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For a long time I've wanted to talk about sex shame on this channel. How many people experience it, how often, and in what ways. I think it is the number one cause of sexual dysfunction and dis-ease. I asked people on Facebook and Twitter to share their experiences of sexual shame to address them more collectively and received hundreds of messages describing shame from family members, friends, organizations, teachers, and medical providers. People referred to body shame, shame about gender, relationships, prowess or lack of. Some of them felt too ashamed to disclose the shame.
This episode is for all of us to recognize what's happened and why we have the feelings we do. It's also to continue the process of letting the shame go -- setting it on fire -- talking it out with a therapist.

I care about you and want you to live your best life!

Dr. Doe's contact info:
Support Sexplanations by becoming a sexpla(i)naut:
This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp - a really smart way to get counseling for you, your relationship, and the shame that gets in the way of living your best life.

I'm Dr. Lindsey Doe a clinical sexologist and this sex curious show is Sexplanations. [WHIP CRACKING, COUGH].

One of the things I notice most about sex is how much we're sex shamed, “pressured to feel our sexuality, identities, bodies, and behaviors are flawed and unworthy of acceptance and belonging” (even though they're not). I've been shamed for having leg hair, anal sex, hickeys on my neck, small breasts, of having loud orgasms. And like many of you shamed for how much I like studying and talking about sexuality.

None of these things makes me bad or wrong; I'm awesome. And I want you to feel unashamed and awesome too so this whole episode is about letting go of sexual shame. In her book Daring Greatly, Brené Brown, who I consider an expert on shame, writes, “Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.” and “If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.” I asked people on Twitter and Facebook to share their experiences of sex shame for this very reason.

We can talk them out, turn them to ashes and move on. How have you been sex shamed? "I was literally just cut off from a sexual relationship because of my taste in women." Taste is personal. "My husband refuses sex with me because I don't wanna have children." My sex drive and my procreation drive are not synonymous. One is high the other is nil.

That's okay. "'Man whore' is a term commonly used because I've had several partners over my life." Yep, and Nico on Twitter was called a man whore for eating a banana. Whore, slut, tease, hooker, and tramp are all words that can be used maliciously in an attempt to manipulate someone's behavior. It's like saying “I think you're more sexual than I judge that you should be.” Be you! "Getting an exceptionally horrible UTI from my first time and the NP telling me “that's what you get." You don't deserve a UTI... shame on the nurse! "A doctor refused to say the name of the STIs I wanted to be tested for and made me repeat my reason for needing the tests more than 5 times." Good on you for getting tested.

I would have loved being there so that after the second time your doctor asked I could offer to write it down for them. "I've been told by almost every doctor I've had to this day that I can't choose to have my tubes tied... what if I marry someone who wants kids!?" Lots of the experiences of sex shaming that people shared were about things their healthcare professionals said or did. Shame from parents, shame from schools, shame from churches and shame from peers. Shame is weird.

You're having sex too early. Too late. Having sex too little.

Not enough. You're too young to be having sex. Too old.

Too little sex. That's too much sex. You're having sex with too few or many partners.

We're shamed to fit in this tiny little box that has no room for diversity. And this tiny little box someone else thinks is shameful anyway. And someone else thinks this tiny little box is shameful anyway.

Take for example the scenario of a man having sex with a woman: he doesn't come fast enough, so she says he's gay. The man has sex with men, but he's not gay enough because he's had sex with women. So he identifies as bi but that's not a real thing...

I don't know one person spared from sex shame. People who've been told their identities aren't valid. People who've been body policed by others.

Shamed about their relationships. Their preferences. Their desires.

And their experiences. It doesn't have to be this way. Or this way: "Shamed for being the first girl to start puberty at a very small religious school.

Told I was a 'temptation' and needed to keep my body hidden. I was 8 yrs old." I'm tempted to scream! "I came out as poly to my mom and tried to introduce her to my old triad (may it rest in peace) and she looked up polyamory on WebMD." Jack's mom, polyamory isn't an illness. It's being able to experience love for multiple people at the same time.

That's a gift. And then there's Jacqueline who's been told told, “You're handicapped, you don't need to worry about ‘that'.” Well, that's not true! At all!

And it's so damaging to all of us when the world shames us with these ideas about sex. Thank you for working through all of this with me. I appreciate that so many of you are depriving shame of its power by sharing your experiences.

You're putting it out there like Jaime who was shamed for liking oral. And others of you are showing compassion like andreyadonut who responded you deserve understanding and kindness. To those of you are ashamed to talk publicly about your shame.

That's ok. This blank page is for all the sex shame out there that wasn't mentioned. Let's set them on fire. [ROCK MUSIC MONTAGE].

There's a lot of satisfaction in this for me, but I realize that sometimes you need more than a match to deal with shame. Now I get to tell you about BetterHelp, a service that offers private, affordable, online counseling when you need it from licensed, board-accredited therapists! For me it's like brain Airbnb.

I filled out a quick questionnaire, the site matched me with a fully-licensed therapist and I get to interact as much or as little as I want. I like my match but if I didn't feel safe or good about it for any reason, I can click and get a new counselor. It's so affordable, too.

BetterHelp has a financial aid option, but even their fee is one fourth the average cost of in-person counseling. I can securely text, call, Skype, whatever for a set price each month and it's online so I can get counseling while I'm in bed or whenever it's helpful to me. I don't have to schedule an appointment or wait a week; I can start an email about being bullied, go to the bathroom, have sex, finish the email and then within a day or two there's a reply which is so smart.

If you think this is as cool as I do, please check out the link in the description. When you sign up it actually helps us, which is awesome, but I wouldn't encourage this if I didn't believe BetterHelp was really worth it. Stay curious! [LINDSEY MAKING INCOHERENT NOISES].