I can’t even begin to count the amount of women I have worked with over the past 20 years who have experienced sexual shame. The difficulty in identifying sexual Shame is that it manifests differently for everyone that experiences it. Some people can’t create sexual fantasies in their mind. Other people can’t orgasm through sex or masturbation. Some women can’t get wet, while others can’t stay present during sex.
Sexual Shame is one of the biggest topics that most people remain silent on out of embarrassment, insecurity, and guilt. When people experience Shame regarding their sexual preferences, desires, needs, or wants it increases their overall Shame, It also increases that sense of disconnection. Many women spend decades experiences the ramifications of sexual Shame.
In my experience, many people are unintentionally Shamed in regard to their sexual issues. Part of this is because human experiences rarely match the myths that are in the world today. Some of the many myths out the re include: men always have a higher sex drive than women, women aren’t supposed to enjoy sex, women don’t have sexual fantasies, men think about sex more often than women do, and women don’t like casual sex as much as men do. All of these thoughts are inaccurate and untrue.
When we’ve experienced long-term Shame around our sexuality, many women experience the following issues: a lack of being able to ask for what they want or need sexually, a lack of being able to orgasm, a lack of being able to stay present, a lack of ability to enjoy sexual interaction, and a lack of overall pleasure. Sexual Shame comes from many sources, albeit most of them are unintentional and unknowingly contributing to the Shame we experience. Those sources include: Parents, teachers, media, school, friends, peers, and legislatures.
The problem with Shame is that we don’t talk about normal Shame because it’s uncomfortable and for many of us even hearing the word Shame is very triggering. I could spend days upon days talking about how the Shame begins and how it’s perpetuated. However, I suspect it’s a better use of my time (and yours) to begin outlying a way to heal those Shame issues. My suggestions include:
Give Yourself Permission To Experience Pleasure: When we give ourselves permission and even encourage ourselves to experience pleasure things begin to change for us. Many times we have bought into the belief that we don’t deserve to experience pleasure or aren’t good enough to have pleasure, and those beliefs are not helping you. Many of the clients I work with benefit from using the affirmations, “I know I am worthy of experiencing sexual pleasure in my life.” Find an affirmation, use EFT, use hypnosis and give yourself permission to have pleasure.
Increase Your Sexual Pleasure Confidence: I’m going to be really honest with you for a moment. The first time you experience sexual pleasure (especially after having that stuff locked down so tight) it can be terrifying. Know that going in and prepare for it. Have a partner who you can talk to about the potential for this intense reaction. After wards, I encourage you to reflect on the massive power associated with your sexual pleasure. FEEL that power and that release. Commit to it and keep repeating it until you are extremely confident.
Eliminate Archaic And Outdated Beliefs: This one may require more work on your part. It’s crucial that you begin to explore which beliefs you hold around sex, sexuality, and pleasure, that are serving you compared to those that are harming you. When we are constantly reinforcing that we don’t deserve to have good sex, it’s going to be next to impossible to experience good sex. When we carry beliefs such as "women don’t orgasm", we are going to experience massive blocks to orgasming. Identifying which beliefs are not supporting your desires is a crucial part in making change.
Normalize Your Needs, Wants, and Desires: I’m at a point in my life where very little shocks me anymore. I talk to the clients I work with regularly about the importance of identifying their sexual needs, wants, and desires. Once we begin to understand and recognize those, I think the natural next step is to normalize them. This goes hand in hand with eliminating archaic and outdated beliefs. If you long to have sex with someone of the same gender, and you hold beliefs that you will go to hell for that; perhaps it’s time to replace the thought of going to hell with a positive and supportive thought. If you long to have consensual sex with more than one person ,I want you to know that’s okay and it happens ALL THE TIME!
Communicate Those Needs, Wants, and Desires To Safe People: When I’m working with people to teach them Shame Resilience, one of the concepts we often talk about is that not everyone deserves to hear your Shame stories. A very similar belief resides here as well. Not everyone deserves to hear your sexual needs, wants, and desires. I would hope that the people you are engaging with sexually are worthy of hearing these things, but that’s not always a given. I encourage my clients to test the waters and confirm to themselves that the people they are sharing with are safe and healthy people to share these intimate details with. Begin communicating slowly and openly and go from there.
Explore Your Desires: I want to give you permission to create a very rich and appealing fantasy life. Part of how we grow, heal, change, and evolve is by exploring what we enjoy and what we don’t enjoy. I’m always going to encourage you to make sure everyone involved has consented a hundred percent, but beyond that play and experiment! Figure out what you really like and what you don’t like! And know that you don’t owe an explanation to anyone. This category reminds me of that young adult who hates carrots. When pressed for a time he tried carrots, it turns out he has never consumed them. Upon trying the carrots it turns out he loves them. Many things cannot be ruled out as a pleasure until we have either tried them or considered them.
I’m a big fan of living a Shame Free life! I think when we commit to developing Shame Resilience, at some point we are going to be bound to apply it to our sex life. Many of us are still living under the rules and obligations that it’s not okay to talk about sex or pleasure. Those things could not be farther from the truth. If you want a safe and private place to go to talk about sex or other personal things consider joining here: https://www.jennbovee.com/living-out-loud/
Jenn Bovee is a Shame Busting Coach who is teach people all over the world about how to develop Shame Resilience. She begins with teaching people how to implement Self-Care and Self-love and allowing them to step into the life of their fantasies. Learn more about Jenn here: https://www.jennbovee.com/take-action/