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Sobriety and Sexual Desire

Old 05-06-2015, 08:47 AM
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Sobriety and Sexual Desire

I am the girlfriend of a recovering alcoholic. While he was drinking our sex life was incredible. We would have sex at least twice a day and sometimes we would have marathons when he was on his "benders".

He has now been sober for 5 months. He is currently not working, goes to about 3 meetings a week , naps for a couple of hours everyday and our sex life is completely non-existent. However, he does continue to look at porn - but I'm not sure how frequent that is.

Is this normal behavior for a recovering alcoholic? As a family member I am really struggling with this.

Thanks in advance. This has crushed my self esteem and I don't know how much longer I can take it.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:55 AM
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I have a theory that alcohol is irritating to the prostate gland, and alcohol-induced lust is actually from irritation.
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Old 05-06-2015, 08:56 AM
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Welcome to the Forum Mamamacx!!

Within the first 6 months of Sobriety, all I cared about was not having that 1st drink, my mind was soo obsessed with getting to bedtime without drinking and a lot of things went out the window, relationships with family/friends almost disappeared and were rendered to simply saying hello each week as all my energy was being put into my main focus of Sobriety.

I wouldn't take things too personally as your boyfriend is going through a lot of changes, physically, emotionally, mentally, learning to live and adjust away from alcohol can't be done overnight, this is a longterm lifelong journey, but it does get easier with time.

I'm sure there are others that can give you some specific advice on having that exact same situation themselves, all I know is he is going through a lot at the moment, but with time things will adjust for him!!

You'll find loads of support here on SR!! Great to have you onboard!!
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:07 AM
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desire and sexual function are a complex swirl of emotion, physical factors, mental factors and circumstance.

The first thing to know is; it's not you.

The next thing to know is; he's probably going through his own silent suffering over this issue.

In recovery, I have experienced all sorts of changes. Looking back "marathons" and sexual acrobatics were common in addiction. Truth be told - those were mostly drug and drink induced. While a lot of literature focuses on how alcohol and drugs can inhibit sexual function - it can also 'enhance' it. At least in terms of the popular view of 'performance'.

I went through a lot of anxiety and frustration and confusion regarding sexual performance, desire and intimacy in early recovery. I still sometimes feel some difficult emotions around those changes.

However, what has emerged and evolved is a much more rewarding, deeper, more genuine intimacy and an ability to talk about sexual matters and thereby grow closer to my lady than I would ever have been with alcohol or drugs.

My suggestion is to be patient, to remember this isn't about a lack of love or desire or anything that is your fault. It's a process and it is probably something that is also causing some fears and anxieties and confusion for him. Patience, understanding, and a willingness to be accepting of what is along with a curiosity to see what new form intimacy will take are probably going to be allies.

"marathon sex" and animal desire isn't really sustainable. It's something that comes and goes at various levels over time in long-lasting and truly meaningful relationships.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:09 AM
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Thank you

Thank you for your response. I need the support. I feel so alone in this. My friends think I am crazy for being with an addict and think that I can do better. Not one friend is supportive. I am 41 and was in a bad marriage for 15 years and they think that I deserve better.

Then when I go home I live with this disconnected recovering alcoholic. I have never been lonlier and just wonder if its worth it.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:11 AM
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also - as for the porn; that could be a function of his own self-esteem issues.

I can tell you first hand that it is absolutely crushing to feel inadequate and to suddenly have your desire evaporate or radically change.

It's really a challenging cycle because it impacts both partners and the two unspoken sets of emotion and self doubt can spiral out of control.

I found that honest, sensitive, caring communication helped a lot. That can also be dicey - because it's easy for self-esteem issues and fears to be triggered for both partners in trying to discuss what's going on.

Treat it as a phase, remind yourself frequently that it is totally HUMAN for these phases to happen.... try not to get caught in the cycle.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Mamamacx2 View Post
Thank you for your response. I need the support. I feel so alone in this. My friends think I am crazy for being with an addict and think that I can do better. Not one friend is supportive. I am 41 and was in a bad marriage for 15 years and they think that I deserve better.

Then when I go home I live with this disconnected recovering alcoholic. I have never been lonlier and just wonder if its worth it.
some of the very best people I know are recovered alcoholics.

I wonder how many of your friends quietly suffer from their own sexual fears and self-esteem issues and regularly drink to avoid dealing with their problems.....

Never mind what your friends think. The only person who decides what is "good enough" for you is YOU.

If you are with a recovering alcoholic who is genuinely invested in sobriety and making all he can out of his life - then chances are good you will find on the other side of these challenges a man who more deeply knows himself and is more deeply able to be present and sincere and loving and good than the average modern-day folk are capable of.

Is there risk in that?

Sure.

But there's just as much risk of being with a 'good upstanding non-alcoholic successful guy' who drinks 'responsibly' every day and it wholly detached from who he really is, faking your way through a marriage in some picture-perfect life that secretly, quietly and soul-crushingly sucks.

