There’s a certain problem that touches the core of men’s struggles, but it often flies under their radar. This problem sabotages intimacy, confidence, and connection, leaving only anxiety and depression in its wake.

I’m referring to sexual shame—and it’s something that happens to men both unconsciously and consciously.

That’s why in this episode, I’m going to help you understand where sexual shame comes from, why it has persisted over centuries, and give you the roadmap to break free from these chains.

Listen now.

 Show highlights include:

  • How sexual shame not only sabotages intimate moments, but also shatters your confidence, connection, and authenticity (2:00)
  • This quick mindset shift is the first step towards overcoming your sexual shame (3:00)
  • The weird way studying philosophy and ethical theory can wipe away the seeds of sexual shame inside you (8:29)
  • 3 theories that explain why men feel sexual shame (and how understanding these theories helps you conquer your shame) (10:39)
  • How religiously-induced sexual shame lingers in your psyche long after you leave the religion (and how to root it out from your subconscious completely) (18:55)
  • 4 ways sexual shame manifests in intimate relationships (24:58) 

    Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I’m therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to take this quick quiz to access my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at now.

For more about David Tian, go here:

    Emotional Mastery is David Tian’s step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:


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Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here’s your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology podcast. I’m David Tian, your host. In this episode, we’re getting into a topic that touches the core of so many men’s struggles yet often flies under the radar, and that’s sexual shame.

We’re getting to the heart of both unconscious and conscious sexual shame, and laying out a roadmap to break free from these chains. Breaking free from sexual shame isn’t just about liberation for yourself. It’s about unlocking a level of sexual energy and an ability to control sexual attention that can flow smoothly and naturally. [00:55.1]

This episode was prompted by a couple listener questions, so I’ll read out these two questions or excerpts from these two questions here. First question:

“I always feel icky or guilty when thinking about sex, or I say I’ll do all these things to a woman, but when push comes to shove, I freeze up. Whenever I used to watch a movie with my parents and a sex scene would come up, it would get really awkward. My mom would fast-forward and we’d pretend it didn’t happen, some massive elephant in the room.”

And here’s the question from the second listener.

“How can I have better sex without feeling guilty? My suspicion is that sexual shame is preventing me from realizing I could deserve great sex. People out there are guilty about great sex, like using toys, etc.”

Okay, so both of these listener questions hid at the core of sexual shame that it’s not just about the sex itself. It’s about the layers of guilt, the ickiness, and feelings of unworthiness that we’ve piled on top of what is a natural, healthy aspect of our humanity. [02:00.0]

So many men are suffering from sexual shame and don’t even realize it. Living with sexual shame puts a damper on your entire experience of life, not just sexually, but in every aspect of your life that requires confidence, connection and authenticity with other people.

On the flip side, imagine the freedom of moving through the world unshackled from sexual shame. Picture the depth of connection that you could achieve when you and your partner can explore your sexual desires and other desires without the looming cloud of guilt.

Even more, breaking free from sexual shame isn’t just about improving your sex life. It’s about reclaiming a part of yourself that’s been hidden away, often since early childhood. It’s about transforming not only how you experience intimacy, but how you carry yourself in the world, and the first step is recognizing that sexual shame can be at play in your life, which is a realization that many men come too far later, if ever, than they should. [03:00.0]

Okay, let’s kick things off with a fundamental truth. Sexual impulses are as natural to us as breathing. Now, that might sound like an overstatement, but from an evolutionary standpoint, these sexual impulses weren’t just random. They were essential. Our ancestors relied on them for survival and, of course, for reproduction. It’s pretty wild to think about, but your existence today, sitting here listening to me on this podcast, is in part thanks to those very sexual impulses. Sexual desire isn’t just a part of human nature. It’s deeply embedded in our biology, playing a critical role in the continuation of our species.

So, if you were to view sex and sexual desire from an objective framework, then this would seem to be an obvious scientific truth, but notice that it conflicts with a lot of messages that most societies have thrown at us. We’re often taught to view sexual desire through a lens of propriety or some kind of morality thrust upon us, or even shame. But if we strip away all of that and look at it, instead, through a scientific lens, we see something entirely different. [04:14.7]

Sexuality is a vast, colorful landscape of desires, attractions, and expressions, and it is not just perfectly normal, but healthy. If sexual desire and sexuality were not healthy in any society that held to that, that society would end in one generation, so noticing that the sexual desires are not just natural, but also healthy and essential for the continuation of our species.

