Sober Sex

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Better Sex without Tina

Tina Sex can be the most amazing sex we’ve ever had, in terms of piggy-ness, being nasty, feeling liberated, wild and unconditionally accepted by your self and others also using Tina. At the same time, Tina sex can be emotionally empty, cold, leave your needs for intimacy unfulfilled. Tina sex and the associated crash in Dopamine can induce deep feels of shame, and low self-worth.

If we are using Tina to cope with physical and psychological pain, perhaps due to changes in our HIV status, Viral Load, or body shape, we can find that this pain is intensified once we crash and feel even worse.

When the thrill of Tina sex is outweighed by the negatives, and we want to make a change, how do we make the transition from Tina sex to sober sex? This section comes from the work and success of many guys who have walked this path before you.

While it is not easy, and can be extremely challenging, many before you have made this transition to a happy, satisfying sex life without Tina. It takes a lot of perseverance and support but other guys have done it, and you can too.

Sex without Tina will be different. At first, some of these differences may seem like negatives, but in the long run, the positives outweigh the negatives. You already know this if you have made the decision – this is what we want after all! You want to go back to the way sex used to be for you before Tina. Know that sex can be even better after Tina.

To start, be aware that even reading and thinking about sex and Tina can induce urges to use. Please make use of supports and some of the tools on this site, to help cope with cravings and stress while making changes.

Explore New Ways of Experiencing Intimacy

Many of us have an intimacy deficit when we reduce our Tina use. It can feel like we are going from extreme intimacy to nothing at all. It’s important to begin building a healthy in-between. At first, we may be wary of sex with a partner of any kind, yet we still need to be touched, held, and to feel the energy and reassurance that human contact provides. Many guys find massage to be a great way of meeting that need. Non-sexual hugging, cuddling and touch can be very nurturing. A benefit of sex without Tina is that over time we slow down and develop more profound, fulfilling and even spiritual emotional intimacy.

When we are ready, we can consciously reintroduce our more animal sexual energy. Combining this with our new or reclaimed expanded experience of intimacy lays the foundation for what some of us experience as better sex.

What We can Expect & What We Can Do About

Be Gentle with Yourself

You might be conditioned to an extreme level of intensity and focus on and during sex. Your brain and dick may be hard-wired for Tina. You may have reinforced sex combined with Tina to the point that whenever you think of sex, you think of using.

The task before you is to de-link these strong connections between Tina and sex in your mind. Know that during this journey, you are likely to over-emphasise your sense of failure when you have slips. Avoid beating yourself for slips, and for using slips as excuses to start using all over again. Be gentle with yourself. This will take some time. Know that it might be 2 steps forward, 1 step back for the first few months.

Set Small Goals, Step-by-Step

Some of us feel so disgusted with ourselves after a big Tina binge, that we are highly motivated to big life-changes. These times are good windows of opportunity – and take them. However, focus on just one day at a time, and on smaller goals like cutting back problem activities, and building success in small steps. Don’t get yourself into a panic with promises of getting to 100% abstinence, only to find that you have freaked yourself out into too big a change.


With regular Tina use, we become conditioned to need fast, quick fixes now. Moving away from Tina is a change that takes time and ongoing commitment. Know that it does get better, and that others have done this before you.

Explore Trigger Causes

We experience a stressful situation and immediately feel horny, depressed, sorry for ourselves, lonely, and overwhelmed. Many guys find it helpful to begin to sort out and map out triggers. When you begin to feel a craving, Distract yourself, using ACCEPTS or some other distraction until the crest of the trigger pases. When it does, think ahead about the cause of the trigger. What do you think induced it? Writing this question down and its answer can be helpful.

Play the Tape Forward

Think about the problem behaviour you get into once a trigger activates an urge. Do you jump onto the internet for a marathon bate session that then leads to cruising on Bareback RT that then leads to a Tina session? “Play the tape forward”. Where does this train take you? Play it forward passed the PnP Play session. Where does this train take you as you crash? After the crash? The days after?

Address the Function of your Use

What function does Tina play for you? To cope with loneliness? To satisfy an identity you have as a hedonist? To feel pleasurable physical sensations? Because you want a lover and don’t know how to get one? Write out 5-10 functions your use serves, 5-10 needs it addresses.

What are some other activities you can do instead of using Tina to meet these needs? Start to make lists of activities other than Tina use that can help you cope with loneliness, help you feel good about being a hedonist, give you physical pleasure, take you a step closer to being more ready for a lover…

Put this list of Goals somewhere you can see them regularly, like on your fridge or near your computer, especially if that is your portal to using.


It’s a reality for many of us, especially at the early stages. Our social habits, networks and activities may all be associated with Tina sex, or otherwise unsupportive of the changes we are trying to make. Anticipate loneliness. Develop a list of other options to address social needs:Join an interest group

  • Join an interest group
  • Sign up for a new gym/gym class
  • Attend discussions at the library
  • Volunteer with a social organisation
  • Join a cause, or board of an organisation you want to endorse
  • Get a bike and bike around
  • Attend a spiritual gathering, church service, or meditation group
  • Take continuing education or culinary classes

Fill your schedule in so that your problem trigger times are blocked off with commitments and alternate activities. Try to pair your Tina sex-replacement activities with things that satisfy, even in some small way, the same function that Tina was providing you with. Was Tina giving you a thrill? Explore activities that give you a sense of thrill. Did Tina help you feel wild? Go on an outdoor adventure.


