Here is my antidote to the silence of sexual shame
By Corinne Farago
Our culture is in a multi-decade ‘sexual revolution’ that began in the 60s, but we are far from being free from the deeply ingrained programing that sex is still a fundamentally shameful topic of conversation; beliefs we unwillingly inherited from our parents and their parents and their parents.
You may not identify with having sexual shame. You may be quite liberal when it comes to the sex you see on screen and in advertising. You may support honest and truthful sex education, and have a tolerant, accepting attitude toward less conventional sexual expressions.
The shame I’m talking about is found less in spoken opinions and more in unspoken feelings and beliefs.
Not wanting to talk about sex in our relationships is how we carry forth our ancestor’s sexual doctrine, and I see it in many of my clients.
Shame impacts how we conduct ourselves around sex, the conversations we’re not willing to have with our partners, the changes we’re not willing to make, and the risks we’re not willing to take in order to have a fulfilling sex life (whatever fulfilling means to you).
Sexual shame hides in the shadowed corners of the bedroom. It shows up as silence, secrecy, denial, and judgment.
Shame is the reason that:
20% of committed long-term relationships are be sexless.
Sexual challenges lead to 50% of marriages ending in divorce.
Conversations about sex aren’t taking place between partners.
Excuses like boredom, distraction or loss of interest are used to avoid sex in relationships.
It’s hidden behind resignation and our capacity to put up with something that doesn’t work for us for fear of rocking the relational boat.
The sexual revolution may have led us to the land of sexual availability when it comes to dating, hookups and onscreen sex, but it hasn’t yet freed us enough to embrace the honest conversations that can lead to sexual fulfillment.
This is where couples often fall short to the point of sexual silence threatening their relationship.
Even therapists may skirt around the subject of sex due to either a lack of training in sexuality, or their own discomfort with the subject, and in so doing the elephant in the office sits silent and ignored.
If any other part of your life was threatening to end your relationship, you’d be sitting down as a team to talk about it. You would figure it out. You would fight for it.
But because of shame, sex is a conversation that many couples are afraid to enter into, and partners are alone in their personal struggle with an unfulfilling sex life.
Shame is still whispering in our ear with messages like,
“I don’t like sex. I’m broken.”
“I don’t want to talk about sex. My partner should just know what to do.”
“My partner says I’m frigid or I’m a sex addict.”
“My abuse history was my fault.”
“If I want to stay married, I have to cope with living without sex”
“I have to hide who I am from my partner; I know they wouldn’t accept what turns me on.”
“Sex isn’t great, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
How does sexual shame operate in your life today? Are you still dragging along the remnants of sexual shame you inherited from your ancestors?
We’re all a product of past generations. We all grew up in homes that shaped our sexual beliefs, but sexuality is no longer simply a marital obligation to keep the peace and procreate.
Human sexuality is always evolving, and our beliefs and attitudes can evolve as well.
Bodily pleasure and the intimate connection we find in sex are important human needs. When we feel the truth of this, we can let go of our hand-me-down shame and rigid beliefs. We can bring more curiosity to our desires, and with that new-found curiosity, start an honest conversation with our partners about our needs and desires.
I developed Your Erotic Menu as a communication tool to initiate and guide conversations about sex in all its many dimensions.
I’ve divided up 186 erotic activities into 6 categories of sexual styles, Sensual, Romance, Tantra, Passion, Fetish and Kink, so that you can identify which ones appeal to you and why.
It also includes guided questions you and your partner can use to start talking about sex in a whole new way, and you’ll start seeing your partner in a whole new light.
Your Erotic Menu will open the door to much needed conversations, and should you need the added guidance of private coaching, your sex and intimate life will truly begin to transform and grow.
Overcoming the silence of sexual shame can be challenging without help.
Many of the couples I work with benefit from coaching in getting these conversations started.
You can schedule your complimentary Erotic Menu Integration Call where you will receive strategies on how to use this menu to begin your sexual evolution as a couple.
Stay well and love deeply,
Sometimes we all need a little help with love, sex, and desire…
I work with clients online or by phone from all over the world.
If you’d like to speak for 15 mins to say hello and discuss the details of working together to give you the love, sex and desire you long for, set up your call here:
I woke up this morning feeling emotionally battered by the bullying behavior in our first national Presidential debate this week. I thought about how many people who currently live, or have lived under the same roof with an adult bully. I wondered how many of them were left triggered by the bullying behavior that is all too painfully familiar.
If sex is not on your mind these days, don’t beat yourself up about it. Our bodies are not designed to think about sex when our brains are communicating that we may be in danger. We can’t convince our bodies that we’re safe, when in fact we’re not. When stress is dictating our lack of sexual desire, we need to find ways to regulate our stress. We may not be able to avoid stress, but we can learn to manage it.
You may not identify with having sexual shame. You may be quite liberal when it comes to the sex you see on screen and in advertising. You may support honest and truthful sex education, and have a tolerant, accepting attitude toward less conventional sexual expressions. The shame I’m talking about is found less in spoken opinions and more in unspoken feelings and beliefs. Not wanting to talk about sex in our relationships is how we carry forth our ancestor’s sexual doctrine, and I see it in many of my clients.
Teri and John (we’ll call them) came to see me a few months ago. They described their 15 year relationship as compatible and loving, except when it came to sex and intimacy, neither of which they were able to figure out how to change for the better. They reached a point where they could see three roads ahead of them...