Home Recovery Better for Both

Better for Both

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In managing food addiction, there is no “putting it up on a shelf and never touching it again;” it’s an ongoing challenge to keep food within boundaries that are now set and kept. For me, it is also the same with sex. I have to keep my thinking within certain healthy boundaries whenever I think about sex or myself as a sexual being. It took me quite a while before I came to value myself enough to be honest about how my sexuality was a huge part of my eating disorder.

As my eating practices cleaned up, I found it very difficult to set boundaries with people I was close to. I’d never been good at it. It was painful, practicing boundary-setting with my lover because I’d not been able to do it before, and they weren’t used to it when I did. They got pissy and the whole thing kept turning into more issues to eat over. @#$%!

I was already married when I finally decided to conquer this big eating hurdle. I believe I really do have an obligation to be present for my partner in a sexual way—to me, that’s part of being married. So I attended a women’s meeting in L.A. that had an emphasis on sexuality. Thank God for the strong women in that room who were willing to be totally honest about how things really were for them.

In that women’s group, I was able to heal and learn how boundary-setting and sexuality are linked. Healthy sex for me entails not getting into my head about what my body looks like. I learned that my partner doesn’t see what I see when I look in the mirror. They choose to be with me sexually because they accept who I am physically (which was way more than I could accept myself at first). The hardest sexual boundary for me was to stay out of my head and in the moment, focusing on what I was enjoying right then. It helped to close my eyes when my mind went to a negative thought. When I reopened my eyes, I put my focus back on what I was enjoying. I took the things I wasn’t enjoying to my women’s group, and they taught me how to talk to my partner outside of sexual encounters about what was good for me and what wasn’t and to balance the discussion by acknowledging both.

Egos are fragile. When it comes to being intimate with someone, it really is our most vulnerable moment emotionally. Sometimes our discussions would lead right to the bedroom; other times they’d leave us both sad and angry. But the key was this: before we left the discussion, we both agreed we wanted sex to be better— not just for one, but better for us both. I felt so damaged and vulnerable during all this. Thank God he loved me enough for both of us at that time.

Now I can say (after twenty years of marriage) sex is still imperfect and so is my body. Today, when I have a discussion with my partner about sex, I always approach it with these words in mind: be kind and helpful in my attitude. It really has made sex greater.

— Lynnie

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