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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Let's talk sex...

I never understood the story of the birds and bees. If a bird and a bee get it on and they have a baby is it called a biree? I never quite got the connection. I never believed babies were cultivated in cabbage patches either. If that were true, why isn’t their head all leafy and green? And I’ve never seen a stork flying through the air with a baby in its beak. Is the beak even strong enough to hold a baby? I don’t think so.

I’m not really talking about babies. I’m talking about the process of making a baby – it all starts with having sex. The majority of the time the sexual act has nothing at all to do with creating a baby. It’s about pleasure. It feels good. Sometimes it’s a purely physical thing and other times it’s an emotional communication of the depth of our affection for another. Unfortunately, I think, that when being sexual with an alcoholic, sex is more physical and not so much emotional. In my opinion, sex with an alcoholic cannot be an expression of anything other than the purely physical satisfaction of an organism or ejaculation.

Charming, baffling and powerful… I remember hearing those words over and over again when I was attending my very first family rehab groups. Riley was so very charming. He always knew just the right words to make me feel that everything would be just fine. He also knew what to say and do to get his best friends wife to fall in love with him. Simple affairs were never his forte – he had full blown out lovesick relationships. He was soooo charming that he was able to do that with several women at a time, including his wife. He was a master womanizer.

To his credit, he was darned good in bed. He knew how to make love even when he was just having sex. I was never surprised to hear that some woman was in love with my husband and there were many. For women, when a man takes his time and is fully attentive, gentle and considerate – it stops being “just sex” and turns into a loving communication. He never has to say the words “I love you.” His actions are loud and clear.

That was then, this is now. Riley wants a girl friend. He wants me to help him get a girl friend. The truth is he doesn’t really want a “girl friend.” He wants a sex partner. When I ask him what he brings to the table to a new relationship he answer is stark, but honest. “I have a big dick and a prescription for Levitra.” Well… in some women’s world, I guess that enough. But, I don’t know any.

Riley sees nothing wrong with him that he needs to change before hooking up with a woman. He sees no reason to shower or wash his hair. He doesn’t have a problem with poop drippings stuck to his legs. He isn’t bothered by the urine stains on his bedding. He has a big dick and Levitra and thinks that’s all he needs.

In my mind, Riley is a sexual predator. He preys on vulnerable women in need of some tender loving care. He’s not a screw and run kinda guy. He will keep the relationship going for as long as he possibly can while adding other women into his equation. He will eventually tell one woman about another and then not understand why the women no longer want to be with him. To him, his honesty was enough for them to want to stay. He has told me over and over, women want honesty but they don’t want the truth.  Humm… I think Riley doesn’t understand the true definition of the word honest.

Anyway, back to sex… for men, sex and alcoholism just doesn’t work. The alcohol makes it difficult for the penis to stand up at attention. Before I realized Riley was an alcoholic, I was concerned about the lack of sex in our marriage. This was before I knew about the other women. We went to a doctor and the doc said – “You can’t get it in if you can’t get it up.” I thought he was so crude that I never went back. Now I know he was so right.

I don’t know about the difficulty of having sex with a woman alcoholic. Maybe you might have trouble keeping her awake and focused. I don’t know.

I’ve always had a healthy sexual appetite. No matter my size, age or distractions, I’ve never been without sex if I truly wanted it. But, since Riley has come back into my life, I’ve had absolutely NO desire for sex. Just the mechanics of meeting someone and developing a relationship leading to sex (I don’t have sex with strangers), would be exhausting. The explanation of the situation, the scheduling of dates, all while trying to respect Riley enough not to flaunt my new attraction, it just seems not worth it.

If there had never been a separation, if we were truly a married couple, I can imagine my difficulties magnified by a million times. If I were in love with my husband, I would want a sexual relationship – it’s natural and normal. But, with end-stage, the person in that bed is not the person that stood with me at the altar and said “I do.”  If I were much younger, I think it would be even more difficult.

Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be passionately attracted to a man again. This whole caretaking ordeal has me feeling like men in general are just not worth the trouble. I know that’s not fair. Not all men are alcoholics. Not all men are cheaters. In fact, since doing this blog, I’ve “met” lots of men. I just have no desire to go there.

In a less extreme manner, I’m like Riley. I still shower, brush my teeth, keep my hair neat and am concerned with the cleanliness of my personal space. However, I no longer apply make up every morning and am not always concerned about my top matching my pants. I reserve the make up and fashion consciousness to events that are more public. You would not find the woman I am now living in my house three years ago. I would love to have that woman back, but I just don’t have the energy.

Maybe energy is the key. It takes energy to have sex and even more to “make love.” Maybe I’m just too tired to be interested. Unlike the birds and bees, which have lots of energy, I no longer want to reproduce. The real purpose of the sexual act is procreation. I don’t want to procreate. So I don’t need that much energy.

I also don’t have the energy to go traipsing through any cabbage patches nor do I want to go “stork hunting.” I think I’ll just leave all that to the birds and bees.

