I Felt Like a Terrified Virgin Having Sex Sober

I had drank hardcore for 15 years of my life -- from the age of 19 to 34. Because of my age, the younger years of my drinking I was incapable of making decisions based around adult consensual sexual relationships. Add to that the extreme amount of alcohol I was putting in my system, there was really no quality conscious decisions made at all in regards to who I was having sex with, why, when, where and even if I really wanted to participate.

At first alcohol seemed to please me and in turn whomever my partner for the moment was going to be. I was uninhibited, I was eager to do what they requested and be ravished myself. I felt beautiful, sexy, confident and wanted. I was in such a state of euphoria from the alcohol alone that none of my flaws and imperfections mattered to me. Lights on? Sure, game on! I had no focus on my cellulite, my breasts that had started sagging from birthing a child, or the weight I had gained from drinking. I enjoyed sex and I felt desired by everyone. I was a rock star in the sheets and a lady in the streets.

Little did I know at the time what was really happening with me. I had severe intimacy issues from two abusive relationships -- one physical and one emotional. I didn't know how to show affection or receive it, so I did it by not only striving to be someone that I wasn't by trying to be the women the man wanted -- but I was also trying to feel valuable and worthy. The tragic side of this is the fact on many of these occasions I was not a willing participant -- I was too drunk to stop it or even be conscious for it. I'm sure some of the men didn't even know at the time what they were doing to me emotionally and I'm sure some didn't even care to think twice about it. There were times I would wake up out of a slumber only to see the a man getting dressed and ready to abandon ship and I didn't even have a recollection of what had happened.

I realized in hindsight, all along I was just looking for love, for validation that I was worthy, and a relationship where I had a man that understood me. I was looking for that entirely in the wrong ways. There were so many one night stands that I actually thought the man would call the next day. That the man would actually be able to see through me and what I was so desperately in need of -- how could he? How could he see the true me when I never showed it or even knew myself! Instead, when those calls didn't come I went into deeper self-loathing which in turn made me drink more and start the pattern all over again and all too soon. The pain started to run deeper and my self- worth had completely diminished. I had no respect for my body and therefore neither did anyone else. Thoughts would constantly run through my head that it all my fault.

The first time I had sex sober was when I was 6 months into sobriety and I was absolutely terrified! This was not a one night stand but a relationship and he was patient with me when I refused to have sex until a month into seeing him. This was my "trial" relationship. I like to call it that because although it only lasted 2 years, I had some good practice at not only sober sex, but learning to trust enough to allow someone to even put their hands on the vessel that carries this beautiful soul. It was hard work, it was embarrassing. I felt vulnerable, unattractive and I had to work on getting rid of feeling dirty and used up. The first time we had sex I cried. He was gentle, compassionate and patient -- something I was not accustomed to at all. I am now close to eight years sober and I can tell you I am still working on intimacy issues.

I am now almost eight years into my sobriety and married to an incredibly patient, understanding, compassionate man who doesn't mind that I have to stay in control in regards to my body and sex. I have grown leaps and bounds with my intimacy issues because of his understanding and by me making sure my boundaries are respected. I give myself permission to heal in my own time and to not pressure myself to be someone I am not in bed. By doing this, it just happened -- incredible, amazing, euphoric sex with my husband.

My life matters. My body matters. What my soul needs and desires matters. My emotions matters. I will continue to love myself enough to continue to respect myself and set healthy boundaries.