So, I am going to touch on a touchy subject. And when I say touchy, I really mean touchy, because I am going to talk about sex and relationships. You are definitely going to feel a little awkward during this post -You probably won’t cry, you may get angry, and if you laugh then we know we are having a good time here.
I rarely speak about sex and relationships. I guess that is probably because I don’t talk about it in my personal life. And yet, it is so prominent, especially in our community of recovering peoples. In fact, some may even say, that where some of us find our recovery… it is a breeding ground for sexual predators. But we aren’t here to talk about that. We are here together, building a relationship through these words to talk about how you can have a healthy relationship and SEX life. And surprise, surprise the ways to do it are the same things you should be doing in your sobriety to keep your physical, emotional, and spiritual self-healthy.
Five Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship and Sex Life in Recovery
1. Get to Know Yourself First
So listen, relationships and sex are awesome. Especially new in recovery – they fill the emptiness inside of yourself and they bring excitement into your life. But jumping into a relationship, even one that is strictly sexual, inhibits your ability to figure out who you are, what you truly desire, and what you like. This applies to relationships and sex. If you don’t know yourself then you may end up in a relationship that isn’t right for you or you may end up doing things sexually you will regret later. So take the time to be alone. Get to know what you like during that time. Figure out what you deserve, what you want, and build yourself towards those ideals. That is key. Be the kind of person you want to be with before you go looking for that person outside yourself.
2. Moderate Stress
Being new, dealing with halfway house drama, trying to overcome the obsession to use, being in a new environment is all stressful. Which means your body isn’t and your mind aren’t even close to being healthy enough to handle a relationship or sex. Stress will kill even the most sober person’s sex drive and it can also drive a wedge in the best of relationships if allowed to get out of hand. So manage your stress.
3. That pack of Newports a day habit you have? Yeah it needs to stop.
Smoking is the worst for you sex drive and it isn’t too great for your relationship either. Smoking can quite tangibly keep you from physically performing. So while you may feel like you need them, just know it is your sex life that is suffering.
Whenever I am feeling kind of physically crappy in my sobriety, my sponsor asks me what I am doing. And she doesn’t mean spiritually or even emotionally, she means physically. “Have you been taking care of yourself?” she will ask. And I know what she means. Have you been sitting around on your ass all the time. And usually the answer is no I haven’t been doing anything, yes I have been sitting on my ass. She asks because she knows how imperative getting exercise is to mental, spiritual and physical health. When I exercise I glow. I feel great. And my relationships in all areas of my life flourish. And so will you. Also exercise will build up your libido not only giving you a higher sex drive but also a happier and healthy relationship. Oh, and if you are really into it, it can be a great form of meditation. Running is one of the best ways I find peace and quiet.
5. Learning to Communicate
Most of us new in recovery didn’t end up in treatment because we were great at communicating. In fact the majority of us were and may still be kind of terrible at talking. And I don’t mean jibber jabbering, I mean talking about what is REALLY going on. We live in the constant fear of what other people think and sharing how we feel or what we think is a total turn off.
Well, actually not sharing how you feel is a turn off. Not knowing how to communicate can not only drive a relationship into the ground quicker than anything else, it is terrible for a healthy sex life. And this goes back to knowing yourself. When you know yourself you know how to communicate what you are feeling, thinking, and what you need in a healthy and respectable way. You can react in situations with calm, poise, and understanding.