Today I want to talk about the 3 cultural messages we get in the West and why they are harmful for us:
Some of these might apply to you and some of them might not but they are very common.
First let’s look at the moral message
The message is “Only sex in marriage, or only sex out of love”.
This is about controlling when you are allowed to have sex and feel ok about having sex.
It also often limits our sexual expression by associate specific emotions with sexual pleasure when the actual range is much wider than you think
And some of our most exciting turn-ons have little to do with love.
The general moral message in society towards women is that you are damaged goods if you’ve had sex with a lot of men actively pursue sex.
If a woman is known to have sexual relations with many men, she is often labelled a “slut” and made fun of, rejected socially and treated poorly.
This is all part of creating shame that inhibits so many women from enjoying their true nature.
The message is that a woman should be desirable but not feel sexual.
No wonder women spend little time exploring themselves, supress their fantasies and take longer to feel sexual than men.
Even when you know this is nonsense the message still impacts us emotionally, as social exclusion is one of the most painful human experiences.
We are also taught how sex should be, with the one person we love.
We therefore often feel ashamed about the fantasies that give us peak desire and sexual pleasure because they don’t necessarily fit in to this image.
We worry about rejection or feel shamed if we reveal our true fantasies because we have learned they are not ok.
The most common fantasies are sex with multiple partners, the risk of getting caught, dominance and submission.
We will get in to each of these in later videos.
This also impacts men highly as they learn some of the emotions that turn them on are not ok towards someone, they “love”.
This is an inhibiting world view, and it can cause shutdown of the desire to share our peak experience with the people we love the most.
Now let look at the medical message
The message is “sex is dangerous and you will likely get diseases.”
You learn that you should be careful not to get pregnant or diseases and the underlying message is that sex is dangerous.
While learning about sexual transmitted diseases and protection is important the message of fear is counterproductive to the enjoyment of sexuality and desire.
We need information and comprehensive education around sexuality not scare campaigns to create fear around sex.
Now let’s look at the message I believe impact most people negatively “The body message “
The message is “your body is inadequate”
How often do you meet a friend and say “I feel so beautiful today”?
How often do you speak to a friend and say “My hair is such a mess/… today”?
Culturally women have permission to criticise themselves but not to celebrate their beauty.
How messed up is that?
Negative messages about our body are so ingrained and positive once supressed as we learn from an early age to not expose ourselves naked, like our body is something to be ashamed off and should be hidden.
Also, we learn from the media what a perfect body is “supposed” to look like and that we should always be improving…
We are too fat, too thin, too small breasts or too big a bum.
We learn we are faulty and clearly that also makes us feel less sexual and enjoy sex less.
How are we supposed to stay present in our physical experience if we feel ashamed of our bodies?
Only when we feel totally connected and happy about our bodies do we enjoy the full pleasure our body can bring us.
Self-criticism and sexual well-being are clearly related and to have more powerful sensation it’s critical you learn to love your beautiful body and feel good about sharing that beauty with the world.
If we feel unattractive during sex, we feel inhibited and shut down our sensation and we often dislike being seen or touched in intimate places.
Being stuck in our own head of self-criticism takes us away from the pleasure.
It’s not rocket science that this will shut down your desire and bodily sensations.
Now imagine having sex when you feel all of your body is so beautiful and sexy.
Imagine a person you care about touching your skin with their hands while looking at your body with admiration and desire, how would that make you feel?
So, to fully enjoy your sex life and experience peak sexual pleasure, you need to first feel good about your gorgeous body.
Self-criticism has been shown to be directly related to depression and also activate the parts of our brain that put a break on sexual desire.
Self-criticism activate your stress response and shut down your bodies pleasure.
Self-criticism is also a great predictor of loneliness.
We think we need to beat ourselves up to stay motivated and not let ourselves go.
You know what actually starts to happen when you stop beating yourself up.
You don’t let yourself go. You start to heal.
Don’t beat yourself up when you do slip in to self-criticism that would be like criticise your criticism, see the irony.
Notice when you beat yourself with self-criticism, then remind yourself gently that it’s one of the seeds planted in your mind.
So, plant a new seed instead such as “my legs are beautiful”
We need to replace self-criticism with self-kindness.
Stop consuming mass–media, instead look in the mirror and appreciate a new part of your body each day.
It’s surprisingly common that women have learned part of their body is dirty and gross, so they feel disgust and therefore can’t enjoy sex.
We have 6 avoidance responses programmed in to our brain and one of these is the avoidance of contamination.
That’s why we feel disgust when seeing dead rotten bodies, or a smelly unclean toilet.
Its how our brain warn us and get us to get away from contamination.
This is all very well the issue is that we learn our own body; and often sexual body fluids, are dirty and this activates a response of disgust that hits the break on sexual desire.
You can give your partner the message their parents failed to give them.
That exploring our bodily sensations and fantasies are natural and wonderful.
We are often not aware of how these messages are shutting down children’s exploration and teach them shame and negative body image that will impact their sex life as adults.
The first step to recovery is to be exposed to an individual that celebrates the beauty of your body and sexuality, and accepts you as a sexual being free to express yourself.
Because of the idea that we are bad, broken or sinful people we are stuck in self-criticism.
I have developed 5 exercises that are great at improving your body-image and make you feel great about your body.
You can read more about these in my eBook.
Have fun and see you soon.