Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Recovering Your Sex Life

I’m thinking a lot about sex this week. Yes, I’m away from home, but that’s not why. I’m thinking about sex and recovery and what I have learned about my sexual needs and how getting those needs met has changed over these many years of recovery.

Yes, pre-recovery and in early recovery all of my character defects applied to my sexual behavior just as they did to my workplace and social behaviors: I was a people-pleaser, not always honest with others, rarely honest with myself, pretty out of touch with my own body so I didn’t know myself well enough to be honest.

 In those days I managed any fear or anxiety with drugs or alcohol or food and I was alternately obsessed with my body or completely out of touch with my body—so being truly sensual didn’t have much of a chance.

But I was always an athlete—runner, gymnast, dancer, swimmer—so I had to know something of the body’s mechanics so I learned sex mechanically too—and being an ACOA I knew how to seduce without even really feeling seductive. My loss. Yeah—I faked a lot.

But my saving grace was 12 step recovery and oddly Helen Gurley Brown—longtime editor of Cosmopolitan Magazine and the author of many books including “Sex and the Single Girl” which despite the title was all about work and careers not libido. (Helen was married to the director David Brown who knew the difference a great title could make.)

But Helen’s later books were about relationships and aging and yes, sex. In one of them she wrote about how women of a certain age need to learn how to “go for” their own orgasm. She got my attention. I wasn’t exactly sure what she meant when I first read that but I have since come to understand.

And it turns out that “going for it” is about self-esteem, self-care, assertiveness and the best kind of seduction. I can’t tell you how glad I am to give up faking it, and in the process really come to understand my own erotic sensibility. (By erotic sensibility I mean what fantasies work for me and exactly what needs to happen in the, um, athletic sphere.)

So, let’s share here. It’s why we like women’s meetings right? What have you learned about your sexuality and how you take care of your erotic and sensual life as you have grown in recovery?

I mean, really, this too is about being happy, joyous and free.

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