The Positive Aspects of Mixed Meetings

SA Meeting Participation Statement 

“Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women [emphasis added] who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover.” (SA 201)

“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober.” (SA 209)

SA is a fellowship open to anyone who fulfills its single requirement for membership, as stated in SA’s Third Tradition. The long form of AA’s Tradition Three (AA 563) makes it clear that in the spirit of this Tradition, SA meetings will have no additional requirements for membership beyond that stated in the Tradition.

Our group experience has shown that meetings which are exclusive to men only, women only, single only, married only, same-sex attracted only, a specific religion or occupation only, etc. tend to be contrary to the SA solution. The design for recovery is the same for all. Our White Book clearly explains that,

"Considering what we are, reason might seem to indicate that we segregate to 'protect' ourselves or so that we might have greater freedom 'expressing our unique problems and concerns.' We have found the very opposite to be true: In the long run, it has proven better for us to be together." (SA 178)

When initially looking at Tradition 4,

“Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or Sexaholics Anonymous as a whole.” (SA 209)

it might appear on the surface that a men's-only group, for example, might be acting autonomously and not affecting SA as a whole. Experience shows the opposite is true. Having meetings that are exclusive to a specific group can give the wrong impression to newcomers. Let us keep our doors open to anyone and everyone who needs our help.

This spirit of inclusivity is fundamental to the identity of an SA group. Part III of our White Book contains a short but powerful essay on the importance of this principle (“Mixed Meetings,” SA 178-179 see entire excerpt below).

A group that is exclusive on the basis of gender, sexual identification, religious belief, or any other criterion seriously impairs its ability to carry the message of recovery to the still suffering sexaholic.

“I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of SA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”

Copyright © 2019 Sexaholics Anonymous. All rights reserved.


Mixed Meetings

(SA Whitebook pp 178-179)

In new groups, the question sometimes arises as to whether meetings should be mixed, with both women and men. Less frequently, questions arise about mixing those from different lifestyles or mixing singles and marrieds. It is understandable that some of us experience initial discomfort at attending mixed meetings; sexaholism is the misconnection with other bodies and spirits. For some, the objects of our lust or resentment are sitting right there next to us, and we can imbibe and get drunk without so much as batting an eyelash! (That's why we avoid inappropriate attire in meetings, out of consideration for others.)

What we tend to forget is that our drug is not really "out there" in another person, but within our own hearts and minds. It is this fact that makes our program so all encompassing, regardless of whether we're in a meeting, outside on the street, or in a closet praying. Our problem is lust, misplaced dependency, and defective attitudes. What better place to work on overcoming temptation than the sanctuary of a meeting where temptations may be present? This is where we can bring temptation to the light, talk about it, and work through it without having to lust, sexualize, or go into dependency, anger, or rebellion. The meeting is the crucible in which our recovery can be safely tested and purified.

Considering what we are, reason might seem to indicate that we segregate to "protect" ourselves or so that we might have greater freedom "expressing our unique problems and concerns." We have found the very opposite to be true: In the long run, it has proven better for us to be together. The only exception to this seems to be with those who have not surrendered lust and are still acting out in some manner. Having such persons present in meetings where they make sexual or other improper moves on members is a threat to individual recovery and group unity. If such cases arise-and there have been very few-the group should discuss the matter in a business meeting and deal with it at the group conscience level. The group learns from such experiences.

We benefit from seeing reflections of the problem and recovery from other points of view. For example, after the initial fear of having a woman member come into an all male group, men typically have testified to its value, saying they would not have it otherwise. Likewise, when women work through their fear of such a situation, they too recognize the value of meeting together. We all have the same problem. When we disclose the thoughts and intents of our hearts in surrender, we identify with one another at depth. Our common problem is not sexual at all; it is spiritual. We identify at the level of feelings: guilt, shame, remorse, loneliness, resentment, anger, rage, fear. . . . On the other hand, we are careful not to be a temptation to others in the way we talk about our sexual acting-out. As susceptible as we are to suggestion, our lust can get carried away into realms never before imagined. This is why we can quietly raise our hands if descriptions are getting too graphic or suggestive. The meeting should not be a place where our lust horizons are being broadened.

After any initial discomfort from mixed meetings, members come to see their benefit. Most people come into SA to stop lusting and become sexually sober. When we are united by this common commitment to sobriety and recovery, any uneasiness that may arise can be worked out. Such a process seems to be a necessary part of our recovery, freedom, and growth.

© 1982, 1989, 2001 SA Literature.
Reprinted with permission of SA Literature.

© 1997-2018 Sexaholics Anonymous Inc.


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