Sexuality And Shame

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.

SHAME…

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.

But…

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,

The…

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…

My sexuality.

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.

Addicted To Struggle

The dust has settled and the reality of the last 12 months of struggle has been a topic of discussion for the little people that live in my head.

As I sit here in my new fixed abode, my princess castle as I prefer to call it, I am flooded with feelings of gratitude,

To go from having nothing (my own perception of having nothing back then) to now have everything falling in to place for me just cements the fact that everything happens in our lives for us, and always gives us an amazing opportunity to learn.

I’ve learnt so much over the last 12 months and I just like to share with you 3 of my toughest moments that i’m genuinely so grateful I went through;

  1. I was in a really vicious cycle of getting off my head (alcohol and cocaine fuelled) and driving back to the gym early hours of the morning. Well this one night I was incredibly intoxicated even by my standards and I left the club, obviously have no recollection of this got into my car and drove back to my gym/home. I woke up the next morning about 9am fully clothed in the back of my car. It took me a few seconds to realise where the hell I was and then I began drowning in feelings of guilt, shame and fear! When you’re in such a dark place you don’t give a fuck about anything and this is where the danger lies. The rest of the day I spent beating myself up (rightly so) but desperately wanting help, unfortunately my pride and ego were still controlling me as I was struggling with my own issues of self worth so I refused to ask for help.
  2. This one taught me the biggest yet hardest lesson over the last 12 months and is the one i’m the most grateful for. I used to go to my dads one evening a week for dinner which I really enjoyed, not only was it a chance to have a nice home cooked meal each week but also because I knew I was walking in to my dads home who loves me unconditionally, something I was struggling to do for my self at the time! Around Christmas and new year time the temperature was as low as -8 and my clients will know that the gym was even colder inside than it was outside. One evening I wasn’t feeling particularly great, i’d had a shit nights sleep the night before and my stomach had been playing up all day leaving me feeling drained and frustrated. Dad had cooked a really nice dinner and after we decided to put a film on. About an hour in to the film dad had fell asleep on the sofa and as it was nearing 22:00 I decided to go ‘home’. I got up off the sofa walked to the front door and put my trainers on, just as I walked out the front door I looked back at my dad asleep on the sofa and within seconds I had tears coming down my face, I just wanted dad to say to me don’t go back to the gym it’s freezing cold, put his arm round me and say you can have the spare room for as long as you need it. I shut the door and got in to my car. When I got back to the gym I walked upstairs and laid out my bed (leather sofa with a blanket to sleep on and another blanket to cover myself with. It was so cold I couldn’t get undressed so I laid on ‘my bed’ fully clothed with my hoody, trainers and coat on. On reflection this was my lowest point not just because I could see every breath I exhaled but because I felt so ashamed for getting myself in to this position.
  3. After another cocaine and alcohol fuelled evening I made one of my most shameful mistakes i’ve ever made! This was the one that gave me the kick in the balls to really get my shit together! It’s so shameful that I can’t even go into detail about it but lets just say my words really hurt some people very close to me. I woke up the next morning devastated with myself for the things i’d said but it was then that the real work began and this opportunity to turn things around was not going to be snatched from me again by my pride and ego!

Now I’ve gave you the facts (or as many as I can possibly give you) I want to now explain to you why I am feeling so grateful and what each of these 3 experiences taught me.

  1. Even when we are in a really dark place, our self sabotaging self absorbed narcissistic behaviours can still cause potentially fatal consequences and we still have to take full responsibility and own our fuckups.
  2. No one, not your parents, your friends or your partner/s owe you anything and just because we put certain expectations on others it does not mean they are obligated to fulfil them.
  3. True love is unconditional! It has no conditions!

We are all victims of circumstance but that does NOT take away our responsibility for the actions we choose to take.

I went from being in a really shit place, to finally making the tough decision for myself to close my studio and get a job, and maybe P.t a bit on the side, but since then a whole load of doors have opened for me, and now I can truly believe that life happens for us NOT to us. things that happen in our lives are always there to teach us something so that we can get back on to our true path.

If you can see the lesson in everything ‘good’ or ‘bad’ then you will be able to see the blessing!

I’ve recently come to the realisation that a part of me is and has always been addicted to suffering, everything i’ve chose in my life has been the hard way, which is why I struggle with mediocrity. I never truly believed I can have the life of my dreams, so instead of falling in to the trap of an average life, I opted for the other extreme which is suffering, because that is something I knew I could do.

I don’t want to bore you with the psychoanalysis of my mind but what I do want to get you thinking about is a very important question I now regularly ask myself…

What is this teaching me?

