Dating & Healthy Sexuality
“Dating is a way of changing the instant gratification habit and getting to know more about ourselves and another person, before committing ourselves to any sexual decisions.” – The Tools That Help Us Get Better
Beginning to Date
Click on the link to read tips on dating in recovery in the SCA Washington, DC Tools of Recovery Conference handout Beginning to Date – Advice for Addicts.
Learning to Date in Stages
Click on the link to view the SCA Los Angeles chart exploring the areas of Friendship, Program (Recovery) and Dating in Learning to Date in Stages.
Click on the link to read an individual SCA member’s Experience, Strength and Hope in the January, 2007 SCA Washington, DC newsletter article on devising and following a Dating Plan in Dating as a Tool.
SCA points to the individual member’s personal journey towards healthy sexuality in various parts of our Conference-approved literature.
From the SCA Statement of Purpose:
“We are not here to repress our God-given sexuality, but to learn how to express it in ways that will not make unreasonable demands on our time and energy, place us in legal jeopardy — or endanger our mental, physical or spiritual health.”
From the Sobriety & Responsibility section of SCA – A Program of Recovery (the SCA Blue Book):
“In the SCA Statement of Purpose, we indicate that our goal is sexual sobriety. This does not mean that we advocate celibacy, abstinence, or repression. Rather our goal is to integrate our sexuality into our lives as a healthy element.
We use the term sobriety because of its deeper connotation of clarity of mind. In sobriety we are making sexual choices. In compulsion and addiction we are driven and compelled into sexual behavior.”
From the Sexual Recovery Plan section of SCA – A Program of Recovery (the SCA Blue Book):
“Writing and utilizing a sexual recovery plan is based on the fourth and fifth steps. In making a fearless moral inventory of our sexual behavior we ask our Higher Power’s help in evaluating all aspects of our sexual past. The AA Big Book addresses this rigorous honesty about sexuality: ‘In this way we tried to shape a sane and sound ideal for our future sex life. We subjected each relation to this test — was it selfish or not? We asked God to mold our ideals and help us to live up to them. We remembered always that our sex powers were God-given and therefore good, neither to be used lightly or selfishly nor to be despised and loathed.’ (p. 69)
By looking for God’s will in each sexual decision, we look for release from the actions, people, places and things which have made our lives unmanageable.
But unlike completely giving up drinking as in AA, we do not strive for abstinence and celibacy as an end. In SCA, members define sobriety for themselves. Abstinence, partial or total, is a tool of the program which enables members to gain clarity about the choices they want to make with their sexuality. The goal is not to eliminate or repress sexuality, but rather to integrate it into our lives as God intends. Like the compulsive over eater, our aim is to achieve freedom and responsibility in using a fundamental human process. Since both food and sex are good, we seek God’s guidance in determining which sexual actions, relationships, environments, and things are appropriate for our lives. The characteristics most of us seem to have in common indicate the sexual activity that is obsessive, compulsive, dishonest, manipulative, exploitative and abusive; that has made our lives unmanageable. Sexuality that is honest, caring, life-affirming and enriching is freeing, integrated into our lives, and enables us to deal with life on life’s terms.
A sexual recovery plan is based on the principle that by identifying the facets of our compulsion and asking for assistance from our Higher Power, we can replace an unacceptable lifestyle with a positive, progressive, enriched one.”
From Q & A – Questions and Answers: A Guide for Newcomers to SCA:
Question 27 – Do I Have to Give Up Sex Entirely?
“SCA doesn’t advocate repressing our sexuality; the program provides an environment in which we can learn to express it in a healthy, responsible manner. Some members do totally abstain from all sex for a period of time to try to get some clarity. During this time, many work on gaining non-sexual intimacy with others, which is a problem for many of us. Others abstain from abusive, compulsive, degrading or dangerous sexual behaviors, but continue to have sex on a more responsible, nurturing level, for example, with partners they have gotten to know through dating. Each of us is different; each is in a different place. We must each make individual decisions about how we will express ourselves sexually. Hearing others’ stories in meetings helps us decide for ourselves what we must do and what we must avoid to gain recovery from our addiction.”
Question 31 – Will I Get Cured from My Sex Addiction by Participating in SCA?
“Most of us accept as reality that we will always have the addiction – we will never be ‘cured.’ But we’re not discouraged by that. Through participation in and working the Program, we reach a point where we can express our sexuality in a healthy and responsible manner. We’ve found it really does work – when we work it.”
Member Thoughts on Healthy Sexuality
Click on the link to read an SCA member’s discussion of the subject in the September, 2006 SCA Washington, DC newsletter article What is Healthy Sexuality?
Click on the link to read an individual SCA member’s Experience, Strength and Hope on the subject in the September, 2008 SCA Washington, DC newsletter article on Healthy Sexuality.
Addictive Versus Healthy Sexuality
Click on the link to read the features identified in the book “Don’t Call it Love” by Patrick Carnes as representing Addictive Versus Healthy Sexuality.