Sexual Dysfunction and Recovery
Many people in recovery from alcoholism, addiction, co-dependency, compulsive gambling and adult children of alcoholics may identify with some of these. Sexuality may be very different in recovery and some people may have many questions about their sexual functions.
Sexual dysfunction is the persistent or recurrent inability to react emotionally or physically to sexual stimulation in a way expected of the average healthy person or according to one’s own standards of acceptable sexual response. Sexual dysfunction can occur during the desire, excitement, plateau, or orgasm stage of the sexual response cycle.
For example, one of the most common dysfunctions is inhibited arousal during the excitement stage. This presents as erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men or lack of lubrication in women.
Occasional inhibited arousal is common and not dysfunctional; however, chronic inhibited arousal is a sexual dysfunction that can be caused by recreational alcohol or drug use, certain medications, certain diseases, physical damage, or psychological factors. Any of the following factors can contribute to sexual dysfunction:
Psychological/emotional factors, including stress, negative body image, performance anxiety, expectation of failure, fear of pregnancy, memory of negative sexual experiences, and fear of acquiring or transmitting a sexually transmitted disease
Biological/physiological factors, including changes related to aging, certain medical conditions (arthritis, reproductive cancers, diabetes, cardiac disease, hypertension), physical injury (such as spinal cord injuries), the effects of hormonal contraceptive methods, pregnancy, and substance abuse
Interpersonal/social factors, including peer pressure, poor communication with a partner, sexual abuse, attitudes toward sexual orientation, uncertainty of how to behave, and conflicts with one’s partner
Environmental factors, including cultural influences, gender dynamics, availability of partners (partner ratio), and physical setting (lack of privacy)
If you find that some or any of these symptoms apply to you see your doctor, counsellor or get specialist sexual counselling.