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 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. And they often block us from the sex and relationships we really want.
Now, before 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.
Performance Over Pleasure
The first codependent belief about sex is that sexual performance is more important than the pleasure of the sexual experience. We may use sex to prove our worth, show off our skills, or hook our partner. So, we pull out our best moves and perform, perform, perform. We perform enthusiasm for things we may not want to do. We pretend to have experience doing something we’ve never done before. We may even perform orgasms. And instead of asking for what we really want, we accept what we get and act like we’re having the time of our lives.
Of course, it’s essential to be attentive to our partner during sex! But if we think we have to sacrifice our pleasure or bulldoze our boundaries to please or keep our partner. Well, that’s a codependent thought about sex. Regardless of our motivation to do it, when we regularly sacrifice pleasure and promote performance, we likely end up feeling sexually unfulfilled and disconnected from our partner in the long run.
Control Relieves Jealousy
The second codependent belief about sex is that controlling our partner will relieve our sexual jealousy. If we feel insecure about ourselves or our relationship, sexual jealousy triggers lurk around every corner. Sexual jealousy feels awful, and we want to avoid it, so we use control tactics to make sure we never feel jealous. We may declare some people (like ex’s and co-workers) off-limits to our partner, snoop on our 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 we can relieve our intense sexual jealousy by controlling our partner’s interactions with other people. We may become hypervigilant about who our partner communicates with, how they communicate, what they communicate about, and so on. When we are inflamed by sexual jealousy and seek relief by controlling our partner, we often damage the relationship and lose sight of ourselves. We lose sight of our own sexual desires, sexual wellness, and what we want in a relationship.
Sex Equals Intimacy and Love
The third codependent belief about sex is that sex equals intimacy or love. When we believe this, we may accept or even pursue sex when we really want intimacy, love, or both. We may have sex with people we are not really into because we want attention, acceptance, and approval. We may stay in a dead-end relationship because the sex makes us feel wanted and desired, even if for just a little while. Sometimes, when we feel unworthy of having what we want in a relationship, we accept whatever someone will give us rather than pursue what we really want.
Sure, there are times when we may want sex that does not involve love or intimacy. Or we want intimacy without sex. It’s all wonderful as long as we are clear about what we are doing. When we have codependent beliefs about sex, we may confuse sex for love and intimacy. Or we may even try to convince ourselves that we do not need intimacy, and sex alone will sustain us. Here’s the thing: if we crave the nutrients of love and intimacy, sex alone will not satisfy us.
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 judgment. Keep what supports your sexual wellness and intimate connections. Let go of what doesn’t.
Do you want personal support from me? Go here to schedule a sex and intimacy coaching session.