Last week, I had to initiate a conversation with someone I had been intimate with regularly since the start of quarantine. Aside from my exercise routine and the occasional binge on vegan avocado ice cream, our intimacy has kept me sane and well, satisfied, because like, my vibrator is losing its damn sex appeal. During the time we have shared with one another, our sexual chemistry has grown into this fierce ball of pure fire. Our emotional connection has developed and our casual-driven intensions have wandered into the seriousness of tomorrow land. What will transpire when quarantine has concluded and we enter the real world as the two very different people we are? This thought forced me to ask myself—and him—a gut-wrenching question: can this human truly handle me?
The simple answer to this question was no, but this isn’t a simple question at all. In fact, this question and the reality of his answer caused me shame and discomfort, not because I felt shame for who I am sexually, but because I have been down this road before—a road that led to a dead end and a lot of agony. The definition of shame is a painful feeling of humiliation or grief that can be caused by improper or foolish behavior. In this moment, I felt shame because this had been the third time a potential long-term interest had abandoned ship in response to the realness of my sexual preferences and provocative lifestyle. And while the conversation was incredibly respectful and honest, the subject of it hit close to home.
Shame & Sexuality
Shame associated with sexuality can be attributed to a variety of things, including sexual desires that are deemed taboo by society, who we are interested in having sex with, the programmed beliefs that have created our realities, the kinds of sex we yearn for, our untamed fantasies, and even the shapes of our bodies.
Shame related to sexuality is something that can come from friends, family, culture, religion, and past romantic partners. It is something that has the power to completely destroy us—if we allow it.
Our capacity to express ourselves and our sexual yearnings with fluidity and confidence can be a challenge, and at times, it can make us feel a little uneasy. We may choose to withhold our sexual urges out of fear of being judged, ridiculed, or discomforting a perfectly comfortable partner. But in turn, we are filled with shame, disgust, and embarrassment—feelings that have the ability to curse us at our very core. Sexual desire is an incredibly personal and vulnerable aspect of ourselves to share, but whether we like it or not, embracing shame rather than accepting our sexuality only leads to unhappiness and really unsatisfying encounters between the sheets.
After our conversation, I found myself questioning my sexuality and intimate interests in a way I haven’t done since I was engaged three years ago. Am I too much? Will I ever find a lasting partner who can fully accept the real me—the darkly honest and quirky woman who leads with her heart and loves with her bones? Am I sabotaging unrealized love and relationships because I pose nude on my social feed and pierce my cheeks with needles? Am I wrong for wanting to feel someone’s hands around my throat? Shame is like a thick coat of unwanted icing on top of a perfectly fine slice of cake. It’s unhealthy, kind of insulting, and completely inconvenient. All you really want is the moist spongy bread—the deliciousness that is your sexuality—and you end up forking around until you are left with nothing but a blob of cream on your plate. The blob being undesirable sex. I know, I took it too far with this analogy, but I am on my cycle and I want all the dessert.
Understanding Your Shame
It took me some time to calm the anxiety and come back to myself, but after reflecting on the conversation at hand with a mouthful of avocado ice cream, I remembered who I was and how far I’ve come. I remembered that even though I felt shame in this moment, I consciously chose to live a life for me, to make myself a priority. The fears that developed from our talk stemmed from my past trauma of continually believing I was not enough. I thought there was something wrong with me for wanting what I wanted, that I was too promiscuous for a “normal” relationship. It reminded me of the incessant quashing of my needs out of sheer desperation to fit in and make a relationship work for everyone else but myself. For me, sexuality is a large part of who I am and I have made that a right-of-way in my relationships so that I can have better, more passionate experiences, both in and out of the BDSM realm.
Understanding your shame is an essential part of growth, and of course, leads to a better understanding of your body and sexual self. If you acknowledge your shame and work with yourself to make sense of it, you will allow your heart and mind to release it, heal, and move forward into self-acceptance, into the endless possibilities of sexual pleasure and connection. Sit with yourself and identify past triggers or occurrences that may have influenced who you are in this moment. Voice your shame and let your setbacks create new opportunities for self-love and light. Be honest with yourself about who you are and who you want to become.
Embracing Your Sexuality
The truth is, your sexuality and desires—whether those be kink related or not—do not define who you are as a whole. It is a part of you. It is an element of you that develops and changes as you develop and change. Your sexuality is choosing to do what feels good for you, not what society or any romantic partner tells you should feel good. While not everyone you are intimate with will understand you or your bedroom cravings, someone out there will, and the sooner you are able to embrace all of yourself, the happier you will become.
Regardless of who you are or where you came from, embracing your sexuality is completely natural and ridiculously liberating. With all of the pain, discomfort, and suffering happening in the world at large—especially during the current pandemic—why would you choose to deny yourself of the simple pleasures of sexuality and fulfillment?
Sexual vulnerability is empowering and opens ourselves up to insatiable experiences and sensations, those wild connections that transform our hearts into passionate puddles of mushy gushy love stuff.
When you embrace your sexuality, you respect yourself. You respect your partners. You deepen your romantic relationships and open the bedroom door to the kinds of intimacy only accessible through radical honesty—closing the gap between what you long for and what you actually experience.