Many recovery programs recommend abstaining from all forms of orgasm while you recover from porn addiction – that includes having sex. At DeepClean, we do not uphold that stance (with one exception). I have tremendous value for that approach, but we have a few very specific reasons that we choose a different way to handle the recovery process.
For starters, I want to be clear that I am talking to married people primarily (or those of you who intend to be married one day), because I believe that sex is for marriage. If you are unmarried (single, dating, or engaged) then I believe that abstaining from sex should be part of your recovery.
I am also fully aware that many Christian couples are not waiting to have sex today, and if you are in that camp, you should still read this article.
The basic mindset around avoiding sex during recovery is that your brain and body need a reset. Your body has become addicted to the orgasm – the climax of a sexual experience. So if you want to rewire your body, then it is better to deprive it of any sexual release at all, rather than simply removing porn, masturbation, etc while still allowing sex itself. If you allow sex during recovery, then how is your brain going to properly rewire?
I totally get this line of thinking, and I can understand why there are professionals who choose this approach. The general rule of thumb is about 90 days of pure abstinence from all PMO (porn, masturbation, orgasm) before reintroducing sex (if applicable).
We have different goals at DeepClean. Yes, we want men to heal from porn addiction, but we are especially interested in reprogramming their frameworks for healthy intimacy. Porn is fast-food intimacy, and masturbation can be too. Healing from a porn addiction means finding healthier and godlier ways to experience intimacy.
On the other hand, sex is designed by God and truly the only human experience that legitimately satisfies our God-given sexual needs. So I believe that while avoiding porn and masturbation is important, if you are married I think having healthy, godly sex could be a fantastic part of recovery.
I can hear the women's caution. "So I just have to give him sex whenever he wants it so that he doesn't go watch porn or masturbate?"
Absolutely not. The goal here is healthy intimacy on an emotional, psychological, spiritual and of course, physical level. The first pillar of the DeepClean recovery process is emotional well-being because we know that if men become emotionally healthy, they will make better decisions in their relationships. That might mean that the man begins to emotionally connect with his wife more regularly, and that might mean more sex. But the point is that he is learning to foster intimacy in a healthy way, healing from his addiction to porn in the process.
Personally I think having sex is fine while you are recovering, so long as it is experienced with the goal of healthy, intimate connection.
Cheering you on,
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