How I Overcame Sexual Shame and Learned to Love Sex

A friendly nudge to explore the pleasures sex has to offer.

It took me 28 years to begin dismantling and destroying the seemingly programmed feelings of shame and guilt I had about sex. It wasn’t just about my own sexuality — it was ALL THINGS SEX — the word itself felt taboo.

The only real opportunity I had to learn about sex was in the mandatory single-gender Human Growth & Development class at my public school — which was really just a glorified anatomy lesson pushing abstinence. I had amazing parents that taught me about all sorts of things — but they either didn’t know how to talk to me about sex or felt uncomfortable doing so. It was likely a mix of both since my mom still cringes any time I mention something sexual and my dad still shakes his head and walks away laughing.

This strange code of silence surrounding sexuality caused a whole lot of confusion in my hormone-heavy mind and forced me to operate from my adolescent assumptions alone. Sex had grown into this negative — scary — gross and entirely shameful thing. The feelings of pleasure experienced with sex — just plain old vanilla sex — were always followed by waves of guilt and shame.

Since the shame had lived inside of me for as long as I could remember, it felt natural and I never thought to question it. Silence had always been the way adults around me dealt with the topic of sex, which meant I certainly wouldn’t be bringing it up for a second opinion any time soon.

So there sat shame…simmering away well into my 20’s…

By then I was happily married and having the obligatory 1–2 times weekly missionary style sex -and we got pregnant with our first child. BOOM — no more hiding from sex. The proof was in my womb and some man named Dr. Taylor was sticking a wand up my vagina-hole to inspect the tiny bean-like creature. Something started to happen while my pregnant belly grew — I finally learned to love and appreciate my body.

Nothing teaches you quite how terrifyingly magical your body is like squeezing a giant baby out of your vagina-hole while your husband watches in half amazement/half horror. I’ll never forget my husband’s wonderous expression as he was explaining to his buddies (all single guys) how my vagina was kind of like a transformer…

Luckily, his wonder and admiration for my transforming childbirth vagina didn’t leave him with night terrors. Instead, he accepted me without conditions — earning even more of my trust and willingness to share some of my hidden feelings about sex.

As I slowly opened up about my distorted views and started sharing my feelings of guilt and shame out loud, things started to truly change. I had begun nudging myself to explore my sexuality — the thoughts, feelings, sensations, attitudes and emotions of it all. I no longer viewed sex as wrong or dirty and shocked my husband by beginning to openly and proudly discuss our sex life with friends.

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No more hiding my sexuality and staying silent in the face of shame. Interestingly, when I stopped judging my actions and labeling them as “wrong.” I also stopped judging others and found a place of gained understanding, openness and empathy.

My feelings of shame are not entirely gone, but they no longer control my actions or keep me silent. Now our communication keeps us honest, our sex life is one of the things I’m most proud of and shame has been replaced by unconditional love, joy and pleasure.

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