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Women, Sex and Addiction: A Search for Love and Power [Hardcover]

Charlotte Davis Kasl
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1989
In our society, sex can easily become the price many women pay for love and the illusion of security. A woman who seeks a sense of personal power and an escape from pain may use sex and romance as a way to feel in control, just as an alcoholic uses alcohol; but sex never satisfies her longing for love and self-worth. In this wise and compassionate book, Charlotte Kasl shows women how they can learn to experience their sexuality as a source for love and positive power and sex as an expression that honors the soul as well as the body.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Certain women (and men) use sex addictively as a substitute for love, nurture or power, according to Minneapolis psychologist Kasl. Crammed with case histories, diagrams and therapeutic suggestions, this study draws on her work with members of two organizations: Sex Addicts Anonymous, a support group modeled on the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program, and Codependents of Sex Addicts, a group for partners of so-called sex addicts, especially women who allow themselves to be used sexually in order to preserve a relationship. Kasl tends to find this purported disease or its symptoms virtually everywhere ("Codependency is a devastating disease"; some women have "sexually addictive flirtations at work"). But she distills a great deal of common sense and therapeutic wisdom into her presentation, as she connects women's sexual neuroses to survival mechanisms evolved to cope with childhood wounds of incest, abuse, sexual shame and negative programming about being female. Many will support her view of all forms of addiction (sex, booze, food, work, etc.) as a misguided search for spiritual fulfillment.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Probably the single most significant text to date regarding women and sex addiction." -- --Edward Armstrong, National Association of Sex Addiction Problems --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many notes writtend within the book Nov. 3 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book had many more hand written notes in book than expected. It had said some highlighter notes. There was lots.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read! July 19 2013
By Sue
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in sex addiction and codependency. A must read for those looking to change.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Heart wrenching Feb. 21 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very informative and insightful. A must read for anyone with connections to this life destroying addiction. Hard to put down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A book for all women Jan. 20 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Very pertinent to all women looking in depth at their relationship with their partners, themselves and our society.Recommended to me by a therapist friend.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
"Women, Sex, and Addiction" is the best book on addiction for women that I've ever read,(...).
What I found especially unique and valuable about this book is that it looks at both sex addiction and sexual codependency (though I hate the term) and shows the reader how the two extremes share essential core belief systems. Unlike other well-known sex addiction experts, Kasl does not rush to judge or label anyone. Both partners of sex addicts and sex addicts will find this book extremely useful in their recovery. Men who are recovering from sex addiction or who are partners with sex addicts can also find a great deal of insight in this book.
This book takes a holistic view of women, sex, and addiction, tying together issues such as depression, food, alcohol, sex, societal oppression, spirituality, body image, and low self-esteem so that a person can look at their recovery as a whole journey of discovery, not discrete steps or programs for women who struggle with substance abuse, multiple addictions, relationships, etc.
Many women who find themselves struggling with their own addictions and the addictions of loved ones (particularly sex addiction, obviously) will find this book incredibly valuable.
I found myself appreciating Charlotte Kasl's intelligence and honesty throughout. While somewhat disjointed in chapters wth personal stories, the writing overall is excellent.
She is one of the few sex addiction experts who is willing to include stories about people for whom the 12-step model was not a perfect fit for recovery, and she is courageous enough to publicly admit some of the weaknesses of the 12-step model while acknowledging its value to many people as well. She interviews many women in both SAA and COSA who come from diverse backgrounds and have varied experiences with these and other 12-step programs. I am so, so grateful that this book is here for me and other people struggling with addictions!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pheomenal! Dec 27 2003
As an addictions counselor who specializes in women's issues, I have found this book amazingly insightful into the addictive and co-addictive experience of women. Everyone I know who has read this book considers it no less than pheomenal (and often times a life-saver). It should be required reading for any woman in recovery. Even those who initially identify themselves as "only" abusing alcohol/drugs/food have found their core issues reflected in this book. Substance abuse is simply a more socially acceptable mask to hide issues of unhealthy sexuality. People don't ususally talk about these core issues, even with a counselor. Sometimes you have to read this kind of information privately first and assimilate it at your own pace before you are ready to discuss it with another human being. This is a great book to read to get that work started.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WE ARE ALL SEARCHING FOR LOVE & POWER March 20 2000
By A Customer
"Women Sex & Addiction" is not a feminist, man hating book. It is an exquisitly written book based on the experience of many people with a refreshing and accurate description of codependency. It offers an alternative thought process to the 12 step programs, which rarely address the true level of struggle within people. AA is primarily for alcoholism, but alcoholism is only a symtom of what goes on inside. If you try to talk about what you really feel at an AA meeting you are told that you suffer from self pity or that you need to "poop or get off the pot", which is an inadequate solution to anything. This book invites you to look at the real struggle in life, which is the search for love and power. If you are a woman you often have to prove yourself and power seems elusive. I am not a feminist but as a woman I have been treated unfairly all my life merely because I am female. In terms of being human, this book addresses the search for love through sex, drugs & codependency. Many; male &or female have had sex under the guise of "love" or under the need for connecting with another, despite the fact they know the end result will be unfufilling. These are real issues. Not only does this book cover these critical topics it also touches on bulemia, anorexia, lesbian, homosexual & the male-female power struggle. My favorite section is the discussion of relationships and the light factor. The density of the personality of people we choose to spend time with, how it affects us and possibly the need to let go of some.
Lastly, the book provides some couragous steps for changing. An appropriate ending to an awe- inspiring and enlightening book that I thank the author for having the insight to write. Please write more on the recovery process Charlotte, I need more. With thanks.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for women! July 18 2004
This book is amazing.
It has been extremely helpful in understanding relationship behaviors. I would recommend it to both men and women.
Easy read. Good advice. Great examples.
Buy a copy.
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