Sexual repression is a major issue in our world. It was psychotherapist Sigmund Freud who once declared that sexual repression is the chief psychological problem that we face in society.
Until this very day, a large percentage of us struggle to enjoy and honor sex fully thanks to the centuries of religious dogma that have been ingrained into our psyches.
Today we will explore sexual repression, an issue which is often hidden away in the depths of our Shadow Selves. As you’ll discover, learning to explore and embrace your sexuality is vital in order to be a physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually balanced person.
Why Does Sex Make Us Feel So Uncomfortable?
Why is it that we are fine with watching characters on TV get shot, stabbed, decapitated and violently brutalized, but not fine with watching graphic scenes of sex? Why are we comfortable with buying our children video games that encourage killing sprees, but not comfortable with letting our children watch movies that have erotic BDSM scenes? Why do we expose and desensitize ourselves to one reality of life and not the other?
The answer lies in the way we have been conditioned by not only our parents, the media and society, but more importantly our religious institutions which have set the foundation in our society for what is valued, what is shunned, what is viewed as “right,” and what is perceived as “wrong.”
Sexual repression is the product of a mind that believes that sexuality and coitus is “wrong,” “dirty” or “immoral.” And if you’re like me, you’ve bought into these beliefs big time.
Depending on what religious environment you were raised in, you may have been taught beliefs such as, “Sex is impure, you should NOT have it until you’re married,” “If a man lies with another man as he lies with a woman, he is an abomination,” “Women who have sex with unmarried men are fornicators and whores,” “Masturbation is dirty and unnatural,” “God will punish the sexually impure.”
While some parts of the world have become more liberal (thanks Tinder), almost all of us have been subliminally and unconsciously affected by the centuries of stiff-lipped Religious ethics that have gone before us. These rigid and inhumane ideologies have encouraged us to repress and shun our sexuality.
Here are some quotes that perpetuate the belief that sex and sexuality is “evil,” “wrong” and something to be “controlled” and “corrected”:
When the temptation to masturbate is strong, yell “Stop!” to those thoughts as loudly as you can in your mind. Then recite a portion of the Bible or sing a hymn. – Mormon Guide to Self-Control
Many women who do not dress modestly lead young men astray and spread adultery in society which increases earthquakes. – Hojatoleslam Kazem Sedighi, Iranian cleric (1)
When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. – Gary Potter, president of Catholics for Christian Political Action (2)
The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication – flog each of them with a hundred stripes: let not compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by Allah, if ye believe in Allah and the Last Day: and let a party of the Believers witness their punishment. – Surah 24:2 (3)
Sex education classes in our public schools are promoting incest. – Jimmy Swaggart, American Pastor (4)
Neither plague, nor war, nor smallpox, nor a crowd of similar evils, have resulted more disastrously for humanity than the habit of masturbation: it is the destroying element of civilized society. – The New Orleans Medical & Surgical Journal, 1850 (5)
Immoral sex is never safe sex … We are to give our body to our spouse only within the context of a permanent marriage commitment. (See Genesis 2:24.) Anything less than this dishonors the high purpose that God intends for our sexuality. Premarital sex is, therefore, self-centered —it seeks immediate physical pleasure at the expense of God’s design for us and for our partner. – Dennis McCallum and Gary DeLashmutt, The Myth of Romance
These quotes represent just a tiny speck of the endless array of dogmatic and damaging beliefs circulating sex in our society. It’s no wonder that so many of us are deeply sexually repressed.
9 Signs That You’re Experiencing Sexual Repression
Sexual repression is one of those taboo, uncomfortable topics that we’d really rather NOT think about. But the truth is that sex and sexual energy is neither a “good” or “bad” thing, as much as we’d like to compartmentalize it in man-made labels.
Sexual energy is essentially spiritual energy: it is the entire reason why we exist in the first place. When we learn to shed away the suffocating snakeskin of oppressive beliefs we have about sex, we learn to see our sexuality through innocent eyes. We learn to see that sexual energy is the source of all creativity, drive, and motivation in life. We also learn that when our sexual energy is smothered and controlled, it becomes twisted, distorted, and even dangerous (look at all the priests who are charged with pedophilia and molestation of children). Thankfully, not all of us are as severely sexually repressed.