If people were to judge less, and seek to understand more - the world may be a far brighter place.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:19 AM
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Just curious, does your bf do anything around the house?
Clean the house, cook meals and laundry?
I'm wondering why you're in this relationship?
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:23 AM
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This is a pretty common topic here, and there are several threads in the Men's and Women's sections that can give you different perspectives. Here is another thread:

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...n-we-talk.html
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:42 AM
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Captainzing2000 He does not do much around the house at all. He complains a whole lot about everything though. He always has to "work on his recovery" so he can't participate. Doesn't participate in my kids sports/activities because he needs time to breathe.

He can't cope with life and then has to take a time out and nap.

I don't know if this is is normal or if my life just sucks.........
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Mamamacx2 View Post
Captainzing2000 He does not do much around the house at all. He complains a whole lot about everything though. He always has to "work on his recovery" so he can't participate. Doesn't participate in my kids sports/activities because he needs time to breathe. He can't cope with life and then has to take a time out and nap. I don't know if this is is normal or if my life just sucks.........
how long has that gone on? Does he seem to be actively 'working' on his recovery?

There is a difference between challenging stages of recovery and simply being stuck in addiction without drinking.

Again, you have to make the call as to what you expect and deserve. Recovery is not an excuse to take advantage of someone. Recovery is about action, growth and progress.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Mamamacx2 View Post
I don't know if this is is normal or if my life just sucks.........
It's not normal, and I would say that his lifestyle "sucks", which is in turn making yours very unpleasant. What does his "work on recovery" entail?
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:53 AM
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Hmm - sounds like he's maybe depressed. Does he just 'go to meetings' or is he actually working the 12-steps with a sponsor. The steps can make such a difference (I know - I made the mistake of just going to meetings and expecting to soak up everyone's wisdom and get better. That worked to keep me sober, but not to help me recover).

The think is, up til now he's had alcohol to boost his esteem (turn him from a geeky duck into a eagle) and now he has to learn to function without that. Maybe his esteem isn't up to initiating a sex marathon. However, he should be learning to take more notice of his responsibilities, not less.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:54 AM
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A lot of newly sober people fear "sober sex" for the first time. It might be something he's not used to. Most importantly, I wouldn't take it personally.
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Old 05-06-2015, 09:57 AM
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My sex drive took a massive dive a few months ago after going through withdrawals, and it's pretty normal. Personally I reckon things take a while to even out (6 months or longer) and it might be worth finding that intimacy again. For me, it meant regular mutual massages, lots of time alone, a lot of talking and not being distracted from each other.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:11 AM
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He is working his steps with his sponsor. He is on the fourth step, but it is not for me to judge. Based on everything else, I think that he is going through the motions of what he is "supposed" to do.

I am so new to this. I am also doing my own trauma recovery work from my marriage so it is just so difficult to be in a relationship where I am being torn down as I try to build myself up.

I think that is why I have turned to this site. I don't want to give up on him if he is doing what he is supposed to be doing and if these phases are normal. But I also can't sacrifice myself with someone who uses recovery as an excuse for bad behavior.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottFromWI View Post
It's not normal, and I would say that his lifestyle "sucks", which is in turn making yours very unpleasant. What does his "work on recovery" entail?
I have to kinda agree here.

To put it in perspective, when I was dealing with early sobriety challenges I was also;

Working more than full time at a challenging, six-figure career.
Being a single father to two children.
Maintaining a home and doing all the chores on my own.
Fostering a new and growing relationship.
Volunteering in my community.
Working actively and daily on recovery (including AA, SR, individual counseling and working on my physical exercise).

I'd echo the thoughts that perhaps your man is suffering more than just recovery. Possibly there are emotional or mental health issues on top of it. Possibly, he is not really deeply committed or able to be fully committed to his recovery. Possibly it's just a 'stage' - yet what is he doing about that stage? And also - stage or not, it doesn't absolve us of our responsibilities to life and those close to us.

Recovery is not a free pass to do-nothing-town.

Actually, it's the opposite.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:20 AM
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4th Step has got a lot to do (lists to write in it) and lots of adjusting of perspective. You might well see a change after he's done Step 5 (Step 5 is when he's written all the lists and is sharing his Step 4 stuff with his sponsor).
My partner was actually quite interested to read about the steps and understand a bit of what I was trying to do. If you want to read about Step 4 then then you can download The 12 Steps and 12 -Traditions by chapter.
Having said that there's a lot to do in it - it's not a full time job!! He can still do chores and look after himself and muck in with the house!
*Hugs* to you. Hope you're getting the support you need for yourself.
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Old 05-06-2015, 10:43 AM
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He so used to having relations drunk, perhaps he's not as comfortable doing it sober. Talk to him about
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Old 05-06-2015, 11:37 AM
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I have only been sober 10 days but my husband is on month 6 of his sobriety. We are going through the exact same thing. I just chalked it up to him adjusting to sober life. Easier said than done I know but try not to take it personal..
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