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Letting Go of Sexual Shame

… or at least starting to anyway.

Its a process. You won’t just wake up one day and feel fantastic about something you’ve felt shitty about most or all of your life. Sorry. I wish that were true. Oh have I wished that were true…

But after wishful thinking failed me again and again, it was time to try something different.

Here’s something I’ve told myself many times over the last few years, completely changing the path of my life, going from rigidly normal to crazy exhibitionist sex worker:

The only way out is to go deeper in.

My path has been wrought with anxiety and second-guessing, packaged nicely with a bow in the wrapping paper of shame. The very feeling I sought to overcome became more and more prominent, harder and harder to avoid. On some level, I knew it would happen that way.

But I still didn’t like it. Trust me, if there were any other way, I’d have found it by now. Intuitively, I understood that the pleasure, connection & intimacy I wanted out of love & sex lie on the other side. That to feel what I REALLY wanted – I had to pass through all that junk I didn’t. Because it was avoiding all that yucky stuff that was really keeping me from those warm fuzzy feelings I craved.

Or rather, crave. Its still current. An ongoing process. Every time I confront my shame, feel it, explore it, allow it to be – a teeny bit more pleasure creeps in. I’ve let go of a lot the last few years, but there’s still more.

Yet I’ve seen enough progress to know that this is the way it works, and to trust the process, painful as it can be:

The only way out is to go deeper in.

Because what lies on the other side of pain is joy. On the other side lies fairies and unicorns and glitter and kittens and hugs and kisses and tingles and erections and pussy juice and orgasms and fantasies fulfilled and shit so awesome you’ll just flip yourself right over:

Listen to find out what exactly I do, and how you can start letting go yourself…

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Edited: December 31st, 2013

Sex and Shame

Have you ever felt bad about…

- Your sexual fantasies?
- Sexual things you’ve done?
- Your sexual fetish?
- People you’ve had sex with?
- How many people you’ve fucked? (Or haven’t.)
- Experiences you WISH hadn’t happened?


Welcome to the club! Pretty much everyone is a member, or has been at one point or another.

Meeeee included.

I think most people’s reaction to shame is to try and run away from it. To do their best to avoid things that provoke that icky feeling. But if you’ve ever tried that (as I have) – it doesn’t work. Those feelings always come out.

So if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Today I’m sharing what I’ve learned dealing with my own sexual shame over the last few years, and why feeling that shame is necessary if you want to enjoy your sex life a lot more. It might sting a bit at first, but the pleasure is well worth the pain.

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Edited: December 25th, 2013

Sexual Communication and Sexual Healing: What Happens When Painful Memories Arise During Sex?

1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men experience sexual assault in the US, so many partners must help one another through sexual healing. Sexual communication and awareness of non-verbal cues are key to handling painful memories when they arise.

Sexual healer David Cates believes all of our (sexual) memories are stored in the body. Because most of us have sexual anxieties, hangups, and just plain bad experiences – when we have sex, these memories can surface without warning. Memories of sexual trauma can especially boil up. If you or your partner have this experience, awareness and communication will help you through:

David Cates: What I do at that point, and this is really the key to the whole thing, is to back up a little bit and find an area where there is pulse and flow and movement. So, that might mean you might move into a different spot inside the yoni. It might mean you move out of the yoni a little bit and find a spot somewhere in the labia, or, maybe, you have to go somewhere else on the pelvis or even down the legs until you find a spot that opens up and where your beloved partner begins to breathe in a relaxed fashion again.

David Cates: That’s great. I am really glad you asked that, Patti, because the clues are very external. They are subtle clues, for sure, but also just watching the breasts, watching the rise and fall of the chest; how much air is coming into the lungs; how relaxed the breathing is or how forced it is or if the breath is being held. That’s one really major clue.

Dr. Patti Taylor: So, if you are giving a woman pleasure you need to really be paying attention.

