How to Stop Sex Guilt

I got an email from Hannah who writes:

“I’m 25-year-old women with a bit of a problem that I’m struggling to really understand. If I’m struggling with it, there are probably others who are too so that it might make a good article.” Girl, were you right. “I’m only two years into the marriage, and I have developed an aversion to sex. Most Sex-Positive resources are just that – positive. A whole lot of the sunshine, condoms, and daisies. But they never tell you HOW to get over the issues you may have with sex. The problem doesn’t lie with my libido – the problem lies with years of thoughts and experience that have developed into an aversion. I know it can’t be fixed overnight. I know that I enjoy sex and that I have enjoyed it in the past. I really want to have sex with my husband, but the thought of it typically makes me feel uncomfortable and closed-off. When I do feel open enough, I usually experience post-coital sadness and sometimes sob uncontrollably for a few minutes. My husband has never made me feel bad about this. In fact, he’s incredibly supportive and NEVER pressures me to do anything. I’ve never experienced sexual abuse. The only thing I can say is that I have body confidence issues (after gaining some weight), I grew up believing that sex before marriage was wrong, and as a consequence, felt extremely, horribly guilty over my sex drive when I was younger, which I would obviously relieve through masturbation. I am STILL haunted by feelings of sexual disgust, shame, and sadness, even when I thought I had dealt with and eliminated my church-induced sex-shame already. HOW can I re-wire my brain into enjoying sex as something fun, and beautiful, and affectionate, and passionate, and normal?”

I would go to a therapist. Ain’t no shame in my therapy game. But there are three things I can impart to you and all the other people reading this article, who can relate to what you’re going through.

And the next message I have for you is to stop fretting about the sex. The way you describe being younger and feeling guilty simply for experiencing sexual interest and pleasure and then masturbating, it’s understandable that your brain unbeknownst to you forged a pretty strong connection between sexual pleasure and probably orgasm, and guilt, and shame. What I would encourage you to do is to reteach your brain that your body is not a source of shame and that sexual pleasure is not dangerous. And I know, you know that in your head. Whatever kind of physical thing that you can do with your body, whether that is going out jogging, or lifting weights, or mountain climbing, physical actions that make you feel good, that make you feel empowered, and start rebuilding that relationship.

Also, don’t forget or marginalize all of the non-intercourse activities that you can do alone or with your husband, that can deepen your relationship and also build that sexual desire. And please repeat after me: “Your body is not a source of shame.” So while I’m not a licensed sex therapist, I hope that this helped a little bit and folks are reading, if this resonated with you, I want to know in what way. If you just need to get out what you’re feeling or if you have some tips to share, please let me know in the comments below. And also if you’re someone, who has been in a relationship with someone, who has had zero sex drive, let us know how you worked through that or if you worked through that.