13 comments:

Beth said...

I am so there with you Linda! Sex......it's been years now, and my IA still believes that I must be "getting it" somewhere else since I don't want it with him! He doesn't understand the fact that there is nothing sexy about being miserably drunk and unwashed....he doesn't brush his teeth, of course I guess to him that's ok, because he has so few left. But I get irritated and amused at his suggestion that I'm having sex with someone else, since, like you, I'm not the least bit interested....I'm just too tired.

Thanks for sharing Linda!

Anonymous said...

Many women lose their inhibitions when they drink. The sex gets more wild. The woman feels powerful, which is all well and good until the shame kicks in.

ADDY said...

I can so identify with this. And now Greg has gone, I don't know if I can ever be bothered with anyone else. The whole experience has made me want to run a a mile in the opposite direction.

Have Myelin? said...

Well - I lost my daughter and my sex life to alcoholism.

I keep myself clean, bought new makeup (do I apply it, yes, every single day even though I cry it off every single day) and I look like I wear hand me downs because it's easier than trying to coordinate everything. But I'm starting with makeup for now.

I think alcoholism affects everything. It doesn't end with the death of the alcoholic - so if you can at all change this to make it about taking care of YOU, it would be a healthy thing ya think?

Try not to own the alcoholic's problem but live outside of it.

I know it's hard, been there, lost the battle and still living outside of it. Or is that with it?

I tell myself every single day I don't want to lose ME even though I lost my daughter.

Gerry said...

I would have to say it comes down to that. Missing what the alcoholic cannot provide and then gradually even the desire for it disappearing.

Last 100 Days as an Alcoholic said...

Being drunk would break down my inhibitions to the point I would be seriously causing trouble even when the woman's partner was in the same room.
It wasn't funny or charming, just plain sad and embarrassing.
Sex itself was most likely a cleansing orgasm the morning after to mix some endorphins with the hangover.
Yeah, more I think about it the less link there is between alcoholic and sex than ever.

Syd said...

Sex and alcoholism is seldom discussed at meetings. But I see a lot of discontent married people there and elsewhere. We did't give up on sex, but it was unappealing even to me--a man--with a drunk wife. Funny thing is, she was more amorous and uninhibited when drunk.

Anonymous said...

I am really surprised that Riley's manhood may still even half way work!

I havent had sex with my end stage AL for months and wouldnt want to, he is no longer the man i married for one thing and the personal hygiene problem has to be enough to put anyone off plus is manhood no longer works anyway!

Just lately ive been trying to think of good times and all are tarred with alcohol. This blogg has just made me realise that although our sex life used to be good and very active, sadly as Linda says it was never emotional.

Ive spoken on here before, Dave is 35, im 40 when life should begin! Just hope ill have the energy and inclanation to begin again once this crazy period of my life is over.

Colleen said...

I am 47 and I really, really miss it. When I think about maybe approaching my A, I realize that I cannot handle his very poor hygiene, so the desire for him goes out the window.
It used to be good, about 10 years ago, but somewhere along the way, he forgot what a toothbrush and a shower are.
I am very tempted to go outside of the relationship, but I realize a quality man would not want someone who did that. So I feel stuck between a rock and a hard place. My life just cannot be over at 47. I also really miss male companionship and conversation.

Anonymous said...

I'm in a relationship with an alcholic and reading this post has made me face up to the fact that I'm experiencing much of what's been described. But, much as I recognise it, I'm in some sort of denial as I want to believe he doesn't mean to behave the way he does....

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Anonymous said...

A death sexual relationship I do living with an alcoholic, but I love him, and I don't know how fix it. I am very hot looking woman and he try to makeme feel fat, I know I am not. Who can give me a advice, please.

Barbara P said...

Thank you so much for this. I've been feeling awful that I no longer want to have sex with my alcoholic boyfriend. Since I moved in with him, he has never slept in our bed with me as he prefers to live on the couch day and night yet, after a long period where he (thankfully) had no interest, he keeps asking for sex. It's not like he shows me any affection any more and wants to make love; he makes it abundantly clear that it's purely that he feels the need for physical release and I'm expected to provide it.

Over the past year as his drinking has seriously affected his health, I've become a cross between a carer and his mum and I don't see him as a man any more. He's just the unkempt flesh-covered can of strong lager on the couch with beer and food stains down his face and t-shirt. As he is never completely sober I can't talk to him about it without a row. But I'm still here, going to work and paying the bills, resuscitating him when he stops breathing and going to the hospital/doctor when he collapses and breaks ribs. He's got for a place in a 3-month residential rehab programme but they won't take him until his physical health improves. I'm at my wits end with the stress and worry and the last thing I need is to put up with sexual harassment! As Gerry said above - " Missing what the alcoholic cannot provide and then gradually even the desire for it disappearing." Too many times he'd push me away when I was physically affectionate so I've buried that part of me and don't want that kind of hurt ever again.

Sorry for this growing into an epistle but I know you'll understand.