We all have our hang ups. They get inside our heads and start whispering nasty little lies to us. If we don’t silence them quickly enough, they start chipping away at our confidence. It’s a messy game.
It gets even worse when those hang ups are sexual. Not only is our confidence being depleted but we’re paralyzed from being our sexual selves. Some of these hang ups come from traumas we need healing from. Some of these sexual hang ups come from society. From being told that sex is wrong. That you shouldn’t have a lot of partners. That it’s okay for men but not okay for women. You better be big enough, small enough, round enough, thick enough… it never ends. And it’s wrapped up in the pressures of social standards. In an innate, survival technique to fit into society.
It’s not that social standards are wrong. Or that you shouldn’t think about them. They become a problem when we internalize shame based off the standards. The truth is as long as you’re exploring your sexuality with consensual adults you’re not doing anything bad. Sadly society doesn’t always lend its hand to dealing with these things. Fortunately for you, from sexual abuse to being queer in a homophobic town, I’ve had to conquer quite a few sexual hang ups of my own. So let me pass along what I’ve learned. And maybe it’ll help you deal with your sexual hang ups.
Be Patient and Gentle with Yourself
Trying to push yourself into a situation you aren’t ready for isn’t going to reduce your sexual hang ups. It can actually make them worst. Instead, it is essential that you check in with yourself as you progress and move forward. The truth is finding peace with, and acceptance of yourself is crucial before adding another person to the equation. So don’t rush and be gentle. You’re worth it.
Communication is Everything
When dealing with sexual hang ups, you need to choose partners that you can trust. Partners that you can communicate openly with. You’ll need to be able to talk about your sexual hang ups when they come up. It’s also helpful if you spend time figuring out what you’d like from your partner in regards to your sexual hang ups. Let them know if there are specific things they shouldn’t do, things that might trigger you. Or things that they could do to help you when you’re hang ups come up.
A great way of expressing your sexuality while dealing with your sexual hang ups is to practice affirmative consent. This is the idea that instead of waiting for a no, you get a yes whether verbal or physical before doing anything. This yes should be clear so that there is no question that everyone is comfortable and desiring of moving forward. It can feel awkward at first but actually becomes incredibly sexy and empowering.
The first time I told my partner that he’d done something that brought up traumas from my past, I felt incredibly guilty. I didn’t want him to think that I was relating him to my abuser. I didn’t want him to believe that I felt that way about him. But I had to say something. There was something inside me crying out, and if I ignored it, I’d be the one hurting myself. I’d like to say he took it well. The truth is he took care of me and listened to me. But the words hurt him. Sometimes that will be the case, and it’s okay. These things are just painful sometimes.
Remember to Love Your Body
Trust me, I know it can be a hard thing to do. There are so many things we’re all being told is wrong with us. But your body is beautiful. It is a work of art. So take the time to say nice things to it. Take the time to love your body. And when you catch yourself putting your body down tell yourself to stop. You wouldn’t let anyone talk about your best friend that way. Don’t let yourself treat yourself that way.
Stay In the Moment
One of the things about sexual hang ups is the way they remove us from our bodies. We’re in our heads. We’re looking at ourselves from the outside. Critiquing, avoiding, not being present. So when you feel yourself start to drift away look your partner in the eyes. Feel the touch of them against you. Focus on these sensations. Focus on the connection you’re feeling with your partner. If you can feel it fading away talk to them, tease them, play with them. Sometimes just pleasuring someone else can bring us back to ourselves.
As you’re there, present with your partner take the time to explore them. Their bodies are beautiful pieces of art. Discover everything you never knew about them. Get comfortable with their bodies. Find normality with their nudity. It will reduce the pressures and anxieties of moving forward. And distract you from your sexual hang ups.
This can be a particularly hard one for women. But gender hardly dictates our ability to accept that we deserve happiness, pleasure or love. So try some affirmations telling yourself you deserve love. You deserve happiness. And you deserve pleasure!
Sometimes the hardest part of being pleasured is allowing ourselves to surrender. How can we protect ourselves if we let go? What will happen about whatever we have sexual hang ups over if we’re not holding on to them? What if in a moment of pleasure I slip and I’m just me? Well, what if? Wouldn’t that be kind of lovely? If nothing else, it’s sure going to feel good. And as long as you’ve chosen someone whose supportive and communicative, then you don’t have anything to worry about. At least not about allowing yourself to be pleasured anyways.
One of the hardest most frustrating psychological facts is we determine how we’re going to feel about things. It’s all too easy to allow yourself to be controlled by your emotions. But you have the control, and you have the strength to deal with your sexual hang ups.
Tell me about your experience and what tools have helped you overcome your sexual hang ups!