This article was originally published on 08/09/2017. I’ve made recent a recent update towards the end of the article on 04/02/2020. I hope you find the update pertinent.
In a previous article, I proposed that we should refrain from engaging in any sexual activity with others during bereavement. I will go over the reasons why in this post.
Sex. The most primal, and vital need to the survival of our species.
After losing our loved one, it is only natural for those with even the strongest primal urges to lose all sexual desire. Or you may find yourself strangely answering the call to a relentless need for sexual pleasure, only to find yourself splattered on an empty bed, plagued by feelings of hollowness and the overwhelming urge to cry after climax.
It’s okay. These jumbled feelings are entirely normal after experiencing such a tremendous loss. It’s extremely important for us to practice non-judgmental observation (aka. Mindfulness meditation) of our strange desires, or lack thereof, at this time.
ENERGETIC EXCHANGE DURING SEX
During sex, we are not only literally “opening up” ourselves on a physical level, but are also practicing vulnerability on an energetic and emotional level. Allowing all sorts of jumbled energetic vibrations to enter our already wounded terrain.
Essentially, engaging in sexual intercourse with anyone is equivalent to allowing an open energetic, physical, and emotional exchange between you and the other party. In most cases, the vibrational exchange may be full of bliss.
But for some, the energetic exchange during sex may deliver some not so positive energy right into your womb – your most intimate space (not just physically – but also mentally, emotionally, and energetically). Especially if you’ve felt some sort of lusty attraction towards them. Or if you are seeking a temporary high in hopes that it would numb your pain of loneliness.
You will discover that some of their core wounds might be similar to yours during this energetic exchange. Attraction between two people takes place when either their core values are congruent with one another’s, or when they have similar core wounds that needs resolving.
THE EFFECTS OF TRAUMA BONDING
During grief, it will most likely be the core wounds – not the core values – that catalyzes the attraction between the both of you. It’s known as trauma bonding.
Once a relationship based upon trauma bonding has begun, it will take years of a combination of intensive cognitive, emotional, and somatic therapy to heal from. The devastating effects of a trauma bonded relationship will permeate other areas of your life and quite possibly destroy them. You do not want to get yourself stuck in that situation.
Engaging in sex during grief might give you momentary relief, a temporary high – but it will do more harm than good in the long run. For both parties involved.
So, in addition to the existing pain that you have yet to heal, you have now invited more unnecessary burden into your energetic field. Or you will have dumped your emotional garbage onto the other person, causing both of your wounds to tangle into one huge ball of energetic and emotional mess.
Doing so is just asking for impending drama and turmoil that you will have to work so hard to resolve.
EMBRACE THE GRIEVING PROCESS
Quite the opposite, I actually strongly advocate shedding the shame and guilt surrounding sex that society has taught us to believe, whether it’s sex through self-exploration, or with a partner.
Sexual bonding is not only a vital biological and emotional necessity, but can also be our portal to experiencing spiritual bliss. It is one of the highest forms of expressing love and appreciation for another human being.
I only recommend you staying away from sexual intercourse until you have tended to your wound. Don’t expect to gain some sort of empty satisfaction of the flesh at this time. Because it will be empty. And it will leave you more drained than you already are, more likely than not.
Don’t run from your pain, or from your loneliness. Instead, embrace the pain and loneliness because it is a natural part of experiencing loss, and of the grieving process. There is no need to always be “okay” or “perked up” as we’ve been conditioned by societal norms. Allow yourself the space and time to properly grieve. Only then will you be able to regain the emotional intimacy with yourself.
Read: The Healing Power of Self-Exploration
EDIT: (04/02/2020) I would like to reiterate that the purpose of this article was not to spread fear, or to create any standards by which you “should” or “shouldn’t” operate from. It [temporarily withdrawing from sexual intimacy] is something that I’ve found on my own healing journey that can be implemented to lessen the duration of the grieving process, and to avoid inflicting unnecessary emotional wounds onto yourself, or onto others.
If by any chance, you feel like you’ve taken any inappropriate actions, just remember that you’re not making any mistakes on this healing journey, everything you do brings you one step closer to complete healing, even if at the moment, it appears as if you’re taking two steps backwards.
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU’RE HEALED ENOUGH TO HAVE SEX AGAIN
You will know that you have healed to a certain degree when you are no longer looking to sex as a means to “fill the void”, to avoid unpleasant feelings, or to escape the current reality and circumstances you find yourself in. The more you practice being present with your feelings and identifying the specific emotional state you’re in, the more you will become attuned to your inner being to know whether or not you have healed enough to engage in sexual intimacy with another individual again.
But ultimately, you are in charge of your own choices, nobody can tell you what the correct decision is for yourself. If at any point, you choose to have sex during this bereavement process, don’t shame yourself on that decision. Because shaming yourself is just another way of unconsciously inflicting emotional self-harm, further adding to the healing work that needs to be done.
We should NOT perpetuate the story behind the feeling, as that would only further anchor it in place, causing the potential for us to be addicted to self-shaming. Instead, we should listen to the feeling of shame or guilt, or whatever feeling that arises and allow it to guide us. Our emotions are our most trustworthy internal GPS system – if and when a negative emotion arises after you have carried out an action, our body is telling us the action we took might not be the best for us at this point in time. Vice versa, if a positive emotion occurs (i.e. lightness, joy, fulfillment, etc.), then that would signal a green-light from your body.
A word of caution, however, when we are blinded by our biological needs and the dopamine release of “finally” having physical intimacy with another individual, our bodies may flood us with a surge of feel-good hormones. We may feel especially elated and bonded with that individual (thanks to the hormone oxytocin), however, those positive feelings may only last a few hours at most.
Pay attention to how you feel afterwards, if you feel any unpleasant emotions at all, then it might be a good-idea to cease sexual intimacy with another individual until you know you are not using sex as a means to escape from your current painful reality.
What are your thoughts on engaging in sexual intercourse during grief? Leave us a comment below to share your thoughts.