So far Teri defined sexual addiction and Tamara explained how to begin your therapeutic journey freeing yourself from an addiction. When you are well on your way to healthy sexuality, you may feel the desire to begin a healthy intimate relationship. It is often difficult to determine what a healthy intimate relationship feels like after an addiction. Humans are sexual by nature. Sex is part of a healthy balanced life. Whether you, or your loved one who is in recovery, are ready to begin that journey, please remember the following information:
Sex provides a feeling of well-being- Sexual relationships can provide feelings of safety, affirmation, and connection. When you have an intimate partner, you share these feelings and connections. Sex becomes something you no longer do to someone, but with someone. In addiction, sex can mean feelings of danger or shame. But be patient, healthy connections through intimacy are rewarding.
You will feel emotional and physical sensations – In a healthy sexual relationship both intimate partners are aware of their own feelings of vulnerability and physical sensations. In intimacy, you are open to having feelings, not trying to escape them. These are positive feelings, so there is no need to “numb out” or simply focus on your own physical pleasure.
Rediscover your creativity or passion- If you are in recovery, your brain may be healing enough to remember you once had other passions besides obsessive sexual thoughts. While you can rediscover your passion for true intimacy, you may also rediscover your passion for other emotional outlets. Be creative! Pick up your old paint brush or take your old guitar out of the case. Make time for your healthy passions in order to take care of yourself.
If you are struggling with sexual addiction, please remember you cannot have healthy intimacy until you begin addressing your addiction. Please continue to check in with us this week as Natalie and Joleen talk about healthy sexual intimacy after addictions.
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Adapted from Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Road to Healthy Intimacy by Maureen Canning.
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield