Fawcett, David Michael. “Lust, Men, and Meth: A Gay Man’s Guide to Sex and Recovery”, SFL Center for Counseling and Therapy, Inc., 2015.
Sex and Recovery
Dr. Michael Fawcett gives us a deep and intense look at gay men who struggle with sex and recovery and at the professionals who work them. Here we have essential information on the problems of drugs and sexuality as well as solutions and tools for those who support them. The book is a blend of therapeutic perspectives of addiction and sex therapy. There are also case studies included from which Dr. Fawcett has integrated the most useful concepts and tools. Additionally, detailed case studies will assist clinicians who, in Dr. Fawcett’s many trainings for professionals, have asked for material on substance use, identity, and sexuality in gay-identified men. These insights and tools will be helpful not only in the early stages of sobriety, but for an individual’s continuing personal evolution of recovery as well.
The book is divided into three sections. In the first part, “The Perfect Storm,” we see how, through the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters, methamphetamine has phenomenal power to change one’s mood and entice the user to use increasing amounts of the drug. We read of the excitement that the uses experiences as well as the risk of becoming too dependent. We learn of the vulnerabilities of some gay men who turn to meth because they feel that they are unattractive, left out and/or disconnected and so they use the drug to alleviate those feelings. There seems to be an unfortunate intersection of meth, the gay community, and the rise of dangerous health concerns such as HIV/AIDS.
In the second part, “Exploring the Sexual Universe,” we read about a sex therapist’s perspective on sexual desire and how eroticism develops in the brain along with an elaborate world of sexual templates, scripts, and themes that methamphetamine penetrates and distorts. In the this section we also learn of the discoveries of neurobiology and the direct impact of the brain that comes about because of the combination of sex and meth. Dopamine is the central player here. It is interesting to read how drug use influences sexual desire. Fawcett shows the brain’s ability to change and adapt in response to compulsive behaviors and it is here that we learn about consequences of drug use and get clues about recovery.
The third and final section “Restoring Your Life” looks at the process of recovery from the drug and does so in detail. We have chapters on specific skills derived “from thousands of hours working with clients, managing of feelings, and rethinking perspectives on sex”. Increased distance from the drug and from the emotions of vulnerability, anxiety, or shame, that were once buried by meth use, now can be used to give direction to emotional transformations and influence sexual and emotional life. We see how relationships are rebuilt. Here we become very aware of meth abuse in the LGBT community and see that there is hope for recovery.