Words: Meryl Cubley
When it comes to grief there can be many fears that are experienced by those who find themselves in the middle of an emotional shit storm from hell. Usually centered on ‘correctly’ grieving, or in other words grieving as our peers or society or culture ‘expects’ us to, there can be a huge amount of pressure on people to “get over it” or to avoid talking about how you feel too often – lest you make those around you feel uncomfortable. Having an increased sex drive during such a painful time can cause added anxiety and distress, particularly as there is little in the way of resources or research in this area. When it comes to an increase in sex drive during grief it is clear that this is a topic even less discussed than grief itself.
Agonizing emotional distress still remains a taboo topic. As humans we seem unable to handle the fact that our friend or family member is experiencing such debilitating feelings. One only has to look at the fact that compassionate leave is still not a statutory right in the UK to touch the tip of this iceberg.
The people who are brave enough to discuss grief; and furthermore to talk about any increase in their sexual appetite that exists simultaneously to their feelings of loss, will often do so with a somewhat ashamed and certainly awkward demeanor; yet the need for comfort and affirmation in a times of pain is the most natural human reaction in the world.
When the rug is pulled from under your feet and the world appears to be a very dark and lonely place, sex can give you the feelings of security and courage you need in order to move forward.
Will it ‘fix’ the grief? Of course not. But sex can be an amazing healing tool from simply releasing tension and receiving pleasure gratification to the incredibly gentle lovemaking that can exist between two people that is emotionally intense and bonding. Even the briefest moments of escape from the pain of grief reaffirms life and re-establishes connections that can become strained during very difficult periods.
Sex can do many things – and healing hearts is one of them. If used in the right way, this most natural of acts can be both empowering and soothing to one’s soul. Think of the times when after sex you find yourself smiling for hours, even if everything else in your life seems to be falling apart. Making love to someone is better than using other coping mechanisms such as drugs or alcohol; and in the same way that meditation and exercise can help us to feel in the moment and therefore able to let go of the pain and negativity we may experience in life, so can sex focus the mind, body, psyche and spirit in a positive and loving way.
Being held so completely, skin to skin, lets us know we are not alone. It is sex at those times that becomes such a profound, sensual act that simply cannot be duplicated in any other way.
The man Mr. Marvin Gaye knew he was onto a good thing when he released Sexual Healing, a song that has been covered and sampled so many times since 1982, it serves as an example of the universal understanding and appreciation of the potent and therapeutic powers of sex.