David Cates: Yeah. The breath tells you everything. The breath tells you how present someone is or how distant they are.

Dr. Patti Taylor: What do you do? OK, you hit the wrong nerve. You took out the wrong volume, and it is a total surprise. Let’s say you were having the time of your life. Now, what do you do? It was a total shock to both of you, and suddenly it was like you thought you were on your way to the tropics and suddenly it’s like snowing and there’s an ice storm.

David Cates: For the man it might be the erection goes down. For the woman it might be just a gradual dissociation and stiffening that happens. Let’s talk about that.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Tears, maybe; crying.

David Cates: Yeah, there are a lot of different reactions. My belief or my experience about this is that all of our memories are stored in our body. Everything that has ever happened in your [vagina] there is a neurological record of that event.
Now, some of those events were pretty sensational and you loved them and they were comfortable. And some of the events for almost everyone were uncomfortable or challenging or frightening in some way. All of those memories are right there down in the archives..

David Cates: When we’re in that moment of surprise where we’ve hit a nerve and some emotional experience is going off that neither party expected. In that moment, what I do depends on the magnitude of the response. If it is a gigantic response, then it’s immediately backing away from all sexual activity and, if possible, moving into simple holding, comforting, cuddling. Sometimes, even that’s not possible and there needs to be just a little space that is created so that each partner can regain their center.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Is it appropriate to be thinking at this point about how do I turn this into something positive?

David Cates: Absolutely. I am thinking about that the whole way through.

Dr. Patti Taylor: So, do you say anything to them; I’m really glad you are letting this out? I mean, what’s the verbal track?

David Cates: The verbal track is, first of all, to be reassuring. You use a calm, comfortable voice to go into whatever is the most emotionally intimate place you feel with that person. Go into that place; use those kinds of vocal tones and words. We don’t want to add gasoline to the fire. We just want them to remember they are safe and they are with someone that they love.

If you are pulling out a memory, the book may have been placed in the library when this beloved was 16-years-old or 25-years-old or 3-years-old, who knows. So, a lot of time what’s happening is there will be a dramatic shift of someone becoming not their chronological age but their emotional age of whenever that event occurred.

You may be going from having a wonderful sexual time with a 40-year-old woman, and all of a sudden you’ve got a 10-year-old girl in your arms.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Now, you say something really beautiful which is: follow don’t lead. Do you want to say more about that?

David Cates: Yeah

My mantra is always follow the body. Follow the body. What is the body doing? What is the body language? Does that body want to be touched? Does it want to be left alone? How does it respond to the stroking? How is it responding to the words? To really notice those kinds of non-verbal physiological cues.

David Cates: Yes, follow don’t lead. You follow and there needs to be a consensus between the voice, what that person is saying to you, and the non-verbal, what that body is saying to you because sometimes they are not on the same page.

Dr. Patti Taylor: Right. So, is it ever possible that the person who is having that experience – do they ever get it together to say: please give me more. That would be great if you were having a real catharsis or trauma if you could actually verbalize the request.

David Cates: The more safe and intimate the relationship is, the more often it will happen.

David Cates: One of these examples that was very big, it happened in a group where we were doing sexual healing training, and we were working on a young woman from Israel. She is a wonderful healer in her own right and very vibrant, and we were doing a [vagina] exercise. And we hit one of those trigger points, and she started wailing and screaming with this banshee voice that just everyone in the room – their hairs were just standing up on the back of our necks. She went on and on and on, and she was able to look to the side to when we were engaged in that process. She was asked, “Do you want to keep going?” She was like, “Yes, yes, keep going” and then she’d go back to this screaming and wailing.

After the experience, after she had completed all that release which was mostly verbal for her, although there was some physical shaking, too, she reported that she was seeing images from her family album of women going back, her mother, her grandmother, her great-grandmother. It was almost like she was releasing a whole lineage of pain from the women in her family.

Download the interview here.

Edited: February 15th, 2012