Transforming Sexual Shame
Written by Martina Hughes
As an intimacy coach, I see many men and women battle with sexual shame and how it can cause conflict in relationships, diminished desire and shut down the full expression of who they are.
Recently I presented to a group of over 50 women and was reminded of how deeply impactful sexual shame is on women’s lives.
For women, shame can arise in the form of shame about body shape and size, shame for their desires, shame for past experiences, shame about not being able to orgasm, and shame for not feeling sexual.
Men also experience shame about their body shape and size, their sexual experience or lack of, their performance sexually, and for having desire/a lack of desire. I have heard men describe feeling shame simply because they have a penis, and in today’s world, that is enough for people to assume they are guilty of wrongdoing.
The underlying energy of shame is one of feeling “not good enough” or “there’s something wrong with me.”
The impact of this diminishes confidence and esteem - not only in relationships and sexual experiences, but in life generally.
Diminished confidence and esteem can present as someone who feels withdrawn, repressed and unable to speak up for themselves.
It can also present as someone who is overly talkative, pushing and striving forward in everything they do.
Whilst these two energies might seem like opposites, the common factor is the missing connection to a deep sense of self. It is the energy of overriding one’s own internal navigation system and not being connected to the natural impulses that rise and fall in one’s own body and being.
Sexual shame can show up as crippling anxiety, low self-worth, depression, inability to have lasting relationships, using sex for validation, being an overachiever, always being busy and distracted, and judging others/being righteous.
What can you do with Sexual Shame?
• Become aware of its existence and its effect on your life
• Take a look at the origins of shame in your life. Writing a sexual autobiography can be a helpful tool
• Slow down sexually - with yourself and partner/s - to discover what causes your body to open and what causes your body to contract
• Seek emotional support to process emotions that are trapped with the shame
• Be supported to discover what your unique expression of sexual aliveness feels like - this can be with a partner, with the guidance of a mentor or within sex positive workshop spaces
When sexual shame has been addressed, it’s possible to experience a whole new quality of love, freedom and aliveness.
Couples can reinvent their relationship, and singles can discover new relationships that are much more suitable.
Sexual intimacy deepens, emotional intimacy deepens and there is so much more joy, presence, sensitivity, magnetism, depth and openness.
It will feel like a whole new world of possibilities has opened up.
With Love, Martina
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