The phrase, "sex with self" seems a little ambiguous to me - a lawyer who specializes in sobriety. When I joined SA, I understood those three words to mean "masturbation", which was admittedly a major manifestation of my dis-ease. So, in early recovery, "no sex with self" meant "no masturbation". All well and good.
Another major manifestation of my dis-ease was strip clubs. I could go to a strip club and check out of life and lust for hours and never touch myself sexually. Would this now be sober for me in SA? There was a time that the lawyer in me wanted to bring this to the Supreme Court and argue that I never touched myself, so I was "technically" sober.
My sponsor, who once did a lot of cross-dressing, asked me if he would be sober if he cross-dressed all day but never orgasmed. Well, I spotted insanity in that idea immediately. I'm skilled at taking other people's inventory but seem to lack the ability to take my own. So, it's easy for me to point out that his behavior is not sober, but difficult to see my own insane behavior as not sober. This is why I cannot recover on my own - I need a fellowship and sponsor who can point out my insanity. God works through them.
Over the years in SA I have come to realize that lusting and acting out have absolutely nothing to do with orgasm. To be honest, when I was acting out the orgasm was the worst part because my HIGH was over. My high lives in the ritual of lusting. The place my addiction wants to live is from the moment the lust intrigue enters my mind to the moment of orgasm. In my addictive state, that time could span a couple minutes to a week or even more. The planning of acting out, the scripting and researching my episode was my place to be - the dark world of absolute lust.
So, it is very important in my recovery to talk bluntly with my sponsor about my lusting and behaviors. My sobriety is not about following some "technical" description, it's about the "spirit" of the rule.
Masturbating, spending time at a strip club, surfing porn, seeking sexually intriguing images, hanging out in parks hoping for a sexual glimpse or holding sexually explicit discussions are all just ways of exciting myself. They all take me into the lust zone where my addiction wants me to live.
The most important part about all this is telling my sponsor and others about my stinkin' thinkin' - letting my lawyer state my case to a sober member rather than to the courtroom in my head. If I keep it to myself I will rationalize my behaviours. But when I state my case out loud, I can usually hear the craziness and my sponsor or recovery friend will often say, "Really? You think this is a good idea??!"