Guinevere Gets Sober

Recovery news, reviews and stories, by Jennifer Matesa.

Tag: sexuality (page 1 of 3)

Valentine’s Day: #Sobersex Vid Series!

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Since publishing Sex in Recovery, I’ve discovered that so many sober folks want to talk about sex, but they’re scared to start because they don’t know how. We’re raised not to think about sex, much less even talk about it, and to hide our experiments in this rich, healthy world of desire and pleasure. The culture bequeaths us the crazy-ass paradox that sex is dirty and that we should save it for the one we love.

I’ve talked with dozens of sober people about sex, and Lara (pictured above) is enthusiastic, sensible, and fun! My new #sobersex video series goes live on Valentine’s Day—the day I think we should love ourselves first, give ourselves not just chocolate but also self-acceptance and commitment to discover who we are.

Secret Facebook group for women: And if you want to be part of my new secret FB group for women interested in discussing sobersex, follow my Facebook author page and shoot me a DM.

Q & A About #SoberSex.

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The Pittsburgh City Paper ran a little thing today about how I wrote my book about sex.

In case you’re doing last-minute shopping, consider Sex in Recovery as a gift for recovering folks on your list.

Author Jennifer Matesa talks about sex after getting sober

“I talked to a number of people in their late 20s and early 30s who had never had sex sober.”

Jennifer Matesa has had a lot of Skype conversations about sex, some of them lasting more than three hours. The Friendship-based author recently released Sex in Recovery: A Meeting Between the Covers (Hazelden Publishing). The 220-page nonfiction book ($15.95) includes oral histories from former substance-abusers about the impact of addiction and recovery on their sex lives, between Matesa’s own essays. It’s her second book on a related topic, after the fitness-focused The Recovering Body. She documents her own story about overcoming addiction to prescription painkillers on her blog guineveregetssober.com.

How did you find people to talk to for this book?

I’ve had a blog for six-and-a-half years, so when you have a blog that gets any amount of attention, you meet people on the blog, and they comment, or they email you, and that’s part of my network. [Another] part of my network is recovering people in the city of Pittsburgh. I just put the word out that I was doing this book, and that would lead me to people.

What was the most surprising thing someone told you?

Maria Luz, a trans woman, talked about how she had worked Santa Monica Boulevard [in Los Angeles], which is a notorious tricking place, and how she had been mentored by a drag queen to get into cars and do what guys wanted. In order to do that, she had to get drunk, and in order to live with herself afterward, she had to get wasted. Later in recovery, when she quit drinking and using, she realized …

Read more at the Pittsburgh City Paper.

On G’s Gratitude List: Men.

They’re unfathomable creatures, men. I don’t understand them (and, actually, I do).

I love most things about them: Their hair. Their skin. The fact that they’re bigger and stronger than I am, even the small ones. Their minds. Especially their voices. I love listening to men talk and sing.

Right now I’m listening to Tom Waits … he wrote this beautiful song.


Many of my feelings about men, of course, have to do with my father.

I was NOT daddy’s little girl. That was my little sister. My mother claimed me as her best friend, confidante, and ally—which might be why I think men are such incomprehensible, mysterious, unreachable, alluring beings. I originally wanted to have a girl, but I’m very, very glad I gave birth to a boy.

For most of his life Dad had a big beer-gut, and he was not hairy. (I like men with hair on their arms, their legs, their chests.) When I was growing up, I didn’t consider Dad handsome. I was kind of ashamed of the way he looked, actually, because he didn’t take care of his body.

But this is a picture of my dad in college.

Dad, senior photo, University of Pittsburgh, 1961.

(The flattop and skinny tie kill me.)

He was handsome. He was six-feet-two; he wore a size-12 shoe and a size 46-long coat. He was smart and dependable and spiritual and utterly unafraid of people, and he Read Books. He sang bass in the church choir.

Dad’s message was, “Everything will be OK.” Sometimes (especially when the Dow crashes, or when one of our kids has a real problem) my sister and I call each other and say, “Tell me what Daddy would say.”

His hugs were the best. A hug from Dad was like receiving a hug from the entire planet. Market shares could be tumbling, buildings could be burning, hurricanes could roar through and flood even uplands and when I hugged Dad, the world would be put back together and I’d be standing again on hard, dry ground.

His hands were large but finely boned, with square nails. Like a scientist.

He had blue-gray eyes. Like rain.

My son’s eyes are deep, dark Bournville brown, like my brother’s. His eyebrows are heavy and black, like Dad’s.

My son.

My son.


My son is one of a number of important men in my life. Another is Jacques, who lives in New York and has 30 years sober and who’s like a brother to me. And another is a tall geeky guy with a magnificent sense of humor, who rents out his car because he cycles everywhere within a 20-mile radius of his house. There’s yet another tall guy, with long hair and superb taste in music, whom I’ve known since the last days of post-punk. Both these tall guys are enjoying raising young women. … There’s also my son’s father, who gave our boy that dimple in his chin and who, in both his sons, has raised two good men.

I’ve learned many lessons from men that I could never have learned from women. My son has learned many things from the other men in his life that he could never have learned from me.

I’ve spent much of my life being afraid of men, as if they were bears in old-fashioned zoo cages. My mother taught me that if I trusted men, if I was nice to them, they’d eat me alive. Please Don’t Feed the Bears. My fear was actually not a fear of men but a fear of my own sexuality. One of the primary side-effects of using drugs was the depression of my sex-drive. When I was using, I didn’t look at men. On the whole, I didn’t notice other people. I was immured in my own bubble, within the curved walls of my skull.

Now that I’m sober, I notice men all the time. As a sober straight woman dedicated to honesty and integrity it’s important for me to pay attention to the fact that I have a serious attraction to these bears. Even if I don’t act on that attraction—because to act or not to act, and how to act, are choices recovery gives me—it makes life more alive.

Thank you, all you Bears, for being who you are.

#SoberSex No. 2: “My Body Woke Up.”

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Elaine on having the first sober sex of her life at age 27.

One teaser a day till my book SEX IN RECOVERY releases 10/4.

For more stories and tools to think about pleasure, touch, sex and sobriety, preorder now.

The hashtag invites y’all to share your stories. If you want to share without your name, comment anonymously here, or inbox me.

People want to talk about sex but don’t know how. This is the space.

Sex in Recovery: Advance Praise

Sex In Recovery revised 2c

The people who know their stuff are liking my new book.

Sex In Recovery is a work long overdue. In a frank, personal and highly personable way Jennifer Matesa opens a topic usually only whispered about: the essential role of sexual healing in sobriety. Many readers will be grateful to her.”—Gabor Maté M.D., author, In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters With Addiction

“In this beautifully written work, Jennifer Matesa accomplishes a herculean task. For decades, clinicians have struggled to assist patients to integrate healthy sex lives into robust recovery programs. At the same time, traditional 12 Step programs have promulgated rules that shamed and denied their members’ sexuality. Sex in Recovery resolves this disconnect. Through compelling narrative descriptions, it gives its readers a map to navigate, resolve and embrace their sexuality in its most rewarding expression.”Dr. Paul Hokemeyer, Senior clinical fellow at Caron Treatment Centers

Release date: Oct. 4. Preorder here.

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