Somewhere along the line as we grew up, we began to judge to shame and to conceal parts of ourselves that didn’t fit the mold that society or our parents, or our community wanted, and, hopefully, you’ve learned some science, hopefully, by the end of high school, and you can take a scientific approach to sexuality and see things through a more objective scientific viewpoint. [05:04.6]

This scientific understanding of sexuality helps us to recognize the naturalness of our impulses, and encourages us to approach our own sexuality with curiosity and openness, instead of judgment. When we start to see sexual thoughts and feelings as subjects worthy of open and shame-free discussion, we then begin to dismantle the barriers of sexual shame.

Demystifying and destigmatizing our sexual thoughts and feelings liberates us. It opens up a dialogue both within ourselves and with others about what it means to be a sexual being. Imagine for a moment a world where we can talk about our desires, our curiosities, and our experiences, without fear of judgment, shame or ridicule. A world where sexual education focuses on the richness of human sexuality and its natural variations rather than just the mechanics of reproduction or the dangers of STIs, so that’s a start. That’s the power of approaching sexuality from a scientific point of view. It’s not just about sex. It’s about freeing ourselves from the chains of misinformation and stigma that have held us back for too long. [06:15.5]

So, I challenge you not only to notice the scientific perspective, but to fully embrace the scientific perspective, and let’s replace shame with understanding, curiosity, and respect for the complexity of human sexuality. Let’s recognize and celebrate the naturalness of our sexual impulses as a fundamental and necessary aspect of our humanity.

Often, sexual shame has been couched in the terms of morality or ethics, but have you ever stopped to wonder where our ideas of what’s moral or immoral in the realm of sexuality come from? A lot of our beliefs about sexuality, about what’s right or wrong, are not set in stone. They’re not universal truths that apply across all times and cultures. [07:01.5]

Instead, these beliefs are often the product of our cultural environment. They’re constructed, passed down from generation to generation, mostly unconsciously, without most of us ever really stopping to question why we believe what we believe. And consider this—when was the last time you sat down to actually study moral or ethical theory? Have you ever tried to define what good is or the right, or what the differences even between the good and the right, and what they even mean in the context of sexuality? If you’re like most people, the answer is probably never, or maybe at best not often.

We tend to accept the cultural programs that were handed down to us uncritically without much reflection, but different cultures across the globe throughout history have had vastly different views on sexuality. What’s considered a taboo in one society might be celebrated in another. This diversity alone should hint at the fact that our moral compasses, especially regarding sexuality, are heavily influenced by the cultural context that we’re embedded in. [08:06.8]

In an earlier episode, I explained a moral viewpoint that gives an objectivity of sorts to moral concepts and categories, like good and evil, or right and wrong, so I’m not going to get into that here, but I’ll refer you to that episode, Episode 138. But it’s important to point out here that I’m not saying that all bets are off and anything goes. Far from it. There’s a crucial distinction to be made here between ethical considerations, like consent and respect, and the shame that we attach to natural desires because of cultural conditioning.

The moralizing that often comes with sexual shame is anything but moral. Do real moral philosophy, actually study ethics and ethical theory, and then we can talk. Instead, most of the moralizing underpinning sexual shame is just a kind of knee-jerk conservativism that’s adopted uncritically. There’s been a whole range of desires and expressions that are natural to human beings that have been unnecessarily shamed, or even celebrated depending on where and when you look. [09:12.7]

This cultural shame attaches itself to natural, healthy aspects of our sexuality and turns them into sources of guilt and anxiety, and I’ll get to some of the reasons for that later in this episode. But it’s important to notice that most of us in our upbringings were simply programmed to accept these rather arbitrary norms without question.

So, let’s start questioning. Let’s start examining why we hold the beliefs we do about sexuality and whether those beliefs are serving us or holding us back. This isn’t about discarding all sense of morality when it comes to sex, of course. It’s about separating what’s truly ethical, what respects the dignity and autonomy of all individuals, for instance, from what’s merely cultural baggage. [09:56.8]

Imagine the freedom that comes from realizing that the shame that many of us carry around sexuality isn’t something that we have to bear. It’s not a natural part of who we are. It’s something that we’ve been taught or that has been programmed into us and anything that’s been learned can be unlearned. Anything that’s been programmed can be deprogrammed.

As we continue this exploration, let’s be willing or at least open to reevaluating our beliefs about sexuality, to distinguish between what’s ethically important and what’s merely cultural noise. It’s through this critical reflection that we can begin to shed unnecessary shame and embrace a healthier, more fulfilling approach to our sexuality.

