What comes to mind as soon as you hear the word sexuality…?
Is it the differentiation between gay, straight, bisexual and everything inbetween?
Well my proverbial scholar lets take a trek into the murky waters where shame and sexuality lie, but tread carefully, you could quite easily be eaten up by the green eyed judgemental monster.
Lets start with good old wikipedia…
Their definition of the word sexuality is,
The way people experience and express themselves sexually. This involves biological, erotic, physical, or spiritual feelings and behaviours.
So in short it can be described as everything you are, from not only an ego standpoint, but also a human genetic standpoint.
Basically sexuality is such a broad term that it is more of a blanket word that covers so many different aspects, and I want to specifically break down certain parts of sexuality that I have experienced, and areas that I am hugely passionate about.
Now shame is something that we all have internalised at one point or more in our lives, and I am no different.
From a very early age I was brought up as a Jehovahs Witness, There are a lot of positive loving lessons i’ve learnt that have been due to this part of my childhood and I am by no means bashing this religion, but I would like to just share some of my feelings surrounding shame around masturbation and why growing up I struggled.
For the majority of my life I have always felt like a child whose parents told him to ‘stop touching your willy’ it felt like I was disgusting, seedy and later on in life weird and obsessed.
One of my earliest memories was when I was in middle school so I must of been maybe 11, and one of the kids in my class who was openly interested in boys used to sit next to me in my music class.
I can’t remember exactly how the conversation started but it was something along the lines of ‘do you wank?’
This was about the age that the surge of testosterone was now beginning to flood my body.
Of course I felt embarrassed and told him no.
He said to me ‘you can come round mine after school and I can show you how to?!’
Due to fear, shame and embarrassment I never took him up on the offer.
1 thing that sticks out in my mind about that conversation though was just how accepting of himself he was at such an early age.
I have a few other of these ‘experiences’ that go further than just a few embarrassing words but ironically writing a blog about shame is bringing up feelings around shame…
Don’t you worry though, I have made a promise to myself to ‘bare all’ over the course of the next 12 months.
Shame can be so crippling because its not only our own feelings of humiliation, but it’s even more so our fear of becoming an outcast.
Masturbation made me feel like I was doing something naughty, and one to two seconds after that moment of ejaculation, I was flooded with all these thoughts of i’m bad, I shouldn’t of done that, why do I keep doing this? why can’t I stop? am I normal? The only tool I had in my toolbox to deal with all these feelings was to internalise them and stuff them so far down in the hope that they never came up again.
Of course they come up again, that’s what unhealed trauma does, it’s there to protect us from a perceived danger.
That danger for me, was that I wouldn’t be loved and I would not only hurt and upset Jehovah but i’d bring shame and disappointment to my mum (my dad wasn’t a jehovahs witness) which as a young lad was something that terrified me.
As I went through my teenage years I closed myself off to any sexual experience I could of engaged in and instead chose to continue being the little boy who shut himself away.
Many religions see masturbation as a sin, Jehovahs witnesses see masturbation as an unlcean mentally and emotionally defiling serious sin of fornication, now imagine what that conditioning can do to a pre-pubescent child.
Shame can show up anywhere and as we continue to trudge on I want to take a look at society as a global collective and how we as sexual human beings are shamed for our sexuality.
The rise of personal explicit sexual content platforms such as onlyfans. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s basically a monthly subscription service where individuals or couples upload content (photos or videos) and put them out to the public for a low cost price ranging between £5-£10 a month.
I recently saw a post on my social media newsfeed where a girl (no judgement towards her on my part here) had stated her views about this particular platform, and how degrading and disgusting this type of thing is and girls who choose to do this need to learn a little self respect.
There were a lot of comments with the same views as this girl, but as I scrolled further down the comments, I read far too many from young lads saying that these girls are slags, and plenty of other words their mother would wash their mouths out for uttering.
The irony in this is the fact that these lads, i’m pretty certain choose, and enjoy watching porn probably on a daily basis, and are more than happy to make use of the free wanking material available online,
BUT… as soon as a girl wants to make money from it, then they need to be shunned and ridiculed, hmm…
Now I wonder how many of them girls who were commenting derogatory things on that post are the same girls that HATE the gender inequality when it comes to sex inparticular,
Girls are slags if they sleep about yet men are studs and deserve a high five.
Truth is those people that took the moral high ground, and decided to look down their noses, have also got some form of unhealed trauma that is triggered by people that fully embrace their sexuality, which is definitely something that is a humanitarian crisis that only further disconnects us from eachother.
