When I was a teenager, it was forbidden for me to have a boyfriend. I had no contact with boys. Now, after my divorce, and after some sexual experiences with men I’ve been friendly with, I find I feel just like a teenager when I’m with a man. I think there is some thing wrong with me because now I am 40 but I don’t feel like an adult in this case. Can you help me?
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I think so. You may have an inaccurate idea about what it means to be ‘mature’. We don’t all mature at the same rate. Even within people, different domains of experience and talent mature at different rates. I see this most acutely when dealing with recovering adult drug addicts who started their addictions when they were children. It is a classic observation to note that this sort of recovering addict, while chronologically adult, is emotionally immature (often about as mature as the age they were when they started using drugs). Recovery for these addicts involves not only achieving a lasting sobriety, but also becoming more socially and emotionally mature. In your case it was overly protective parents and not addiction that has created your difficulty. You were kept from having childhood exposure to your sexuality and different men, and it is only now in your adulthood that you are getting the chance to experiement with your sexuality in a way that many other people might have done as a teenager. It seems very normal to me that you would feel awkward and ‘immature’ in dealing with your sexuality under such circumstances. But just because you are feeling awkward, doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. On the contrary, I’d say you are on the right track. So, don’t be so hard on yourself please. There isn’t anything wrong with you that experience won’t help you recover from.