Now, let’s get into why. Why is there sexual shame in the first place? Why is there so much sexual shame embedded in so many societies? Why does it seem historically that societies have been so obsessed with controlling sexual behavior? Believe it or not, this has been pretty well-studied in multiple disciplines. I think it’s important to understand why it’s there so that we can begin to detach from it to be able to throw off the burdens, because we can see that these are not absolute or universal, or necessary, so I’m going to explore a few of these in this episode. [11:12.2]

The first is what is often referred to as the control and social order theory. This theory sheds light on the role of sexual norms and the shame attached to them as tools for maintaining social order and hierarchy in order to get and maintain control and power.

Throughout history, we’ve seen how societies use sexual behavior as a lever to control inheritance, lineage and social alliances by dictating what is acceptable and what is not. Through a mix of social norms, religious doctrines and legal systems, societies can keep a tight rein on who gets what and who belongs where. It’s a powerful form of regulation, and it’s been happening for millennia. [11:55.4]

Let’s look at some real life examples to get a clearer picture. Take ancient royal families, for example. In many cultures, rulers and elites were known to have many partners or even harems full. In the Bible, in the Old Testament, King Solomon, the son of King David, is recorded as having 300 wives and 700 concubines. If he slept with a new woman every night, it would take him two years and almost nine months to see each of them just once, and that’s just one of many examples throughout history.

This wasn’t just about personal desire. It was a display of power and status. Notice these were the rulers and elites who had these harems. This solidified their position at the top of the social hierarchy and reinforced their authority over their subjects, and at the same time, the same societies imposed strict norms of sexual modesty and fidelity on the rest of the population, on the 99.99 percent of the rest of their kingdom.

Why? Because by controlling sexual behavior among the masses, they could maintain the social structure and minimize conflicts that might arise from sexual competition. It was a way to keep everyone in line, ensuring that the social order remained intact. [13:09.3]

Take the European monarchies during the Middle Ages as another example. The nobility often had complex rules about marriage and sexual conduct, rules that were tightly entwined with politics and power. Marriages were arranged to strengthen alliances, secure borders, and consolidate wealth. Adultery, especially among women, was severely punished, not necessarily out of moral outrage, but because it threatened the purity of lineage and inheritance rights. The lower classes, meanwhile, were subjected to their own set of norms designed to keep the social ladder stable and predictable.

But this wasn’t just a thing of the distant past. Look at the Victorian era with its extreme prudishness and moralizing about sexuality. This was another way of reinforcing social hierarchies, with the upper classes distinguishing themselves from what they would call the morally-lax lower classes, through their strict adherence to sexual propriety. [14:10.3]

These historical examples show us that the control of sexuality has always been about more than just sex. It’s about power, inheritance, maintaining the status quo, control. It’s a clear demonstration of how sexual norms and the shame attached to them served as mechanisms for maintaining social order and hierarchy.

So, what does this mean for us today? It means that when we look at our own sexual norms and the shame that we might feel about our desires or behaviors, it’s worth asking, whose interests are these sexual norms really serving? Are they helping us lead happier, healthier lives, or are they remnants of an old system of control? [14:53.5]

Here’s another fascinating angle, the resource distribution theory, and this one comes from the realm of evolutionary psychology and can offer a unique lens on why societies regulate sexual behavior the way they do. At its core, the resource distribution theory suggests that how we handle our sexual behavior has a big impact on the distribution of resources within any community.

By steering certain behaviors into the realm of taboo or shame, societies can channel resources in a way that supports the offspring of unions that are acceptable that fit the social bill. This is all about ensuring that the next generation, those who are seen as the legitimate heirs, so to speak, get the support that they need to thrive.

This theory sheds light on why those at the top of the social ladder, the elites, often play by a different set of rules. The top 0.1% or 0.001%, depending on how far back in history you go, control a hefty chunk of the community’s resources, so their offspring are pretty much guaranteed support, no matter how many partners they might have. It’s a different ballgame for them compared to the rest of the population, the masses, where the distribution of resources is more tightly controlled through social norms around sexuality. [16:11.2]

Let’s break it down with an example. In many historical societies, the ruling class could have multiple partners or even entire harems of hundreds of women, without facing the stigma or shame that the average man or woman would if they were involved with that. This wasn’t just a perk of being in power. It was also a way to ensure that their lineage continued with as much support as possible, both in terms of wealth and social standing. The offspring of these unions were set up to succeed from the get-go.

