Sober sex. Not something I ever used to give much thought to. For me it was practically unthinkable to be having sex without getting drunk, high or both first even the following morning I would likely be feeling the effects still. But when I gave up drugs and alcohol last year about a month in my current booty call appeared and I suddenly realised that we were about to have sober sex.
Well, I was.
Sobriety isn’t something I really started to think about until I’d lived it. Before I would wake up with a hangover or a come down and think I was sober. Or maybe I would have one glass of wine, a few tokes on a spliff; still sober right? But when I had gone without anything for a whole year, then I really knew what it felt like to be completely sober, substance free, hangover free and acting purely of my own volition.
So when the booty call, who shall remain nameless, came round I was nervous because I was going to have to chat, flirt, seduce and ultimately have sex with someone that I don’t think I’d even met sober. It was fine. Functional. It didn’t last in fact I think that was the last time we slept together. But it did get me thinking; how often do we actually have sober sex?
Looking back nearly all of my sexual encounters have been partnered with drink, drugs or both. It’s kind of how I learnt. Drunken teenage fumbles outside of a scout hut hosting someones sixteenth birthday party eventually lead to the losing of ones virginity. Dating is made more comfortable with alcohol, a socially accepted drug so intertwined into our every day habits that we don’t even notice it anymore until we stop, that is. Sex is more intense with cocaine or MDMA, throwing focus on our sensual feelings making us more malleable more horny and more likely to take our pants off. And the aftermath is far easier to live with when you’re smoking some weed dulling down the effects of the other three and reducing our capacity to re-live the past twenty-four hours.
Even when we get into relationships, unless you’re a person that doesn’t regularly drink or use drugs which I now know do exist, it’s likely that at least one of the pair has relaxed with some sort of stimulant pre-coitus. Then what about after sex? The old stereotype of smoking a cigarette immediately after is another one frequently portrayed in films and TV. Was the sex so good that we have to have a cigarette afterwards to calm down? Or so bad that we need a nicotine rush to guide us through? Do we think it’s sexy? Or did we learn it from the movie screen, product placement from those sneaky tobacco companies?
Hang on though, I hear you cry. Morning sex! That’s sober right? Most of the time, if you’re not hungover from the night before still, it probably is, yes. And have you noticed a difference in morning sex versus midnight sex? I certainly did. Sometimes it was better, sometimes it was more like work, sometimes it would turn into full day sex…
Drugs and alcohol don’t only relax the mind they also numb the senses, some enabling us to have sex for longer, harder, faster and often with people we wouldn’t if we were sober. Does this increase pleasure or simply help us to ignore pain? Often these encounters are blurry at best, we don’t even want to remember them and wind up asking ourselves what was the point? We’ve all had our fair share of sexual accidents; friction burns, bruises, scratches, love bites in the heat of the moment. Looking back I don’t think I got any of mine when sober and only half of them were actually worth it.
However having now been tee-total for 15 months as a single person I can tell you that although sober sex is very good it can be in short supply. Yes it’s definitely better than the other kind. Orgasms are more intense and I’m learning to be more comfortable with myself sexually, sober. But I’ve definitely had sex less in this last year; not going out to bars and getting inebriated reduces the chances of waking up in someone else’s bed. People are less attractive when you can smell the booze on their breath and acting like pricks due to large quantities of whatever, destroying the fantasy immediately. I had a fear of formal dates before I stopped drinking now I’m positively terrified. Although I read lots of stories about hot yogic vegan men who don’t drink I have so far only bumped into one and yes I’m still single so that obviously went well.
There are pro’s and con’s to sober sex. The ‘pro’s’ being more connection, better orgasms and less bad decisions (I’m not an angel) and the con’s being less sex, being more aware of a lack of connection and did I mention less sex!?! However the ‘less sex’ part is mainly my own choice. When I grew out of my old lifestyle I also grew out of short-term, meaningless interactions with strangers that I only had a hangover and a carpet burn to show for. However it’s pretty easy to say that having done it all. I don’t think I would be a great advocate for living my entire life sober and almost celibate, it is only because I’ve exhausted all other options that I find myself on this path and yes it was worth it! For many in relationships sober sex is often the doorway to a more committed, long term partnership that’s moved past the first few months or years of hedonism. My problem is that I don’t have a relationship and starting one with that level of intensity can be intimidating on both sides.
Morning sex aside it does sometimes seem that we struggle to have sex at all without aids to get us in and then out of the mood. Are we so incapable of relaxing our bodies and our minds naturally that we have become accustomed to relaxing them with substances in order to help us do what is natural? I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with this it is how most people including myself live for most of our lives. However is it possible that we are missing another level of more intimate connection and pleasure through forcing our bodies into and then out of a relaxed state? Maybe that’s how some people like to keep it. Terrified of feeling something raw or real and of the consequences of connection because if you allow yourself to truly connect you are opening yourself up to getting hurt. Maybe it’s a phase that most people grow out of? A way of getting used to being intimate, a sexual crutch you eventually no longer need. Maybe we are unconsciously ashamed of ourselves, our desires and urges, and prefer to be mildly anaesthetised in order to ‘do it’?
Maybe it comes down to what you are looking for. If all you wish to achieve is a great night out with some guilt-free no strings attached sex then why not do loads of drugs, drink loads of booze and have mad sex with someone you never need to see again? All power to you. But if you are seeking a deeper more long term connection and relationship then maybe it’s time to try a new approach? It’s pretty easy with sex to assume that we have already discovered everything there is and like with anything sometimes we need to try something new in order to get something else out of it. Often it is the untried method, be that the sober method for some, that gets the best results.
Janna Fox is an actress, writer, yogi, aerialist in training and creator of many things. She started blogging for The New Establishment in February 2017 and her pieces are published every other Wednesday. Janna also contributes to sex blog Hitting the Spot. For more information please visit www.jannafox.com