Dec 302012

ballgag1 Sexual Honesty   Does it Feel Unsafe to Tell the Truth about Your Kink?Why is it so difficult to express our most taboo sexual desires?

I had a new client recently, who confessed how she almost turned around on her way over to our first  appointment.  We had talked initially by email and then a phone interview.  She had asked for help in sorting out her secret sexual desires, from the parts of  her that felt fear and shame about them.

On the phone, in our first call, she could only hint at what she had held back sexually all her life. In a choked voice, she struggled to say that it had to do with “being taken”. She wanted to be dominated. “This is so embarrassing to talk about.” Some part of her was terrified that she had this desire at all. It totally went against her feminist and religious beliefs. But she was reaching a point, where her erotic desire was overwhelming her fear and shame at revealing it. She knew something had to shift. We scheduled an initial appointment for a talk only session.

But on the way, she had pulled over and parked down the street. She was in a battle with every part of her that wanted her to turn around and run away. She felt like she might throw up. Her body and soul were shaking in fear….just at the thought of telling the truth about the nature of her sexual desire. She had never revealed it to anyone before. She was nearly 50 years old.

But she also knew she was at the point of no return. It was clear after all these years, that her desire was not going away. Eros is a such a relentless part of our being!

When she told me of her struggle just to arrive, I blessed her for her courage to confront and face the deep shame and fear she felt around her sexuality. Her story about the powerful urge to flee instead of show up, brought it home to me once again. exactly how much courage it requires to overcome the deeply embedded fear and shame many of us carry around our sexual truth.  I am struck by the high percentage of all my clients who have also told me similar stories about their struggle to not turn around, on the way to their appointment.

How is it that such an integral, natural and vital part of who we are has become so vilified and repressed that we are compelled to hide it so desperately, and be so terrified of others knowing what our sexuality really looks like?  Can it be anything but harmful to our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being to live in a culture where we are afraid to speak the truth about our sexuality.

Our culture provides no place where people can go, where they would feel safe, honored and encouraged to speak honestly about their erotic desires. At least ones that were  beyond the narrow range deemed appropriate by the mainstream conservative, sexually uptight culture.

It wasn’t my intention to focus my practice on those who have never found a safe place, or someone they felt safe enough with, to reveal their most closely guarded sexual secrets. But somehow that has wound up being a good portion of my clients…those who reveal to me, for the first time ever, whatever sexual secrets they have held so guardedly…often for decades.

That is why I bless them for their amazing courage, just to show up! I am witnessing this Herculean effort by men and women, who despite their paralyzing fear, their overwhelming sense of guilt and shame, their bodies literally plunging into a state of flight…can still show up!

In this regard I am also struck by how deep, tenacious and relentless the soul of Eros is. Despite decades of intense repression, fear shame, and vilification, Eros does not go away. My clients tell stories of how they have tried to forget about what they desire sexually, channeled it into eating, drinking, irritability, frigidity, spirituality. Did not matter! Eros was as strong a part of them as ever.  Many had tried to keep their Eros locked in a secret world of fantasy and masturbation. They were all deathly afraid of getting caught, but still took huge risks in some cases to feed their desire in shadowy, unconscious or even dangerous ways.

I know exactly how my clients feel about revealing their sexual secrets. I came from the same place about 15 years ago. I am so grateful to be in a position now,  where I can offer the safety and trust that can allow people to open up and speak their desire honestly. They can finally begin the process to learn about and sort through all the things that are tangled up with their erotic desire.  Healing is a process of disengaging the fear, shame, harsh judgments, feelings of not being worthy and more, that have gotten embedded in the unconscious and that arise on cue, right along with our Eros. This tangled up expression, leaves us frozen or clumsy or disconnected physically, emotionally and spiritually from the depth and power and exhilaration that is natural to our sexual expression.  This is why the path to sexual authenticity is quite often a powerful healing journey as well.


I am happy to say this blog post was chosen for the best blogs of 2012 …Congratulations! “Sexual Honesty – Does it Feel Unsafe to Tell the Truth about Your Kink?” has been accepted into #SexReader Best of 2012.