Meanwhile, for the average Joe or Jane, following the socially-sanctioned route, like marrying within one’s class and staying faithful, that was a way to ensure their children had access to the resources and support available to them albeit on a smaller scale. Straying from this path often meant risking social ostracization, and by extension, the wellbeing of one’s children. [17:03.0]

No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It’s why they can’t give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It’s why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.

Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian’s “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.

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What does this mean for us today? Recognizing these underlying dynamics helps us to understand the historical roots of some of the sexual norms that we see around us. It also invites us to question how these norms continue to shape our views on sexuality and resource distribution in our communities. Are they still serving us? Or are they remnants of a system that no longer applies to our modern, more equitable ideals?

Now let’s look at one of the most common methods or levers or tools by which sexuality was controlled: religion.

Now, if you’re someone who aligns with a conservative religious view and sticks closely to that script, and you’re devout in your faith, my discussion so far might not resonate with you and you’re probably not listening to this. But if you’re like many out there who grew up in a conservative religious setting and have since moved away from it, or if you’re like me, having left the faith altogether, then understanding the impact of religiously-induced sexual shame is crucial for your personal development. [19:00.0]

Growing up under the umbrella of strict religious teachings can significantly shape your views on sexuality, often instilling a deep sense of shame about natural sexual desires. It’s a heavy burden. It’s a burden that doesn’t just vanish the moment you step away from those teachings. Even if you’ve intellectually dismissed these old beliefs, they can linger in your unconscious mind, suddenly influencing how you feel about yourself sexually and even affecting your sexual performance.

Take, for example, Joshua Harris, a name for those of you who have been in the evangelical world, you might recognize this name, Joshua Harris, who was the author of the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye that became a cornerstone of the evangelical purity movement. It was a really hot book when I was an undergrad. This book preached the value of abstaining from all forms of dating in order to avoid sexual impurity before marriage. It had a massive influence on a whole generation of young evangelicals, including myself in the mid-90s. [20:06.5]

But years later, as I’ve recently discovered, Joshua Harris publicly recanted his views and admitted the damage his teachings had caused. He publicly stepped away from the faith, as did his wife, both acknowledging the profound negative impacts of the purity culture they once promoted and were the poster boy and girl for.

This can be a powerful reminder for us of the long-lasting effects of religious teachings on our sexual self-image and our behaviors. It’s not just about what happens in church or while you’re actively practicing the religion. It’s about how those ingrained ideas can continue to burden you unconsciously to echo through your life long after you’ve left them or you think you’ve left them behind.

If you’re someone who’s stepping out of the shadow, it’s essential to recognize that undoing this kind of programming is a long-term journey. It might take as long as the programming took to set in, meaning, years or even decades. You’ll need to engage actively in rethinking, reshaping your attitudes towards sexuality, reconditioning or deconditioning, and then conditioning, healthy attitudes and perspectives on sex and sexuality. [21:14.5]

This involves deep thought, open discussion, and a conscious effort to redefine what sexuality and sexual freedom mean to you personally. For me, a lot of the burden of that sexual shame from religion was cast off by intellectual study, analysis and reflection, and then acting and living as if I were free from sexual shame.

The road to shedding layers of religious sexual shame is neither quick nor easy. It requires persistence and resilience. Talking about it, as we are right now, helps in chipping away at those deep-seated often unconscious beliefs. Each conversation, each moment of reflection can be a step towards reclaiming those parts of yourself that may have been suppressed under layers of sexual shame. [22:03.6]

Now let’s look at the roots of sexual shame. Psychology research tells us that these roots often go deep down to our earliest experiences in life. Think back to your childhood and the messages you received about sex. Perhaps it was those cringe-worthy moments, like our listener question, when a sex scene popped up in a movie, and suddenly, your parents fumbled for the remote to fast forward, or maybe they just switch the channel altogether.

Those awkward silences or stern warnings not to watch weren’t just uncomfortable. They were formative. There were moments when, subtly or not so subtly, the idea that sex was something shameful, dirty, evil or wrong, or at least not to be discussed, was etched deeper into your consciousness and unconsciousness.

For me, personally, I recall an incident from when I was about seven, eight years old when the Betamax and VHS machines had just come out, the VCR, and we went to the video store and I got to pick the movie for that night, for the family night, and I picked some what I thought was a Western movie, like a Cowboy movie, and it turned out it had the word “dirty” in it. I can’t remember the exact title, but it had the word “dirty” in it. [23:16.5]

We got home and we all gathered around the family room there on the couch, Mom, Dad, me, my younger sister, older sister, and I was again seven or eight. They popped it in there and it starts off with a scene of five or so cowboys riding in the desert and they come to a small outpost and they go to the saloon where they quickly meet some local barmaids, and it turns out this movie was a softcore porn and pretty quickly boobs came out.

