One of the biggest reasons masturbation is a taboo topic is it’s surrounded by shame. While I can’t bust all the myths involved in what creates this shame, I do want to acknowledge it exists. Brené Brown says that the way to counteract shame is through empathy, but to get there, vulnerability is the path. I think once we get real and pull back the curtain on parts of our culture, we’re more able to acknowledge things within ourselves that erase the shame that holds us back.
What is shame anyway?
What is shame? Shame is a type of fear and self-loathing that hangs over you like a cloud. It’s different from guilt. Guilt says “I have done wrong.” Shame says “I am wrong.” The difference is subtle, but the impact is powerful. When you experience guilt, you can make amends – you can at least attempt to fix it. If that doesn’t work, you can easily absolve yourself of responsibility of the situation. For example, if someone chooses not to forgive you, it’s on them, not you, and you move on. However, shame makes you feel sorry for everything – even your own existence. Shame can never be rectified because you can never be perfect. Therefore, when we dwell on the shame surrounding our own pleasure, it can wreak havoc on our intimate lives. Here are three steps towards breaking free, and this works with any shame in your life, not just feeling shameful for touching your genitals.
Ask Yourself Why
The first step is to ask yourself why you feel this sort of shame. Where is the origin? What kind of shame is it? Was there a traumatic event? Is it religious shame? Is it cultural shame? Is it shame born out of ignorance? Is your partner shaming you? What is it about this that makes you feel uncomfortable? Call that out.
Identify the False Narrative
Within the main idea, what exactly about the type of shame you’re experiencing tells you that masturbation is so life-changing, so earth-shatteringly wrong that you’re a bad person for doing it? Were you told it’s a sin? Were you told it’s disrespectful to your spouse? Do you not know how? Are you ashamed because you don’t feel the desire to, but everyone else around you seems to do it regularly? Is your partner trying to control your sexuality? Dig deeper and find out where the lies are. Sometimes, it can be mufti-faceted.
For instance, women are often taught by our culture that our sexuality does not belong to us – that it is there for the pleasure of cismen. We’re also assumed not to have sexual appetites equivalent to cismen. You may need to tweeze out the fact that, as a woman, you have received multiple messages. Your sex ed class certainly didn’t cover how to do it if you have a vulva, so you experienced erasure, and you face ignorance. You may have been told, outright, that your partner is supposed to please you with a penis and that you should never “have” to pleasure yourself. If you’re a transwoman or genderqueer, there can be even more shame layers.
The final step is to speak truth. Your truth. Have you been told it’s unhealthy? Learn about the health benefits. Do you think something’s wrong with you because you’ve never had the desire to do it? Read up on sex positivity and realize your sexuality is your own, and you’re free to express it or not. Do you not know what you’re doing? There are tons of books on the subject (and yes, I do solo Passion Coaching sessions just for this). Is your partner afraid you’ll “use up” your sexual energy on it? Explain the facts that not only will it help you have better orgasms when you’re together, but masturbating regularly can help with desire. Does society tell you your pleasure doesn’t matter? Is that true for you? Speak what is true for you into each false narrative.
Once you know where the problem lies, and speak truth into it, you can begin taking action to get that shame under control. You can acknowledge that false narratives do not define you as a person. You can then begin to exercise healthy sexual attitudes and practices that do your body (and your relationships) some good. When you do that, you can stop obsessing about whether or not your sex life makes you a bad person, and go do good for the world.
Now, are you ready for the Week #3 challenge? Remember, the Week 1 and Week 2 challenges are ongoing! I think i might smell a contest in the air so if you haven’t completed the other challenges yet, there’s still time, and don’t forget to sign up for e-mail updates so you don’t miss next week’s post!
Week 3 #MasturbationMonth Challenge
Comment below with the answer to the following question:
If you won a $50 gift certificate from me, what would you spend it on (name the exact product or service)?
Would you want a free sex toy party in San Antonio or Austin? Would you spend it on a vibrator? Would you put it towards a Passion Coaching session? Would you buy a bunch of books? Would you join My Secret Soiree as a Concierge and use it towards your starter kit? If it’s a product, be specific, or it won’t count!
And remember, you can create anonymous identity with a dummy e-mail address.