As we learn to embrace the dark side of our desires and the fetishes we might not fully understand, Chakrubs’ Shadow Line helps us honor these parts of ourselves so that we may begin to release the shame society inflicts upon us. Often passed down from childhood, that shame is stored deep within our bodies and can reveal itself in unexpected ways. When ignored, it prevents us from having authentic sexual interactions and we may find our desire waning. Here are a few ways I stay tuned in to my pleasure and work through sexual shame:
1. Be aware
Pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise, whether it’s in reaction to a scene in a film, someone’s touch, or seemingly random. Notice if you’re avoiding your self-pleasure routine or only interested in certain sexual positions with your partner. Observe your feelings and thoughts without judgment, see if they can be linked to a previous experience or whether they stem from an old belief system.
I was never specifically shamed for self-pleasure (I was also never caught, teehee), but I was given the whole spiel about saving sex for marriage and taught that lust was a sin. For years, I would experience intense shame whenever I masturbated and after sexual encounters. I was confused and conflicted because deep down I knew that my desires were natural, but at the same time I felt I had to behave a certain way in order to be respectable. When I look back on my early twenties I mourn all of the time I spent trying to resist my nature and inflicting shame upon myself when I couldn’t live up to the impossible double standards.
I’ve made remarkable progress in moving past my sexual shame, but it’s an ongoing process. It requires aggressive honesty as well as acceptance of my personal journey.
2. Don’t force it
Just because you notice unwanted feelings coming up or an unconscious change in behavior doesn’t mean you should force yourself to move past it before you’re ready. It may be enough to simply observe these changes at first, and take note of any circumstances that might be causing trauma or shame to resurface. Focus on practices that will encourage growth and understanding like meditation, yoga (restorative hip and back postures are especially helpful in releasing built-up tension), reiki or your preferred healing modality. As you heal, you’ll find it easier to face your shame more directly and draw connections to where it stems from.
3. Transform guilt into pleasure
I’ve always fantasized about a partner who could overtake me and often enjoy playing a submissive role in sexual encounters. This is in direct contrast to my everyday personality, which is leadership-oriented with bold opinions. Before I reached a greater acceptance of my kinks, I often felt guilty that I didn’t want to embody the “strong woman” I considered myself to be outside of the bedroom.
I took on the task of unlearning that guilt and instead of perpetuating the belief that my submission made me weak, I learned to recognize the strength in vulnerability. As I shifted my thinking I allowed myself to indulge in these fantasies more often. I watched my associations with guilt lessen over time and now I feel a certain pride in knowing exactly what turns me on and owning that.
4. Explore your desires
We are often frightened by what we don’t understand. Women are especially discouraged from exploring their pleasure and men are often taught to do so in superficial ways. As adults, it can be intimidating to get acquainted with such intimate parts of ourselves. This is where the Shadow Line comes in particularly handy. The Shadow Line was designed to help us confront the aspects of our sexuality we might normally repress or hide. Most of the products are made with black obsidian, which will help clear your aura and protect you from negative energy.
There’s another advantage to learning what you like. You’ll be able to instruct your partners better and the pleasure as a positive reinforcement will help you release sexual shame or guilt.
5. Reach out to someone
Unfortunately, we live in a sexually repressive society and many of us are still learning how to define sexuality on our terms. For me, part of that includes resisting social norms that say it’s taboo to discuss sex in public. Sex is the reason for our existence and one of the most natural acts we can participate in, why do we insist on hiding from it? I am mindful of people’s comfort levels, but I also don’t avoid the topic for the sake of decency. This allows friends to see me as a safe person to reach out to when they’re struggling or curious about trying something new. Listen without judgment and you’ll be surprised to learn we have more in common than we think.
If you’re overcoming sexual trauma, a support group or therapist might be helpful. Authentic connections with other people give us insight into ourselves and help us realize we’re not in this alone.
The most important thing to remember as you work to release sexual guilt and shame is to respect your journey and be kind to yourself along the way. We’re all doing the best we can.
Feature Image by Tina Maria Elena