What are some of the components of a romantic evening? Some people often think of the setting, the mood, food, music, chocolate, and a bottle of champagne. What are some of the components of addiction? Some people might think of loud music, big parties, sex, light shows, multi-substance use, and clubs or bars. Ask someone to fill in the blank – ______, drugs & rock’n’roll; most people are going to say, “Sex!”
There seems to be a strong tie between sex and substance use, whether it be a romantic evening or a wild house party. Research has shown that substances and sex affect the same part of the brain. It’s certainly no wonder that they can become so entwined in our lives. We also know that some substance use experiences are associated with decreased social anxiety related to decision making – a person can go into a sexual experience that they may otherwise hesitate to do or have held themselves back from. This can feel freeing for some individuals and devastating for others. For some people, this devastation to sex and relationships can become a regular occurrence. Substance use can become a necessary part of sex instead of a casual way to enhance it. It can sometimes lead to distress, family issues, financial issues, legal issues, and health complications. Talking with a therapist about the ties between your substance use and sex can help you identify whether or not you want substances to be a part of your sex life. It can also help you set boundaries so you remain in control of your use. A therapist may even be a sounding board to explore more in-depth services such as accessing a needle exchange, setting therapeutic goals related to your substance use, or enrolling in chemical dependency treatment. If you would like to explore your substance use in a nonjudgmental environment.
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