If you are a frequent reader of sex advice columns, you will quickly come to notice the number of letters which begin “I am so embarrassed about my desires. I don’t think I can ask my partner to do X.”
This is quite normal. We are all raised in cultures which teach us that sex should be embarrassing. Anything outside the realm of vanilla heteronormativity should paralyze us with fear and shame. Any desires not sanctioned by the greater culture should be a source of pain and shame. Oof. That is a lot to carry.
So, what do you do if you come to understand that you want to do something you feel shame about? Dear reader, that is what your Auntie is here for!
You Are Not Alone in Your Desire
No matter how weird, how off the wall, how creative your desire might be, there is someone else who wants to do the same thing. I promise, you have not found the one and only thing no one else on the planet has ever thought about doing sexually.
Werewolf themed gang-bang in the Black Forrest? There is an audience for that. Being buried upside down to your waist on a crucifix and then getting fucked in all exposed holes? There is actually a hot video for that. Even your dear Auntie teaches a class on how to do an entire scene based on getting fucked by Pennywise the Clown in a sewer.
This means you are not alone in whatever desire you might have. That should give you some reassurance. Finding people with similar desires can make you feel better about your needs and wants. Listening to stories or talking about your desires with folks who are similar to you can help reduce any anxiety or shame you might have.
Identify the Source of the Shame
Shame is a common, albeit deeply uncomfortable, feeling we all experience. It often arises when we have done something which hurt or harmed others. When shame arises from our actions when we overstep boundaries, it is helpful as a guide to change our behavior.
However, various people and cultural institutions use shame to try and control behaviors of entire people, even when the actions of those folks is not something detrimental. Patriarchies shame women for talking about sex and desire as a way of controlling our behavior. It originates from the desire to know that the conceived offspring is from a specific man. Because people should have bodily autonomy, this type of shame is counterproductive to most of us today.
Ask yourself these questions:
- If I carry out this activity, will I harm others who are involved in it?
- Is there a specific person or voice telling me this is “bad?”
- What did I learn about sex that makes me feel shame but no longer serves me?
- If another person asked me to do this thing I fantasize about, would I willingly engage?
- Is feeling “shame” about doing this part of the turn on?
Once you identify where the shame comes from, you can begin to address it. If you believe that your actions would truly harm someone, look at the boundaries you have set up around the activity. Yes, some kinks can cause real harm if carried out improperly or boundaries are not fully known. Can these dangers be mitigated by learning about your desired kink? What would you have to know about the other people involved to keep them physically and emotionally safe(ish)?
If the shame comes from messaging of other people or institutions, ask yourself if that belief still serves you. If not, work on unlearning it.
Shame is Part of the Turn-on
Sometimes feelings of shame are part of what makes our bits tingle. There is a reason humiliation and degradation play are popular. Playing with the taboo and things we are not supposed to feel good about can be part of how we deal with the pressures in our day-to-day lives.
If feelings of shame are part of what make something sexy to you, learn about degradation and humiliation play! Start with Princess Kali’s Enough to Make You Blush. It’s a great primer for how to have safer and consensual humiliation play.
Each of the steps above can make you feel better about exploring something you want. It’s okay if you are not very comfortable with it at first. Sex and kink is a learning process.
Keep in mind, fantasy and reality do not always align. Something you feel shame about but want to try can be very hot in a fantasy. Make sure to talk to your partner(s) about what to do if something goes wrong. You may get into trying something and realize this is not for you. It may trigger intense emotions. Talk to your partners about what support you might need if things go badly. And always make sure to have a way to stop a scene if you need to.