SPAA defines sobriety as: No sex with one’s self (masturbation), no sex outside of a committed relationship and no viewing of pornography.
Our experience has shown us that certain behaviors—though outside SPAA’s sobriety definition—can still give us a “hit” of our drug and often lead to the loss of our sobriety. We call these behaviors “edging.”
While engaged in edging, we once again experience our great obsession—believing the lie that we can control and enjoy these secret behaviors. Therefore, as with our acting out behaviors, we asked our higher power to remove our desire to edge.
Edging activities vary widely from member to member, but many of us identify with the following:
- Perusing social media apps and websites looking for arousing, non-pornographic images and videos (sometimes through the use of secret accounts).
- Pressuring, nagging, guilting, or shaming our committed partner into sexual activity.
- Looking in public spaces for people we find attractive, then fantasizing about them, staring at their body parts or following them around. We’ve done this on foot and from our cars.
- Flirting with others when we are already in a committed relationship—either by paying them compliments, teasing, having inappropriate/intimate conversations or “turning on the charm.”
- Creating a list of “backup” partners in case things don’t work out in our current relationship.
- Using non-pornographic media with the goal of arousal. This could include: watching movies/TV shows or sexually suggestive videos; listening to arousing audio; or reading erotic literature.
- Conveniently forgetting to mention we are already in a committed relationship when meeting a new person we find attractive.
- Fantasizing—often by replaying our past sexual escapades or pornographic images we’ve seen (sometimes while having sex with our committed partner).
- Engaging in euphoric recall. That is, to relive our past sexual experiences for the purpose of arousal while overlooking the negative consequences of those experiences.
- Driving by known acting out locations.
If you engage in any edging activities not on this list, include them in your edging definition. Discuss your edging behaviors with your sponsor—or an experienced, sober member if you do not yet have a sponsor. To stay sober, we have found that we must stop keeping secrets about all edging behaviors.
We offer this information to the newcomer so that they may learn from our experience, receive our strength, and gain hope.