It can be hard and scary to start having sober sex. Many LGBT people use drugs and/or alcohol to cope with bad feelings they might have and this may affect their sex life. Addiction and/or trauma can also make it difficult for people to have sober sex.

Here are some tips for having sober sex:

Identify your triggers

Being in certain environments can 'trigger' your desire to take drugs and/or alcohol, so identify what that is and try and avoid it! It might be going to a certain venue, visiting a hook-up site or being alone and bored.

Explore sex on your own

Get to know your body. Spend time on your own thinking about the sort of sex you want to have, what you find pleasurable and what sex you don't want to have. Many people find that sexual activities that are pleasurable when under the influence of drugs/alcohol may not be as pleasurable when sober.

Some people find it difficult to connect with their body, we would recommend these grounding exercises.

Learn how to talk about sex

A lot of people find that it is easier to talk about sex and desire when they are under the influence. Having sober conversations about sex and intimacy can be difficult for some people.

We recommend using this quick sex checklist. It will help you understand what sort of sex you're into and how to communicate with a partner about it. You could even give it to your sexual partner to fill in too! This worksheet is inclusive of all genders.

Be kind to yourself

It can be difficult to have sober sex, especially if this is something you have rarely or never done. Accept that sex may feel different when sober and it may take some time to get used to. You might find that your sex drive increases or decreases or that certain sex acts can feel more or less pleasurable. It's also ok to ask for help if you need it.

Get help

LGBT Foundation offers a range of free and confidential services for LGBT people.

If you want help cutting down or taking control of your drug or alcohol use, please email [email protected]

Or, if you want to talk more about sex, sober sex and intimacy, please contact our Sexual Health team via their advice referral form (This service is for LGBT people of all genders).

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Call our free helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30 if you want to talk to someone.