Warning: Some explicit language in this article may be a trigger for some people
Here’s what one SA member says on this:
For me learning about the nature of lust 1., from the SA literature was where I started to see the difference between love and lust in my life.
This helped me realize that I had used same-sex relationships and behavior “to reduce isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, or to cover emotions, make me feel alive, help me escape, and satisfy my God hunger.” (Sexaholics Anonymous, pp. 40-1)
It worked at some level, that’s why I kept trying more and different and better, in an attempt to find the right partner or the right sex act. It ultimately failed because I was trying to meet those needs in ways that only half worked, had negative consequences and that drew me deeper into addictive cycles.
I loved the men I was involved with the best I could – it’s just that my ability to love was very limited. In SA I learnt that I was really a “love cripple” (Sexaholics Anonymous, p. v). It all started to make sense. I didn’t know as much about love as a thought I did.
Although anal sexuality was not universal in my same-sex encounters, it was a defining part of my same-sex practice. I experienced some of the negative medical consequences of anal sexuality and a doctor advised me not to engage in any of that behavior at all. That wasn’t enough to stop me. I saw that I was working against the nature of my body. It gave new meaning to a part of the lust definition:
…..we create an unnatural appetite that misuses and abuses the natural instinct. It is not only more intense than the natural but becomes something totally different. (Sexaholics Anonymous, pp. 40-41)
At some level anal sexuality had provided me with pleasure and feelings of bonding, trust and acceptance. I came to see that for me the desire for anal sexual activity is lust, and not really a loving behavior to engage in. I had been going for the feelings of love because I didn’t know how to do real love.
The SA literature also helped me see how sex with self involved “self splitting and living in a fantasy world”. I realized that my sexual contact with other men involved a lot of sex with self : having sex with a partner and myself at the same time or merely having sex with self in the presence of a partner.
Masturbation for me is the same as my acting out with others; the presence of a sexual partner was merely another extension of autoeroticism. (Recovery Continues, p. 4)
Taking anal sexuality and sex with self out of same-sex encounters didn’t leave a lot. So much of my same-sex behavior had involved taking turns. I could then see how physically contrived same-sex sexual activity had been for me. Although I had some affection for my same-sex partners, it could never really be the true union I read of in the SA literature.
I realized that it was hard to recall anyone I had known who was in a monogamous long term same-sex relationships. Some described same-sex behavior as naturally more promiscuous. In my experience “open” relationships or promiscuity seemed the rule that proved the rare exception of monogamy. Despite very supportive friends and family such a relationship seemed impossible for me.
All these revelations helped me see the enormity of my problem. I couldn’t see a way that same- sex behavior could not involve lust or how it could find a “simple and natural place” in my life the way SA literature suggested recovering sexuality could be. I had to stop sexualizing and romanticizing other men and “find what my lust was really looking for …our whole concept of sex begins to change.” (Sexaholics Anonymous p. 193)
As I used the tools of the program I began to identify some of the attitudes and behaviors that had separated me from men and led me to sexualize and romanticize them. I could then start to find more successful ways of connecting with men – and I began to experience a deeper level of honesty, trust and connection with men than I had experienced when I was “in love” and having sex with them. It was of a totally different order: one that I could not see or even imagine prior to recovery. It’s been quite a journey!
At times we experienced great joy; at other times, doubt, uncertainty, depression, and fear. At times it seemed we were running with winged feet, at others standing still, and still others, that we were losing ground. But we found that once on this road, something deep within told us it was the right path for us. We simply knew it. And that was enough to keep us going. Whatever our experience, we found it to be the greatest adventure of our lives. (Sexaholics Anonymous, p. 78)
It’s an ongoing process discovering what love really is: Recovery continues!
1. When we try to use food or sex to reduce isolation, loneliness, insecurity, fear, tension, or to cover our emotions, make us feel alive, help us escape, or satisfy our God hunger, we create an unnatural appetite that misuses and abuses the natural instinct. It is not only more intense than the natural but becomes something totally different. Eating and sex enter a different dimension; they possess an unnatural spiritual component.The addiction is thus to lust and not merely to the substance or physical act. Lust – the attitude itself – becomes the controlling factor in the addiction.
(Sexaholics Anonymous, pp. 40-1)