In the decade that I struggled with porn addiction, getting over sexual shame was the final hurdle standing in my way. Many men and women are affected by sexual shame. Yes, even in liberal Western countries, we are seeped in sexual shame.
Women in college campuses all over America are programmed to cry “rape” when they are “slut shamed” by their friends who find out that in a state of tipsiness they had sex with a man they just met…or two men they just met at a party.
Its pounded into us by religion:
I was raised as a Catholic and when my mother found my hidden stash of playboy magazines, she told me I was going straight to hell. I believed her.
Sex outside of marriage was taboo. Watching porn was surely a guaranteed, no-refund, one way ticket to the fieriest pits of hell.(heh.Ironic.)
Its seeped in our culture:
When a man tells a woman that she looks very sexy in her dress, he’s “sexually harassing” her. He’s objectifying her, sexualizing her, and reducing her to something less than human. When trying to kiss a woman you just met or are out on a date with is considered “aggresive” and wrong.When a woman who wants to sleep with a man on the first date has to think twice because she feels the pressure to not feel like a slut.
If you find yourself agreeing to any of the above, chances are, you are a victim of sexual shame.
So whats so bad about sexual shame? How does it affect our lives?
Allow me to use myself as an example. Since sexual shame was drilled and injected into me, since I was baptized and submerged in its deep waters, I experienced its full range of symptoms throughout my life.
Perhaps you experienced a few of its symptoms as well.
Sexual shame caused you to slowly become repressed. You expressed your pleasure in sex in unhealthy ways- on the internet, in pornography. You hid behind videogames and forums when you could be out in the sunlight holding a womans hand, kissing her lips, running your fingers through her hair…living.
Sexual shame made you feel that you had to earn sex. Buy her dinner, buy her drinks, send her flowers and chocolates and cards. Wow her with your status symbols- your car, your clothes, your home. It may have made you feel that you don’t even deserve sex.
Sexual shame made you feel guilty when you enjoyed pornography.Made you hesitate when she looked at you with those “kiss me” eyes. Made you wait too long to hold her hand, to tell her you think she’s cute.Made you give more fucks than was necessary.
Sexual shame Friendzoned you. Too.many.times.
Where Your Sexual Shame Comes From
For most men, sexual shame is almost unavoidable. It could come from facing massive amounts of rejection as a teenager when you were still figuring your emotions out. Having other teens ridicule you, may have planted the seeds of shame. Growing up in a conservative society will do it to you 90% of the time. Look at the majority of Korean and Japanese men.
The main masculine and feminine figures in your life play a huge role in this as well. Was your mother overbearing? That may have led you to misconstrue womens intentions; but when you distrust them, and simultaneous feel sexually attracted to them, than can create shame. Was your father emotionally absent? It could make you feel that you are unworthy of a woman’s attention- a slippery slope to sexual shame.
Being raised by a single mother who was abused by men, could have put you in a situation where you were raised to believe that men where bad, women were fragile, and expressing your sexuality as a man was one of the worst things you could do as a man.
Hollywood and the media also play huge roles in this. Shows like “King of Queens” and “Everybody loves Raymond” where men a ridiculed and emasculated for expressing sexuality form your impressions of sexuality.
My realization that I suffered from sexual shame came in my early twenties. Some of you may know that I spent 4 semesters abroad in SouthEast Asia as part of my college course and for work.
It was on a date with a gorgeous expatriate French model working in Singapore. I was there on a short mid-semester break to see the city. At that point in time, she was the most attractive woman I’d ever been on a date with..in fact,I see her international commercial today and she still is – that speaks volumes about her attractiveness.
I was thrilled to be out with her. We were out at a bar, and I tried to kiss her. She gave me the cheek and told me that she liked me, but she didn’t kiss men it public. She dropped me back at my hotel. I was so green, and my game was borderline lame. I figured I’d blown it and I’d never hear from her again.
Imagine my surprise when she texted me the next day and asked to come by my hotel room! I played it cool- she dropped by…damn she was fine. At this point in my life, my experience with women was restricted to making out with drunk college girls in the Midwest. This woman, though… this woman was the classiest woman I had ever been out with…and I was thoroughly intimidated.
