Shame – the Root of All Sexual Problems

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Acculturated Shame Primes the Pump
of Sex Addiction In America
Shame – the Root of All Sexual Problems
Since the day that Adam and Eve were forced to relinquish their innocence through expulsion out of the Garden of Eden, and damned throughout eternity to wear a grape vine, signifying the “shame” of their “nakedness” (sexuality), there have been few periods in history when mankind has not been tortured and conflicted by the moral ambiguities inherent in that most mysterious, sublime and devious aspect of the human mind and psyche, his sexuality.
The last three decades have ostensibly make great strides in a sexual “revolution” and I suppose some strides have been made. But in the year 2013, we find ourselves living in a highly sexual culture, as evidenced by the media, while at the same time, open, intimate conversations about sex elicits feelings of embarrassment and shame. No matter how liberal we think we are, the sexuality of all of us has been culturally shamed.
The Church and the Family are the two main culprits involved in teaching children to be embarrassed about sex. In addition to acculturated shame, shame is introduced to individual children and young people in countless ways.. Some are sexual abuse, emotional abuse of sexuality, sexual secrecy, exposure to pornography, religious shaming, incorporating the split-off sexual shame of a parent. Even subtle parental discomfort about discussing things sexual, conveys to the child that the world of sexuality is shameful.
There are any number of ways, both subtle and overt, in which one can learn that sexuality per se is shameful. Hence, individuals in our society are quickly faced with an intolerable dilemma: how to come to terms with a vital part of the self that is seen as inherently bad.
Exploratory genital touching, masturbatory activities, sexual curiosity, childhood sexual play, and adolescent sexual strivings are ready targets for any number of shame-inducing responses on the part of with parents or others who play a role in the child world A pattern of parental responses which either call too much attention to the behavior in questions thereby engendering self-consciousness, or directionality the child for it, can eventuate in a sex/shame bind.
As adults, people may come to experience their sexual life either as a testing ground for the adequacy or else as an arena in which perfromance expectations otherwise abound. Our natural sexual response is a health one. However, once performace enterest the scene, we become overly watchful of ourselves, scritinizing our own bodily reactions such that spontatneous sexual responses are disrupted.
If we feel a need to sexually perform, then the pressure is experienced internally to live up to those expectations of ourselves and will mask any possible sexual pleasure.
Shame is focused on sexuality more than any other human quality – worldwide. While sex is considered a wonderful, enjoyable aspect of being human, at the same time, a seemingly contradictory cultural belief that it is wrong and bad still underlies our more positive views. The perception of sexual the “badness” of our sexuality effects our feelings about our bodies, our attractiveness to others, value to others and even our right to be alive.
Sexual Shame in The Therapeutic Community.
A person looking for help with a sexual issues doesn’t know WHERE he should go. Amongst therapists who specialize in human sexuality, rarely does a person specializing in one area of treatment know about the other two ahead. Traditional sex therapists focus on sexual behavior, even when childhood sex abuse or sex addiction become evident. Therapists treating sex abuse may obscure sexual addiction. Training for sex addiction may pay attention to the importance of abuse, but hardly any to healthy sexual functioning
Through the subtle lack of coordination of effort on the part of therapists who treat sexual problems, the power of sexual shame is removed from one integrated approach. “Divide and conquer” and avoid the power and presence of sexual shame in all three areas.
Sexual shame inhibits sexual loving and underlies most sexual assumptions, including sex addiction.
Being a Sexual Person
Every person learns an arsenals of maneuvers to allow us to be sexual without feeling shame. These strategies don’t remove shame from sex, but allows a person to be sexual without awareness of the shame.
Next: Sex Addiction as one of the Ways of Out-Maneuvering Sexual Shame.
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