It didn’t work out so well. Well, maybe it did work out, for us, but we didn’t stick with the 30 days. I feel compelled to write this post and not just leave the celibacy “thing” hanging out there, so to speak. I went back and read through my other two recent posts regarding celibacy. They were titled Sex IS optional, parts one & two. I still stand by those titles. Sex is optional, everyone knows that (at least everyone that is thinking maturely and rationally—you can survive blue balls, guys!). We don’t shrivel up and die if we don’t have sex, otherwise there would be a lot of dead monks and nuns. Obviously I was talking about me and Blue eyes specifically, a sexually active married couple. A celibacy period for a recovering sex addict is still a topic up for debate in the sex addict community. But to be honest, everything is up for debate, even the fact that sex addiction is a real addiction. For me, it is a real addiction and everything I have written here on this blog for the past five and half months supports that. I see it every day exhibited in my partner of 30+ years. By no means is it an excuse for his abhorrent choices including lies and betrayal, but it is addiction that is driving the use of sex as a drug to medicate emotions that are uncontrolled otherwise. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Although most of the married and successfully recovered guys (two are picking up 9 year chips in the next month) in my husband’s 12 step group did not have a celibacy period, I fully believe a celibacy period can be quite effective for some people, but I also believe we need to be adaptable. As I wrote in part two, Blue Eyes became sick during the second week of our celibacy period. He didn’t make a lot of progress on his fourth step (something I was hoping for) and we both sort of went off the deep end at one point trying to figure out why we were abstaining from loving, nurturing sex with our life partner. I think we made it (celibate) 15 days. At about the 12 day point, I could see that what Blue Eyes was really doing, was shutting down a lot of his emotions because he was afraid he would not be able to handle them. The illness had taken its toll, and then we left on our road trip. Blue Eyes became a bit like a robot. He was not terribly effective with the non-genital touching. We probably didn’t give it enough time, but in my opinion, the non-genital touching felt forced. We have been together for more than 30 years and we do have an intimate non-sexual relationship, this became even more obvious to me during the celibacy period. Our intimate relationship is often prompted by me. I honestly believe Blue Eyes is afraid to touch me. This is what the celibacy period taught me. Blue Eyes intensely fears rejection, even from me, his wife of so many years. When he gets all wrapped up in that dysfunctional part of his brain, he cannot think rationally. He reverts to the scared, insecure little boy. He even feared rejection with the non-genital touching. We did work on that fear a little, but he fears so many things and that fear is coming from a deep place. He will continue to work on that with his therapist. I truly believe that Blue Eyes’ intense fear of rejection is the sole reason he did not have more acting out partners. Sex addicts are generally terribly insecure when it comes to sex. You would think a sex addict would be the perfect lover, but for many reasons, especially within their addiction, they are not. Blue Eyes specifically is very selfish and ritualistic within his addiction. It takes a certain kind of broken woman to want to have an extramarital sexual relationship with someone like Blue Eyes. This is why many sex addicts choose escorts. They can pay for what they “need,” and they are not going to be judged or asked for more, or asked to leave their wife, most likely they won’t be stalked, and the escort won’t divulge the “transaction” because, why would they? They could lose a client. I know why Blue Eyes didn’t choose escorts. Despite all the shitty things Blue Eyes did to me and our marriage, he has this very strong ethical base when it comes to his career and the law. Blue Eyes is a lawyer. He would not do anything illegal. When I ask him if he would have cheated if it had been illegal, he really has to stop and think about it because, it’s not illegal, so why would he ever entertain that thought. He was, however, totally able to break all his moral boundaries. People are strange.
During the celibacy period, Blue Eyes became even more distant, not less so. What I realized most of all, was that much of the sex really had been coming from Blue Eyes trying to help me feel connected to him. The only time he really pursued the non-genital touching, was the same scenario as with the sexual touching. He confidently pursued it when I was distraught or in a bad place. He knew it would help me, and he instinctively knew I wouldn’t reject him (I rarely ever reject him in any way, but in his head, is whole different story), and it also helped him feel connected back to “real life.” I ended up consciously and openly taking the non-genital touching out of the equation when I was wasn’t feeling well, or happy, or connected to him. We seemed to be going in circles and no progress was being made. Instead of being more attached to his reality and his surroundings and me, he seemed to be less so. At that point, I felt the celibacy period was not really doing what we had thought. Blue Eyes was not begging for sex. I was not desperate for sex. We both got to that place where we realized the celibacy was a very doable phase, but neither of us could see how it was helping him, or us. We decided that during the road trip, we would be more conscious of our intimacy and of our desires. That we would not use it to medicate bad times or bad feelings or insecurities. We talked about stopping the celibacy period, and then we did. We made love in Santa Barbara. No one was in a “bad mood.” Neither of us was feeling desperate. We just took it slow and let the non-genital touching turn into regular old love making. We didn’t have sex multiple times a day, nor did we even have sex every day. Since leaving the celibacy period behind, we have made a lot of progress and we have been able to be truly intimate in our lovemaking sessions. Fifteen days without sex is not a big deal, I would imagine, in a regular relationship of a couple of 50 year olds who have been together for over 30 years. I frankly hope we do not get to a point where we get too busy or are too sick to not want to or not be able to make love for more than fifteen days in a row. But I realize things happen, each couple is different, and each relationship has it’s own rhythm. My father had his prostate removed over 12 years ago and my parents have not had sexual intercourse for more than 12 years, and they never will again. They love each other dearly. Life trumps sex. For us, where we are now, the celibacy period was a big deal. We learned from it, we grew from the experience. Will Blue Eyes need a celibacy period in the future? I have no idea. I am not sure what would precipitate it as the celibacy period did not seem to help him with what he struggles with in his recovery, but I guess we will take it one day at a time and see where the journey takes us.