Sex is on my mind a lot these days. The reason for this is I’m preparing to teach a Human Sexuality class at Fresno State this weekend. I look forward to my time with future therapists, as we explore how sex can go both wrong and right.
It may go without saying but sex is an important topic in sexual addiction recovery. As a sexual addiction therapist, I tell my clients that successful recovery necessitates a different view of sexuality. The old perspective on sex must be thrown away and replaced with a new one. Rather than using sex as a numbing agent, sex must become a connecting agent. Still, this transition in thinking and practice is difficult. It requires learning, direction, and work.
In her video on Sex & Intimacy, Sue Johnson superbly explains the dynamics of connected and disconnected sex. I believe many sexual addicts experience “sealed off sex”, which she describes as a sexual experience that is lacking emotional intimacy, is solely sensation focused, and leaves individuals feeling lonely. In recovery, we have the opportunity to see sex in an entirely new way. In recovery, we can learn to experience sex as the “potent bonding activity” it is meant to be. This usually requires the guidance of a trained professional and a plethora of patience. But as a couple does the hard work of recovery, experiences healing, and is willing to humbly learn new ways of relating, connected sex can become a wonderful reality.