Celibacy Period: BenefitsMay 02, 2023
In this third installment of our series on using a Celibacy Period, I'll share with you some of the primary benefits for all three clients in a comprehensive recovery program.
When executed well, a planed period of sexual abstinence, under written contract, mutually agreed upon and supervised by a qualified specialist has the potential to dramatically rewrite neural networks, shift paradigms and transform relationships.
Now, let’s explore ways a Celibacy Period can benefit all three clients… the addict, the betrayed and the marriage system.
Benefits for the Addict:
- Deactivates neural pathways that view sex as a self-soothing mechanism
- Helps the brain reduce dependency on neurochemicals released during a sexual encounter such as dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, vasopressin, endorphins, and serotonin
- Allows neurochemistry levels to reset to normal during a 3 month controlled withdrawal process
- Highlights that the spouse is not responsible for the addict’s sexual choices
- Teaches the brain that sex is a want, not a need
- Forces the brain to search for non-sexual forms of coping and soothing
- Strengthens the belief that lust doesn’t have to control one’s behavior
- Creates an opportunity to
- develop skills of open collaboration about sexual boundaries
- learn to attune for safety and trust in self and spouse
- develop a new paradigm of intimacy and bonding
- attune to one’s own reality through body awareness
- develop emotional literacy… which is a huge undertaking
Benefits for the Betrayed Spouse:
- Creates safety by removing pressure of sexual expectations
- Creates safety and accountability by establishing clear boundary & consequences
- Lowers the sense of threat, panic and hypervigilance
- Reveals ways they have used sex as their own maladaptive coping mechanism
- Strengthens the belief that “My spouse’s sexual choices have nothing to do with me.”
- Assists in embracing the truth of powerlessness over the spouse’s sexual choices
- Creates an opportunity to learn:
- healthy, assertive communication skills
- indicators of relapse back to unhealthy communication patterns
- how to identify and express wants, needs and feelings honestly
- catch and limit old patterns of guilt and shame when speaking assertively
- self-regulating skills when insecurities are triggered by absence of sex
- how to discuss sexual behaviors safely and collaborate on a mutually agreeable boundaries
- how to attune to one’s own safety through body awareness
- how to say no to sex without a sense of guilt or shame
- to spot unhealthy motives for pursuing sex (ie guilt, obligation, to manipulate spouse)
Benefits for the Marriage System:
- Deescalates the interpersonal tension surrounding sexuality
- Increases capacity for healthy processing by keeping both brains in the Window of Tolerance
- Breaks patterns of object sex
- Reveals deeper issues of pain and conflict that were masked by sex
- Forces new patterns of engagement for connecting, bonding and soothing
- Makes room for an entirely new and refreshing understanding of Genuine Relationship Intimacy
- Creates safety and structure around touch, both non-sexual and sexual
- Reframes sex as an outflow of already established healthy bonding, collaboratively navigated through mutual safety
- Creates an opportunity to learn:
- how to discuss wants, needs and feelings in honest and assertive ways
- to safely give and receive feedback about the impact of each other's behavior
- a variety of non-sexual, interpersonal coping strategies without co-dependency
- what relational, intimate, connected, safe sex is really like
As you can clearly see, the benefits of a Celibacy Period, when planned, executed and supervised well, have innumerable benefits for both spouses and for the marriage dynamics between them.
However, to maximize the benefits on emotional, psychological and spiritual levels, a period of sexual abstinence should not be entered without professional guidance from qualified professional. Remember, the goal is NOT the absence of sex... it is the transformation and renewing of the mind.
It is to put off childish and immature ways of viewing sexuality in order to grow up and mature into the wholeness of humanity and interpersonal intimacy as God intended it within marriage.
If this is something you are ready to experience for yourself, then it's time to enroll in our comprehensive recovery program. Click below to learn more.
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