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 Post subject: Resuming sex?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:35 am 

Joined: Sun Jul 07, 2019 1:38 pm
Posts: 17
Hi I am new to this forum and to sex addiction in general. I’m confused about the addiction and whether like with alcohol and drugs that abstinence is a part of that recovery. I understand abstinence from the harmful behaviours is the main part of recovery but I am still confused about our sex life and whether we should be reconciling that or whether we should be taking a break from that and focusing on ourselves? I have started the lessons but I’m only up to part 2 and it hasn’t really said a lot about initiating intimacy. We are also starting couples therapy but not until the end of the month so not sure where to go from here. Any advice is appreciated, thanks x

 Post subject: Re: Resuming sex?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 6:27 am 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 3:34 pm
Posts: 92
I'm sorry you are going through this, but I'm glad you found your way here.

I remembering wrestling with this same question. I wanted my partner to be whole and healthy.

I'm not a coach or anything and it's been a long time since i did the lessons. I know this might not make sense to you now, just keep going with the lessons, you are still very early in. I believe some of this will be addressed at some point. I might not be remembering well. Try to focus on you, your health and safety, your needs, what you can tolerate, and what you can't. I know it runs counter intuitive but try to focus on you, and allow your partner to focus on his own health. Think of it as part of their recovery, that's theirs and on them, not you. part of your healing is realizing that none of his behaviors has to do with you, not of your making, and not your fault, therefore your partner's recovery is not yours either. It's on them. If you make it your concern, then that takes your energy off of you at a time when you need it. Take care of you first.

i think a big mistake I made was basing my healing on my partner's recovery, and upon the healing of the relationship. It stalled my healing, and worsened my condition.

If abstaining would help you, if that's what you need to regain a sense of safety or balance, then that's certainly something you can talk to your partner about.

hugs to you, and remember to focus on you and your needs, and do be kind to yourself, give yourself time to adjust, time to heal.

 Post subject: Re: Resuming sex?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2019 12:06 pm 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Kelly, there is no one correct answer to this question. The number one priority for you is your sexual health, especially if your partner was having physical sex with other people, which includes oral sex. If there has been any physical infidelity you must be tested for sexually transmitted infections. If you have the slightest suspicion that your husband has had any sexual contact with any other person then you owe it to yourself to be tested. You don’t need to ask permission, you don’t need to tell your partner. Just do it. It’s your body and it’s your health, not his.

The next consideration is whether or not you feel ready to have a sexual relationship with your husband right now. Sometimes there is what is called “hysterical bonding” after sexual addiction or an affair. It is not unusual for couples to have a sort of ‘honeymoon period’ after d day but be aware that this could stall at some point. For me, it all came crashing down when I discovered my husband had been viewing sexual content online just days after d day. It was fairly mild in terms of explicitness but nevertheless he was happy to be physically intimate with me at a time of emotional fragility, and then look at that shit. But what brought this honeymoon period come crashing down was his anger at me for discovering it and shouting at me, telling me he didn’t know what I was talking about and storming out. It was a horrible experience. I felt very hurt by this discovery and had he admitted it and apologised, and acknowledged my feelings, then it might have been OK. But he flew into a rage which in itself was traumatic. After that, I lost the ability to orgasm after all the rebuilding of our sexual relationship. I don’t think I’ve ever recovered from that. I’m telling this story to let you know that sexual recovery isn’t always like flicking a switch and it’s all on again. If there are trust issues these will very probably have an impact on your ability to b sexually and emotionally intimate with your husband.

It took me quite a while to understand this, because I don’t see it written in the books and on the online articles about partner recovery, but I realised that the recovery of my sexuality and sensuality were very much part of my own personal recovery. Until that point, I considered that the recovery of my sexuality was an outcome of the restoration of my sexual relationship with my husband. After the incident described above, I realised that my sexuality belongs to me, not my husband or my relationship. So I decided to invest in a self help book called The Body Electric. It’s a book that was first published in the 80s based on women’s sexuality workshops of the 70s/80s so it’s somewhat of its era. I took what I needed from this book, adapting it in my own way. What I took from this book was sensual bathing (alone), self massage (avoiding masturbation and orgasm at first) and exploring my body. I needed to do all this for myself because my husband had never expressed any sexual interest in me for many years before d day and I had become disconnected from my body and my sexuality — I didn’t even realise that my sexuality had “turned off” because I had been so hurt by my husband’s neglect and rejection over the years.

Sexual recovery is a whole subject area in itself and it’s not particularly well documented from the female partner’s perspective. There is a lot about recovery from erectile dysfunction in regard to porn addiction. Some people advocate abstention from porn and sometimes sex for 30 or 60 or 90 days, which may help with erections but this doesn’t address relationships. What is right for one couple may not be right for others. It’s more important to quit addiction behaviours — recovery won’t happen if someone keeps using what they are addicted to. So if someone is using sex workers or web cams or porn then that’s what they have to quit. Not sex per se. If you bear in mind that sexual addiction is fundamentally an intimacy disorder then you can see quite clearly that these behaviours are not about intimacy but are a way of separating sex from intimacy. In recovery the addict needs to experience genuine intimacy within their relationship instead of outsourcing sex as a biological function, or as a financial transaction.

I hope this helps. It’s often a complex subject. Good luck with your therapist.

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