No matter your relationship with it, sexuality is a big part of who we are as humans. Sex should be a source of pleasure, connection, joy, creativity, and much more.
Unfortunately, it’s often not that straightforward. Sometimes sex becomes a chore, a source of anxiety, disconnection, or you don’t have sex at all.
A lot of what causes these sexual blocks, or keeps us from enjoying our sex lives comes from shame. Sexual shame is deep-rooted and can stem from all different sources, making its way all the way to your bed.
Sexual shame can feel like this huge wall between you and your partner, or yourself. It can block you from feeling connected, and from feeling the depths of pleasure that you’re capable of.
But where does sexual shame come from, and how do you overcome it and have the sex life of your dreams? Let’s dive in!
Getting to the Root of Sexual Shame
Before you can figure out how to release sexual shame, you have to figure out where it’s coming from. These sorts of conversations and reflections can be incredibly tender, triggering, or emotional, so please be gentle with yourself.
These are some of the most common sources of sexual shame:
Our world isn’t exactly a welcoming place for different experiences of sexuality. So often society and culture instigate sexual shame, especially for cis women and people with vulvas, people in the LGBTQI+ community, and anyone who has kinks or sexual interests that deviate from the norm.
Living in a closed-minded society, or one that doesn’t understand the importance of sexual wellness can create shame about simply being who you are or being attracted to who you’re attracted to.
Religion is another aspect of culture that can lead to massive amounts of sexual shame. Many religions also inherently discourage, or outright shame sexual pleasure. Again this is even more so for the same demographics we mentioned above.
Sexual shame from religion can linger even long after you may have left the religion or changed your relationship with it.
Your family is probably influenced by your culture and/or religion, but they may have more obvious attitudes toward sexuality that were preached to you growing up.
They may have outright shamed you for certain behaviors, had harmful views towards sexuality, or didn’t talk about sex at all which can make it seem taboo. A lot of your shame may come from not wanting to disappoint or bring shame to your family.
Media is a reflection of your culture and society, and can unfortunately perpetuate shame. We’re exposed to so much media, so if you had negative programming toward sexuality at a young age, it may have made an impact.
If you’ve experienced sexual trauma or abuse, know that we are so sorry. These experiences can easily create shame around sexuality, and all sorts of other blocks. Know that you deserve to feel good, present, and safe in your body.
A huge part of releasing sexual shame is knowing how to reframe it. What are the sources of this shame? How can you take responsibility for your own sexual pleasure, while also knowing that none of that was your fault?
How can you have more grace with yourself and your process, and also prioritize joy and pleasure in your sex life?
Think of it this way: Every bit of shame that you hold, blocks you off that much more from different depths of pleasure and connection. It’s difficult to rationalize or quantify this, but once you feel it for yourself, you understand.
When you’re able to release some shame, you can feel the places you’ve blocked yourself off. Little by little, you start to experience more pleasure and more connection in the areas where shame once took up space.
Find Allies and Community
Releasing sexual shame might seem like a solo endeavor, but having allies and a community can be extremely helpful. This is especially true if you’re interested in exploring the world of kink, or if you’re LGBTQI+.
Building a community can also be crucial for people who for example, left the church and are finding themselves sexually, or who want to find allies in people who have had similar life experiences that have created sexual shame.
Get Professional Support
Friends and community aren’t the only sources of support you can get in healing your sexuality. Getting professional help can be monumental in helping you release sexual shame.
A therapist or other mental health professional can help you examine the source of your shame and reframe it if that’s difficult to do on your own. They also can offer other perspectives and give you tools that you may not have been able to find by yourself.
Any mental health professional that you feel comfortable with is a good choice, but you may want to consider seeing a sex therapist or someone who specializes in the area in which you need support.
These professionals can help release those physiological blocks so that you can feel more at home in your body and sexuality.
Tap Into Joy and Pleasure
Joy and pleasure can be antidotes to heavy feelings like shame. When you prioritize them, you take away some of the power or hold that shame has on you.
Here are some practical tips for tapping into joy and pleasure in your sex life:
- Practice habits that help you feel more sensual whether it’s dancing, picking flowers, or wearing your favorite perfume
- Work on increasing intimacy outside of the bedroom, whether or not you have a partner
- Masturbate more, you can try positive affirmations while you’re doing it like “I am worthy of pleasure” and “There is no more room for shame in my body, only joy and pleasure”.
While feeling them can be easier said than done, every little bit of extra pleasure you experience in your sex life is a cause for celebration. It can take time to fully release sexual shame, but you absolutely can. You have the power and the tools to experience the sex life that you desire and deserve.