The other day, during a session with a male client of mine (I’m a certified sex and relationship coach) I ended up dancing around the room hooting, howling and hollering.
My client was giving me a blow by blow (pun intended) synopsis of his first ever sexual encounter with another man.
I love my job.
Now let me back up.
A few months ago, this man contacted me about coaching after having a dream where he had sex with another man. He had never thought of men sexually before, but the dream woke up a desire in him that he couldn’t shake off. Having sex with another man was suddenly all he could think about—and he didn’t like it.
It messed with everything he thought he knew about himself, and brought up enormous amounts of sexual shame. He had been intensely shamed for his sexuality by his family while growing up, and the desire he was having for men brought up a fear that someone would shame him again.
We dove into coaching, and over the course of a couple months, I supported him in moving through the shame, working through the layers of identity that were being confronted, and embracing his new found desire.
After those couple months, we sat down for our next coaching session, and I could feel something was off. He looked and felt very guarded and he wouldn’t look me in the eye. I pointed this out to him and asked him what was wrong, but he said he didn’t know what I was talking about and that he was fine.
I told him I didn’t believe him and said we couldn’t move forward unless he was able to tell me honestly what was happening for him.
Then, without being able to look me in the eye, he told me that a couple days after our last session, he met a man he was attracted to and that they had went back to his place and had sex. And, that he loved every minute of it.
I congratulated him, and asked him why he was having such a hard time telling me. We discovered that even though he logically knew I would never shame him, because of the intense shaming during his childhood, a fear of being shamed was still deeply lodged into his psyche.
I decided to give his psyche a different experience.
I asked him to recount his encounter for me while I gave his psyche the exact opposite reaction it was expecting.
It went like this:
Him: “Well, first, we sat on the couch and started kissing.”
Me: Much to my clients initial surprise, I jumped out of my seat and did a happy dance while shouting “That is totally amazing!”
Him: “Then we took off each others clothes, and began rubbing our bodies against each other”.
Me: “Yahooooooooooooo!!!!” I shouted.
Him: “Then I started touching his cock.”
Me: “That is the best thing I’ve heard all year, congratulations!” I shouted while continuing to do a happy dance.
Him: “Then I went down on him and then he went down on me.”
Me: I starting howling like a wolf, while doing some disco moves.
There was more, but I’ll leave that to your imagination :).
By the end of our session, we were both laughing so hard, tears were rolling down our faces. My client told me he felt like he had just let go of 100 pounds of shame that had been weighing him down his whole life. He came into the session looking like he was about to attend a funeral, and left looking light, happy, and free.
I love my job.
If I could wave a magic wand and free everyone of sexual same, I would.
When we feel sexual shame, we are shaming the very thing that gives us life, brings us joy, connects us vulnerably to other humans, and touches the deepest parts of ourselves.
Sexual shame is learned and is totally unnatural.
I have an invitation for you, dear reader: The next time you find yourself feeling shame about any of your sexual desires, do a happy dance or find someone to do a happy dance for you.
It will rewire your system away from sexual shame and into sexual celebration.
It doesn’t necessarily mean you should act on all of your desires (although it might), but shaming your desires does no good for anyone.
And if you don’t have anyone to do a happy dance for you, you could always imagine me dancing around my office, celebrating with you.
Author: Sarah Kennedy
Assistant Editor: Lindsay Carricarte / Editor: Renee PIcard
Image: martin at Flickr