The term codependency has been around for decades, and its definition has expanded over time. Lately, the term codependency is more visible than ever. You can find plenty of information about codependency online. Qualified coaches, licensed therapists, and all kinds of healers are available for anyone who wants help with what is often referred to as codependency recovery.
Whether you identify with the term codependent or not, if you feel stuck in your sex life, you may find that you have some codependent beliefs about sex.
So, let’s talk about a few codependent beliefs about sex. I’m sharing here what I know from first-hand experience and what I have seen in my sex coaching practice.
Sometimes, we pick up beliefs and patterns of behavior around sex that I describe as codependent. Codependent beliefs may limit our potential, disregard our power, and keep us stuck in unsatisfying relationships. And they often block us from the sex and relationships we really want.
Now, before I jump into it, let me tell you something encouraging. Just becoming aware of these codependent beliefs about sex and having compassion for yourself opens up space for a shift.
Codependent Belief #1 - Performance is More Important Than Pleasure
The first codependent belief about sex is your sexual performance is more important than your sexual pleasure. If you hold codependent beliefs around sex, you may use sex to prove your worth, show off your skills, or hook your partner. So, you pull out all your best moves right at the start and perform, perform, perform. You perform enthusiasm for things you may not even want to do. You pretend to have experience doing something you've never done before. You may even perform orgasms. And instead of asking for what you really want, you accept whatever you get and act like you're having the time of your life.
Of course, it’s essential to be attentive to your partner during sex! But if you think you have to sacrifice your pleasure or bulldoze your boundaries to please or keep your partner, well, that’s a codependent belief about sex. Regardless of your motivation to do it, when you regularly sacrifice pleasure and promote performance, you likely end up feeling sexually unfulfilled and disconnected from your partner in the long run.
Codependent Belief #2 - Controlling Your Partner Relieves Your Sexual Jealousy
The second codependent belief about sex is controlling your partner will relieve your sexual jealousy. If you feel insecure about yourself or your relationship, sexual jealousy triggers lurk around every corner. Sexual jealousy feels awful, and you want to avoid it, understandably. So, if you have codependent beliefs about sex, you may use control tactics to make sure you never feel jealous. You may declare some people (like ex’s and co-workers) off-limits to your partner, snoop on your partner’s phone, and dole out harsh punishment for any perceived transgression.
Now, if control is part of negotiated sex or power play between consenting partners, great, and that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about the codependent belief that you can relieve your intense sexual jealousy by controlling your partner’s interactions with other people. You may become hypervigilant about who your partner communicates with, how they communicate, what they communicate about, and so on. When you are inflamed by sexual jealousy and seek relief by controlling your partner, you often end up damaging the relationship and losing sight of yourself. You lose sight of your own sexual desires, sexual wellness, and what you really want in a healthy relationship.
Codependent Belief #3 - Sex Equals Intimacy and Love
The third codependent belief about sex is sex equals intimacy and love. When you believe this, you may accept or even pursue sex when you really want intimacy, love, or both. You may have sex with people you are not really into because you want attention, validation, and approval. You may stay in a dead-end relationship because the sex makes you feel wanted and desired, even if for just a little while. Sometimes, when you feel unworthy of having what you want in a relationship, you accept whatever someone will give you rather than pursue what you really want.
Sure, there are times when you may want sex that does not involve love or intimacy. Or you may want intimacy without sex. It’s all wonderful as long as you are clear about what you are doing. When you have codependent beliefs about sex, you may confuse sex for love and intimacy. Or you may even try to convince yourself that you do not need intimacy, and sex alone will sustain you. Here’s the thing: if you crave the nutrients of love and intimacy, sex alone will not satisfy you. It's unsustainable.
Do you relate to any of these codependent beliefs about sex? If you do, please know you are not alone. And you are certainly not stuck with them forever! I encourage you to review any codependent beliefs you may have about sex without judging yourself. Have compassion for yourself. Keep what really supports your sexual wellness and intimate connections. And let go of what doesn’t.
Do you want personal support from me? Go here to schedule a sex and intimacy coaching session.