Are Your Beliefs About Sex Causing You Guilt?


Overcoming sexual guilt can be difficult. Society’s outdated rules–or as Vishen Lakhiani, founder of Mindvalley calls them brules (bullshit rules)–block us from living our ideal lives. Those outdated brules and beliefs might keep us from trying the things we want to try or cause us extreme guilt when we do them.

Think about the when you first started learning about sex. What kind of things were you taught? Perhaps you were told that sex was a bad word you weren’t allowed to say. Maybe you learned that sex is a sin unless it’s happening between a married man and woman. Or that having a certain number of sexual partners made you dirty or a “slut.” Touching yourself will make you go blind.

On the other hand, maybe you learned that sex was a healthy part of life. Sexual desires are normal. Sex is meant to be enjoyed. Sex is an expression of who you are.

If you’re experiencing sexual guilt, it’s important to figure out where it’s stemming from. Why? Because carrying guilt can keep you from feeling pleasure, cause sexual dysfunction, lessen desire and take the intimacy out of sex. A large part of overcoming my sexual trauma was realizing that my sexual history and desires were nothing to be ashamed of. Sexual guilt is common both for survivors of assault as well as people who were educated about sex in a negative way. In the following exercise you’ll be able to take a look at your beliefs and determine whether they’re empowering or not.

Step 1:

Take a moment to list the beliefs you learned about sex from your school, religion, family and friends. List as many as you can think of.

Step 2:

Read your list and note each empowering belief and each belief that is oppressive/guilt-inducing. Note whether these beliefs are true or if they’re a bullshit rule made by society that is not doing anyone any favors. Underline the oppressive beliefs. These are the beliefs you need to work on changing.

Step 3:

For each of the rules/beliefs you highlighted, come up with a new, empowering phrase. For example, “Sex before marriage makes me a sinner” could change to “My body, my choice. The only one who gets to decide what I do with my body is me.”

Step 4:

Reflect on your desires. How do you truly want to feel, what do you truly want to experience? Ease into those things one step at a time, remaining relaxed. Keep taking small steps until you are comfortable and ready to do what your guilt has been holding you back from experiencing. (Note: this should be obvious, but I am only referring to consensual and age appropriate activities. I do not and will never condone or encourage illicit activity or abuse.)

As with any healing journey, be patient and love yourself throughout the process. It’ll take time, but it’ll be worth it.

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