This month in celebration of Independence Day, I started thinking about all the freedoms we have, the freedoms many don’t and how freedom is related to this idea of independence. What I realized is that while some of us are blessed with freedom in many forms, sexual freedom seems quite elusive— if that’s a freedom we pursue at all.
Sexual co-dependency is crippling us and many of us suffer with this condition without even realizing it.
According to Dr. Darlene Lancer, JD, MFT at PsychCentral:
Codependency is characterized by a person belonging to a dysfunctional, one-sided relationship where one person relies on the other for meeting nearly all of their emotional and self-esteem needs. It also describes a relationship that enables another person to maintain their irresponsible, addictive, or underachieving behavior.
Although the term “co-dependency” originally applied to spouses of people suffering with addition (like alcoholism, substance abuse, etc.) and/or other pathological conditions, researchers discovered that the characteristics of codependents were much more prevalent in the general population than had previously imagined. In fact, studies show that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill parent, you could also be codependent.
Codependents often over-function in relationships with others and under-function in their relationship with themselves. So when we talk about “sexual co-dependence,” codependents often neglect their own sexual pleasure and/or rely solely on their partners for sexual fulfillment. Researchers studying habits of codependence also found that codependent symptoms got worse if left untreated.
Here are 3 questions to ask yourself to identify your level of sexual independence:
Do you feel comfortable/confident saying “No” to sexual intimacy when you don’t want it?
Does your sexual pleasure matter as much as your partner’s?
Does sex end when you are both satisfied rather than when your partner is finished?
If you answered “No” to any of the questions above, you may be sexually co-dependent.
What is Sexual Independence?
Contrary to popular belief, sexual liberation doesn’t just mean having sex with anyone and everyone if that’s what you choose. In this Hello Giggles article writer Tiffany Curtis explains,
“Sexual liberation comes in many forms. Choosing not to have sex—for whatever reason—is also a way to exercise your sexual freedom.”
Sexual independence means having confidence in your sexuality and your sensual self. Freeing yourself from the opinions of others and living according to your own standards is what sexual liberation looks like to me.
What’s sexual independence to you?
Check out our new online course: Sensual Self-Care 101: Activating Your Sensual Self to learn more and get support in discovering your sensual self and paving your own path to sexual freedom!