For many people who struggle with stimulant drug abuse and dependence, drug use can become closely intertwined with sexuality. Users of cocaine or methamphetamine often find that these drugs reduce sexual inhibitions and boost libido, which can potentially lead to risky sexual behaviors. This can result in not only problematic sex acts, but also an addiction to a combination of drug use and sex.
When drugs and sex become inseparable in this way, it’s important to break the connection between them during addiction treatment. Sexual thoughts and feelings can become powerful relapse triggers, and though it’s possible to redevelop a satisfying sex life without using drugs, doing so will take time.
An addiction specialist can offer specific advice on how to break the connection between stimulant use and sex, and may recommend strategies like:
- Abstaining from sex for a period of time. Though you will eventually be able to return to a healthy sex life, it’s important to take a brief break from sexual activity of any kind to start dispelling the connection between drug use and sex. Often, a period of 30 days is all that is needed.
- Creating a list of other options. When you have hard-to-control sexual urges, it will help to distract yourself by immediately involving yourself in another activity. Think of other ways to occupy your mind and/or body, like calling a close friend or exercising. As with any other trigger, having a plan of action and a support system can help immensely.
- Accepting the fact that learning to enjoy sex again will take time. Many stimulant users are afraid that sex without drugs will be boring or unfulfilling. Understand that this feeling will pass eventually, and that you will one day be able to find enjoyment in sex without drugs.
- Accepting the fact that it will take time for your sex drive to normalize. After quitting stimulants, some people find that they have little to no sex drive, and this can be a disconcerting experience. For many, it takes several weeks for sex drive to return to normal. Be patient with yourself—the problem will pass.
- Being honest with your therapist or group. Sexual issues can be difficult to talk about, but they can be very important to your recovery. When you have the desire to act our sexually, be honest about it—this way, you can get the help you need to stay abstinent and remain in treatment.
With time and support, you can overcome the problems that stimulant drug abuse and dependence may have caused in your sexuality. If you find yourself struggling with the desire to act out sexually during addiction treatment, let us know so we can help.