Updated: Feb 18
Most people associate grievers with asexuality. So when grievers do start to feel sexual, they often instantly start to shame or stigmatize themselves. They may associate sexual thoughts and urges with betrayal to their partners who have just passed away (or perhaps they passed away a long time ago).
When I ask them, "What would you want for your beloved one, if you had died first?" 99% of the time, they'd say, "Don't be a hermit, go out again," "I'd want you to be happy"...
Ideally, if these grievers can get permission from their partners when they are alive to explore sexuality without their partners, it'd be a huge relief... I wonder if it would be helpful to include a "grief agreement" in our relationship agreement.
Most of my clients are young. When I coached these young clients on how to establish a relationship agreement, they all gave a weird look when I mentioned the "grieving" agreement. Some of my older clients appreciate this suggestion, but they struggle to bring it up with their partners.
Well, each relationship is different, and it's hard to find a universally right way to grieve.
Here are some ways that most of my grieving clients felt comfortable adopting. Feel free to use them or share them with others:
Sexual shame (no matter how old you are) is normal, and it happens to most grievers.
If you had died first, you may want your partner to be happy.
Process the bad memories. Perhaps start a special grief/trauma journal.
Create a ritual to honor the good memories you and your beloved partner had (including those fun and pleasurable sexual experiences). Perhaps start a special love memory journal.
Allow new pleasurable memories (including sexual memories) when you're ready with yourself or other people in your life.
It may or may not be helpful to date other grievers, as they may understand your experience better, and make space for your partner's "spirit" to be a part of your new relationship.