Men’s Issues: Healthy Sex Conduct


Table of Contents

If we’re an adult male of any stripe, the odds are good that sex is a pretty big part of our life. Especially if we’re a man in recovery for alcoholism or addiction, there’s a whole section of inventory just for sexual conduct. It’s clearly pretty important. It’s also a minefield for a whole mess of reasons. Heartbreak. Emotional attachment. Love. Sex. Relationships. Children. Marriage. And many, many more.

What makes it all the more confusing is that each of us has our own personal idea of what’s right and wrong, what’s ideal, and what’s a dealbreaker. Generally, most people don’t want to be alone, but some people aren’t ready to settle down. What if we like someone who doesn’t like us back? What if we like too many people at the same time? What if we’re lonely?

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has this to say: “We do not want to be the arbiter of anyone’s sex conduct. We all have sex problems. We’d hardly be human if we didn’t.” There is a lot of advice in the Big Book about how we can conduct ourselves sexually. For an alcoholic or addict in recovery, there is no better authority to turn to for advice in any area of life than the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. If you have concerns regarding your own sex conduct, turn to the book, your higher power, and your sponsor.

That being said, we also think we can share some helpful ideas. Again, no one is the arbiter of anyone else’s sex conduct. We merely aim to provide useful information here.

Put Recovery First

This is a good idea in general. Most of us find that anything we put before our recovery just gets in the way of a good life. When we put things before recovery, too often, we either lose that thing or our recovery or both. For many of us, relationships work exactly the same. The 12-Steps and the lifestyle of recovery are what make us fit to have good relationships. If we let our priorities change, we may be heading for trouble.

It is an excellent idea to prioritize our recovery first and foremost, especially when we are new to recovery. We’re going to be meeting lots of new people, but a new relationship won’t keep us in recovery — only the 12-Steps can do that. Most people find it a good idea to at least work the 5th-Step before engaging in courtship with anyone. They also suggest the person we’re courting has worked their 5th-Step as well. This suggestion comes from a place of experience and heartache. So many of us have rushed into relationships before our recovery was stable. Far too often, both people end up hurting and maybe end up relapsing.

Listen to Our Conscience

Listen to our higher power. Listen to our sponsor. Listen to our trusted friends in recovery. Listen to our conscience. We all have plenty of guides available to us if we’re willing to listen. Sometimes our heart or our anatomy can lead us down troublesome roads, causing us to do things that hurt others or that we later regret. If we can pray when faced with temptations that aren’t good for us or anyone else, we may be granted a moment of peace — a moment when we can reach out to anyone who will act as our conscience and help guide us in the right direction. When unsure, pray. When unclear, ask for help. When we’re feeling bad, we can listen to our conscience, our sponsor, and our higher power.

Seek Advice in the 12-Step Program

That book we mentioned earlier? The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous contains a wealth of beautiful and life-changing counsel on our sex lives and sexual conduct. It gives us the directions for taking inventory of our sex conduct for the 12-Step process and guides us through the ways that we can work with our higher power to shape a safe, sane, enjoyable sex ideal. This will help us feel fulfilled in this area of our lives while also safeguarding our recovery. We can learn how to conduct ourselves in our relationships and sex lives in a way that will actually enrich and improve our recovery. We just have to be willing to try a few things mentioned in the Big Book.

Consider Others

The Big Book also tells us that our very lives depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs. Their needs, not ours. When we’re conducting a business of a relational nature of any type, we have to stop, take a moment, and consider the other person. Are we being of service in this interaction? Our recovery may be jeopardized if we’re not. It’s worth a moment to pause and pray about it. Ultimately, we have no arbiter, no judge but our higher power. Yet, people may get hurt if we haven’t consulted our higher power on the actions we take.

A healthy sex life is important to most people. A healthy sex ideal is of paramount importance to alcoholics and addicts in recovery. Relationships of an intimate nature are a huge part of our lives. They can also be rife with opportunities to either risk or improve our recovery. Emotions run high in intimate relationships, and we must consider the feelings of those who are involved with us. We must also remember that our purpose in recovery is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our higher power and others. Working the 12-Steps is vital to our recovery. But living by the principles of the 12-Steps in all areas of life is the only way to build a healthy, happy existence in recovery. At Jaywalker Lodge, we believe that this life is possible for anyone. As long as you are willing to work the 12-Step program of spiritual action, there’s no limit to how good life can get. Let us help you get started. Call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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