As always, I am in awe of Viktor and his vulnerability in sharing his personal thoughts and experiences with shame.
However, his post, as beautiful as it is, leaves out an element of shame that I think is an important aspect that should also be added to the conversation — namely, that of internal shame. I don’t know if men experience sexual shame in the same way (I questioned Viktor about it and this hasn’t been his personal experience), but I see for myself that I still harbor so much internal shame around sex and desire.
Like Viktor, I obviously can only write from my own experiences, but I do think that much of the cultural conditioning that I received as a child will have been similar, if not the same as many other women. In this regard, as young girls in the American culture, we are generally raised to think of sex as something sinful that we do solely for procreation or out of duty for our husbands. Even if our parents are relatively liberal and they give us a good sex education as to how babies are made, they don’t talk about orgasm or the pleasure of sex. So, we are left without a road map.
Worse, if we want to consider the pleasurable aspect of sex, we are loose, amoral women who are not fit to be wives and mothers.
Consequently, we find ourselves wrong to want to have sex. In my case, I once imposed a six month ban on sex including self pleasure when I was in college. I punished myself for wanting sex. Think about that for a minute… I. punished. MYSELF. for wanting sex.
Meanwhile, young boys are usually encouraged to want to have sex. But not to have respect for those who are willing to participate with them. Aside from being hypocritical and unfair, it demonizes women.
As a result, we might find ourselves still dealing with shame even within the context of a loving and safe marriage. And perhaps we can only allow ourselves to enjoy sex if we are drunk, aka not in our right minds. Later, reliving the experience, we are left with deep remorse at our behavior.
This is precisely where I found myself for nearly two decades. It is not a healthy or happy place to be and I am so thankful for all of the time I have invested to heal. Yet, this foundation is still wet and thus I must remember to tread lightly.
Even in the wake of such transformation, I can still feel intense shame. On occasion, as I think back over the past several months’ worth of adventures, these memories leave me feeling guilt and shame of my behavior — of my desire. It saddens me to admit it, but it is the truth.
Shame is insidious and I want so much to eradicate it from my life. I know that it will take time. Can I share my sex life with friends and family without shame? Right now I will settle to share it with myself without recriminations.
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