Exploring Your Sexual Shadow
Bringing the dusty, misunderstood aspects of your sexual shadow into the light can be scary and liberating. Doing so allows for the self-expression that is at the very root of why we need sex: Sex is a stage on which we bare ourself to others.
Sex is where we expose our erotic body, desires and imperfections, and (hopefully) receive pleasure, acceptance and admiration (or a good spanking if that’s your thing) for just being who we are.
And there’s nothing better than feeling seen and embraced for our weird, naughty, “perverted” (what a shaming word!) little quirks. Because the truth is, there is no right or wrong way to have sex, only the right way for you (and your lovers). And as long as it’s done with agency and consent by all parties involved, it’s healthy.
We’re born fully integrated without any sense that our eroticism is wrong, dirty or private. The blatant or unintentional shaming that we receive for being naturally sexual causes us to compartmentalize our sexual self.
- Were you ever caught masterbating as a child? What was the reaction?
- In what ways were you shamed or teased for your body or sexual curiosities?
- In what ways did your caregivers or culture reinforce that it was wrong to be too sexual?
Most of us carry sexual shame, varying only in degree. The desires, pleasures, preferences, turn ons deemed dirty or too much, the cristicism you internalized around how your body looks (different from what the media portrays as sexy or pretty), all live in your sexual shadow.
But when we intentionally nudge these shadowy aspects of ourselves, at our own pace, into the light, where flowers bloom and the sun warms without bias, something magnificent happens: Overtime, the resistance we feel to who we are (and not just sexually) softens and defuses, limiting us less and less.
Through sexual role play or power dynamics we can explore shadow themes – like manipulation, coercion, powerlessness, jealousy, sluttiness, vanity, rule breaking (e.g., the teacher’s pet secretly fucking the principle in his office), infidelity, objectification, being taken against our will, taking what we want, power over another, and anything else taboo you can dream up! – which often go against our personal values and cultural status quo, yet can be intensely arousing.
Sex is a playground where we get to try on different costumes, words, personas, fantasies and see how they feel, testing whether or not they touch parts of us that want to be expressed. Sex is a place where we find our voice, our power, our softness.
The most important thing is that as you play, you’re tracking how your body, yoni, and mind respond:
- What personas, scenarios, fantasies turn you on the most?
- What words or phrases make you want to come in an instant?
- What don’t you like? For example, I love being called a slut, but I hate whore.
- What feelings are these roles, fantasies or words evoking in you? Do you feel naughty, dominant, desired, worshiped, submissive, powerful, special, irresistible, in control, out of control, exposed…?
Exploration of your sexual shadow is a pathway to wholeness. As Jung wrote: “One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious” (quoted in The Erotic Mind by Jack Morin).
Now, go play!
By Allie Andrews, Intimacy, Embodiment & Sex Coach (Somatica® trained)