Then my mom screamed at the top of her lungs to turn it off, and made us all go up to our rooms and get into bed right away, even though the sun hadn’t even set and we hadn’t even brushed her teeth yet. Then my dad eventually made it up to my bedroom and said to me in Chinese, “Let’s not get another movie with the word ‘dirty’ in it,” so that was his takeaway and that was just one of many such experiences that I had that seared into my mind the sinfulness of sexual lust. [24:13.2]

Looking back and whenever I tell it, it’s pretty funny, but these moments are actually not trivial. They are part of how parental and societal attitudes towards sex become internalized in us. It’s not just about direct messages like sex is bad or the word “dirty” is bad, but it’s also about the unspoken, the actions, that speak louder than words. Over time, these messages stack up, building a framework in our unconscious minds that equate sexual feelings with something to hide or suppress, because they’re dirty or wrong, or bad or evil, or sinful.

Now let’s connect these dots to our adult relationships and here’s where the legacy of those childhood messages really come into play. If you’ve ever found yourself hesitating in intimate moments, bogged down by anxiety that you couldn’t quite explain, or if you’ve ever felt disconnected from your own sexual desires, these could be signs of unresolved sexual shame. [25:13.0]

It manifests in various ways. Some might avoid intimacy altogether. Others might find themselves going through the motions without really being present, and some might struggle with performance anxiety, always caught up in their heads, far from the moments. These are not just personal struggles. They’re the echoes of that internalized shame, and they can deeply affect the quality and health of your relationships. When you’re unable to fully engage with your partner, it doesn’t just stay in the bedroom. It seeps into other areas of your relationship, affecting emotional closeness, communication, and mutual understanding. [25:53.7]

So, what do we do about it? Recognizing these patterns is the first step, acknowledging that what you feel is not just how things are, but the result of deeply-ingrained beliefs, and this can be incredibly freeing. Psychoanalysis isn’t just about digging up the past. It’s about understanding it so you can rewrite your present and future. It offers us tools to examine these buried beliefs, and slowly but surely, dismantle them.

It’s about looking these awkward, uncomfortable moments from your past in the eye and understanding that they don’t have to dictate your future. It’s about gradually building a new narrative, one where sexuality can be part of your life in a way that’s healthy, fulfilling, and free of shame.

Finally, let’s look at sexual shame through the lens of the IFS therapy model, the Internal Family Systems therapy model. Now, if you’ve been following my podcast for any length of time, hopefully you’ve heard me mention IFS therapy. This evidence-based practice offers a unique and insightful way to address and heal sexual shame. [26:58.4]

IFS therapy proposes that our minds are a complex system made up of various parts, each with its own intentions, thoughts and feelings. These are like sub-personalities within us. Think of these parts like members of a family, each contributing to the overall dynamic of your psychological makeup. Some parts are easygoing. Some are critical. Others are protective, and then there are those that carry deep wounds. These are the exiled parts, hidden away because they hold so much emotional pain.

When it comes to sexual shame, it’s typically seen in IFS as a protective mechanism. Now, this might sound counterintuitive at first. Why would parts of ourselves want to induce shame? It turns out that these parts are trying to protect us from potential harm, like judgment, ridicule, vulnerability, the parts of us that were punished for the expressions of sexuality. [27:53.1]

That pain is most concentrated in parts of us that we call exiled parts, which are protected by another category called protector parts, and in the case of sexual shame, often, it is a protective part that uses shame so that that pain that resulted from the punishments of our natural sexual expression, that pain won’t be felt again, as long as we keep shaming ourselves away from engaging in any of those sexual expressions.

These protective parts of us believe that by keeping you from expressing or even acknowledging your sexual desires, they’re in fact keeping you safe. But here’s the thing. While these parts have good intentions, their methods are limiting and damaging in the long term, leading to the issues that we’ve been exploring in this episode, like disconnection from one’s sexual self,\ and difficulties in intimate relationships.

Okay, so what do we do about this? This is where IFS therapy really shines. The process begins with acknowledging that these parts exist in us and understanding their positive intentions. This isn’t about pushing away the shame or fighting it. It’s about getting to know it, understanding why it’s there, and listening to what these protective parts of us are trying to tell us. [29:11.5]

The next step involves engaging with these parts of ourselves compassionately. This means approaching them with curiosity and kindness, rather than judgment or frustration. When you engage with your parts this way, you create a supportive internal environment that fosters understanding and acceptance.

