Many sex addiction rehabilitation programs recommend that participants abstain from sexual activity for at least six months to learn how to successfully cope with their feelings or stress without resorting to sexual activity. However, for persons in long-term partnerships, completely abstaining from sexual activity is untenable. Following are some recommendations for resuming a healthy sex life following sex addiction treatment.

Both partners must have a sense of involvement.

When two people interact with each other, they engage in sexual behavior. Sex addiction can make sex one-sided: while one person seeks sexual fulfillment, they objectify their other partner and use them as a means of getting it. It is critical that sexual activity not occur with just one partner but rather as a group effort. Each of you can safely find the sexual activities that feel cooperative and the sexual activities that do not by working with a sex therapist or your partner’s therapist in treatment. Considering each other as active participants in sexual action humanizes the experience and increases intimacy. This connection can be overwhelming or scary at first. It will get better with time with clear communication, expressions of thanks, and a willingness to communicate.

Consent is required from both partners.

Both partners must be willing to engage in sexual activity and be involved sexual activity. When sexual addiction is present in a relationship, codependency can develop. Codependency in sexual addiction is defined as attempting to please another partner by engaging in their sexual needs, satisfying their sexual impulses, and going above and beyond their requirements or wants to ensure that they do not seek their sexual needs elsewhere. Sex is supposed to be a voluntary action. Even if you agree to engage, you may not be in the mood, believe the energy is right, or want to do so. It is critical to have consent on both sides of a sexual connection to ensure that both partners are present and that their needs are addressed.

Sex should be an act of intimacy rather than a release.

Part of the reason why engagement and consent are crucial is to ensure that sex becomes an act of intimacy, love, and relationship exploration rather than a release. For many people, sex addiction is a coping method for dealing with unpleasant feelings, thoughts, and obsessions. Sexual compulsions are a compulsive response to brain activity. Having a good sex life necessitates identifying the motivations for wanting to have sex, which would not be an issue in other partnerships. You can’t make your partner cope or feel their emotions, but you can help them by encouraging contemplation before sexual engagement. If the desire to engage sexually is sudden, spontaneous, or occurs shortly after a stressful circumstance, sex is a release rather than a desire to be intimately near.

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