Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Unlinking Sex and Drugs

Yesterday I posted a strategy for addressing sexual health issues. Today, I wanted to highlight the strategy can be useful for unlinking sex and drugs.

It is important to be aware how the linkage between sex and drug shows up. For some people, they need a drug to help them with sex. A number of people might use alcohol or pot, or other “downer” to help them address the anxiety they feel around sex. To help move toward sexual behavior, they ingest the drug to calm down.

For others, particularly meth users, the power they feel as a result of the drug creates such (false) feelings of self-esteem that they go overboard in the realm of sexual behavior. Meth as a sex drug has been documented elsewhere; what hasn’t been talked about is struggle with unlinking sex and drugs. I’ve worked with enough people who struggle and describe stories where months and years after their last use, any sexual behavior triggers euphoric recall on drugs. Many of their fantasies include drug use. When masturbating, the only way they “get-off” is by including chemical use in their thoughts. This is a major issue regarding recovery and sexual health

In all the examples above, the desire is to unlink the relationship between sex and drugs. In many ways, the strategy highlighted yesterday (SEE BLOG, 12/29/09) is the same strategy. I provide a few nuances here to clarify the process.

1) Start slow as well. Review the process as described.
2) When you move through the process, it is important to “tell on yourself” when you experience the linkage of sex and drugs. This will not be a quick process, but it is a matter of talking through the experiences as they occur. With your support system, be as descriptive, thorough, and honest as possible. The goal is to put everything on the table. In the process, you might discover something you need to address in your overall recovery.
3) As you move through the various stages, when you experience the linkage I would encourage you to take a break. For example, perhaps when you are making out with someone, and you experience the linkage of sex and drugs, it would be helpful to stop for a while. The experience may seem frustrating, and it probably will be. The key is to talk it through, including talking how you are experiencing the linkage. This also includes talking with your partner BEFORE the process as well. As I mentioned yesterday, couples therapy and support group for both you and your partner may be necessary.

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