Many sex addiction recovery programs advocate for at least six months of sexual abstinence in order to help participants learn how to effectively cope with their feelings or stress without turning to sexual activity. However, abstaining from sexual activity entirely is unsustainable for people who are in long term relationships. Here are some suggestions for returning to a healthy sex life after sex addiction treatment.
Both Partners Need To Feel Involved
Sexual activity is something that happens between two people when they are interacting with each other. Sex addiction can make sex one sided- while one partner is seeking sexual release, they objectify their other partner using them as a mechanism for achieving that sexual release. It is important for sexual activity not to happen to any partner but as an act together. Working with a sexual therapist or your partner’s therapist in treatment, each of you can safely identify the sexual activities which feel cooperative and the sexual activities which do not. Taking each other into consideration as an active part of sexual activity humanizes the experience and enhances the intimacy. At first, this intimacy can be overwhelming or intimidating. With clear communication, expressions of gratitude, and a willingness to talk, it will get better over time.
Both Partners Need To Be Consenting
In addition to both partners being involved in sexual activity, both partners have to be willing to engage in sexual activity. Codependency can become a part of relationships where sexual addiction plays a part. In sexual addiction, codependency can be defined by trying to please another partner by engaging in their sexual needs, trying to satisfy their sexual urges, and going beyond personal needs or wants in order to make sure they don’t go elsewhere for their sexual urges. Sex is meant to be a consenting activity. Though you may consent to the activity, you may not be in the mood, feel the energy is right, or want to participate. To build a healthy sexual relationship, it is important to have consent on both ends, so that both partners are present and having their needs met.
Sex Needs To Be An Act Of Intimacy, Not Release
Part of the reason it is important to establish involvement and consent is to make sure that sex is becoming an act of intimacy, love, and relationship exploration instead of an act of release. Sex addiction for many is a coping mechanism for dealing with uncomfortable feelings, thoughts, and obsessions. Acting on sexual urges is a compulsive response to activity in the brain. Having a healthy sex life means identifying the reasons behind wanting to have sex, which, for other relationships, wouldn’t need to be an issue. Though you cannot force your partner to cope or feel their feelings, you can support them in encouraging introspection before sexual activity. If it the need to engage sexually is sudden, spontaneous, or happens right after a stressful situation, that is an indication sex is a release, not a desire to be intimately close.
Sex addiction recovery needs to be an experience of rejuvenation and restoration. At Cypress Lakes Lodge, we seek to provide balance and help clients gain confidence in their ability to make healthy choices. Providing luxury residential treatment in the lush countryside of East Texas, our residential programs exemplify excellence in addiction treatment. For information, call us today at 877-938-1577.