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A Female’s Perspective on Sober Sex


I used to just wear make-up, a short skirt, and small tank top, get drunk, dance, and wait for guys to dance with me.  Forty-five minutes later, we’d be naked.  I’d wake up in an unfamiliar bed, get dressed, and leave, preferably before my sexual liaison woke up.  There was no pillow talk.  The only talk actually was “what’s your name” and “Do you have any STDs I should know about? Have you been tested?”  Occasionally, the boy of the night or weekend would offer me a bowl of weed.  Ultimately, this kind of behavior led to a very bad experience (oddly the first one I didn’t care about), and I did not have sex for the final two years I used.  In my first months of sobriety, I didn’t have sex, but I did start hooking up with men again. 

Sober sex is so different.  First of all, you remember it.  Second of all, sex is more alluring.  Without drugs to distract and fulfill my needs, I wanted sex more.  For some girls, they act out this urge and this leads to a new level of self-loathing, because they actually care about their bodies in sobriety.  After a few poor decisions around 4-6 months sober, I decided to only have sex with people I cared about.

In sobriety, you also have to talk to the person before you get naked.  People flirt (a skill I never developed) and have conversations about their lives, dreams, and pasts.  Through these communications, people get attached and show their vulnerability.  I was shocked at how many men were vulnerable in sobriety.  I rarely experienced that when I was using and with other people who were using.  Being vulnerable myself is uncomfortable, and I don’t know if I really like it.  I get attached far more easily, which further increases my vulnerability.

I hear a lot of sex talk in my sober living, and while some of it is entertaining, more of it shows the girls’ needs for outside affirmation of their beauty and worth.  Maybe they are trying to assert their self-worth when they announce how many men they’re dating or go into a play by play of their sexual encounter.  Their sexual behavior reflects a discomfort with self and often a lack of self-esteem.  Especially when I hear about random sex with this guy she’s known for a week or less, I rarely think that it is about getting laid.

Honestly, the most self-esteem boosting thing in sobriety is not the boys I’ve slept with, but the fact that so many women struggle with the same issues.  So many have had bad experiences with sex and as a result hooked up or had sex with an inordinate amount of men.  It is the sisterhood of treatment centers and 12-step programs that taught me to respect my body and to be with people that I actually care about.



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