The Night I Was Finally Victorious Over Shame

The night I was finally victorious over shame

Gayboy, homo, fag, poof these are just some of the words that are thrown about to either take the piss out of someone in the form of ‘banter’ or are used to offend someone in regards to their sexuality.

As a young lad growing up, that is the last thing you would want to be called, because not only is it an attempt to emasculate you based on what other young lads think a man is, and should be, but also because growing up and learning about yourself while your hormones are all over the place is hard, especially when you too think you have to be a certain way to be a man.

3 years ago when I was in a very dark place and using drink and coke to block out my reality, I would often get back home to my gym (where I lived for over a year) in the early hours, highly intoxicated and with no chance of getting any sleep for a good few hours, and I begin scrolling through the darkest corners of the internet trying to find some porn that satisfied the urge. I would often spend literally hours watching and trying to find the ‘right one’.

Having grown up with a very skewed view on sex due to religion, like anything that you try to supress, it will always come with consequences.

The biggest consequence for me was living with an immense amount of shame and this has negatively impacted some of the decisions I’ve made.

One night after scrolling for hours and just not being able to find what I was looking for I began toying with the idea of typing ‘amateur gay masturbation’ in pornhubs search bar.

I can remember my heart pounding and feeling like I was doing something shameful and disgusting, probably because I was far from sober though my curiosity and intrigue ‘got the better of me’ and I ended up going down the rabbit hole.

Once I’d sobered up I would spend the majority of the day beating myself up, and telling myself I will never look at that stuff again while convincing myself it was just because of the alcohol and drugs in my body.

Almost 18 months ago I crossed paths with someone who very quickly became an important person in my life. The nights out I was having and the attempts to block out my current reality became less and less and I began envisioning a different reality, a reality where I was no longer a victim and instead would see myself as someone who brings a lot to other peoples lives, but I was also very aware that I still had a lot of work to do to even allow myself to start having feelings for someone.

After my last train wreck of a relationship I didn’t want to take any toxicity into a new relationship because it would only create the same results.

If I don’t change and improve, why would my next relationship?!

The less time I spent going out and the more time I looked inside myself I really began to like who Dan was, and spending time in Dans head was actually becoming a nice place to be.

Me and Charis started spending more time with eachother and May of 2019 something had changed inside me, I knew I could bring something to a relationship and I knew that I was ready to ‘try on’ this new and improved Dan in the form of a committed relationship.

The proposal wasn’t earth shatteringly romantic but we both just knew that this was the right time.

I made a promise to myself that I would allow myself to be seen in this relationship, something I have always fantasised about is being in a relationship and knowing that I can just be myself, no manipulation, or trying to portray a version of myself that I think is more lovable, just showing up as my true self.

One thing that I love about our relationship is the deep conversations we have and how we allow eachother that space to be vulnerable and seen.

A few months ago we went for lunch in one of our favourite places (painters café) and I felt an energy that was kind of drawing me in. We hadn’t really spoke much for the first 10-15 minutes and what came next left me just wanting to squeeze Charis as hard as I could, you know that urge you get to squeeze a kitten or a puppy because you feel overwhelmed with love in that moment.

Charis nervously started a conversation about porn. She went on to say that she watched something the other day that made her instantly feel ashamed and really sad. At this point I was unsure what she was going to say and I could feel butterflies in my stomach…

“I watched lesbian porn and after I felt so guilty and I started crying because I didn’t want to hurt you”

“That is so strange that you say that because lastnight I watched gay porn and I felt the same, I was ashamed and worried that it would hurt you” I replied.

We just looked into eachothers eyes and all I could feel was an immense amount of love for her, the fact that in that moment we were so aligned but fearing the hurt it might possibly bring to the other person.

We went on to speak about both of us maybe exploring these specific avenues and the logistics of it, in that moment I felt so loved and supported with an area of my life I’d struggled with for years.

Both of our fears were the complete opposite of the truth, and by Charis opening up and being vulnerable, she indirectly gave me permission to open up and be vulnerable.

Now the scene has been set, I want to share something with you that previously, as you can tell, I would have been terrified of anyone finding out.

So before I share this with you I want you to understand my reasoning for being so open about this.