If I hadn’t of stepped out my comfort zone and applied for that apprenticeship 10 years ago, I never would of experienced the amazing highs and lows in the forms I have (I still would of ended up on the same path but the route would of been different) and had the opportunity to meet the amazing teachers (all the people) that have come in and out of my life, and as I sit here at my desk in my bedroom that I love, I can hand on heart say I am mentally in the best place i’ve ever been. to have complete self belief, and confidence in who you are, is the most powerful state to be in, and if you’re currently going through something that you feel you can’t get through, just remember…

You’ve made it this far and you have the strength to keep going! Once you make it through the other side, you will feel so grateful that you went through it in the first place!

I may still be addicted to suffering, but that addiction is now what fuels me, because coupled with self belief and a vision I know wherever it takes me is exactly where i’m supposed to be!

Bring on the next 12 months of my life!!!

Self Acceptance

Part 1: The first and most important step in your journey towards self love.

So what is self acceptance?

Self acceptance is coming to a point in your life where you can physically and metaphorically look in the mirror and just say “yes, this is me” warts and all.

This takes a reasonably high level of self awareness because you have to be able to reflect on your life and the mistakes you’ve made while beginning to understand the reasons behind them.

If you can’t embrace your imperfections and fuck-ups then you have work to do,

But fear not, I will end this blog with some action steps you can take to begin to accept who you are.

Now why do so many of us struggle with self acceptance?

We are naturally emotional creatures and are hugely vulnerable to having our emotions controlled either by our subjective thoughts or even something as trivial as having to queue for a few minutes at the supermarket.

Just like anything in life responsibility is paramount and we have to take full responsibility for who we are and the things we’ve done wrong. For some people this can be the hardest part, all you narcissists out there are not ready to come crashing back down to earth and admit that they’ve ever been in the wrong so will live in denial and deflect all responsibility while seeking to point blame in someone else’s direction.

This can be a hard pill to swallow if you have overpowering narcissistic tendencies but what I want to throw into the mix now is insecurities…

Every single one of us has insecurities but some people let their insecurities control the majority of their lives,

Let me explain…

You’re in a relationship and your partner is getting ready to go out for a night with the lads/the girls, (wouldn’t want to be sexist to either of the TWO genders we have in the world ;)) you start to get a sudden sick feeling in your stomach as a result of your insecurity being triggered. This feels horrible to you but instead of being a mature adult and communicating with your partner openly you start ‘acting up,’ you know, how a 3 year old toddler does when they don’t know how to express themselves. You ignore your partner, go quiet and begin to sulk…

Now what someone who has got to that mirror stage of self acceptance will do is,

Feel the emotion and the sick feeling in their stomach, take responsibility for the fact that they are feeling insecure, accept that it is THEIR issue and either,

Option 1: Choose not to speak about it just before your partner goes out, say how amazing they look and that you hope they have a good night and promise yourself you’ll speak about how you feel tomorrow.

Option 2. Say to your partner “you look amazing, I sometimes wonder what I done to deserve you” you have given them a genuine compliment and also outlined the fact that sometimes you feel insecure which opens the door for your partner to reassure you.

Another very common insecurity is hating parts of your body,

Your mummy tummy,

Your beer belly,

Your double chin,

Cellulite on the back of your legs,

And this can have a huge negative impact on not only your own emotional well being but also your relationship.

Now someone who hasn’t reached the self acceptance stage in their life yet will wear clothes to hide their body, make excuses as to why they don’t want to go out, stop having sex with their partner, refuse to do anything about how they are feeling and look to blame.

Now someone who has reached the self acceptance stage in their life will take responsibility for how they feel about themselves and take the first step towards exercising regularly, embrace going out because they know that will improve their social confidence and speak to their partner about wanting to reignite their physical relationship.

Now you can see and possibly relate to how difficult it is to earn self acceptance, because it takes looking at all the things you want to change about who you are and instead of spiralling in to a self pitying mindset full of excuses, resentment and blame you use these things as motivation and inspiration to take action steps in becoming better, better than you were yesterday.

As always I want to reiterate the fact that I had to put a lot of work in over the years to earn this level of self acceptance I now have, it’s not something that you just have, the same as a confident person isn’t born confident they have to earn it.

So why is self acceptance the most important step towards self love?

In a nutshell, before you can address something first you have to recognise it’s there.

You are imperfect,

You have flaws,

You fuck up,

YOU ARE HUMAN!

My top 3 tips to achieve self acceptance:

  1. Exercise, particularly weight training because as you see and feel your body getting stronger this will massively boost your confidence and have a huge positive impact on your mental strength.

2. Set yourself goals, start off with goals that are smaller and easier to achieve and this will begin to open your eyes to what you’re capable of when you put the work in.

3. Journal, this is hugely beneficial. Buy yourself a little book, I like spending a few quid on one that looks a bit pretty (princess, I know) so you actually take a bit of pride in it, and at the end of each day write down how your day was in regards to your emotions, what triggered certain ones and reflect on why then finish it with writing down 1 thing that you’re grateful for, ending your day in gratitude is reaffirming the positives you have in your life.

Self acceptance is like a muscle, if you don’t train it then you will lose it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts and any tips you have for accepting yourself so please do get in touch :)!