When was the last time you experienced a fierce throb burn in your loins and travel through your body like electricity?
When did you last experience intense desire and passion consume you like wildfire?
If you’re experiencing sexual repression your answer will probably be “once in a blue moon,” or perhaps even “NEVER.” Unfortunately this may mean that you suffer from a host of physical and emotional problems such as fatigue, chronic tension, low self-esteem, irritability, aggression and insomnia.
Fortunately, you are not alone. Many people in our society live with overt and unabashed sexual repression. In fact, if you grew up in a highly conservative and/or religious environment, chances are that you possess some warped beliefs and ideals about sex and sexuality. If you had a similar upbringing to me you would have been taught “to wear modest clothing under all circumstances,” (in my case it was long skirts past the knees) “to ONLY have sex when you get married because otherwise you’ll be a fornicator,” “to protect your ‘private parts’,” and “*to not fiddle with your bits because it causes blindness” (*masturbation myths may vary). Really, there are dozens of other bizarre teachings out there about sexuality that I haven’t mentioned here. These teachings can be subtle and quiet, or loud and blatant.
Examining Your Erotic Wound
Before we get to the meaty part about how to deal with your sexual repression, it’s really important that you examine the source of your discomfort with all things s-e-x.
Where did your erotic wound – that part of you which is innately sexual – begin? At what point in your life did you start becoming uncomfortable with your body and its urges?
For most of us, our erotic wounds began in early childhood. Stop now and think about your parent’s approach to sexuality. What faint glances, expressions and tones can you remember your parents using when they were met with displays of eroticism? How comfortable versus uncomfortable where they with the carnal side of life?
The reality is that most of us received a poor education about sex, and many of us were even shamed, punished or rejected as children whenever we touched our genitals or played “doctor” with other kids. Unfortunately the reactions we had from our parents towards sensuality in our earlier life mold the reactions we have towards sex in our current lives.
Examples of sexual repression in your family may include:
- Discomfort with any form of nudity
- Discomfort when sex scenes appear on the TV or in movies
- Shaming sexual expression (e.g. “Don’t be a dirty girl, take your hands out of your pants”)
- Labeling sex “dirty,” “bad” and/or “wrong”
- Secrecy surrounding sex and sexuality in the family
- Rigid gender roles
- Intolerance towards any form of sexual expression
As a baby lying on your change table, you were never sexually repressed. This wound has been inherited by you, but you DON’T have to let it control your life.
Other reasons for the erotic wound include:
- Low self-esteem
- Body insecurity
- Having been sexually abused
Note: If you were raped or sexually abused I recommend that you seek out psychiatric guidance if you haven’t already before applying the advice in this article. This is a vital step in your process of healing and regeneration.
7 Things You Can Do to Heal Sexual Repression
First of all, take this journey slowly and steadily. Remember that you are the master of this ship – no one else is. Don’t jump to extremes and buy a bondage suit straight away (unless you feel ready). On the other hand, don’t leave this article resolving to do nothing for that would be even worse.
Also, none of these activities are compulsory: you are free to pick and choose as you wish.
1. Record your experiences in a journal or private diary
Writing will help you to verbalize and process your sexual healing, as well as your beliefs and hidden feelings about sex in general. You may like to start off your journey with this activity and return to it every time you have a new experience.
2. Explore self-pleasure
Self-pleasure (or “masturbation”) elicits feelings of shame, guilt, and embarrassment within us. Thanks to religious thought, self-pleasure has been labeled as evil, wrong, or even dangerous (“Every time you masturbate, God kills a kitten”), not to mention the fact that it is regarded as a “sin” that will land you straight in Satan’s lap. You may have even been punished as a child for fiddling with your male/female parts … all of these experiences combined don’t create a favorable image of self-pleasure in our minds. Unsurprisingly, these feelings and beliefs cause us to have a negative knee-jerk reaction every time we do “venture into the wilderness” because they are so deeply ingrained in us.
If you’d like to explore the philosophical/historical reasons behind demonizing self-pleasure, I recommend reading “Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation.” Otherwise, I’d encourage you to have a long hard think about self-pleasure and why exactly it feels so “bad” or “wrong” to you. You may like to record your thoughts in a private journal as you do this.
