Love, Sex & Intimacy in Recovery from alcoholism or addiction.
Sex in recovery can be the trickiest problem of all. So true for heterosexuals, gays and lesbians.
Why? Because there’s so much room for things to go wrong. And feelings get so distorted when they do.
Take sexual dysfunction. After cleaning up from chemicals, many dependent persons — particularly men — find that they’re unable to function sexually.
Impotence can be frustrating — for both partners. It can trigger a flood of self-loathing in a man and a current of tension and self-doubt in a woman.
If it happens to you, don’t panic or take it personally. Impotence usually isn’t a major crisis. Time, understanding, and simple communication almost always make it better.
That’s because sex in a chemically-dependent relationship can become a sort of surrealistic playground for participants.
Memories, disappointments, fantasies, and frustrations from the past can all intrude on the present. And what used to be a simple pleasure can get awfully complicated.
Today, we’re just beginning to understand the sex-pleasure connection in neurochemistry and the role it plays in chemical dependency.
After all, we use sex for the same reasons we used chemicals — to feel better about ourselves, to feel accepted, to exercise power, to get even, to cover up guilt, to manipulate others. And the same psychosexual dynamic that contributed to our original addiction often continues without drugs and alcohol.
What’s the answer? There isn’t one Big Answer. There are only a lot of little answers — and they all start with you being honest about your feelings.
Sex is so personal that it’s often difficult to talk about it openly. But keeping bad feelings bottled up can keep good feelings trapped.
If sex becomes a problem for you, do what you need to do to resolve it. Talk it over with your partner. See a therapist if you think you need to.
But remember that sex can be the glue that holds relationships together. And, relationships can come unglued with inappropriate sex.
Don’t let yours fall apart for a lack of sex; or by forcing sex on your self or partner. In good sex no-one gets hurt.