Sex and shame should not co-exist, but in our society, we find they often go hand in hand. Being a sexual being is not shameful, and shouldn’t be a taboo topic. I hope by exposing topics that make sex shameful, we are able to create a new narrative around allowing positivity to replace shame.
Sexual shame can impact our confidence, intimacy, and building relationships with sex, partners, and our self-pleasure.
So where does sexual shame that impacts nearly every aspect of our life actually come from?
Sexual shame can be sourced from various things including the oppression of our sexual beings, victim-blaming of sexually abused people, and condemnation of believed impurity.
Oppression & Sexual Abuse
I have worked with many clients over the years who have felt sexually oppressed from various sources. Sexual oppression and sexual shame are extremely common with people who have experienced sexual abuse. Many victims feel shame because they believe they are bad, unworthy, or damaged. Some people may even experience a desire to disappear or hide because they feel very ashamed.
My goal with each client is to help them find healing. There are various techniques that can aid in this healing. Telling your story, journaling, working through the mental and emotional blocks sexual abuse has created, and mindfulness are all ways to release the sexual shame people carry and find healing. I always advise those with trauma in their past that are new to mindfulness to be cautious. It is extremely important to work with a trained professional when working on mindfulness with trauma, as it can be triggering and difficult when first starting.
As those who have experienced sexual abuse find healing, they are able to release the shame they’ve carried. Through coaching my clients, I have personally witnessed extraordinary healing and a profound acceptance of their sexual being. Sexual shame is not something those who have experienced trauma have to live with, healing can be found, and embracing your sexual being is possible!
Religion & Sex-education
I have also found that sexual shame can be sourced from religion and the emphasis that sex is a sin. The Emergence of Human Emotions describes shame as “A self-conscious emotion that requires the cognitive ability to have a sense of self and evaluate one’s behavior against a standard.” Religion commonly teaches that sexual relations should be saved for marriage, or that pleasure is to be experienced exclusively with your partner. In essence, going against the religious “standard” of sexual purity, one is sinning and no longer pure in the eyes of the perceived God. This narrative is where shame is created.
Shame can come from the type of sex education received growing up, whether it was taught formally or informally. For example, how did the parents/guardians talk about sex? Did they allow their child to ask questions openly, or was it a taboo topic? The type of societal influences they allow their child access to can also impact their perspective on sexual shame. Our environment growing up is one of the main factors to how we view our sexual beings as adults.
My goal with all of my clients is to help them see that each individual is a beautiful, sexy, and sexual being. Everyone deserves a healthy view of themselves, and those they have relationships with. I hope you can find safety in expressing your sexuality and heal the shame that has encumbered so many people. So my friend, embrace your sexy self, build your confidence, and remember sex is not shameful!