Healthy Sexuality Requires Awareness
What questions should you ask yourself before you start having a sexual relationship?
As we talked about in our previous article, healthy relationships first come from a healthy relationship with yourself. It’s true what they say — you can’t love someone else (or have healthy sexual relationships with them) without first loving yourself. It may sound cheesy, but it’s true.
In a previous blog, we talked about learning about yourself and taking responsibility for how you feel. This month, we want to take that same principal a step farther and understand how to not only recognize aspects about yourself, but also how they relate to others.
Here are a few questions to consider:
– Do I like who I am? If not, what could change or what’s missing?
– Do I recognize my desire for connection and admit it to myself?
– How do I handle shame when it arises?
– What are my emotional needs? What goals might help me accomplish them?
– After I’ve identified my needs or goals, can I communicate those to someone else?
Look at the healthy coping skills you learned from a licensed therapist or during group therapy early in recovery. Have you noticed yourself applying those? Don’t forget to acknowledge where you’ve improved, and what strengths you’ve developed!
Next, we’ll continue to discuss the steps toward healthy sexual relationships by identifying the difference between addictive sex and healthy sex.
What is the difference Between Addictive Sex and Healthy Sex?
As you begin to move back toward having healthy, meaningful sexual relationships, you may begin to wonder what the difference is. How do addictive sex and healthy sex differ, and how do you draw the line between the two?
As we talked about in previous articles, sexual addicts may give up their integrity and compromise their relationships for immediate, selfish gain. To work toward healthy relationships, a recovering sex addict will want to concentrate on empathy and understanding their partner’s emotions.
This may be difficult at first. In past sexual encounters, sex addicts shut off parts of the brain that responded empathetically during infidelity, choosing to only think about what gives them pleasure. Those in recovery for sexual addiction may feel their perception shift as they begin to open their minds to emotions of those around them.
Here are a few signs of addictive sex:
– Comes from or leaves the addict with feelings of shame
– Compromises one’s integrity
– Takes advantage of others
– Requires disassociation, compartmentalization
– Is covert, manipulative and fraudulent
– Is without meaning
Instead, look for these signs of healthy sex and relationships:
– Requires truth, authenticity
– Creates meaning, honesty and congruence
– Embraces consensual erotic behavior between two people
– Is built around mutual respect
– Demands one stays present in the moment and embraces their feelings and emotions
Think back to some of your relationships — which parts were healthy? Which parts were based around your addiction or your partner’s addiction? How would you change that behavior moving forward?