Healing Sexual Shame

When a client shares some sexual shame that they’re struggling with, I’m always filled with such awe at their strength. Maybe they’re using porn more than they want to, or they fear intimacy. Maybe they’ve just received a diagnosis of a sexually transmitted infection. Whatever it is, telling another person takes courage.

As much as it’s everywhere and all around us, we live in a strange culture when it comes to having honest conversations about sex. The well-respected shame researcher Brene Brown said, “If you put shame in a petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment.” Clinically, I have found this to be truer with sex than with any other topic.

By the time people risk divulging an embarrassing, humiliating, terrifying, or painful truth about their sexuality, they’ve often been carrying it alone in the dark for too long.

We all need to know that it’s okay to share: everyone has a right to be authentically seen. Sexuality is a joyful, wonderful, essential part of life – like a plant, it deserves to be in the light. When we integrate our shadow with our light, we stand in a place of unshakeable power. We can stop running from ourselves and make peace with our truths; there is nothing left to hide and shame cannot bind us.

How would you live if shame held no power over you?