I still cringe to write about what happened next, but here goes. For 5 HOURS, this model sat on my bed in my room, used my bathroom, and even tried to get me to dance with her. God only know how many times in those excruciating hours I pep-talked myself into kissing her, but never got around to doing it!
Eventually, I suggested we go to a bar- the same bar where she rejected me.
Yes, guys. I had a woman invite herself over to my hotel room, and I suggested we leave. After some drinks, I had mustered enough liquid courage to go for a kiss. You guessed it. Rejected again.
But wait! There’s more!
When she dropped me off at my hotel again,past midnight, I suggested she come upstairs for a nightcap.
So, naturally-from about 1am to 7am, we TALKED and every single moment, I thought about how to kiss her, where to touch her and why I was such a fuck up.
She left after that, I never saw her again, except when I see her in commercial and on billboards every few years. An embarrassing sting, every time.
Here’s the real kicker, though:
Two days later,in the airport about to board my flight to leave, I receive a text from her which said:
French Model:“Do you find me unattractive?”
Sexual Shame Chris: “N0- I think you’re absolutely gorgeous”
French Model: “Why didn’t you want to have sex with me?”
I replied that it seemed as if she wasn’t really into me and asked what I could have done different.
She said( and I quote directly from the text) : ” I was hoping you’d just take me, force me, be a man with me…”
Time stood still.My lying ass mind mind was caught with its pants down.
In that moment, I realized that everything I had ever been taught about being a “gentleman” was bullshit.
Being a “gentleman” was a tool that had been used to reinforce my sexual shame!
I spent the rest of the flight analyzing everything I could remember about our interactions over the past few days. She was into me, she wanted me.
But when I was 11 years old my mother had called me into the living room during a movie and allowed me to watch part of a rape scene in a movie. From what I recall, it wasn’t explicit and poorly acted.
“Chris- that’s called rape. Don’t ever do that to a woman”.
Boom. Sexual Shame.
This gorgeous french model had sat on my bed for hours- probably wet, wondering why the fuck I wasn’t making a move.
But when I was 20 years old- during my first semester in my college in a small Midwestern town, I was falsely accused of rape and faced the terrifying prospect of 8-11 years behind bars if convicted. I was a virgin, for fucks sake! One week later,more than 30 students at the party came forward to the police with statements that I was not at the party at the time of the supposed rape( actually a consensual gangbang, which was reported as a rape, because her friends “slut shamed” her after finding out.). One week after being released from jail, as I walked through the halls of a liberal arts building, I came across a notice board with a large sign which said: RAPE: ALWAYS BELIEVE THE VICTIM.
Double dose of sexual shame.
My extreme fear of kissing this woman was a direct result of all the years of sexual shame programmed in me.
I’d be lying if I said that I never hesitated again. I did. But each time, I used it as an opportunity to dig deep and expose my shame. And each time a light was shone on some of my sexual shame, I become more confident, I felt lighter, another beautiful woman got kissed, women wanted to see me again and again.
I stepped more into my masculinity and sexuality.
How To Overcome Sexual Shame.
There are four main ways to overcome sexual shame.
- Shine a light on it: Most of our sexual shame is hidden in the dark.Expose it by shining a light on it to expose it. Talk about how you feel and ask for what you need when you feel shame. This can be start among a trusted group of friends and progress to other relationships.
- Own it: This means accepting the shame as yours and reaching out to others to connect. I remember the first time I told one of my wingmen that I had a problem with make the move to kiss a woman. His response: “Damn, bro- I had that problem for years as well!” No hating, no laughing-and I felt much better knowing that I was not the only one dealing with the effects of shame.Any male “friend” that makes fun of you reaching out connect does deserve to be called a friend.
- Understand Shame: I once read a quote that “shame is biology and biography”. Become mindful to those moments when you’re being affected by shame.Learn how to understand the root cause of your shame in that moment. What is shame expecting you to do at this moment?
- Be Aware: Deeply aware. Whenever you place a limit on yourself, whenever you feel undeserving of sex or affection, whenever you find yourself begging, or pleading, or groveling for a womans attention, or affection..ask yourself: Is this what I want for myself? Or is this what I think other want and expect of me?
I’ve spent years studying sexual shame and I’ve put together an amazing course for men who want to overcome it once and for all.
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