This title is perhaps misleading. I’m not meaning that I’m considering making sex a business. That said, I think it might just be the most honest living known to man, shout out to all the sex workers out there being their best selves, but just not really my bag. More just a very repressed British way to talk about sex, bonking, intercourse…shagging if you will.
I have written, deleted, re-written and edited the living hell out of this post, over and over, for the last 3 months. Aside from that very much being my normal chaotic writing process, it’s probably been the most challenging post I’ve written in recent months. Those who’ve read through my posts, shout out if you have, know this is surprising as I don’t hold back from spilling my guts about some of the worst parts of my drinking history and, well, just my existence in general. I don’t think it’s really about the subject matter either, I’ve never really bought into the whole ‘slut shaming’, ‘sex is embarrassing’ rhetoric, so I couldn’t really figure out why this kept tripping me up. Eventually when I sat with it I think it’s about figuring out how much of my deepest self I really want to give away in this blog. Truth is if I’m editing myself or what I want to write this whole thing becomes meaningless. So if you are someone who knows the face behind this blog, particularly if you know me well, proceed with caution…there’s some pretty gnarly honesty coming your way.
“Sober Sex” is a concept that I’m still getting my head around. Even writing about it with the decision to be totally honest I’m finding myself deleting, retyping and retouching, it’s hard to just flow on a topic that is, for me a least, so very personal. A sprinkling of society, a big old blast from the past and most of all the ‘imposter syndrome’ of why I feel in any way qualified to write about this in the bloody first place. All very reassuring for the reader I’m sure.
Real talk time.
“Promiscuity” when I was going through my journey of recovering from quite a severe mental health illness was literally listed as a symptom on my paperwork. I can still see the letters in front of my face, it was really jarring. It’s a word I still hate to this day, and I’ve never heard it used to describe a man which is another eye-twitching annoyance but slightly off topic. I’m not saying it wasn’t true, not all sex is healthy and sex has in the past been a distraction to help me ignore glaring issues…remind you of anything else? At least I was on brand.
So how do you take something that has been framed as a reason for your own destruction and make it different? Let alone positive?
So I read everything upon EVERYTHING out there. From sober bloggers, to NHS websites, to articles. It helped a little, there are some amazing voices out there (@tawnymlara to name one) and it made me feel a little less weird and detached for sure. However the truth is that the overarching theme in most peoples sober stories is that ‘casual sex’ and ‘promiscuity’ seems to be something that is left behind in sobriety. But what if that’s not your reality? Granted not all sex is healthy, but I can’t help thinking that’s not the sex’s fault! I’ve had some pretty great sex with people I loved that ended up being no healthier than the guy saved in my phone as ‘guy from gym’. Maybe true, maybe not.
I’ve never felt sexier than I do sober and that’s probably because I’m not wildly swinging from dribbling drunken moron to clinically depressed. Neither made me feel particularly goddess-like which I think is fair. I can’t help feeling society takes sex and attaches it’s own agenda, of morals, of ‘what kind of person you are’ and of meaning that sometimes just isn’t there. I don’t feel like sex is a simple as cracking your neck but I also I don’t always feel the need to have a deep spiritual connection to someone to have sex with them. This, in itself, I have found can sometimes put me in certain boxes of judgement in society that I’m not comfortable being in.
I guess for me it’s the respect that is fundamental. If two people are in a room knowing exactly why they are there with no expectations moving forward that is pretty mutually respectful in it’s own way. Just like if two people chose each other and only each other that respect is there…or it’s assumed to be. In fact maybe the first scenario is, in many ways, more honest if anything, certainly in my experience anyway. I’ve had so many different kind of relationships from long term ‘wife’ territory, to an open relationship, to a polyamorous relationship with an existing couple…. but what I’ve never had is a sober relationship of any description. For all the bad about alcohol it is, unfortunately, a rather effective ice breaker.
I’m very aware that I’m usually quite good at tying these posts up in neat little bundles, they tend to have a point but this one feels like it’s not really heading anywhere. I don’t have an answer, maybe I never will. But I guess what I’m saying is sober sex is one thing and sober casual sex is another, and I’m still trying to figure out how this fits into my new life. My new me.
I’m at a weird cross roads in this journey, not just in sobriety but in life. I don’t particularly want to find my future husband annnd I don’t particularly want to sleep with the random Deliveroo driver either. I guess there is a holy grail middle ground but in truth, isn’t that what everyone is looking for, their own holy grail middle ground…if anything to be honest this is probably one of the few things that sobriety hasn’t changed.
So I supposed the neat take away bundle from this episode of “my brain chats utter shit” is…I’m figuring out; how to be comfortable with my own sexuality, how to understand what that even means to me, and how it differs from other people, how to have the right amount of sex, but also not knowing how much that is, but also how to have better sex, while being totally present, being unsure what level of emotional connection I have or even want with the person, and being unsure what kind of partner I want or if I want one at all…*breathe*….and I’m finding it all a little confusing. No shit. And that’s not even adding in being sober. *Internal screaming*.
Have I had less sex in sobriety, definitely. Have I had better sex since being sober, 100% yes. Sobriety gives you a freedom to live how you want to live and it’s easy to forget that dating and sex was pretty damn complicated before sobriety. Sex or no sex, booze or no booze, the whole “I don’t have a clue what I want” thing is pretty much just life at this point…surely?
I can’t help but think this calls for research.
“I volunteer as tribute!”