Getting Rid of the Drug: Sex as a Coping Mechanism


Since this past weekend, I’ve been battling my mood swings and depression.

The sudden change in emotion started when I told my ex (yes, the one who told Corrine and Susan about the suicide text) that I didn’t want to speak to him anymore.  More words were added to that conversation that I won’t repeat here.  But I will say that the sentences I strung together were not nice, to say the very least. To make a long story short, we had a huge blowout and we’re out of each others’ lives.  I know you’re probably asking why I kicked him out after he told our friends about my wanting to take my own life.  But believe me: it was a long time coming.  Our relationship was toxic in every way, shape and many forms.

More to come.

Though what I said to him caused me anxiety, that’s not the reason why I’m ready to throw my phone out the window or bang my forehead against my bedpost.  I’ve felt this way for the past few days because I no longer have the one coping mechanism that “eliminated” all the my sorrows:  sex.  Until very recently, I was extremely sexually active on and off, usually seeking out someone to sleep with whenever I felt lonely, depressed, angry, ugly or whatever negative emotion plaguing me at that moment.  I told partners I only “enjoyed” casual sex, that relationships were not this guy *points thumb at self.*

“I don’t want the drama that comes with a relationship,” I’d tell them.  “It’s too much work and I don’t want to deal with it.”

I then proceeded to sleep with him or her (or both at once) without feeling any emotional connection to them.  Their only role was to take me away from my emotional oblivion.  To make me black out.  That’s all.  Nothing else.  And it worked–until I had to put my clothes back on.

My behavior is definitely nothing new; destructive sexual acting out is one of the main characteristics of those who were sexually abused in their lifetime.  Maltz (2001) explains that many survivors engage in behaviors such as compulsive masturbation, sadomasochism, socializing with those who may be abusive, abusive sexual behavior, unsafe sexual practices (such as unprotected sex) or turn to alcohol or drugs that hinder judgment (p. 109).  Bass and Davis (2008) point out that survivors may seek out sexual encounters with strangers or have affairs that would actually “jeopardize a relationship that’s important…” as well as as engage in phone sex, cyber sex, pornography or abusive behaviors to sexualize others (p.24).

I cannot tell you how many times I’ve humiliated myself engaging in some of the behaviors mentioned, often doing so for people who didn’t care about me and not knowing why I continued to do it!  The truth is I–like many survivors–wanted to feel whole and continued to pursue that feeling through destructive (and sometimes unsafe) sex.  It was not until I became celibate and had this recent blowout with the ex that the answer slapped me in the face:  I have me to deal with.  I have no one to bed, no ex to be pissed off at, and no excuse to victimize myself in some form.  When I looked in the mirror, the reflection is not of a woman I am proud of, but the Half-Person who allowed emotions and irrational thinking to dictate who she is.  Since I was a little girl, I searched for that one person to rescue me.  As I grew older, I hoped and prayed for the One who would finally scoop me up and take me to some mystery land where pain and rejection ceased to exist.  I did very little with my existence years prior, wanting to live vicariously through the “relationships” I sought.  In fact, I just waited for that One Man to literally turn to me and declare:

“Meeka–I love you…”

But the Savior never descended from the sky to anoint me with his affections.  And I am now placed in the position to take personal responsibility for my own altered cognitive schema.  It’s a hard pill to swallow, right?

At the same time, it’s for the best that I face my own shadows without running.  In fact, it’s time for all of us to stop–survivor or not, man or woman.  Why waste any more time chasing after a piece of a person or someone who does not have our highest and best in mind?  I don’t know about everyone else, but I finally became tired and now want to know what true healthy intimacy is–starting with me!  And I want to know myself and others without us using each others’ bodies like walking garbage cans for lust.  In other words, I feel I deserve better.

That much I know.

 Works Cited

 Bass, E. & Davis, D. (2008).  The Courage to Heal:  A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (4th Ed).  New York, NY:  Harper & Row Publishers

Maltz, W. (2001).  The Sexual Healing Journey:  A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse.  New York, NY:  HarperCollins Publishers Inc

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