When sex becomes a coping mechanism

155394393

I guess it would be safe to say that each of us have used sex as a means of coping with the stress of life.  Is that bad?  Maybe, but maybe not.  Stressful days can be tough and at the end of that demanding day, having sex can be a phenomenal way to release pent-up tension. 

Regardless of stressful days, each of us as human beings, have a need for connection.  Whether we are aware of it or not, if our needs of acceptance, affection, appreciation, closeness, companionship, intimacy, or nurture are just not there, we may find ourselves using sex as means of coping with unmet fulfillment. 

The act of sex is one of nature’s most powerful tools of connecting with someone else.  It does meet the needs of showing affection, intimacy, and closeness quite well.  Even though sex is designed so that we can reproduce to carry on the species, it also feels really good making us want to do it again and again.  At the moment of climax, dopamine is released flooding our body with a lovely feeling of pure pleasure. And when it is done in the context of a committed, loving relationship, sex is like the glue that binds us together forming a deep bond cascading into a meaningful lifelong love affair.

But when sex is simply used to release frustration, fears, traumas or stress, without the framework of love, then it only becomes a facade. When it leads to frequent use of pornography, compulsive masturbation, or one night stands solely for hedonistic pleasure, then there is a problem.   We will be using sex primarily to seek out that feel-good sensation of dopamine for a few moments of unadulterated heightened bliss, only to come crashing down once again to a subsequent low.  This is when it becomes an exhaustive cycle of trying to make you feel better emotionally while neglecting the true underlying need for connection. 

Do you find yourself using sex mainly as a means of filling a void?  When you feel anxious, sadness, or simple boredom, is sex your way of escaping the negative feelings in your life?  In other words, is it rarely done for wanting to make a connection with someone you love?

If this is the case, then here are ways to cope and to transform your relationship with sex making it far better than you’ve ever imagined:

·      Uncover the root of your sexual behavior

When pulling weeds out of a garden, you must pull the entire root completely out to prevent that same weed coming back again.  If you don’t, you will not have taken out the reason why that weed is there and it will only grow back repeatedly.  It’s the same thing with any dysfunctional sexual behaviors we may have. Dysfunctional sexual behaviors are rooted in unmet emotional needs.  Maybe they are there because you felt unloved as a child or have had too many relationships that turned sour.  Whatever the reason, you need to figure out the root cause to discover why you may be stuck in using sex as a pure coping mechanism for feelings of guilt or shame instead of being truly intimate with a partner.   Seek out professional help.   Uncover what is lurking beneath the surface, just like the root of a weed.  Bring it out in the open exposing what is really going on and then get rid of it.

·      Stop using sex as escapist behavior

When stressful events hit, do you find yourself using sex to escape the realities of life?  Not that that is entirely bad.  We’ve all done it and unsurprisingly, it can help.  But make the distinction of whether you’re doing it to explore or to escape.  If it’s to explore or to try new things, that can be good.  But if you are struggling to cope with life and sex is the only thing you find that makes you feel good, then it is not okay.  This is using sex as a means of escaping or running from rough spots you’d rather not deal with.  Make sex even better by dealing with stress head-on and finding ways to cope more effectively instead of using it to avoid painful situations. 

·      Unleash true intimacy

Just like the lyrics of a song once said, “Ain’t nothing like the real thing baby,” to have true intimacy with your partner is a feeling of complete soulful bliss.  If there is disconnectedness, true intimacy will not be present.  This is why if sex is only being done to achieve an orgasm for coping with life’s stresses, then you’re missing out on the best it has to offer.  When we become mindful in the moment – looking into the eyes of our partner, feeling all the sensations in our body, taking pure pleasure of pleasuring your partner, this leads to a deeper, more fulfilled level of intimacy and satisfaction. 

·      Seek out professional help if necessary

If you try all of the above suggestions and you still are using sex primarily as a coping mechanism, then seek out professional help.  Find a therapist who specializes in sexual problems.  They will be knowledgeable in exploring what is triggering you to use sex for coping and to find ways to avoid doing that. 

Sex is too precious of a gift we’ve been given to not use it like it is meant to be.  When used as a coping strategy, we rob ourselves of one of life’s greatest joys.  Our sexuality needs to be nurtured.  By being in tune with our sexuality, we can reach levels of connection with ourselves and our partner we never knew existed taking us to new heights of contentment.