When was the last time you felt comfortable expressing your own sexuality?
This sounds like a challenging question, right? Chances are, there are some of us that are prevented from getting into that safe, unfaltering zone. We live in a world where the fearless assertion of a person’s sexual nature is usually deemed “unnatural.” With this predicament, how can you feel confident about your sexuality?
Why Are We Ashamed to Discuss Sexuality?
It’s rather odd why we feel shame in discussing our own unique sexualities. We have bodies that we can easily access, right? So why are we feeling like it’s a bad thing to feel good sexually? We have narrowed the reasons down to these three.
According to relationship counsellor and sex therapist Matty Silver, one primary reason why we feel guilt for exploring our own sexualities is because of negative feedback from the community. And by community we mean religion, culture, and even those people close to us.
Imagine yourself as a little kid and then you see something in between your legs. You begin playing with it to see what it’s for. Then comes your parents barging in with a frown on their faces, scolding you and telling you to stop doing it. Why? They wouldn’t tell you, but they absolutely forbid you to do it again.
You see, not all parents are as progressive as they ideally should be when it comes to sex education. Instead of letting us understand, we were told to simply stop the deed. That’s where the guilt starts to form, and we don’t even know why.
To add to that, it’s no secret that most cultures and religions around the world also dismiss the thought of sexuality. We further feel that deep shame, preventing us from expressing ourselves on a sexual level. We’re made to feel like being sexual isn’t normal, and that it’s a sin.
Do these situations sound too familiar? Yeah, we imagined just as much.
The Pressure of “What Should Be”
Finally, when we reach young adulthood, we begin to get acquainted to sexuality, but only through restrictive, and often narrowly-defined, society-imposed norms. Here are just a few of them:
“Vital statistics of 36-24-36 is sexy.”
“You’re a dude, you have to act like it.”
“Be more ladylike, you shouldn’t be having that much sex!”
“It’s wrong to like someone of the same gender!”
“You’re still too young to be doing it.”
And the list goes on. Anything out of the “ordinary” is considered wrong. Oftentimes, those standards that dictate “what should be” are things that can’t be attained by everyone, or prohibits you from living to the fullest.
There are certain things in the things we see through various media that skew our perception of sexuality. How so?
For example, women are given so much to work on because of unreasonable expectations. In porn, you see women reaching orgasm almost all the time from penetration, that there’s a certain position that always guarantees they do. Then on the contrary, ladies are branded as almost impossible to give pleasure to! Confusing, right?
Men also have their share of the burden when it comes to stereotyping. Take James Bond for instance. In every film he has at least two females love interests, so what does that say about male sexuality? That they have to be out and about all the time? That they’re polygamous by nature? Not a healthy image for those who aren’t. And even in porn, a man has to be able to stay in the game for more than 30 minutes! Who does that?
With those pointed out, we’re all caged in misconceptions that prevent us from understanding our own unique sexuality. If we don’t follow what’s expected, we’re considered oddballs.
Reasons You Shouldn’t Feel the Guilt
We mentioned pretty pressuring points that prevent us from being ourselves sexually. So how do we free ourselves from the guilt? We first need to understand that we should NOT feel them in the first place. Here’s why.
It’s a Physiological Need
In Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we were taught that there are five layers, namely physiological, safety, love and belongingness, esteem, and self-actualisaton needs. So where does sex fall into? Physiological! Considering it’s one of the most basic needs that has to be met, then you can bet that it’s just natural. It’s not something that has to be frowned on. You have psychology behind you! (wink!)
Sex is Healthy
Aside from the actual pleasure that we get, the expression of sexuality through sex has undeniable health benefits. From keeping your immune system in top shape to relieving stress, the act has been proven to work wonders to the human body. Should you be ashamed in ensuring you’re healthy? Of course not!
You’re Doing It For You
Last, but definitely not the least, why are you expressing your sexuality? That’s because it’s a part of you! Enjoying sex and sexualitydoes not mean you’re a slut, that your morals are on an all-time low, or that you’re a freak. It’s your life, so live your life the way you want to. As long as you’re not stepping on anyone, then why should the so-called “norms” bother you? Owning up to your own sexuality is your business, not theirs.
Tips in Gaining Sexual Confidence
Hopefully that was enough pep talk for you! But how do you gain the confidence to finally assert your sexuality? We have a few tips for you.
As always, gathering the correct information and letting go of the misconceptions is the first step. Try to remember the things you felt were right about sexuality, then begin challenging them. Research and enrich yourself. Once you’ve removed all traces of prejudice, it’s time to learn the basics of sex without having the wrong expectations of the outcomes. It’s an exciting journey, so live in it!
Appreciate and Listen to Your Body
For the longest time, you’ve unconsciously hated your body and sexuality. It’s time to change that! You should begin loving the skin you’re in and learn to give the pleasure it needs. Start by staring at your naked body. Now don’t you look great? Let go of the negativity and appreciate what you see. After that, start understanding what you like. Do you like a gentle nudge here and there or do you like it rough? Who or what do you find attractive? Would sex toys help? Release your inhibitions.
Focus on the Positive
To top it all, don’t forget to shift your focus on what feels pleasurable. If it’s your first time exploring your sexuality, your bound to see bumps along the way, but that’s the exciting part! You make mistakes on your own terms and achieve great feats because you decided to act on it. Be optimistic about the whole experience. More importantly, be true to what you feel.
No one deserves to be restricted to what others say should be the standard. You are your own person, so be confident about your sexuality.