to identifying these risk factors, she has also developed interventions that target these risk factors and create resiliency. This resilience gives young women the ability to cope with life stressors in a healthy way, and as a result, they are less likely to turn to sexually compulsive behaviors as a means to cope. Again, these risk factors and strategies are supported by years of peer reviewed research studies.
I’m excited to partner with my colleague at Vanguard University, Dr. Sibylle Georgianna to provide this education about risk factors and intervention strategies to parents, teens and persons in organizations that work with adolescents and young women. If your non-profit, youth group, high school or counseling center is interested in having Dr. Georgianna and myself offer this educational tool to your organization, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me directly at (949) 728-8211. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Georgianna’s research, please visit her websites at https://sexualhealthoc.com/ and http://theleadershippractice.biz. Stay tuned for more blog posts on this amazing research and how it can be utilized to help young women.
Georgianna, S. (2015). Addressing risk factors associated with women’s sexually compulsive behaviors through psycho-education and self-leadership development. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 22(4), 313-343. DOI:10.1080/10720162.2015.1072489.
McIlhaney, J.S. & Bush, F.M. (2008). Hooked: New science on how casual sex is affecting our children. Chicago, Il. Northfield Publishing.