The first step to healing your sexual repression is to admit it to yourself. Here, we’ll explore some common signs which you may experience:
1. Chronic tension
The tension within your body may manifest itself as chronic neck, shoulder, hip or back pain. As a result of the tension you constantly carry, you may also suffer from chronic fatigue. Why are these symptoms linked to sexual repression? When we carry too much pent up energy within our sacral regions (the lower belly) that is not released during orgasm, our bodies tend to store up the energy. This energy can stagnate if we don’t have an outlet to express it (such as through sex).
2. Nervousness and irritability
Feeling anxious and tightly strung can also be a product of stagnant, repressed energy. When not channeled properly (as in the practice of sexual transmutation), our sexual energy can overload our bodies making it hard for us to stay grounded. Physicians in the Victorian era referred to this as “hysteria,” or erratic and exaggerated emotions that come as a result of sexual dysfunction.
In some cases, insomnia can also be the product of bottled-up sexual energy that hasn’t been expressed or channeled appropriately.
Anger and its unfortunate siblings (violence, rage, and belligerence) also stem from sexual repression. We can see this clearly expressed in strict religious countries where the occurrences of rape, assault, and murder are high. In your own life, aggression may manifest itself as being overly judgmental, argumentative or short-tempered.
5. Erotic dreams
How frequently do you dream about sex and sexuality? If you’re having dreams about sleeping with or having intimate contact with another person (who isn’t your partner), it is likely that you are sexually repressed. The more sexually repressed you are, the more perverse your dreams will be. I recommend reading my article “Why it’s OK to be Attracted to Others in Loving Relationships.” Chances are that you have not explored or fully accepted your sexuality yet.
6. Receiving visits from “sex demons”
Legend says that the Incubi and Succubi are creatures, usually demons, which have sexual intercourse with human beings, often during the night. Sol and I have had a few people contact us in the past asking us to explore the phenomenon of “demon sex.” From a psychospiritual standpoint, the appearance of an Incubus or Succubus in your life is a reflection of sexual repression. As archetypes that reflect everything “bad” and “evil” about sex, the Incubi and Sucubi allow us to dodge personal responsibility for engaging in the sexual act, replacing it with the belief that “the Incubus/Succubus did it to me!” Such an experience allows us to avoid the guilt and shame associated with lust, and distance ourselves from our natural sexual urges.
Are Incubi and Sucubi real? They are just as real as we make them. Where do they come from? I believe they are expressions of the Shadow Self.
7. Lack of assertiveness
When we have the inability to express and fulfill our sexual needs, we often have the inability to express ourselves assertively in other areas of life. A lack of assertiveness is tied to sexual repression because it often follows the same modalities of thought: “I have to be a good person” and being good often means sitting down, shutting up, and doing what you’re told.
8. Always taking the blame
When we completely accept the people we are – the nice and nasty bits included – we don’t make apologies for who we are. Instead, we are confident in ourselves and we use our sexual energy to fuel our goals and accomplish our dreams. However, when we haven’t honored our gifts and embraced our Shadow Selves, we tend to constantly accept blame from others because we don’t feel worthy as people. The tendency to always take the blame is linked to the tendency to shame and guilt ourselves, and this is almost always a by-product of sexual repression.
9. Excessive interest in sex
Whether you cringe and get embarrassed every time a sex scene comes on TV, or you get hot and flustered while reading your 50 Shades of Grey novel, excessive importance placed in sex is frequently a sign of sexual repression (or on the other end, satyromania/nymphomania).
What Does Being Sexually Free Look Like to You?
Right now might be the time to ask, “what does sexual freedom look like to me?” Assess any biases, misconceptions or twisted beliefs which may be blocking you from experiencing true liberty. Remember: sex is a natural function of life. It is as natural as going to the toilet, sleeping, eating or laughing … and why shouldn’t it be?
Look out for my next article on how to experience sexual freedom in the face of sexual repression.
Finally, if you would like to share a thought or experience below about this topic, I would love to hear from you.