Letting Go of Sexual Shame From Our Resident Sexologist, Dr. Celeste Holbrook

Whether we want to admit it or not, most of us grow up with at least a tiny bit, if not a dump truck’s worth of sexual shame.  Sexual shame can show up in your sex life in a few different ways.  It can feel like shame about your body, it can feel like hesitancy to try something new because it feels “wrong” or even disgust with your genitals or sexual fluids.  Here are three ways to combat the shame given to you in your formative years so you can experience a wonderful sex life in adulthood.

1. Work on letting go of old messages from your younger days. 

You’re probably holding onto more negative messages about sex than you think.  Employ the help of a thoughtful book, a sex educator or a sex therapist to unwind from the messages that pleasurable, consensual, safer sex is anything but lovely.  

2. Learn how to masturbate.

Vulva owners are especially prone to negative messages around sex and their body.  Learning how to give yourself pleasure is not only empowering and helpful for partnered sex, it can also help undo messages of shame revolving around pleasure being selfish.  Use a vibrator to help you feel new sensations and make new, healthier connections to pleasure.

3. If you find yourself feeling the ick about oral sex, either giving it or receiving it, this may come from shame messages about genitalia.

Even when we are very young, many adults tell us not to touch our genitals because they are “dirty.”  Help eliminate these shameful messages by trying a flavored lubricant and going for it!  Genitals are not “dirty” like we have always been told.  Certainly not dirtier than the average hand!  So find a flavor you love and go for it!


Dr. Celeste Holbrook