The truth about sexual pleasure after divorce?
Shakina Cooley, a psychologist and sexpert, explores the truth about sexual pleasure and positivity after divorce in this guest post.
While divorce is fairly common and no longer as taboo as it once was, navigating these dating streets after your divorce is final can be a bit overwhelming. You may be wondering what it will be like when or if you ever decide to finally explore a sexual relationship with someone new. As someone who has been there, I got you. Let’s talk about a few things that may be on your mind surrounding your new found freedom especially as it pertains to sexual pleasure.
It’s totally normal to feel intimidated and overwhelmed at the thought of having sex with someone new after having sex with the same person for a prolonged period of time. In your marriage, you got to really know your partner, you learned what they liked, what they didn’t like, what turned them on, and what turned them off. Becoming acquainted with someone new means not only being naked, literally and figuratively, in front of someone new, but it means now learning all the details of what makes for a mutually satisfying sexual relationship with them
You are not wrong for desiring sex. Desiring sex is totally natural. Sex is a part of life, you are not wrong for wanting to experience sex. You are not wrong for wanting to feel desired by someone other than your ex. You do, however, want to be cautious of this as it can potentially lead you to situations that may bring may harm than good. Sometimes, in the pursuit of attention, we end up engaging in behaviors we normally would not and end up in harm’s way. You do not want to seek out sex in place of taking the time to heal your heart so that you aren’t confusing a sexual relationship for a romantic one. Which leads me to my next point...
There is absolutely nothing wrong with casual sex, so long as you are in a place to let it be just that. Casual sex, contrary to popular belief, can be a healthy thing. You should, of course, protect yourself against STI’s always, so be sure to get yourself tested and be sure that you or your partner wears a condom. Casual sex can be healthy in that this is a way of helping you explore not only your sexual freedom, but your sexual pleasure. Truth is, after divorce, many of us who have dealt with sexual repression are less likely to deal with more of the same. Maybe you aren’t yet ready for a commitment, but want to engage in sex. Let no one shame you for this! As long as you are upfront and honest with yourself and your partner about what you truly want and you are careful, do you, boo!
Masturbation is very healthy and beneficial. So many women grew up filled with shame around their bodies and pleasuring them that masturbation has been turned into some type of disgusting, desperate act when nothing could be further from the truth. When you masturbate, you explore your body while also gaining knowledge about your own sexual pleasure which, by the way, helps in making you a better lover. When you gain knowledge about what you like and don’t like when it comes to sexual pleasure, you’re better able to let your partner know these things which makes for better sexual experiences. It may take some time to get used to the idea of masturbating if you, like me, grew up believing it to be wrong and something “good girls” just don’t do. You are not wrong, bad, desperate, nasty, etc if you decide to touch and pleasure yourself. Your body is beautiful and you are so deserving of pleasure whether that pleasure comes from a partner or yourself.
It’s a chance to reinvent yourself sexually. Maybe you were taught that sex was all about pleasing your partner or maybe you learned that sex went “more smoothly” if you just accepted whatever your partner wanted to do without speaking up about your desires. Perhaps you endured years of sex positions you were fond of or surpressed fantasies you had for fear of being judged by your partner. Well, you now have a chance to change that. Your new partner will not be aware of any of the things you endured in your marriage which means you have the chance to change the narrative surrounding your sexual experience. Want to try new positions? Do it! Have a fantasy you want to act out? Go for it! Don’t like that position? Let your new partner know!
There is no magical amount of time that’ll make you ready for a new partner. I know you may be wondering if you’ve been out of the game for too long or if, perhaps, you haven’t waited long enough, but the truth is, there is no set amount of time you have to wait before engaging in sex with someone new. This all depends on you. You may be ready for sex with a new partner after a month. You may be ready after a year. You may not be ready until three years. No matter the length of time it takes, it only matters if it feels right for you. No one can tell you when that “should” be and please let no one shame you into thinking your decision to wait... or not is the “wrong” one. Each of our journeys are different. My journey will not look like yours nor will yours look like mine, but that does not make either of them wrong. Sure, there are recommendations for “the best” lengths of time to wait, but recommendations are just that, recommendations. Regardless of that, no one knows you and what feels right to you better than, well, you.
The most important thing you can do before entering a new sexual relationship is to be sure that you’ve taken time for you. Sex can confuse things. You want to be sure that you’ve taken the time to heal your wounds and also to make sure you’re comfortable with you. If you don’t feel ready for a relationship and you know sex will only complicate things for you, wait. If you were in an abusive marriage that took a toll on your self esteem, seek help to get your self esteem back. If you’re not sure how you really feel about sex with someone else, take time to really examine your feeling surrounding that and govern yourself accordingly. Remember that it’s not selfish to take the time you need to ensure you’re ready. Also remember that this is not a race and even if your ex has already moved on to the next, that doesn’t mean you should.
Although it may initially feel like it, divorce is not the end. It does not mean death to you, your life or your sex life. Life does go on and it really can be better after divorce, sexual pleasure included.
About the Author
Written by Shakina Cooley.
Shakina earned her Bachelor's degree from the University of Mississippi where she double majored in English and Psychology. She is the mother of two very active little boys, an entrepreneur, the founder of In The Aftermath, LLC, a blogger, a Bedroom Kandi consultant and a relationship and sexuality coach. After dealing with a divorce and feeling she was all alone, she decided to go into coaching. In order to further assist recently divorced and separated women, she founded In The Aftermath, LLC in 2018. Shakina has been sharing her insight on sex and relationships for over 9 years. She has been featured in SwagHer Magazine, Press Play Lifestyle Podcast, Caregiving Circus Podcast, and was a recurring guest on a local nightly radio show.
Shakina offers a number of different sets of coaching for those in need of relationship coaching, sexual health coaching, and those dealing with life after divorce, and we encourage you to speak with her if you would like to, and to check out her website shakinacooley.com.
You can also follow her on Instagram at @shakinatalkssex.