Humans are sexual beings. Sexuality includes physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual aspects. It does not only mean the act of sex but the energy of sex and the awareness of humans as sexual beings. Intimacy is building a close rapport, companionship and friendliness with another person.
Sexuality arises in infancy when the infant plays with its genitalia – repression/suppression of this most natural energy begins then itself by parents scolding the infant. In puberty, attraction to the opposite sex reaches its peak, but the topic is taboo in family/society. Religious beliefs complete the vortex of fear, guilt, shame and suppression. Perversion sets in as pornography is resorted to as an educative tool. Add drugs/alcohol to it and the psychological degeneration, delusion and self abuse that sets in is immeasurable.
In a suffering dependent, issues related to one’s sexuality are very extensive and deep rooted. This is not addressed in most treatment programs across the world, let alone in India. However, amongst the various relapse factors, sexuality issues rank amongst the highest.
The drinking /using might have begun as fun, experimentation, peer pressure etc. As it reaches addictive usage there has been a breakdown of most intimate relationships like husband/wife, parent/ child, partners/friends etc. in the cycle of wanting to drink and use and the repeated lies, the deception and the manipulation involved in perpetuating that habitual cycle. The intimacy with oneself has itself collapsed. Any attempt at intimacy by others is also thwarted as it is a threat to one’s usage or it is initiated to enable using or initiate sex.
Alcohol and drugs reduce inhibitions and increase sexual drive. As inhibitions drop with intoxication, promiscuity and unsafe sex is indulged in. The duration of the sexual act from initiation to orgasm lasts longer under intoxication, giving the illusion of it being greater, but though the drive and desire is high, the performance is affected.
Considering the sensitivity and the importance of the issue, it is essential for it to be addressed in an unprejudiced, accepting ambience, maintaining confidentiality.
The person identifies and deals with areas of conflict from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and addiction through writing, detaching emotions from incidents. Counseling helps resolve them; meditation enables and sustains growth of awareness. He or she learns how the substances used affects/ afflicts sexuality and performance and what change can be expected in recovery.
It is of paramount importance that the person’s significant other (co-dependent) also receives the same treatment for his/her sexuality issues.
The individuals find freedom from shame, fear, guilt and anger related to sexuality.
Rebuilding Intimacy, Sexuality and Sexual Relations Post-Treatment
The individual is still coming to terms with a life away from the substance, but has experienced joy and is at peace with himself/herself, free from physical and emotional pain. Rebuilding relationships and redeveloping lost trust and intimacy with loved ones is worked through with guidance from a therapist.
Many might have had most sexual experiences under intoxication. Experiencing sex anew can open up other issues. For example, the intercourse may not last as long as it did under intoxication, or medical issues like premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunctions, secondary infertility etc may arise. All these can be resolved through counseling and medication.
We at Anatta are probably one of the only centers in India that addresses and deals with issues related to sexuality in addiction and co-dependency in its entirety in an ambience that is open and accepting through counseling, writing and meditation enabling truly holistic healing.