“In many societies sex has been a very private matter and sexual desires and behaviors have been subject to strict regulation and control. These attitudes have been reinforced by religious institutions, which have often portrayed sex as sinful or immoral.”
alking about sex, enjoying sex and being inquisitive about sexual health practices is still taboo to one degree or another in most parts of the world. One of the reasons behind this is what sexual wellness expert Christina Antonyan describes as ‘sexual shame’ and explains how many of us are programmed from an early age to keep quiet about our bedroom antics rather than being encouraged to be empowered by them. We asked Antonyan, who is founder of confidentlovers.com - a community-based enterprise, which helps people to start enjoying sex again, to give us the lowdown on exactly what sexual shame is.
Can you briefly explain what sexual shame is?
It’s a debilitating emotion or belief that people have around their sexual desires, behaviors, or experiences, which then leads to feelings of guilt, embarrassment and unworthiness.
Where does sexual shame originate from?
It has a multifaceted history, shaped by a variety of cultural, social and religious influences. In many societies sex has been a very private matter and sexual desires and behaviors have been subject to strict regulation and control. These attitudes have been reinforced by religious institutions, which have often portrayed sex as sinful or immoral, and placed strict limits on sexual expression and pleasure, especially on women.
What are some of the strangest myths you’ve heard about why you shouldn’t be sexual?
Here are my top three:
“Masturbation will make you go blind”- I am happy to report that I am not yet wearing glasses at the ripe age of 40.
“If you have sex before marriage, a swarm of angry bees will come and sting your privates.”
“Sex before marriage can have harmful effects on a woman’s reproductive system, such as causing the uterus to wander or leading to infertility.” This one’s to make you want to stay a virgin.
Does this explain why sex is still a taboo subject for many, even now?
Absolutely, and it will remain taboo until we develop a certain maturity around this topic and have conversations that are not vulgar, provocative or involve nervous laughter. Instead, it’s mature, comfortable and respectful. We are slowly heading in that direction.
How can sexual shame affect a woman’s libido?
Sexual shame is a powerful and debilitating force that can have a profound impact on a woman’s sexual identity and overall wellbeing. The common effects are: feeling guilty when engaging in intimacy, poor body image, complete loss of desire and negative self-talk – this is when she herself thinks she’s unworthy of pleasure.
What are your own experiences with sexual shame?
I was one of the lucky women who never experienced this even though my lovely mother tried to sell me sexual shame ever since I started self-pleasuring at the age of three. Luckily, she was NOT a good sales woman and her efforts had the opposite effect – it made me want to pleasure myself more.
How can increased sexual knowledge help to avoid this shame?
The adage “knowledge is power” rings especially true when it comes to healthy sexuality. By informing ourselves about what healthy sexual expression entails, and embracing the notion that pleasure is a fundamental aspect of our human experience, we can break the cycle of sexual shame and ensure that our children grow up free from its damaging effects.
Parents and caretakers have significant responsibility for shaping the messaging around how the child experiences their body. For example, when a child is touching their genitals, the adult shouldn’t say “shame, shame.”
Women's sunglasses by Joe
Women's clutch by Joe
How can someone start to move away from sexual shame towards a healthy relationship with sex?
I’ll try to keep this short! It’s called ‘mind control’ for a reason: the mind can be persuaded to believe anything, yet the truth living in one’s heart cannot be deceived by falsehood.
First you need to start refusing to allow shame to dictate your sexual choices or experiences. Then, make a commitment to feel your body, this could be through dancing, giving yourself pleasure, doing yoga or any other joyful ways you connect to your body. Your body is the most valuable thing you will ever own and encounter, the more it feels good the more you start allowing pleasure.
Another thing you can do, is some healing on the second chakra which relates to creativity and sexuality, it opens the records of your beliefs and experiences in these areas. This can be intense, make sure you are ready to go there. To create lasting change and overcome sexual shame we have ‘re-create’ a new belief system whereby pleasure and love is our birth right and commit to experiencing that as often as possible.
How can you and confidentlovers.com help?
There is a plethora of content on all thing’s sexuality on the website. We love to challenge stiff attitudes towards sexuality and offer a new vision for a more balanced and fulfilling sexual culture. We take a holistic approach to sexuality, one that celebrates the importance of pleasure, intimacy and connection. For more information or to book a consultation visit www.confidentlovers.com or email: Support@confidentlovers.com
Want to start the journey to better sexual health by increasing your libido? Introduce XXX XXXXDETAILS OF PRODUCT HERE AND SOME OF THE INGREDIENTS XXXX also add a link in the sections above