- Stress. Stress, while it is many things, is a sensation produced by hormones. Hormones are necessary for sexual functioning. Estrogen and testosterone help us to perform sexually. When we are under stress, hormones like cortisol can outweigh testosterone. As a result, it is hard to engage in sexual activity. Psychologically, stress can cause a lot of distraction which can also lead to difficulty in intimacy.
- Hormones. Addiction to drugs and alcohol interacts with many of the body’s systems including the way it produces hormones. Some drugs like stimulants in the form of amphetamines or methamphetamines increase hormone production and are abused for sexual purposes. Drugs like crystal meth and ecstasy are known for having sexual side effects. Recovering from addiction where sexual activity was frequent due to drug use can result in a temporary period of decreased sexual function and hormone production.
- Disordered Mood. Recovery is a roller coaster of emotions due to the brain learning how to feel and process on its own again. Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can result in irritability, depression, anxiety, and agitation. Sexual engagement and physical intimacy is challenging when you feel overwhelmed with emotion.
- Physical Pain. Addiction to drugs like opioids where analgesic sensations were part of the allure results in physical pain. Not only have the pain relieving substances been removed, but the brain’s natural ability to combat pain has been compromised. That means everything feels like it hurts. Being in physical pain and discomfort makes it hard to be physically active.
- Prescriptions. Often, prescriptions accompany the early recovery process to support emotional management and management of other symptoms. Some prescriptions can affect libido, sexual drive, and the ability to perform sexually.
- Body Image Issues. For some, drugs and alcohol were a means to feeling confident and comfortable in one’s own skin. Never having created a true identity for themselves, they feel lost and exposed when those substances are taken out of the picture. Negative body image can create psychological blockages to intimacy.
- Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms. Throughout the first two years of recovery, one is prone to re-experiencing the same symptoms they endured during the first few weeks. Post acute withdrawal syndrome usually passes within a few days but can create lots of interferences to intimacy.
- You’re Not Ready. Recovery is a big deal. You’re going through what is likely to be the most important transformation of your life. Mentally, psychologically, and spiritually, you are growing in ways you never have before. It’s possible that, despite your natural desires, you just aren’t ready yet. Sexual activity is intimate, on all three levels of mind, body, and spirit. Give yourself time to become yourself and redefine your relationship with sex.
Sound Recovery Solutions encourages a community of men supporting men through recovery. We help young men focus on recovery through personal development, leadership training, and life skills building. Providing quality care from detox to aftercare, Sound Recovery is the premiere solution for men’s addiction and alcoholism. For more information, call 561-279-3866.