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Ending Sexual Shame

When the topic of sex rears its head, people shy away from the discussion or sit in silence until someone else shares a personal sex story. I understand not wanting to invite the entire world into your bedroom, car, or wherever you like to get it in. But what’s the big deal with talking about sex?

Unfortunately, sex and shame are intertwined. Shame has been used as a vehicle to stop us from having fulfilling sexual lives. Most people have experienced some form of sexual shame, so you are not alone. We live in a society that tells us, directly and indirectly, that sex and sexuality is dirty and unholy. This concept can lead to self-hatred and fear.

Being silenced by sexual shame can be dangerous, however. People feel shameful and guilty when they are victims of sexual assault or abuse. Others feel ashamed by the shape and size of their genitals and bodies. Some may feel ashamed by their lack of sexual desire or their inability to experience an orgasm.

How can we put an end to sexual shame? We can start by having more open and honest conversations about sex with people we trust. If we can have those conversations, sex talk becomes more normalized, and the shame will disappear over time.

I, like many people who grew up in religious homes, was taught that sex is only for married folk. So, when I started having sexual desires as a teen, I did not know who to talk to about this without having to go through a prayer circle and being told to ask God for a “clean spirit”. This led to years of sexual shame and it’s something I had to consciously unlearn. Although I am sexually liberated now, I can only imagine how I would have been able to fully immerse in self-love at an earlier age by having open and honest conversations about sex with my parents during my developmental years. Maybe if I did not experience sexual shame, I would have told someone when I was sexually assaulted during my college years instead of suffering in silence.

Having sexual desires and acting on them with consenting adults is normal and healthy (practice safe sex!). By having open conversations about sex with sexual partners, everyone wins. You’re able to have more fulfilling sexual experiences free of shame, which will lead to more orgasms and a new level of intimacy.

So, get out there and break barriers by talking about sex. You may have sex for procreation only. Talk about it. You may have sex to experience pleasure. Talk about it. Either way, don't shame others on either end of the spectrum for the way they enjoy sex. Let’s put an end to the taboo surrounding sex and sexuality.

Share this article with friends and family to start the conversation. And let me know in the comments below if you have experienced sexual shame and how you’ve overcome it.

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