Sanctuary and Serenity

S.E.X.

Posted on: March 27, 2010


Yes, it is normal to have sexual problems.  Many people have problems with sex.  Many codependents experience sexual problems.  Alcoholism and the whole range of compulsive disorders attack all areas of intimacy.  Sometimes, the physical expression of love is the last and final loss we suffer – the blow that tells us the problem won’t go away, no matter how long we close our eyes.
Sometimes the alcoholic has the problem.  He becomes impotent, or she loses her sexual desire.  This can happen both before and after recovery.  Frequently, it is the codependent who has problems with sex.  There is a range of difficulties that can be encountered in the bedroom.  We may be unable to achieve orgasm, fear loss of control, or lack trust in our partner.  We may withdraw emotionally from our partner, be unwilling to be vulnerable with our partner, or lack desire for our partner.  We may feel revulsion toward our partner, or we don’t get needs met because we’re not asking to get these needs met.  The relationship probably isn’t going to be much better in bed than it is outside the bedroom.  If we’re care taking in the kitchen, we’ll probably be care taking in the bedroom.  If we’re angry and hurt before we make love, we’ll probably feel angry and hurt after we make love.  If we don’t want to be in the relationship we won’t want to have sex with that person.  The sexual relationship will echo and reflect the overall tone of the relationship.
Sexual problems can sneak up on people.  For a while, sex can be the salvation of a troubled relationship.  Sex can be a way of making up after an argument.  Talking seems to clear the air, and sex makes it all better.  After a certain point, though, talking may no longer clear the air.  Talking just fogs it up more,and sex stops making it better.  Instead, sex can make things worse.
For some, sex may become a purely clinical act that provides approximately the same emotional satisfaction as brushing one’s teeth.  For others, it can become a time of humiliation and degradation: another chore, another duty, something else we should do but don’t want to.  It becomes one more area that isn’t working, that we feel guilty and ashamed about, that we try to lie to ourselves about.  We have one more area in our lives that causes us to wonder, “What’s wrong with me?”
I am not a sex therapist.  I have no cures or technical advice – just some common sense.  I believe taking care of ourselves means we apply the same principles in the bedroom as we do in any other area of our lives.  First, we stop blaming and hating ourselves.
Once we understand that, we get honest with ourselves.  We stop running, hiding, and denying.  We gently ask ourselves what we are feeling and thinking, then we trust our answers.  We respectfully listen to ourselves.  We don’t abuse and punish ourselves.  We understand the problem we are experiencing is a normal response to the system we have been living in.  Of course we’re having that problem – it’s a normal part of the process.  It would be abnormal to not feel revulsion, withdrawal, lack of trust, or other negative feelings.  There’s nothing wrong with us.
After we have sorted things out, we get honest with our partner.  We tell him or her what we are thinking and feeling, and what we need from him or her.  We explore possibilities, negotiating and compromising when appropriate.  If we cannot solve our problems by ourselves, we seek professional help.
Some of us may have sought comfort in extramarital affairs.  We need to forgive ourselves and figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.  We can try to understand our actions were common reactions to the problems we have been living with.
Some of us may be trying to run from our problems by having a series of unsatisfactory sexual relationships.  That frequently occurs during the denial stage, when compulsive behaviours tend to set in.  We don’t have to continue doing that.  We can face and solve our problems in other ways.  We can forgive ourselves and quit hurting ourselves.
Some of us may be looking for love and coming up with sex instead.  Understand what we need and figure out how to best meet our needs.
Some of us may need to start asking for what we need.  Others may need to learn to say no.  Some of us may be trying to force love back into a dead relationship by trying to force sexual enjoyment.  That technique may not work.  Sex isn’t love; it is sex.  It doesn’t make love exist if the love wasn’t there to start with.  Sex can only express the love that already exists.
Some of us may have given up and decided sex isn’t that important.  I happen to believe sex is important.  It’s not the most important thing in life, but it’s an important part of my life.
Sex is a powerful force, a great source for intimacy and for pleasure.  We can take care of ourselves if our sex life isn’t working the way we would like it to.  We are responsible for our sexual behaviour – for our enjoyment or lack of pleasure in bed.  We can ask ourselves, what are our sex lives telling us about our relationship?

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3 Responses to "S.E.X."

Great post!

Thanks Daisy! I see you found me over here, too. lol
Great to have you visit! 🙂

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