The majority of my life has been filled with shame around sex, I’ve often wished that I just had a ‘normal’ sexuality where nothing was to far from the mainstream ideology surrounding sex, I’ve even considered the possibility of having some form of sex addiction, none of which sat well with me so that left me with 1 alternative…

Embrace my sexuality and enjoy it, because after all, if our genitals were purely for procreation purposes then sex wouldn’t be pleasurable.

A few weeks ago on a night out I ended up engaging in sexual activity with another man. Now this didn’t go as I had hoped, partly due to how nervous I was, but also because I couldn’t help but judge myself which resulted in the experience being more of a little ‘teenage fumble’. In that very moment I wanted some reassurance from Charis because I was scared that she might now see me differently to the point where I felt sick to my stomach, so many feelings were coming up for me and I was struggling to rationalise everything.

When I got home I laid on my bed trying to make sense of everything, all I could think of was although I knew I am in a relationship where we can both sit in uncomfortable emotions and have open conversations, how the fuck do I tell her that I have gave myself permission to experience something that still even to this day carries a lot of stigma.

I began thinking,

What if she actually can’t handle this and doesn’t support me,

What if this rocks the boat so much that I feel judged and I can’t deal with it,

How do I have a conversation I have NEVER had before?!

I spent the whole of Sunday at Charis’s with this stirring of mixed emotions inside me, half of me felt proud and empowered, and the other half felt scared in case this side of me was potentially unlovable in this relationship.

Monday morning upon waking I was feeling a completely different emotion…

Excitement, I was so excited to have this amazing opportunity to be truly seen and whatever the outcome I knew I was doing the best for me, something I have very rarely done. You may think of this as selfish and I would have to agree with you, but this is what I’ve learnt about relationships… if you share things truthfully and honestly with your partner based on what you actually want for yourself and your relationship, and your partner acts differently towards you, judges you, or takes it so personally that your relationship begins to experience toxicity that you can’t get through, then atleast you know that the relationship you are in isn’t going to be a relationship that will facilitate self growth and therefore means it will have a very short shelf life.

Relationships aren’t meant to be shackles holding you down but act more as wings to lift you to new heights propelled with unconditional support and love.

The conversation began as we were in the car driving towards Colchester… I started it by saying, “I’ve got something I really want to tell you but I’m a little unsure how you are going to take this” “ok I’m scared now” replied Charis nervously. Telling her about everything that happened Saturday night I really tried not to have any expectations of the outcome but instead just give her all the information, no manipulation, no lies, just the 100% honest truth.

The last bit of the journey was fairly quiet to be honest, I don’t think either of us really knew what to say or even whether to say anything at all.

We parked up and went to the closest coffee shop so we could sit down and speak abit more but this time face to face. I told her how hard it was for me to go ahead and actually act on these thoughts ‘that night’ and my biggest fear being that she would think differently of me. She told me that, of course it hurts to hear that you have been with someone else but I just want you to know I love you and support you.

Over the next few days we had some really tough conversations, but they really enabled us the opportunity to learn things about eachother and more importantly ourselves. I would say that we communicate reasonably well and are open and honest but we’ve learnt that our communication skills are an area we need to focus on a lot more.

We are still working through this and setting clear boundaries when it comes to us both exploring our curiosities surrounding our sexuality, and how we can support eachother fully because I don’t want my fears or insecurities to stop Charis from experiencing all the pleasure she wants because after all we only get one life and I have no right to tell her what she can and can’t do with her own body.

The person I want to be is the person that is able to metaphorically high five Charis when she tells me how much fun she had doing x,y and z, and when I get to that point I know I will be living in a state of love and NOT fear.

I’m still learning to love who I truly am and that only comes with giving myself permission to be truly seen. I’ve already had a bit of backlash which indirectly has affected Charis, no one wants to see their partner being ridiculed or judged, but the thing is, I have done so much to get to this point and although sharing this now as openly and honestly as I am does still bring up feelings of ‘what will people think of me’ I feel I have a duty, not only to myself, but also every other person who is carrying around a suitcase full of shame around, and if by me opening up and talking about things gives someone else that bit of courage to open up, then little by little we all begin to allow eachother to step into who we truly are, NOT who we think we are meant to be.

P.s I am so full of gratitude for my life and everything in my life right now, I have an amazing girlfriend, I have a family that love me, I have a handful of very close friends and I have the opportunity to help people on a daily basis

Live your life unapologetically you!

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.