Now lets say you like the thought of setting up one of these platforms, or lets say you choose to fulfil your desires through things such as underground sex dungeons or swinging clubs, however out there or vanilla they are, would you be ashamed if your boss/clients found out?
You know the whole notion of ‘I wouldn’t get a tattoo there think about how employers would view it’ again this is just another opportunity for you to stuff that sexuality so far down that you to can join teenage me in becoming the dirty little child hiding yourself in your bedroom.
As were etching closer to the promise land where we can all live in harmonious nakedness, a place where body shaming no longer exists and love and sex are part of our every day life where we roll around in the endless fields of beautiful flowers…
Wait, sorry that was the 60’s or what i’ve been accustomed to believe, oh how I wish I could of experienced that decade.
Now this might possibly be the most feared grim reaperesque of all…
Embracing and owning our sexuality in the face of our family and partner.
Now why is this a piece of the puzzle that no matter what way you try to turn it just doesn’t seem to fit.
From a very early age we have learnt what things we need to do, or be, to get attention/approval, but more importantly love (or our perception of what us getting their love looks like)
It could be achieving a good grade at school,
It could be doing well at sports day,
It could be getting into your parents preferred university,
Or it could be as little as something like sleeping well through the night regularly,
No matter what it is we have learnt that certain actions, achievements or successes gain us positive reinforcements.
Now this inherently makes every single one of us a people pleaser to varying extents.
This positive reinforcement continues through to your adult life with job or career roles, positive intimate relationships, and moving in to your first house.
Now what if you have done and become everything you feel you should and the rewards from family in the form of approval and love have been precedent, but you suddenly have the realisation that you are actually living someone elses life, and not the life you have chosen for yourself…
you begin to fantasise about possibilities of a new life, a life that lights you up and turns you on, a life that doesn’t see you go to uni but instead sees you owning your own business, a life that doesn’t see you in a ‘secure marriage’ but instead sees you enjoying exploring your sexual desires with multiple consensual partners, a life that doesn’t see you in a nice home with a garage and financed car but instead sees you travelling the world living life on your terms…
How do you unbecome the person you have shown your family you are, and become the person you actually want to be without the fear of losing their approval and love?!
Now what about (this was something that I suffered with and caused a lot of hurt because of) you don’t give yourself permission to embrace your sexual curiosity, and you have allowed fear and shame to consume you and you’re now in a relationship thinking to yourself ‘I have never experienced this, I have never given myself the opportunity to see if I like that’ and as each day passes you become more and more engulfed with this feeling of curiosity, shame, guilt and fear.
You don’t want to hurt your partner because you love them, you even wish that you didn’t have these fantasies and desires because now you’re having thoughts of infidelity, these toxic thoughts are only heightening the feelings of fear thinking of your life without your partner that you have created together.
Now i’m not here to judge you could say it would be a case of the pot calling the kettle black but I prefer to look at it like this…
I have invested the last 3 years deep diving into the areas where I hold the most fear and shame around…
I have slayed many dragons but I have also got badly burnt in the meantime.
I have had judgement from ‘friends’
I have had judgement from family,
and I have even had judgement from people that don’t even know me, but what i’ve also had is an amazing relationship come to fruition, a couple of very close friendships become even closer but more importantly I have dropped so much emotional baggage i’ve been carrying round and can categorically state that my life, confidence and sex life have improved more than I could of imagined.
I’m not hear to tell you it’s all going to be rainbows and unicorns in fact quite the opposite BUT the reward far outweighs any judgement you may endure.
What i’ve learnt is shame is actually fear of loss, we fear losing those people that are close to us all the while are more than comfortable with losing ourselves, now that is lifes biggest paradox.
If your religion has you carrying so much shame is it a religion that serves you?
If your job, social circles or community shun you for embracing your sexuality then are the cons outweighing the pros?
If your family judge you for removing the mask and showing up as your true self then do you want to allow them to control anymore of your life?
If your mariage/relationship isn’t open to growth and freedom to become the best version of yourself then is it the right one for you?
There are many different options available but my advice to you is DO NOT allow your true self to hide in the shadows any longer.
If you want to gain more insights in to how you can start embracing your sexuality more, I highly recommend one of my favourite podcasts which is True sex and wild love created by Whitney Miller and Wednesday Martin who are doing amazing things regarding sexuality and relationships.