A few years ago, I got sober. And by sober, I mean I didn’t just stop drinking (which was kind of nice), but I also quit being being the kind of dad that would fly off the handle.
I quit being the husband that was prone to objectifying my wife for my own gratification and I started to ask the question, where do I run to for comfort?
You see, I didn’t really have a drinking problem. I had a life problem. I didn’t know how to handle the garbage that came at me and problems that I caused.
As it turns out, once the beer was gone, once I stopped chugging the bottle of booze behind the closet door, my brain desperately wanted something to take it’s place. Why? Because I felt like I needed just a little something that was mine, something that made me feel just a little better about myself.
So, sometimes, laying in the dark, I’d reach over to my wife. Not because I really wanted to connect with her. Not because I wanted to her to know how much I Ioved her or because I wanted to make her feel great, I’d reach over because I wanted to feel great, even for just a moment.
Obviously, it didn’t take her and I long to figure out what was going on. The worst part was her own history of being objectified and used. You can imagine how my baggage and her experience were recipes for disaster.
So, just like with my drinking, I knew our sex life needed to change. I needed action towards sexual well being.
On the other side of several years of both being sober and having a redeemed sex life with my wife, here are the 5 steps I took to get better, for us both.
A Practical Guide to Sexual Well Being
1. Admit that you don’t want to live this way anymore
You know the saying, the first step getting sober/better/healed is admitting you have a problem. If you are like me, you probably googled something like, “how do I know that i am _______.”
For me the blank being an alcoholic. I laughed when I say one of the top results,
“If you are Goolging this question, then you probably have a problem."
If you are reading this now, you at least have something inside that you don’t want around anymore or there is a dynamic in your relationship that you both know is doing more harm than good.
The good news is, everybody has some kind of problem or difficulty or resistance in their sex life and their sexual well being.
I heard a psychology professor declare,
“All sexual behavior is learned behavior.”
If we follow this logic, then we see that we don’t have sexual knowledge without learning it from somewhere.
The problem is, most of what we’ve learned has come from a hodgepodge of mainstream media, porn, our own experiences (good or bad) and the occasional sermon. In essence, our sexual database is often a broken or janky mosaic.
2. Begin to imagine what your world will look like if you lived differently
Maybe your problem is that it’s really difficult for you to initiate sex or maybe you’d like to last longer in bed. Or, you just want to be able to have a conversation with your spouse about sex that doesn’t lead to crying or yelling.
Start to think about what life might be like without that dynamic. Often times as we play the tape of success in our minds, we automatically begin to discover and then add the elements that lead up to that success. Sometimes the answer to your problem is already inside you, you just have to give it space to come out.
3. Seek help
If there has been a giant rift in your life that seems unpassable, perhaps it’s time to seek professional help.
If you think of this rift on a scale of 1: Being, I don’t know how to talk to my wife about my turn ons to 10: I cheated on my wife or I’m addicted to porn, then 1 is where you seek something like a friend, a book, a coach or mentor and 10 is where you seek a licensed therapist or counselor.
That said, there is lots of grey room. Maybe you did cheat, but you came to your senses, you and your wife are reconciling and you just need a guide to help you along. A coach or mentor could help.
But maybe you find it hard to talk about sex, you aren’t really sure why, but you think it might be tied to something that happened to you or that you witnessed as a kid, some of these deeper issues might be best helped with a counselor or therapist.
Maybe there is something in the middle, like a guided group class at your church.
See what your gut feels and explore all your options.
4. Know that resistance will come
Now that you know that you have something to fix or overcome and you have imagined a better life and sought help, now that resistance will for sure happen.
You’ll have a fight with your spouse that will feel like you took two steps back. You’ll want to return to old comforts like porn or maybe even objectifying your wife.
Begin to notice what your triggers are. Often the biggest triggers in day to day life is just stress. I ask the question, where do I run to for comfort [when I’m stressed]?
Once you begin to see the connection between the cause and effect you can then begin to give yourself better options than the one’s you used to chose.
5. Play the long game
I was talking to a client the other day and I asked him what he wanted in his marriage. His answer was beautiful. “I want a relationship with my wife so that my daughter sees that we both love and like each other.”
This healing journey isn’t just about pacifying a moment. This is about adapting yourself to the tools that bring you true satisfaction over the long run, 1, 5 and 50 years from this moment. This is about you breaking the cycle so that you children and grandchildren don’t have to suffer the same way.
I have a large family history of alcoholism, infidelity, divorce and a cornucopia of disfunction. My sites are set beyond myself and well into the future.
Obviously, stating that these 5 steps are easy is only setting yourself up for disappointment. But, having a starting place and a plan did actually help me and I know can actually help you.
Finally, I'd love to hear about you and your journey. Leave a note in the comments below or send us an email hello at romanceandadventure dot com.
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