Truer words were never spoken. Many of us who enter into sobriety have a flawed view on what sex means. Some of us used sex as a way to get what we wanted when active in the disease of addiction, others used it is a form of control, and majority of us had little to no concept of what healthy sex was.
I should say at this point that I am in no way shape or form an expert on this topic, nor am I licensed in any professional manner, but what I do have to offer is my own experiences and the things that I have learned during my time in sobriety.
As for sex there seem to be two very extreme approaches all the time or limited and viewed as a base need. I believe that like everything else the answer lies in the middle, somewhere in between these two schools of thought, the middle ground if you will, is where a healthy sex life resides.
Sex is not something that we should be afraid of. It is not some dangerous thing that will always get us drunk again, but with that being said it is also something that should be respected and not abused. But what is most important is that you follow your conscience on the matter and do what it dictates.
That above everything else is what I believe to be most important when it comes to sex—follow what your conscience says. This at times can be tricky because as alcoholics and addicts we are masters at manipulating ourselves, but deep down in our gut that little voice knows what is right and what is wrong. Following it and perhaps sometimes tempering appetites means that you can avoid unnecessarily hurting others and the pain that comes with that.
It is really very simple and yet it is very difficult to do. Sex drives us, and whether we want to believe it or not, it is one of the primary motivators of life. No matter how civilized or advanced we may think we are, we all have a need for sex. Due to this, sex can be confusing to many of us, and we can get wrapped in what others tell us we should and shouldn’t do, rather than finding our own truths about the matter.
I don’t prescribe to the idea that we need to be a year sober before we can have sex. I have found nowhere in the book that it even remotely suggests this and so I believe that this advice, while sometimes definitely helpful, is a choice best left up to the person getting sober. If you find that once you get sober you believe that you had probably better focus on yourself without the distraction of sex, then take some time and wait, but if you find that this is not something that you need, then don’t. With whatever choice you make, be sure it aligns to your true beliefs and that in the process you try your best not to hurt anyone.
Sex is such a powerful and polarizing topic. Even as I write this the puritanical belief system of my youth is silently judging me for the words I am writing, and because sex is such a powerful topic it is very easy to get all out of sorts when discussing it. So I find that it is best to keep things simple.
If you are in a relationship with someone the best way to find a healthy sex life is to freely discuss with your partner your sexual needs and between the two of you come up with what works best. We so often want to go to others and ask about what we should do about this or that in our relationships, and while counseling is usually a good thing, majority of the sexual questions within a relationship are best left up to the people involved.
I remember when I had a couple of months sober I was talking to someone and they told me that after they had sex with their girlfriend, the two would hold hands and pray together. At the time I thought this to be rather strange thing, but now looking at it, it seems to make sense. We should invite God into all activities and the bedroom is no exception. If you find this to be a strange thought, that is okay, and you by no means have to do it, but I would suggest that if you feel ashamed and that you can’t invite God into your sexual activities you may want to rethink what you are doing.
To round out this topic of conversation I want to briefly talk about something that is not often discussed but is prevalent in the rooms of AA, and that is pornography addiction. We live in a time where access to pornography is so great that many men, and some women, find themselves compulsively looking at porn as a means to fulfill the need for connection. I have heard from some of my guy friends in AA about this, that they have found that a lot of them feel that their pornography addiction causes them to have a warped view of sex. It has affected some of their relationships and even caused sexual problems. This is a fairly common effect of this type of addiction that occurs and if you find that you are compulsively looking at pornography and it is affecting your life in a negative manner, do not feel ashamed about this. Talk to your close friends and seek professional help if need be, but just know that you are not alone in your struggle.
While I don’t believe I really offered any new information to this already exhaustive topic, just remember that sex is often overemphasized and it is one area of most of our lives where we feel tremendous and unnecessary guilt. If you continue to pray and continue to try to listen to your conscience you will learn how to have a healthy sex life in sobriety, that much is a guarantee.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.