4 Ways To Banish Sex Guilt and Shame

I am not a sex therapist. I am a mom and a wife and a woman and a lover. My advice and opinions don’t come under the endorsement of a degree nor am I qualified to give you therapy. Unless it’s massage 🙂 But then again, this is free. So I suppose I’m doing as Principal Strickland said to Marty McFly, I’m giving you a nickel’s worth of free advice when it comes to sex. Why? Because I write back and forth with my readers and I see a lot of pain and problems and I know more of you out there suffer the same. You think it’s the way it is but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve already written about how to have better sex instantly and 5 tips to have more sex, now let me talk about the lies you believe about sex.adult-black-and-white-darkness-1161268

The point of this blog is to write to an LDS audience. That audience tends to be very conservative. You also don’t have to be Mormon to have sexual hangups. So let’s walk through this.

Every one of us believes a lie about sex. Sometimes we just choose to ignore it. I wrote about having sexual experiences early in my life. But my first experiences happened with my boyfriend later on. We never “did it”. I suppose what we did was called “heavy petting” to use the parlance of our times. We’d make out in his car whenever we had a chance. Eventually, I allowed him to sneak his hands up my shirt and feel my breasts over my bra. But soon that wasn’t enough and I let him touch my bare breasts. He was the first one to finger me and I would take out his penis and just hold it in my hand. I honestly didn’t know what to do with it. Neither did he.

At the time I was racked with guilt and shame. I felt dirty and worthless. I’d go to church and be crushed by the guilt in my soul and I knew that he was too. I felt like a slut and in the morning when I’d be getting ready I’d look at myself in the mirror and call myself a slut or a filthy whore. I’d resolve to stop but I was overrun by my passions for him. It eventually drove us apart. I had an extremely low self-image of myself. I felt like I was tainted goods. Unworthy. Used. Evil.

A year went by and I started dating other boys. I held myself “pure”. After we graduated, one night at a party things got a little out of hand with truth or dare. I ended up sitting topless in front of a group of my friends and some boy laid down on a table and pulled down his pants exposing his massive pulsing erection to us all. I can still remember every detail of it.  It was exhilarating. I was sopping wet between my legs and I had a blast at the party. But I was again consumed with guilt.

It was around this time that my former boyfriend confessed to his bishop all that we had done prior to him serving a mission. Consequently, I was hauled into my bishop’s office and forced to confess my sins. This really messed me up. I won’t discuss the pros and cons of confession right now. But it only served to make me feel evil. My boyfriend went on his mission and I stayed behind embarrassed, shamed, and sinful feeling even though I had “repented”. Why am I confessing to you my sins? Well, that’s just it isn’t it.

There are two powerful emotions guilt and shame but they are different from each other. Guilt is when we feel bad about something we have done. Shame is feeling bad about who you are. More accurately, who you think you are. I felt guilty about the acts I had done in my youth, but my own beliefs and thoughts led me to develop shame about who I was.

In Christian homes, we are taught a litany of rules growing up. We’re also taught a lot about who we are. I was taught that sex was bad. Porn was evil. Masturbation was sinful (even though I hardly knew what it was). My parents were good people but they never taught me about these things because they were embarrassed to do so. So sex was something that wasn’t talked about. Something-that-shall-not-be-named. adult-alone-black-and-white-551588

I was also taught that I was a daughter of God. I was to be chaste a pure because those were essential parts of that identity. Now I saw myself as broken. I still saw my natural desires as being contrary to who I was supposed to be. They should be shoved down deeply. I apparently had a powerful sex drive that led me to explore. I was sexually curious. It wasn’t until years later after many life experiences that I had an epiphany: Guilt doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong. It means you’ve done something that you were taught is wrong. Just like shame doesn’t mean I really was those things, it meant I thought was those things.

“Great Meredith! You’ve had this wonderful experience what does it mean to me?” I’m glad you asked, anonymous reader! Behold my list!

  1. Identify the Lies 5492fe6b98b7e_800You have been taught things about sex regarding what is right and wrong. For some people, mostly women, this includes sex itself as being wrong even after marriage. Most of us come from a culture where everything was forbidden and then boom! We’re married! Now go do all those things we spent decades telling you to not to. For men, this is easier to do because their biology makes it an easier thing to overcome. For women, this can remain a blockage for years unless it’s addressed. Some people have strong guilt instincts and even though they know in their minds that sex is now okay, they can’t stop feeling guilty about it. So, honestly sit down and think about why you feel guilty about the things you do. You also may not think you feel guilty by an act but you do. Which brings me to my next point.

