Want to Design a More Orgasmic Life?
Start by Discovering Your Sexual Blueprint
Part Two: SHAME
Deconstructing the Blueprint for Shame
“Cross your legs. It’s not feminine to sit that way. What will people think?”
“You’ve been in the bathroom an hour now.What are you doing in there?”
“Cover up your breasts. Are you trying to get yourself in trouble?”
“I am going to rip that blanket off your bed now to see what you are really doing in here.”
The words we heard as we grew up often expressed disapproval and judgments about our emergent sexuality. For many of us, shame was at the very foundation of our sexual blueprint.
Punished for Childhood Exploration
How many of us as little children, played “doctor” with our friends, innocently exploring each other’s bodies?
Often these games were safe opportunities to discover the pleasurable sensations that lived in our fingertips and our genitals. We sometimes played with boys and girls, discovering how each were different and similar.
But then, parents may have discovered us, as we were happily bent in wonder over our naked “patient”–and were then punished or scolded for our pure play. Just thinking back to those interactions is enough to make many of us blush.
My innocent play with my childhood friend Josephine ended when her mother walked into the room, her face turned bright red. She scolded us, immediately called my mother to tell her what had happened, and demanded she come pick me up right away. I was heartbroken to lose my friend and believed it was my fault when she moved away soon after.
Shame has devastating effects and among them are numbing and repression of our most healthy and basic sexual responses and expression. There are two primary kinds of shamings that negatively impact sexual identity and expression: body shaming and pleasure shaming.
Have you ever felt there is something wrong with your body?
If you have, you are not alone. We are often taught that our bodies must conform to a certain standard– from the muscularity of our torso, to the length of our legs, or how much body fat or hair we should have.
However, it is difficult to fully surrender to the ecstasy of your sexual moments if you are worried about how you are looking. How can you take a full breath that will increase your sexual response if you are afraid that your soft belly is too big or ugly? It’s not easy to shudder in ecstasy if you are worried about how your hair frames your face!
For men, there is a burden of shame often around penis size and sexual performance. Men are expected to always be hard, last for hours, and be available at anytime for sexual interaction.
For most of us, the living standard of the size, shape and readiness of a man’s cock is measured against the images we see in pornography, that in, truth, are edited and not a fair representation of most men.
Likewise, my female clients share shame about every part of their bodies, from the faint hint of a wrinkle on their face, the size of their breasts, and shape and appearance of their vulvas.
Like men, women’s vulvas are held against a certain image of sexiness–and most of us do not fit into that picture.
We have been taught to be ashamed of the “messiness” of sex–the bloods of our bodies, the smells, the traces of our passion.
We are a body-phobic culture, driven by the standard of advertisers–who sell a package of sanitized Photo-shopped attractiveness that costs not only thousands of dollars but our precious self-esteem.
Add to that, we are a pleasure-phobic culture. Self pleasuring is a source of great embrassament and shame in our childhood and youth. My client Rachel describes:
One day, when I was eleven, I was in the bathtub masturbating, and I heard the door crack open, and felt the judging stern eye of my father, and then a slam that made me tense up everywhere, and I do not think I have ever relaxed again. I never looked my father in his face again after that. It was a shame that kept me from connecting with men for a very long time.
Raj explains how he was shamed several times:
Several times in the morning, I was enjoying playing with myself and it made me late for breakfast. I had just discovered the great sensations and was having such a great time, and then I would hear my mother, ‘Raj, what are you doing in there? What’s taking you so long? What are you doing?’ I can still hear the shriek and the judgment in her voice. The whole thing put terror in me and made me always feel I had to rush through anything pleasurable so that I would not get caught.
The shame we carry from our youth can lead to tension in the pelvis, delayed or premature ejaculation, inability to have orgasms or erections, or just a kind of shutting down that does not allow for a fully ecstatic orgasmic life.
And don’t we all deserve an ecstatic and orgasmic life? Yes, of course, we do. It is our birthright to feel comfort and joy in our body and pleasure.
How can you begin to deconstruct the shame in your life so that you are living your most satisfying sexual life?
A first step is to name the shame.
EXERCISE ONE: Your Sexual Blueprint: Name the Shame
Reflect upon these questions and consider the role shame has played in each of these important milestones:
- Early childhood sexual exploration with yourself and/ or others?
- Your first sexual experiences?
- Relationships with your mother, father or primary caregiver?
- Events that impacted your body image?
- Religious ideology or indoctrination?
What was the effect of these messages?
As you reflect upon the answers, you may wonder, “ How can I undo the shame? How can I heal the hurt or the issues that remain for me? How can I deconstruct the past–and redesign my sexual future?”
One way is to begin now to create that fully awakened unashamed self–the one whose longing and quest for pleasure may have once been interrupted or judged or scorned. Now, you can begin to open up the portals of your pleasure.
Start with this next exercise:
Exercise Two: Touching for Pleasure
To begin the process of awakening the pleasure in your body and letting go of the shame, check out my free masterclass Awakening the Body or get a little sample of my masterclass with this finger-tingling “Touching for Pleasure.”
Want to hear more about Josephine and my shame story–and discover tools for redesigning your blueprint for shame? Check out Living an Orgasmic Life.
See you next week when we continue discussing your sexual blueprint–with a focus on self-pleasuring.