TO READ THIS MONTH’S RECOVERY BLOG “When You’re in Recovery and They’re Not” GO HERE:

Join me Sunday May 3rd at 9pm ET for another live video open discussion on Sex in Recovery. This month’s topic is “The Awkward Conversation: discussing your sexual needs”.

Spring is in the air. People pass one another on the street with more eye contact than usual and strangers strike up awkward conversations while their dogs hump one another in the park. This seems like the perfect time to bring Sex Talk into your bedroom.

Years ago my closest friend called me from the airport before boarding a plane. This was before cell phones, so she was killing time talking to me because he’d just dropped her off and she knew it was a twenty-minute drive back to his apartment. She really was falling for this guy but figured she was better off ending it now before things went to the next level because there were things he wasn’t doing in bed that were important to her. “Do you think I should call him and break up before my trip?” The universe intervened and we stayed on the phone too long for there to be time for her to make that call. By the time she returned she had missed him so much, she decided to be honest with him in case the relationship was salvageable. “Patty, you know what he said? It’s not that he wasn’t interested in sexual exploration; he was pacing himself so that our sex life could stay exciting. He was thinking long haul and didn’t want to bring out all the party tricks on the first date.” They’ve been married for 7 years now and have two children. We always laugh that she was ready to dump him because she thought they weren’t sexually compatible. This was a big lesson to me that I have passed onto many women.

Why is it that many people in recovery are capable of standing before a crowd of strangers and talking openly about their darkest moments, their self-hate, their vulnerabilities yet will either stay sexually unfulfilled in their relationship or move from partner to partner in search of fulfillment rather than have an honest conversation about what isn’t working? Is it codependence, low self-esteem or simply because we have no experience talking about our sexual needs and our fear of the unknown keeps us silent?

How many of us have friend-zoned a potential romantic partner because the sex wasn’t satisfying or cheated on our partner to have our needs met rather than have that awkward conversation that could save our relationship? Why is this the most difficult challenge to face when love and intimacy is what we ultimately want to experience?

This Sunday we are going to take on these questions and more. I’m excited to hear how participants of this discussion have walked through these fears and what results came from it.

You do not have to be a member of to join this video conversation. You can enter as a guest. The site is a fantastic resource for anyone in recovery and is absolutely free. Leave yourself ample time to navigate the site. There will be a link to SEX TALK on the home page. Once there, your avatar will join the other participants on the lower half of the screen. No one will see you. If you choose to share, click on the share button and it will instruct you. Look in the top right hand corner of the page for an “ACCEPT or DENY button. Once you click this it will enable your video. If you choose to simply listen and are moved by something someone says, you can find them in the avatar section and send them an instant message to make contact to further engage in conversation or exchange email info. This is an open discussion and not a 12-Step meeting.

How does this forum work?

Sex Talk is open to everyone in recovery. Whether you attend 12-step meetings or not, you are welcome to participate. The only rule for sex talk is that the participants do not eroticize their share. This is a safe place and not a XXX experience. We also do not use our personal morality to criticize or shame other members. This is where we share our experience strength and hope so that we can learn from one another.

If you’re uncomfortable being onscreen you can direct your camera toward a wall or turn out the lights. If anonymity is of utmost importance in this area, attend as an guest. You can also instant message a question for me to share with the group.

The group provides the momentum and steers the content. We keep the focus on our feelings experienced around sex and intimacy and share our own experiences with one another in this area. It is call and response. Members can come into the main box with a question for others to share their direct experience relating to it.

Sex is a natural healthy part of our lives and sober sex is often an entirely new experience with new feelings for many of us yet it is often left out of the conversation. Relapse happens over feelings so what happens to the recovering addict/alcoholic who is carrying a heavy load of feelings around either their sexual behavior, shame, self-criticism, feelings of inadequacy, denial, self-deception? Can things like unsafe sex, deception, infidelity or secretive behaviors become the pain precursor to avoiding meetings and friends or to kick up cravings? Sex Talk provides a safe place to let these feelings out and to let us know that we are not alone.

  Apr 30, 2015

Patty is a nationally recognized certified recovery coach and writer. She lives in New York City.

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