 

  1. Bring the Darkness to Light adult-beautiful-black-and-white-458712We have things that are either related to our bodies or our behavior that we’re afraid to bring out. But burying that deep inside you won’t make it go away. I am attracted to women and men both. Mostly men. I felt guilty about wanting and desiring women. I really tore me up until one night I tearfully confessed to my husband how I felt and what I’d previously done. My husband and I have a wonderful relationship where we’ve established communication over more than a decade of marriage. He listened to me and instead of condemning me he said, “Well, don’t bury that. Take it out and let’s have a look at it.” It was extraordinarily healthy for me mentally. Now I am willing to bet a million dollars that nearly every man who reads my blog looks at and masturbates to porn. Heck, you probably jerk it to my stories. That’s great! 🙂 I don’t judge. You probably masturbate nearly daily or maybe even multiple times a day. I don’t know. You’ve probably accepted your behavior as “just something you do”. But I’m willing to bet that nearly every one of you feels guilt and shame about it. Stop. Think about it. Search your feelings, Luke . . . You know it to be true. You’ve probably tried to quit. You probably hide that you follow my blog or read my stories. You’ve been hiding it for years, haven’t you? Instead of hiding it, bring it out of the darkness into the light. You already know it’s not a big deal. You’re not hurting anyone. When you keep a major life behavior like this a secret you store the shame and guilt inside of you. That is sexually unhealthy behavior. This is what creates wedges between couples. Share your secret with your spouse. How many of you just laughed? Why not? Why would she be pissed? It’s because you’ve kept it a secret and haven’t included her on it. Nothing in the world can compare with how relieved I felt when I told my husband how I felt about women. The unburdening of that secret set me free. Give it a shot. And if you can’t do it now, make it a goal for the future to work towards.

 

  1.  Build Positive Sexual Experiences.adults-affection-couple-984944 The sexual health of your relationship is an indicator of the relationship’s health overall. If everything is good but the sexy part, it’s not good. There’s a reason no sex is happening. Maybe you’re an asshole and she doesn’t want to have sex with you. Maybe your partner is laboring under miles of guilt and shame. Maybe there’s hidden abuse in the past that needs to be fixed. The point is, the relationship is sick. If a person is sick, they’re not going to go run a mile because they can’t. But if a person is healthy and fit they’ll run a mile or more a day for fun. It’s the same with sex.  This isn’t what people usually want to hear though. Sometimes you just need time. We have spent years hearing and believing that sex is bad. And that doesn’t get fixed overnight. So you and your spouse need to learn to trust each other sexually and build up storage of positive sexual experiences. Tender ones, passionate ones, funny ones, silly ones, steamy ones. All of them! Sometimes the “sex debt” is deep, or you’re overdrawn on your account because you’ve had negative ones. It doesn’t matter. You need to build positive ones to function properly. It will happen.
  1. Make a list of things that turn you on. depth-of-field-desk-essay-210661This is meant to be a couple’s activity. My husband and I stumbled across a quiz online. It’s called We Should Try It. And you should. It’s a basic questionnaire that you take as a couple and compare results. There are other ones out there that do the same thing, you should find ones that work for you. This is a great way to start a discussion. But you should know what turns you on. Here’s a personal, maybe too personal story. I was reading an article online that talked about “golden showers”, and I was shocked that people had a fetish of getting pissed on. I honestly didn’t believe it. A quick incognito tab open and a visit to a few websites later and yep. It was real. Not only was it real, but I also found out I was turned on by it. That was a thing I had now. Now I wasn’t going to go out and get pissed on that afternoon. But I knew something more about myself. I know I like getting my toes sucked on. I know I like anal play. I know I like having my husband give me a “pearl necklace”. I know I like spanking my husband. I know I like to swallow. I know I like nudism. And so on. How do I know these things? You’re not given a features list when you hit puberty. You have to discover them. How can you expect to take your lover up a notch when you yourself don’t know what your next level is? Find out! That’s the glory of that quiz. You find out what levels you have. You may not do them that night, but you know what’s on the menu.

 

This has been a longer post than I had intended. I hope it helps. You’re in control of your sexuality. No one else is.  Living your best life includes loving this part of yourself. That’s what my stories try and bring out. Have great sex with your partner. If you don’t have a partner then you can think of me as your imaginary partner. In that case, maybe I could ask a favor? The next time you’re about to come . . . think of me? 😉

 

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