Overcoming Sexual Shame

I didn’t grow up super religious, but we went to church. It wasn’t until I was in my sophomore year of college that I changed my views on sex before marriage. Aside from the claim that it is a sin against God , the rhetoric behind why we should not have sex often boiled down to your body is a temple or why buy the cow when you can have the milk. If you have sex with him before he commits, he’ll get what he wants and leave. Think about Steve Harvey’s Act Like a Lady, Think Like Man, infamous 90-day rule. The essence of the rule is holding out will manipulate him into wanting you.

The problem with these teachings is it implies that women should suppress their own sexual desires so that the man will have a reason to still marry you. It implies that all men just want sex and if you can hold out long enough so that he can truly you see you, you’ve won.

And don’t worry if you’ve already had sex, just hit the reset button and you can be a born again Virgin. The idolization of Virgin Mary and the “untouched” “pure” woman have women around the world re-attaching their hymens, so they can feel worthy again, so they can feel clean. It has a culture calling women who have or has multiple partners derogatory names, hoes, sluts, and the lower your number the more desirable you are.

I use to live by these mantras. I failed miserably at abiding, which led to my own shame surrounding sex and sexuality. But I grew to realize our convictions are unique to us all. If a woman feels empowered to be polyamorous and having the autonomy fills her spirit. Then her spirit is full and only she knows. If a woman chooses to be with one partner and would prefer a commitment before sex she has that right. What serves your soul and brings you closer to God, may do nothing for the next person. When we create rules over our bodies, it is a breeding ground for shame, confusion and judgment.

Education and empathy is key. Understand where society’s expectations derive. Get to know the views and experiences of others, but most importantly learn yourself. Know who you are and stand in it unapologetically.

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Feature Photo by Pablo Merchan Montes