Sexual shame is a real thing that most of us deal with at some point. Shame is sneaky as it can color our perception of ourselves. Shame is different than guilt. In shame YOU ARE BAD, in guilt, YOU DID A BAD THING.
Shame is more harmful than guilt because it makes you as a person bad or wrong. It can be very easy to spiral into shame with the thoughts and put downs that question you as a human. Below are a few reasons and contributing factors that create our shame around sex.
Society’s Sexual Voice
First off, the society we live in is heavy in the idea that sex is bad, wrong and dirty, however, it overwhelms us with sexual messaging. We do not grow up thinking of sex as a spiritual human experience but rather something that will harm us or create hard situations.
We are encouraged to push down and control or ignore our natural sexual urges from a young age, never allowing full expression of our sexual desires.
Religion is another huge factor in the sexual shame game. Many religions teach that sex is wrong and should not happen before marriage, if at all. Sex is also looked at as a way to procreate rather than a natural act of pleasure. So when we finally have sex, and allow ourselves to give into our sexual desires, a myriad of shame tends to come with it.
I know as a woman who was raised in a heavy Catholic beliefs, sex and shame went hand in hand. I was not allowed to think of myself as a sexual person. It was not appropriate to be a woman with sexual desires. If I was, I was considered a sin. It was the virgin/whore polarity. This was very damaging as a young woman trying to explore her individuality and place in the world.
The Need to Survive
We are bombarded with beliefs that we take on as a way of survival. As children, we are not able to question authority due to the fact that these authorities are providing us with things we need to survive, like food and shelter and love. But what we don’t realize, is that love often feels conditional. We must follow the beliefs expected of us in order to be loved.
Then, as we feel shame when we start feeling sexual, we assume we are not loveable. You are 100% lovable with all the shame and beliefs that you still struggle with.
Our bodies speak
Sexual shame keeps us out of our body as well. We become disconnected from our body because we feel shame for the urges it has. Because there is fear with the urges, we tend to want to control them. Control means disassociating from the urge all together. We can also use other distractions such as food, alcohol, drugs, harmful behaviors as ways to distract from our body and the shame we feel about it.
Most sex is a physical act. There is such a thing as energetic sex, but for the most part, sex is between the physical bodies. If we are carrying shame around sex or beliefs that it is bad, wrong or dirty, one way we fight through that is forgetting we have a body all together.
Then the shame cycle continues as we continue engaging in the behaviors that are filling the shame bucket.
To release shame you need to first find yourself. Authenticity is the antidote to shame. When you know who you truly are and can tap into that truth, you have more capacity to see shame and know it is not you.
How to get out of sexual shame:
- Get real
- Find your authentic beliefs and write them down
- Talk about the shame
- Name the shame
- Allow yourself to feel the shame but not engage in a shameful way: Run, Attack or Subdue
- Create new beliefs around sex that feel true to you
- Every time an old belief comes up, see it as a gremlin and it will die in the light of truth.
This is a huge topic and can be very scary to bring to light. However, we are living in a time that many of the shadows of society are coming to light. When this happens, it allows the opportunity to transform. Why not let our sexual shame transform too?
Remember, you are ALWAYS worth your time and attention.