One of the most powerful aspects of IFS is the unburdening process, and this is where you help the parts let go of their burdens, such as shame that they’ve been carrying, possibly for many years. It’s about gently reassuring these parts that they no longer need to keep these burdens, because you’ve grown and the circumstances have changed. You’re no longer that helpless child or that insecure teenager. You’re an adult who can handle judgment or rejection and without crumbling. [30:01.5]

This process of unburdening leads to true freedom. It allows these parts to relax and integrate more positively into your overall self. They transform from guardians of your shame into allies that contribute to your wellbeing. What does this look like in real life? It means that situations that would have once triggered a shame response now evoke a more measured, calm reaction. You start to feel more connected with your sexuality, more present in sexually intimate moments, and more secure in your relationships.

Remember, this isn’t a quick fix. It’s a long-term journey. Healing deep seated shame takes time and patience. It involves revisiting old wounds, reevaluating old narratives, and gradually reshaping your internal landscape. But the rewards are profound. Imagine living a life where you no longer carry the weight of sexual shame. Imagine feeling free to express and enjoy your sexuality without fear of internal judgment. [31:02.4]

Let’s take a moment now to recap the major themes that we’ve explored so far today.

We started off discussing the roots and impacts of sexual shame, how it’s often formed in childhood and reinforced by cultural and social norms. We moved into how sexual shame manifests in adult relationships, showing up as avoidance performance, anxiety, or a disconnect from one sexual self.

We then explored IFS therapy, which is a transformative, evidence-based approach that helps us understand and heal the parts of ourselves that carry the shame.

To bring these points home, let me share a story about a client I worked with. Let’s call him Mark. Mark came to me feeling stuck in his intimate relationships. He struggled with deep feelings of inadequacy and fear of rejection, which were directly tied to an upbringing, where any expression of sexuality was met with harsh judgment and punishment. Mark’s protective parts were working overtime to keep him from experiencing the shame, so much so that they were preventing him from connecting on a deeper level with his partners. [32:05.5]

Through IFS therapy work together, Mark learned to identify and communicate with these protective parts of himself. He came to understand that they were trying to keep him safe from the kind of ridicule and punishment he experienced in his childhood. By acknowledging and reassuring these parts that they no longer needed to protect him in this way, Mark was able to release or begin to release his burdens of shame. This unburdening process wasn’t quick, but as he progressed over the weeks and months, Mark started to experience more openness and, eventually, fulfillment in his intimate relationship.

Now, let’s talk about the stakes here. At the extreme, sexual shame can lead to profound loneliness, depression, and a sense of disconnection, not just from partners, but from society at large. It can create a ripple effect impacting mental health, physical health, and your overall wellbeing. Living under the weight of sexual shame for too long will lead to spiraling into unhealthy behaviors or toxic relationships, simply because they can’t confront and process their feelings of sexual shame. [33:12.3]

But there’s a brighter scenario that’s possible, a life free of sexual shame. The man who has unburdened himself from sexual shame, lives in a reality where intimacy can be joyful, where relationships are fulfilling, and where sex is an expression of love and connection, as well as great pleasure, and not a source of fear or criticism or anxiety. He’s not held back by doubts about his own worth or his rights to pleasure and connection. Instead, he approaches his intimate relationships with confidence, openness and ease, ready to give and receive affection in a healthy, balanced way.

For someone like Mark and perhaps for you listening today, this positive future is not just a dream, but a real possibility. Yes, it requires emotional work. It demands facing uncomfortable truths and challenging deep seated beliefs, but the freedom on the other side is worth every step of the journey. [34:10.5]

As we wrap up this episode, think about the steps that you can take towards understanding and integrating your own parts, especially the ones burdened with sexual shame. Whether it’s through the therapeutic process, self-reflection, or simply starting an open conversation with others about sexual shame, each step is a move forwards towards a more fulfilling life.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this, please hit a like, or subscribe or follow on whatever platform you’re listening to this on. If this has helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it. And if you’d like to be a guest to work with me on a podcast episode, email, and let us know your background and the issue or issues you’d like to work on with me. I hope to feature more of that on-air work with guests more in this podcast, so I look forward to getting your email application. [35:02.1]

Thank you again so much for listening, and I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. Until then, David Tian, signing out.

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