“What you can’t say owns you. What you hide controls you.”
~ Brene Brown
Having uncomfortable conversations with kids is challenging for parents.
Having intimate conversations with teenagers is even harder.
Growing up in the United States my parents worked hard and provided me with food, shelter and love.
The one thing they didn’t provide was a sexual education. And it’s not like my dad didn’t try.
He took a stab at having ‘the sex talk’ with me here and there, but I always blew him off. And he didn’t force it.
Now in my early 30’s I realize I always blew him off because I lacked self-confidence and felt ashamed.
But where did this shame come from?
When did I create the story in my head that I wasn’t good enough? That I was somehow lacking?
The Roots of Sexual Shame
I was a shy, chubby kid who never spoke to girls. In high school I lost my baby fat and developed a lean, muscular body but I was still shy.
Heck I only had one girlfriend. And we never had sex.
Even though I had a nice body, the person I saw in the mirror was the fat, shy, scared kid staring back at me.
The lack of self-confidence from my childhood years had morphed into sexual shame and fear in my adult life.
This pattern of fear, lack of self-confidence and sexual shame continued into my mid-twenties.
I didn’t go to any parties in college, had no girlfriends and I never had casual sex. Why?
Mainly, it was a fear of failure.
What if I’m not good enough?
What if my penis isn’t big enough?
What if I don’t last long enough?
What if I can’t satisfy her?
•And my worst fear – What if she laughs at me?
I tried overcoming my sexual shame by going to prostitutes. If I’m paying them, they can’t laugh at me right?
This of course did not work because I felt no connection with the prostitutes.
For them I was just another guy to get off and never see again.
I felt empty inside and even though I yearned for companionship, I couldn’t wait to leave once I was in their presence.
And because I was ashamed I never told anyone I was seeing prostitutes.
At the time it was easier to create fictitious girlfriends in faraway places to keep my friends off my back.
But this didn’t last long.
Overcoming Sexual Shame
At the age of 28 I met a nomadic traveler in my yoga class. We hit it off right away.
For the first time in my life I wasn’t scared to be myself with a woman.