By Marnie Ferre
In No Stones, Marnie C. Ferree offers a unique resource for women struggling with sexual addiction. Important for pastors and church leaders, this book will be a much sought-after resource for Christian counselors and ministry leaders counseling women who grapple with this type of addiction.
If you could tell people one thing about sexual addiction, what would it be?
MF: Sexual addiction isn’t about sex. It’s about a desperate search for love, affection, acceptance, and approval. Sex addiction is actually an intimacy disorder. Another common misconception is that sexual addiction is “just” sin. While these behaviors are definitely sinful, the problem is much more complex than that.
What are the roots of sexual addiction?
MF: Sexual addiction is a symptom of underlying issues. Generally speaking, sex addicts come from families that are dysfunctional in a variety of ways. A common denominator for many female sex addicts is unresolved sexual trauma.
How can a woman know if what she is struggling with is sexual addiction?
MF: If a woman continues to act out despite negative consequences and her repeated attempts to stop, she’s almost certainly struggling with an addiction.
What are some of the unique challenges women face when dealing with sexual addiction?
MF:Women find it hard to locate other women in recovery, so establishing a healthy support system is difficult. Women also feel added shame for struggling with what’s often considered a man’s issue.
What advice would you give to women who are struggling with sexual addiction?
MF: The most important thing you can do is to tell someone you trust about your struggle. Ask for help and be sure you get informed, accurate assistance.
How can the church come alongside of those who struggle with sexual addiction?
MF: The church can become better educated about sexual addiction and offer grace to those who struggle. The church can also identify local resources that can provide clinical help. The church can also open its doors to Twelve-Step and support groups for sexual addiction recovery.
Why did you decide to share your personal struggle with sexual addiction? What role did faith play in your own recovery?
MF: I’m certain that God has called me to be a missionary for women’s sexual addiction recovery. When I entered recovery in 1992, I thought I was the only women who struggled with SA. Spreading the good news of help and hope for female sex addicts redeems my own pain.
Marnie C. Ferree (M.A., Trevecca Nazarene University), is a licensed marriage and family therapist. She is director of Bethesda Workshops in Nashville, a clinical intensive treatment program for sex addicts, co-addicts and couples.