Reclamation Sex – what exactly is it?

Reclamation Sex – what exactly is it? What is reclamation? Simply put, reclamation is the process of claiming something back or of reasserting a right. For example, “the reclamation of our shared history.” Reclamation sex in Affair Recovery is when the affair partner and the hurt partner engage in sex after an affair is discovered or disclosed.  As a marriage therapist and affair recovery specialist, couples come in to see if they can or want to salvage their marriage. “Should I stay or should I go” is a question the hurt partner wants desperately to know. During the initial session where both share their narratives they say they are having sex with each other despite the range of emotions from the affair. They say they have been having more sex with each other than ever before. Both feel it is an implicit message to one another that the affair will be resolved and they will get back to their normal lives. They think having a lot of sex with each other during recovery minimizes the affair partner’s behavior and repairs the problems that lead to the affair.

photo credit: Natalia Mindru Photomicona
couple exercising reclamation sex after an affair

This is far from being true. Sex is happening because the partners want to reclaim their love for each other. They want to reclaim their bodies to each other as there exists a breach in physical boundaries. The act of sex is symbolic in that they are the primary relationship and any third party is not part of union. The hurt partner may be having a lot of sex to keep the affair partner from any more contact with the “lover.” The “other woman” presents a threat to the primary relationship, and as a dog marks its territory so does do the people in affair recovery. The affair partner may be having a lot of sex to make up for the guilt and shame and to show remorse for devastating the hurt partner. Showing each other physical intimacy helps reassure any insecurities for the time being.

In affair recovery we talk about the reasons for the affair. The process helps the affair partner gain some insight to his/her behavior and why he/she went down that bad road. To be able to articulate that insight to the hurt partner while the hurt partner learns to appropriately manage their emotions is the single best indicator that prognosis will be good.

Couples therapist

Having sex with your partner after an affair is actually quite normal. There is no judgement or criticism while in affair recovery. Information gathering to obtain insight is crucial to recovery. And having sex in the meantime doesn’t necessarily mean one way or the other for the future of the relationship.

For more information about reclamation sex and affair recovery please visit my website CouplesCounselorSanDiego.com or call me at (858) 735-1139.