You might have heard or experienced that whether you are taking a date home or thinking about having sex with a new partner, you may have felt worried about what others might think. Have you ever wondered why such thoughts come to mind or why at times you might feel alone in this?
Sex and sexuality are often linked with shame. It’s important to understand its background and know that sexual shame comes from the world around us. It begins from very early on, when as children we receive such messages from parents, schools, communities, etc. Consequently, this leads to internalised shame around sex and we begin to believe that our bodies and our sexual parts are bad. The most interesting thing is that people are often unaware of this shame; they are unable to identify it and thus, to talk about it. Therefore, in order to overcome the shame around it, we must first be able to identify it.
You may not be aware of it but body insecurity is one of the many reasons for feeling shame around sex. If you do not like the way your body or genitals look and you feel uncomfortable about it, this will maintain shame around sex.
Trouble being intimate
If you are shutting yourself down sexually, one of the downfalls with that is you would not be able to enjoy physical and emotional intimacy with a partner. Shame can create such walls or boundaries around us that it can directly hinder intimacy.
Negative connotation of sex
Societies have conditioned us to believe that sex is something bad and that there is something wrong with performing this act. This is why you might feel regret post-sex. If such is the case, that means you have internalised shame, which can resultantly be damaging for your self confidence and your relationship.
In order to begin the process of overcoming shame around sex, the first and most important thing is to confront the fear associated with it. Then, identifying where the shame is stemming from is another important step. Most of the time, it is linked with ‘what will others think’, for which you would need to begin arousing yourself, and exploring self-pleasure without any guilt. This can only be done once you have identified the shame and you’re ready to let go of it. It can also begin with educating yourself about your own sexuality so that you can read about different avenues to explore.
The next part is the thinking and analysing phase where you must evaluate why you have been holding yourself back or avoiding talking about it. Once you’re able to answer these or similar questions, you will know where to direct your attention rather than to what others think.
Another important key aspect associated with sex is its stereotypes. There will always be people who would believe that men want to have sex all the time and that females must restrict themselves from sexual desires. Since sex is a very personal decision and action, just try to focus on what you would want and like.
You can always talk and discuss the subject matter with a good sex therapist; they can always assist you in the process of navigating shame in a much simpler manner.
If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.
Mahnoor Nadeem is a student of Masters in Clinical and Health Psychology in Lithuania and a Trainee Psychologist at Willingness. She enjoys working with children and adolescents and also exploring topics such as health psychology, family therapy and sexual health.
White, T. (2021). How to Overcome Shame Around Sex. Retrieved from: https://psychcentral.com/health/sex-shame#link-between-sex-and-shame
Mandriota, M. (2020). 6 Signs You Might Have Sexual Shame—and How To Overcome It. Retrieved from: https://www.wellandgood.com/sexual-shame-signs/
Sachdev, G. (2021). Feeling lust is not a crime! Here’s why you need to reject sexual shame. Retrieved from: https://www.healthshots.com/intimate-health/sexual-health/understanding-sexual-shame-how-to-identify-and-heal-from-it/