Recovery Help Now | Sexual Awareness: Enhancing Sex While in Recovery by Greg Binns, LMFT
6954
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-6954,single-format-standard,qode-quick-links-1.0,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-title-hidden,qode_grid_1300,qode-theme-ver-12.0.1,qode-theme-bridge,bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.2,vc_responsive

Sexual Awareness: Enhancing Sex While in Recovery by Greg Binns, LMFT

10109420_sI have tremendous amount of resepct for anyone who identifies as being “in recovery.” My understanding is that walking into the Rooms is usually precded by a realization that to not ask for help now is to put everything one has ever valued in life, often including one’s own life, at risk. While I don’t like to seem like I’m romanticizing adversity, and I certainly don’t wish for my own life to have been more troubled than it has been, my work in this field has made me come to appreciate the galvanizing effect of the “something has got to change” moment that brings people into recovery. Samuel Johnson, 18th century scholar, dictionary author, and quipster, summarized this idea when he said, “Depend upon it, Sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

But what I want to talk about this month isn’t exclusively useful for people in recovery. It’s a simple idea that should be of help to anyone wishing to enhance their sex life. I’m taking my cue from a couple of observations that have always stuck with me. One is that even when we’re having sex, we can often become more excited, empassioned, and alive to the whole experience when we “talk dirty.” That’s such a familiar trope as to almost escape our notice, but let’s reflect for a moment. Sex is already pretty “dirty” on it’s own; how does talking dirty make doing dirty (i.e. sex) more exciting. Consider a similar observation that I’m privy to routinely in my office – couples who might not otherwise avoid being sexual with each other often do avoid talking about sex with each other. What in the world could be happening here?

It’s not my purpose in this blog to propose a thorough answer to that question. But if the above observations have piqued your interest, then I’ve done a good job of setting up my point: one great way of enhancing your sexual life is to start talking more about sex. I don’t mean at the watercooler or during your promotion review. I am grateful to sex educator Buster Ross (who you can find at Huffington Post) for this observation: “talking about sex is sex.” So the kinds of concerns that inform your approach to sex itself – safety, consent, mutual respect, freedom from coersion – play a role in your approach to conversations about sex. With that establshed, you might ask, “with whom should I talk to about sex? ” There’s more than one answer, but let’s go with a pretty straightforward choice – someone that you’re currnently having sex with.

Finally, what is one to talk about? There could be several answers to this dependent on a number of factors and leading to different kinds of results – safety, boundaries, consent, values, preferences, defining experiences…. One that I think there’s a lot of potential in that I also think gets overlooked often is this: pleasure. With all of the meanings that get heaped onto sex by family, peers, institutions, and culture, it can be easy to lose sight of the fact that sex is a fundamentally pleasurable activity. Developing a conversation, with a person you’re sexually active with, about what’s pleasurable to each of you can have significant effects, both direct and indirect, on how much pleasure you can create with your partner. This is a nuanced topic and rather than send you off half-prepared, I’m going to recommend a little reading to get you started. One great starting point is Sexual Awareness: Your Guide to Healthy Couple Sexuality (Mar 19, 2012 by Barry McCarthy and Emily McCarthy). The authors give some useful guidelines on creating the right set and setting for a useful conversation about a vulnerable topic, and then go on to explore several different areas of sexual functioning that you will know doubt become eager to bring into your growing dialogue.

Elana Clark-Faler
elana@recoveryhelpnow.com