In the beginning stages of change, it is easy to focus on what you’ve lost. You may miss Tina sex (or having sex at all). This is common and actually necessary. It’s part of a grief process. Acknowledging that you are grieving, and let yourself feel sad, without descending into self-pity or “poor me” thinking. Stay focused on what you are gaining by reducing or eliminating Tina. Track the cumulative small successes you might experience each week. Remind yourself that cutting back Tina use can induce depression and your sad thoughts may be due to withdrawal.

Get Support

Many guys benefit from talking about what they are going through, with a friend, partner, an individual therapist, with a support group, or a combination of any of these. For help with professional services available in Toronto please refer to our Resource Guide.

Developing a new sexual life

Sex without Tina is going to be different. It can even be better: this comes from guys based on real experience. In working towards sex without Tina, start with small, short-term goals and build on them over time. For help with goal setting you may want to refer to our Tools section. There is no right way to achieve goals but here are some strategies other have found useful:

First Steps

Avoid high-risk places and people

Identify people, places and situations that put you at risk for using again and avoid them. Stay away from places and situations that you associate with Tina sex: online cruising, parks, bars, clubs, bathhouses, sex parties, etc. Many guys find a need to eliminate or curtail their interaction with friends, fuck buddies, and guys they used to use with. It’s necessary to cut off contact with dealers and eliminate ways of contacting them or having them contact you.

Remove Using/Sexual Reminders from Home

This may include dildos, DVDs, and porn. Ditch the drug paraphernalia: throw out or give to a friend for safekeeping. Know that new items (e.g. new porn or sex toys) will be easier to enjoy because they won’t be associated with Tina.

Delete your internet sex/cruising accounts and porn images

You’ll be less likely to be triggered if you’re not receiving emails for hook-ups. You’ll be less likely to hook-up if it takes longer to set up the whole account again. Some guys find it helpful to remove porn images from their hard drive. You may not have to destroy your collection, but you will need to make it very difficult to access if it has been an active part of your sex life with Tina.

Next Steps

Nurture Your Body

You may have neglected your body and overall health while you were using. Now is an excellent time to engage in physical activity, practice healthy eating and catch up on your sleep. Physical activity releases endorphins that reduce stress and make you feel better. Some of us have learned about nutritional supplementation to augment deficiencies and conditions caused by our Tina use. Rebuilding lean muscle mass may also be helpful. Taking better care of your physical body improves emotional and mental health as well.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

When you were high, your limits may have extended beyond what you were truly comfortable with. Define what your limits are now and maintain these boundaries, knowing that you can always revisit them in the future. If you haven’t kept had a recent STI test, now is a good time to get checked up and treat any infections, symptomatic or not, that you may be dealing with.

Help Your Brain Recover

The Tina dopamine rush is extreme; the withdrawal can be also. It takes months for our brain chemistry to re-establish itself. Consult your physician or psychiatrist about anti-depressants to help with this. If you’re currently taking anti-depressants, it’s especially important not to miss doses at this time.

In addition to helping balance your brain chemistry, you can speed up the healing process and feel better in the short-term by cultivating ways to generate the release of the brain’s own endorphins. Guys achieve this in a variety of ways: meditation, massage and exercise being the most reliable ones.

Jerking Off & Bate Sessions

It especially important not to have an orgasm while thinking about Tina. When you do, you powerfully reinforce the thing you are trying to change. Pairing any behaviour with a highly pleasurable reward like orgasm, is a strong way to condition a response, and reinforce an already conditioned response.

Getting to sex without Tina takes time and lots of patience. Some guys have had to abstain from jerking off altogether for a period of months if jerking off makes you automatically think of using. Some guys have found it helpful to spend time masturbating for long periods of time (Bate sessions) as a way to temporarily avoid hooking up for Tina sex. If you do this, make use of new porn, not tied to Tina use.

Most of us have achieved sex without Tina by sometimes indulging the fantasy of using, and other times repressing it. The more consistent you are about reinforcing a new association of sex without thinking about Tina, the faster your progress will be.

No one does this perfectly or without considerable determination. The good news is the longer you don’t use, the easier this becomes, until you no longer associate sex with Tina.

Sex with partners

The best approach for most guys is to be cautious. In the early stages of moving away from Tina, many single guys find it easier to refrain from having sex with partners temporarily. If we’re hooking up, it’s extra important to screen partners carefully. Some guys find it much easier to play with guys who are into sober sex only.

Guys in a relationship also make adjustments. Some guys chose to refrain from sex. Others negotiate different sexual patterns. For example, planning for sex rather than spontaneous encounters – if your patterns of use were heavily oriented towards spontaneous encounters, can be helpful.