When you feel ready, you may like to explore the “anatomy” of self-pleasure and how to enjoy and benefit from the experience (if you like facts, read some benefits). Otherwise, explore some relevant books (like this one) and some relevant online stores (like this).
3. Learn to ENJOY sex
Learn how to communicate your sexual desire.
If you have a partner, one of the most powerful ways to intensify your sex life is to discover what turns you on versus what is uncomfortable or annoying during sex. In order to communicate what arouses you, you need to pay attention to your body. Let sex become a moving form of meditation. Allow all of your thoughts to slip away as your awareness centers on the smells, tastes and tactile sensations of intercourse. Once you are aware of what is erotically stimulating to you, make sure you communicate that to your partner whether during sex, or in the aftermath. You may even like to show your partner where you like to be touched. Your partner will appreciate your sexual assertiveness and confidence, and this will actually boost your sex appeal.
4. Allow yourself to feel desirable
When we experience sexual repression it is common for us to feel undesirable, even ugly or unworthy. Thankfully this is a deception! You are as desirable as you make yourself regardless of your weight, or how many muscles you do or don’t have. Feeling desire for another is really about connecting to their essence. If you are in a relationship, you may like to start by making eye contact with your partner while making love. Focus on the passion in their eyes and the way they look at you. Allow this to sink in.
However, the most powerful way to feel desirable is to respect and accept who you are. Learning to love yourself is a wonderful place to begin accepting your sexual nature. Obviously, a part of loving yourself is practicing good hygiene, eating clean food, getting enough exercise, and sometimes even expressing yourself through the clothes you wear. Don’t be afraid to pamper yourself! Do whatever makes you feel sexy – mindfully of course!
5. (For women) try belly-dancing
The undulating hip movements, the exotic music, the arabesque clothing … belly-dancing is a powerful way to reconnect with your femininity. As a woman who suffers from the Mother Wound, I initially cringed at the thought of trying out belly-dancing. “I’m not a dancer,” I first thought, “and besides, I’ll look ridiculous.” The truth is that belly-dancing was threatening to me because I had denied my femininity for so long, so I closed myself off to it with skepticism and negative self-belief. Be wary of this. While belly-dancing may not be for you, I recommend trying it out at least once (seriously) if you are a female.
The act itself of rotating the hips allows us to tap into our primal kundalini energy (which is by nature sexual). You may find that after one single session of belly-dancing you feel much more connected to your body. You’ll probably even find it to be a great workout, with the bonus of feeling like a goddess!
6. Express your sexuality through art
We are all artists at heart, and art is ironically an expression of primal (or sexual) energy. We all want to create something, whether that is a child through sexual intercourse or a painting through deep passion and inspiration.
There are many forms of art. I encourage you to explore a type of art that you’ve never tried before – but one that “attracts” you. How can you express your sexuality through painting, sculpting, drawing, writing, dancing or singing? It’s simple: focus on the untapped sexual energy within you and learn to channel it through what you do. You may even be overwhelmed by how much erotic force you have repressed inside. Just make sure that you take regular breaks, eat, drink and sleep. Sexuality can be a ferocious force when finally embraced.
7. Watch, read, go to …
If you’ve always had an interest in strip clubs … go! Allow the dirty and taboo element of such places to be explored consciously and thoughtfully. If you shy away from sex-filled dramas and movies, open yourself up to watching them. If you think you may enjoy erotic stories, experiment with reading a few. Slowly push the boundaries of your sexual experience and reflect on the impact they have on your life.
Something Final to Remember
Sexual repression doesn’t just disappear overnight (although that is certainly within the realms of possibility)! You may find that as you explore your sexuality you begin feeling comfortable with sex and your body … but then retreat and feel tense again after a while. This is OK and perfectly normal. You are slowly re-programming yourself to view sex in a healthy way.
Also remember to be gentle, kind, forgiving and loving towards yourself. You may discover many things about your sexuality that you never knew before. Like many, you may slip into the habit of judging and punishing yourself on an unconscious level for tastes or habits you perceive as “disgusting” or “wrong.” For example, when I started this journey I discovered that I am as equally attracted to females as I am to males. Uncovering strange and even unorthodox things about our sexuality can be confronting, but it can also be liberating.
Do you have any experiences or pieces of advice to share about overcoming sexual repression? Let’s create an open discussion in the comments area!