What Can I Do To Alleviate Feelings Of Sexual Shame?

Updated January 31, 2022

Popular media tends to portray having sex as something that makes you feel great. However, some people may feel ashamed after they have sex. Sometimes these feelings of sexual shame are so powerful that they will cause someone to avoid sex entirely.

But why do some people experience feelings of sexual shame while others don’t? Is there anything that can be done to alleviate feelings of sexual guilt? Keep reading to explore this topic further so you can learn how to enjoy a healthy sex life. It might be challenging to think about enjoying sex right now with how you’re feeling, but it is definitely possible to get to a healthier place with your sex life.

Why Do People Feel Sexual Shame?

Understanding why people feel sexual shame might help you to better understand what is going on. Some people feel ashamed when they have sex, and others might even feel that way just for having sexual thoughts. This can happen for a number of different reasons, and not all sexual shame is the same. For example, some people feel sexual shame based on religious reasons. If you grew up in an extremely religious household, then sex may have a strong stigma in your mind. You might associate sex with negative things since you’ve been told that sex is bad in various ways.

Some religions have strict codes to follow, and these codes might limit the sexual acts that you’re allowed to take part in. Many religions are against premarital sex, and some even consider masturbation to be sinful. Whether you’re religious or not, it’s up to you to decide whether you want to follow this train of thought. Your own personal relationship with your religion is yours to decide. Some people grow up and decide that they want to change religions, and others shy away from religion entirely. Even if you aren’t religious any longer, those feelings of sexual shame might linger. If there is a specific sexual desire that is leading to your feelings of shame, then you might need to address that and come to terms with it.

Another possible cause of sexual shame has to do with trauma. For example, people who have experienced sexual assault or sexual abuse often struggle to have healthy sex lives. Some people feel guilty about sex and feeling turned on by certain things due to the horrible experiences that they have had. Not all people who experience sexual shame have been sexually abused, but it isn’t uncommon for someone who has been abused to experience this shame. You will likely need to work through the things that have happened to you if you have gone through abusive situations in the past.

It’s also important to note that body image issues play a role when you’re feeling ashamed about sex. Some people are insecure about their bodies, and this can make it difficult to fully embrace sex. Growing up with body image issues is not easy, and it can make it tough for you to feel desirable. Even if you have a very supportive partner, it might feel impossible to think of yourself as a desirable partner. Many people can work through these feelings over time, but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. Alleviating strong feelings of shame that are associated with body image issues will take effort.

Determine The Source Of Your Shame

Now that you know why some people have feelings of sexual shame, you might want to explore your own causes of degradation. This can bring a sense of closure; however, it is not necessary to address this issue. Even after identifying the reason, it doesn’t mean your feelings of shame will disappear. This might require you to face some uncomfortable truths about your feelings, and this might be emotionally taxing. It can be a worthwhile experience, though, if it means a lot to you to determine why you feel shame. Working with a therapist can help you explore why you’re feeling ashamed of yourself during sex or when you start to have sexual thoughts. Also, keeping a diary to record your experiences with sex and sexual thoughts/urges can improve your self-awareness.

Learning To Cope

Learning to cope with your feelings might help you feel better over time. Your ultimate goal is going to be to alleviate the feelings but that might not happen overnight. Many people have to work through things with professionals. This is especially true for people who have experienced sexual or emotional abuse. You don’t have to face things by yourself if you’re having a hard time emotionally. In fact, it’s essential to turn to your emotional support system to gain strength when you’re feeling really low.

Find A Supportive Partner

If you’re dating someone right now, then it’s crucial that they’re a very supportive partner. You might not be capable of having a typical sexual relationship with someone at this point in time. That doesn’t mean, however, that you won’t be able to enjoy sex once things have improved. It’s necessary to have an understanding partner who is willing to work with you to help you feel comfortable. If you have someone who keeps pushing you to have sex when you aren’t ready, then that will almost certainly negatively impact you. Any necessary healing you may need will benefit from a partner who is willing to wait until you’re ready and fully supportive.

Opening up to your partner about your situation might help them to understand what is going on. You might not feel comfortable speaking about the details of sexual abuse in your past, but you can share as much information as you’re comfortable with. This will show your partner that you aren’t avoiding sex because of anything that they’re doing wrong. It’s just not comfortable for you at this point in time, and it’s something that you want to work on. If you have body image issues, then a supportive partner can help a lot with that as well. Finding someone who can make you feel attractive might give you the self-confidence boost that you need to start enjoying sex acts little by little.

Never feel that you have to do things on anyone’s timeline, though. There isn’t a schedule for how long you should take to alleviate feelings of sexual shame. Whether you’ve experienced sexual abuse in the past or if you’re just going through body image issues, it’s important to take things at your own pace. Communicate this with your partner and ask if they can be supportive. If your partner loves you and cares for you, then they should be willing to move forward together to tackle this problem.

Take Things Slowly

Taking things slowly might help when you’re trying to get used to having sex or opening up to your sexual feelings. Some people even feel ashamed when they’re masturbating. You might be able to reduce these feelings of shame by making sex a more normal part of your life. Studies have shown, however, that masturbation can be a healthy part of your sex life. You might not be ready to have sex with your partner yet but tapping into your sexual energy by yourself could be a step in the right direction. Some people might need to go through the process of realizing that it’s okay to have sexual thoughts before they’re able to take things this far.

Conscious masturbation practices can help you to get to know what you like sexually. It could be a strong method of opening up to sexuality without having to put yourself in a vulnerable position. You can decide whether you’re comfortable with this or not. Just know that getting used to sexual pleasure is going to be good for your sexual and overall health. It might take time to become comfortable with sexual pleasure if you’ve experienced sexual abuse or other traumatic things in your past. Work to reclaim your sexual pleasure little by little, and you’ll get to where you want to be.

Work To Build Confidence

Working to build confidence can help you to alleviate sexual shame, too. It can be good to develop positive practices that will help you to improve yourself. If your sexual shame is related to body image issues, then working on your physique might be helpful. You shouldn’t feel ashamed of your body no matter what body type you have, but getting into shape does indeed boost confidence levels. If you can work on a fitness routine, then you might be more comfortable with your naked body. This could enhance your confidence while giving you a chance to enjoy sexual pleasure without feeling shame.

There are also ways to build confidence that don’t involve exercising and eating right. You can also work with your partner to build a strong relationship that isn’t based on sex. If your partner cares for you, supports you, and compliments you, then that can give you strength. You might feel better about yourself because you know that you’re not alone and you understand that you are indeed desirable even though you didn’t used to think so. Building confidence takes time, but you can get there by making positive life choices and having a supportive partner.

Work With A Therapist

Working with a therapist is going to be helpful when you’re trying to reduce or eliminate feelings of sexual shame. Therapists often work with people who are struggling with their sexuality, and they help them to figure out how to move past what is holding them back. You can get help if you just decide to reach out. A therapist will be happy to work with you to address why you’re feeling this way and they can suggest methods for moving past your feelings. For some people, the methods above won’t be enough, and professional help will be the best bet to enjoy sexual pleasure once more.

You can also decide to pursue online therapy through BetterHelp. Online therapy is a convenient option for anyone who wants to get therapy without having to leave home. It’s definitely helpful to work with a therapist, whether in-person or online, to heal or take control of your sexuality. It’s fine to feel uncomfortable right now, and you should know that it doesn’t have to keep being this way. Help is available, and many people go through similar feelings of shame. You can work through everything that you’re experiencing, and you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy sexual relationship once you’ve had time to heal.

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