Body Image and Sexual Shame

Many people struggle with feelings of shame surrounding their sexual identity due to sociocultural influences and/or past personal experiences. As children, many people are told (sometimes inadvertently) that their genitals are dirty and something of which you are ashamed. Unlike the other parts of the human body, we quickly learn that the genitals have many different slang terms because of our discomfort and shame surrounding them. Many children also do not receive adequate information about healthy sexual development and intimate relationships. Growing up with this emphasis on sexual shame coupled with skewed media images of “ideal” bodies can have a big impact on personal relationships with our own body, experiences of our sexual identity, and sexual pleasure.

Body image and sexual shame issues are not only difficult for women but increasingly difficult for men as well. Recovering from past or recent trauma may also be a factor in sexual discomfort and shame. It is important to receive the help you need in order to establish a healthy relationship with yourself and your loved ones.

Our small library of resources may be helpful in the process of moving forward and reducing shame within you and your family system. It may also be beneficial to visit a licensed mental health professional, marriage and family therapist, or certified sex therapist to help initiate and guide the healing process.