Dealing With SEX With My Sexually Addicted Partner

A BIG question that I often hear from women who are in relationship with a sex addict is: “How do I deal with sex while my partner is recovering from his sex addiction?”

 

There are probably a lot of questions swirling in your head right now. It’s a lot to deal with. You may be asking yourself—  “Should I even be having sex with him?” “Should we talk about sex?” “Will having sex be a trigger to my partner?”

 

The truth is that sex is a natural human desire that can’t just be ignored with the hope that it will go away. It doesn’t work that way. Many partners of sex addicts feel betrayed and lonely from the lack of physical touch and connection. Your sexually addicted spouse is often scared of facing the issue of sex, and particularly the issue of intimate, connected sex. But let’s face it, sexual energy is crucial to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. So how can we confront this subject, deal with it head on, and embrace the journey together, as a partnership?

 

We all want sex. We all need sex. It is an IMPORTANT part of any marriage. The reality is that connected and loving sex begins with intimacy. Intimacy is a connection, a closeness, an amazing bond. To develop intimacy you need complete honesty, real trust, and a willingness to be totally vulnerable. When these things are in place, there can be a sense of safety, a sense of a container for the relationship. These things that I am talking about are the root of what is broken in the relationship with a sex addict. And they are the root of what needs to be repaired first, before dwelling too much on sex.

 

In a relationship with a sex addict, it’s a good bet that neither partner feels safe … definitely not the person who literally has just gotten the safety ripped out from under her and surely not the addict who at the core of his insecurities is often terrified of true intimacy. Without true intimacy, sex will be just okay and there is the risk of repeating the patterns that brought both of you here in the first place.

 

I think it is so important to take a “time out” in the sex department—at least for a while.  How long is that? It is different for everyone and for some it is a LONG while. (Sorry ladies, I know how hard that is to hear.) But there are so many wounds that need to be healed and these wounds do not heal overnight. Once you create the foundation for your relationship, the intimacy and safety, well … then the sex will be that much better. It will have been worth the wait!Through recovery most of us realize that what we truly desire is INTIMACY. It’s the connection and the closeness that actually fills the void. It takes work, but once you can create intimacy, with an amazing connection where you both feel safe and grounded … well, sex can be the natural next step. For me, creating the intimacy with my husband was FAR more important than having sex. Sex is still REALLY important to me but I did realize that sex per se wasn’t actually what I was truly longing for.

 

One incredible and simple exercise that I often use with clients is the power of hugging. Hugging in a present and connected way can be very, very powerful. Here’s how you can practice it:

  • First stand face to face and just look into each other’s eyes. Really look at each other and try to match each other’s breath—in together and out together.
  • Once you can do that comfortably, practice the exercise while holding hands.
  • Okay, this is my favorite—do this exercise while hugging and I mean a full body, hearts together, connected hug. Take three deep breaths with each other. Match the in breath andthe out breath. You FEEL it … and there is power in that feeling.

 

A true, present, and energetic hug transmits safety, trust, and connectedness. First, it forces you to be present and not have a wandering mind. If your mind wanders just gently guide it back to the breathing. While you are hugging, really concentrate on how you physically feel. Really FEEL it. Do that for 30 seconds or so. Once you are done, talk about how you feel— mentally, emotionally, and physically. If your partner feels triggered or uncomfortable, he should talk about that too. Honest communication fosters trust and connection.

 

So, let’s start with small baby steps to create intimacy. Small steps that begin simple touch. Small steps to learn to love and trust each other again. Small steps to learn to feel safe with each other.

 

Start small and keep moving forward. I firmly believe that if we commit to the hard work of facing the real demons in our relationship while embracing the beauty of the intimacy that we are trying to create, then we can all heal from this and end up having the INTIMACY AND AMAZING SEX that we have been longing for!

 

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