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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:15 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:08 am
Posts: 190
Ana, yes absolutely, sex has so many layers of complication after d day. As a partner, I recognised maybe one year into recovery that I had to heal my sexuality as part of my own personal recovery as distinct from the recovery of the relationship. This was because our sexual relationship was just too fragile because I was going through trickle truth, and as soon as I’d absorbed one more piece of the story I’d discover the next one. Sex requires vulnerability and trust, and whatever sense of safety I’d built up would vanish with each discovery. One day I realise that if I had to heal my sexuality I had to do so separately from the relationship.

What is “healthy sexuality”? That’s a very good question, but ultimately our sexuality is something very individual to us and is expressed differently at various times in our life. For me, it begins with feeling comfortable with my body; appreciating all my physical senses; looking after my body. There is sensual touch that involves the entire body; it is sensual but not necessarily sexual touch; there is self pleasure which is also sexual but touch-focused. None of this involves a partner. For me, healthy sexuality also includes how I treat myself, like eating well and enjoying my food; how I dress; skincare and personal grooming — again, this is not about having sex with a partner, but bringing my sensuality into the everyday. Walking in the rain can be sensual experience for me if I’m aware of the sensation of rain on my face, and the temperature of the wind, and an awareness of the way my body moves. When it comes to sex with a partner, I have preferences and turn ons, and these fuel what I consider to be healthy fantasy. For me, I’m not interested in dressing up, or sex toys or erotic fiction. Some people like all that stuff. I find it cliched. So it’s not part of my own individual “sexual template”. There’s also the relationship itself, and for me that means sexual fidelity and respecting each other’s feelings. Everything is mutual and consensual. There’s no coercion. Nobody “owes” the other one sex. One person’s pleasure is as important as the other’s. This is my broad definition of healthy sexuality, as in my own individual definition.

I used to perceive my partner’s sexual template as broadly in alignment with my own. I don’t know how true that ever was, though. It’s inevitable that his addiction changed his attitude to sex. He spent maybe 20+ years in addiction and he opted out of having sex with me for at least 7 years. I honestly can’t say what his version of healthy sexuality is. If I was to ask him he’d be very careful with his words and tell me only what he thinks I want to hear.

Having said all this, we have made slow progress in recovering our sexual relationship but it’s not the same. It can’t be. It can’t even be the way it might have been had he not become an addict. It has changed the both of us, but in different ways. I’m still figuring it out.

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