Patricia says, “My husband went to heaven three years ago. We had sex 1-3 times a day. I want that again, but I’m not married.” Read more to find out what Josh Spurlock, Counselor & Sex Therapist, says about grieving the loss of your lover when you lose your spouse, navigating sexual desire as a widow, and how to lean on trusted friends in your life as you grieve.
About the Author
Josh Spurlock, MA, LPC, CST is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Sex Therapists with over 10,000 hours of clinical experience. Josh specializes in Marriage Counseling and Sex Therapy. You can schedule an appointment with Josh for online counseling.
(Transcript is generated by a software and may have discrepancies from the video.)
Welcome to MyCounselor Online. I’m Tori, and this is Asking for a Friend. In this video, we’re sitting down with Sex Therapist Josh Spurlock to talk about grieving the marriage relationship after loss, both physically and emotionally. Stay tuned.
Josh Spurlock on Grieving the Loss of Your Lover when You Lose a Spouse
That’s a hard place to be in. I appreciate you sharing the question. With all of the individuals that I work with that are grieving the loss of a spouse, this is always part of the dialogue that we have.
It’s not really talked about a whole lot within the Church, or in other Grief Share groups; That reality that in the loss of our spouse, not only have we lost a companion, partner, and co-parent, but we’ve also lost our lover. We lost the person whom we share that part of our life with, hold hands with, snuggle with, share our sexual excitement with, and look forward to date night with.
That loss is a really significant part of our life and a real hole that it leaves behind for us.
And so, I appreciate you raising the question, and saying, “Hey, I didn’t stop being a sexual creature because I lost my spouse. I still have desire and that longing for closeness, connection, and sexual release. What do I do with this part of my life now?”
How to Navigate Sexual Desire As a Widow
I’m assuming within the context of the question that there’s a shared belief that sex is for marriage, and that you don’t just want to start hooking up with individuals to have someone to hold and have that closeness with, but still have that longing and desire. So how do you steward and manage that?
Know that you’re not alone, even though there may not be any grief cards or pastors from the church asking, “How’s it going not having a sexual partner anymore?” That may not be part of the dialogue of concern that they are showing for you, but know that you’re not alone.
Lean on Trusted Friends
Everybody that’s going through the loss of a spouse has to grieve this as part of the grief process. So we want to treat this as grief, and acknowledge the validity of it for sure. And we want to practically think through, what do I do with that? The answer varies depending on your convictions around the matter; different people have different thoughts about what is an acceptable expression of sexuality as a single person. Some individuals say lots of working out and burning through that sexual energy with cold showers and working out, and caring for your heart in terms of the relationships within your life. Which, that piece should always be present; you need companionship and connection, and even with the opposite sex.
It’s okay to lean into a father, a safe friend, or a family friend, just say, Hey, I need a hug from time to time. I need that physical touch and physical affection that all of us have a need for.” When we lose a spouse, we don’t get touched anymore, and there can be a hole there. And so, it’s totally valid for you to seek that out from other safe individuals that God has put in your life.
What to Do With Sexual Tension as a Widow
In terms of the sexual tension, some Christians will say that you should release that energy through exercise or other kinds of exertion. Other Christians don’t see anything in the Scriptures that would prevent giving yourself an orgasm to release that sexual tension. It depends on your convictions and your understanding of the Scriptures. But regardless of how you navigate that with your convictions, you do have a need for caring for that part of your heart, in your relationships and in your life. And if the Lord brings along someone else to fill that space, that’s really important and really valid.
Yeah, absolutely. There’s so many layers to grief, especially when you’re talking about someone who was such a huge part of your life and your heart. And you’re so right, it’s not talked about much, and I think it’s important to talk about. Patricia, you’re starting the conversation, and that’s awesome.
Josh Spurlock on Talking to Others Who Are Grieving
Yeah, and hopefully you have some sort of a grief share community, where you can engage with people that are with you along the way. If you talk to others and you’re the brave soul who breaches the topic, then I think you’ll find that there’s others that have walked that road, that have that same kind of battle, navigating, “What do I do with this part of myself that I no longer have someone to share it with?”
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