Say Goodbye to Sexual Shame: 3 Ways to Release Guilt & Embrace Pleasure


By Christina Antonyan | Meet Mindful

Overcoming sexual guilt, for some, can be a great and daring act of bravery. Release shame and embrace satisfaction. You are worthy of pleasure.

Sexual guilt is a struggle, which takes place within ourselves—self imposed in our own minds. Sexual guilt holds us back from open, spontaneous, and authentic expressions because we hide inside a self-evaluating shell. It keeps us from expressing our sexual desires, and feeds on our pleasures by turning them into something that we perceive as unclean.

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The emotion of sexual guilt steals intimacy from lovemaking and makes sex impersonal, repetitious, and mechanical. It can make a man lose his erection and a passionate woman can lose her desiresWe can’t feel sexy if we feel guilty. The sexual guilt we carry with us is directly proportional to the pleasure we don’t feel.

But where does the emotion of sexual guilt come from?

None of us were born with the emotion of sexual guilt. As children, we all began as sexual innocent adventurers touching our genitals with no sense of shame or embarrassment. For us, it was a journey of discovery, wonder, and a feeling of pleasure.

Until one day, an adult made us feel guilty or embarrassed about what we were doing by saying silly things such as:

  • Touching yourself will make you go blind (my mother’s favorite. I am happy to report that I am in my early 30s and not only am I NOT blind, but I am not even wearing glasses.)
  • Stop touching your wee-wee, it’s embarrassing.
  • Shame, shame, shame.
  • Nice girls don’t do that.
  • It’s a sin to touch yourself.
  • You should never touch yourself because you will go to hell.
  • If I catch you doing that again, you will stand in the corner until you realize what you’ve done wrong (I’ve spent hours staring at a boring wall.)

From these naïve but consequential comments and punishments, we gradually (or suddenly) learned the emotion of sexual guilt from an unintended adult who was supposed to be our loving guardian or mentor. We can’t really blame our parents or adults whose attitude towards sex comes from their parents who inherited Victorian taboos, religious misinformation, and centuries of ignorance.

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Unlearning Sexual Guilt

Sexual guilt is a learned emotion and the good news is, it can be unlearned.

Unlearning sexual guilt means dropping other peoples programming of your sexuality so you become free:

  • Free to express your desires
  • Free to be creative and confident
  • Free in your feelings
  • Free to experience your own pleasure the way you choose.

This doesn’t mean compromising your boundaries or having to change your values.

It’s difficult to “unlearn” long-term habits, but it’s required for healthy growth and development as you work to overcome your sexual guilt.

Here are three ways to unlearn sexual guilt:

1. Turn Guilt into Pleasure

Allow pleasure to inhibit guilt and not the other way around.

Take a step-by-step approach to ease whatever it is that makes you feel sexual guilt by getting closer to that pivotal point, but never close enough to feel guilty. Remain relaxed, but sexually excited enough to feel pleasure.

You may require a lot of sexual pleasure to block a little guilt, work your way up to an intense arousal state where you feel comfortable, warm, relaxed and yet very sexual. You want to make sure that pleasure always wins and guilt always loses so you learn how to feel and build pleasure while unlearning guilt.

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With repetition, new learning takes place. You learn to face guilt because what used to provoke discomfort will now inspire pleasure. You unlearn the guilt you use to feel. Sex isn’t always neat and clean, but that’s also what can make it fun and exciting.

2. Reflection & Expression

Most of what we have learned about sexuality comes from porn, media, our friends, and other unreliable sources.

We don’t take the time to get to know our own mind and body to ask ourselves: what really turns us on? How do we feel emotionally, and spiritually about our desires?

You are the longest and closest lover you have. Take the time to learn about your body. Learn about your desires, pleasures, and how you want to express yourself. This will help you figure out your own truth instead of relying on others to tell you what you are supposed to think and feel.