You can see Sex Reader’s Best of 2012 here:

Jun 272011

flogger3 Weiner, Schwarzenegger, Edwards  just the Tip of the Massive Sexual Shadow in AmericaThe Cost of our Sexual Dishonesty

Can you imagine how deep the sexual shadow in our culture must run? The three politicians referenced above are just the most recent, in a long unending stream of politicians, religious leaders, entertainers and other celebrities, caught in the act. These are people in the public eye, under intense media and staff scrutiny, whose positions and careers require impeccable character,  who have a lot to lose, who may even preach about morality and family values…yet even with all this at stake, their secret sexual desires could not be reigned in. And they got caught.

Secret shadowy behaviors, sexual  and otherwise, do have a tendency to blow up right in our faces like that.

Now imagine all the rest of the population who have no media hawking them every day, who have a far vaster freedom you might say, to indulge their sexuality in secret shadowy ways. This is the rest of the ice-berg. From the astronomical stats on all manner of extra-curricular porn surfing, and Craig’s list casual hook-up ads and such, there is an enormous amount of sexual expression and exploration going down. And most people are trying to keep it secret…while taking risks, in some cases very high risks, to indulge their sexual desire.

The sad, ruinous, mythic drama of the fall from grace, gets played out over and over. The perp is relentlessly and publicly shamed and ostracized. Their partner is often shattered but stoically loyal…at least publicly, or initially. The perp’s team throws out every spin, subterfuge  and dodge imaginable to forestall getting to the deepest truths lurking on the edges of what is known. Some have the power to keep the damage under control, some do not. And later, of course,  there is often the attempted  redemption, resurrection and comeback saga.

These politicians, religious leaders, sports figures et al, are just a minute reflection of the unconscious, repressed, vilified, shamed, demonized, secret,  and conflicted views about sexuality prevalent throughout the minds of the collective culture.  The issue of our sexual dishonesty is systemic.

The shadow of sexual dishonesty plays out just as relentlessly on our local and personal stages as well. Partners cheating on their partners behind their back, secretly chasing after every perversity imaginable online or in real life, and getting caught and having their lives thrown into tragedy will be an ever increasing eventuality.

All because we have created a culture where sex is debased and pushed down below the surface. It is forbidden. We do not know how to talk with our partners about our sexual desires, be honest about them , share, explore, or revel in them.  We are supposed to be sexy on one hand and never show it or look at it on the other.

What normal is, is never defined. Normal is…you know…normal! But there is a never ending stream of opinion and even law about what is not normal. And if there is not a law there is a harsh social, religious or familial pressure, if not violence, to conform. Witness the history of the gay and lesbian movements.

Our sexuality is tangled up in out-dated, archaic, and irrelevant moral and religious doctrines designed for a cultural mindset  equivalent to the medieval dark ages.  But humanity has reached a point in evolution where sexuality is busting loose from the ultimately flimsy bonds of fear driven moralities about the flesh, and the instinctual dimensions of human behavior.

This fear about sex, and the fear about our partner or anyone else knowing the truth of our sexual desire, on the one hand, and the astronomical rise in sexual interest and desire clearly emerging in the culture on the other, are on a collision course. We can’t be honest about our sexual desire, and we can’t stop our sexual desire from acting out. This is a recipe for psycho-dramatic mayhem at all levels of American culture.

It is clear this cycle of people getting busted for acting out their sexuality is turning faster and faster. This is a great tragedy that is due in good part to married and partnered couples being unable to communicate honestly about their sexual desires. The sexual shadow can only be overcome by an honesty that begins before partnering, ideally , and carries on throughout the relationship in a way that acknowledges and honors the honest desires of each partner.

The sexual shadow of course is cast upon single people as well, but they are outside this archetypal drama of this fall from grace, ruination myth that plays out in the public and domestic realms.

The only redeeming thing I can think about in this disaster, is that with the frequency of people getting busted gaining momentum, eventually everyone will have gotten “outed” for their secret perversities, and the fact of how sexual we are, men and women both will finally be acknowledged.

Moving the culture from where it is now, to a place where sexuality is a normalized part of our lives, talked about, learned about, embraced, and enjoyed is a monumental journey with no near term date of arrival. But I am confident that it is the only path open, that will resolve the tremendous cost of our sexual dishonesty.