I always remember feeling incredibly sexy in my clothes, in my body, walking on the street attracting people's glances, and when I crossed my gaze with someone in particular, I completely trembled, looked away and didn't really connect. I felt terror just by thinking that the interaction could give the impression that I wanted to flirt or open a space of intimacy.

I also remember a self-love session that I had dancing all my sensuality in front of a mirror.  I recorded it and shared it on Facebook to inspire other women to normalize these spaces in a playful way, full of innocence and intimacy. Seconds later, I received a message from my mom saying that she didn’t approve of me sharing something so private, that those things are not to be shared publicly. I was left blank...

Why not? Why should I be ashamed of my sensuality in a beautiful and intimate moment?

But yeah… I did indeed feel ashamed, guilty and defensive immediately.

All this to realize that when you don't feel like you can speak or show something openly, it already gives you the unconscious signal that you are doing something wrong.

And it is not about the content of what you share, but how you share it.

Are you putting the focus on the other person or yourself?

Are you orbiting someone else's approval or are you centered in your orbit? Attracting people who resonate and approve of you and what you have to offer by being yourself in each present moment?

This matters because one is projecting a different energy in different moments. And it matters, because whatever happens, you want to be seen, recognized, accepted by your tribe. Which is totally normal, and something we all look for. Something that makes us all happy when it happens. The approval of the others. Probably the most addictive drug.

The reaction of people is also different when one shares from a place of trust or from a place of fear. If I share from a place of fear, I am in my words, in my voice, in my intention, begging for the other person to indirectly validate what I am saying. Expecting the other person to tell me, "Everything is fine, it's normal" or "I do it too". And rest in that recognition. Versus sharing it from a place of full trust and acceptance.

Those two extremes are the extreme of sexual self-esteem and sexual shame.

Shame is coming from knowing that you enjoy something, it turns you on, but not daring to share it with anyone. A feeling that suffocates you because the rest of the world will not understand it and they will look at you strangely, they will reject you.

Then sometimes you want to dare to tell it to see what happens.

But it is scary to open that space and that your fear will be true.

Its scary to check it, because many times that same fear, that same insecurity, is what makes us tell it with guilt, with shyness, with that voice and that look of someone ashamed that seeks the approval of the other part.

And is also very common to see a person who looks super confident and daring, and when the time comes to physically be naked and undress the spirit, he is the most insecure person there is. 

Why is this happening?

Many times people use this external self-esteem, which is projected to the rest, to cover a lack of self-esteem in intimacy.

Sexual self-esteem for me has a lot to do with being able to communicate what we want, how we want it, knowing how to say "no" if there is something we don’t like or we don’t know if we will like. And knowing that there are so many things and the ideas are so infinite, that there is no reason to spend any extra second in something that is not 100% juicy and delicious.

I have been years in this never-ending quest to get to the moment when there is not a drop of shame left regarding how I live and experience my sexuality, in this chase of reaching that level where I can say that I have a master's degree in sexual self-confidence, and you know what? The more I keep opening doors to new things, new shames and insecurities appear. To finally realize that this confidence is not in the level of information or experience that one has, it is in knowing how to listen to oneself and honor whatever it is that appears.

And it happens that every time one finds out about another person with the same desires or fantasies, one feels more approved, welcomed.

Because one brings to light certain things that if one doesn’t share, they remain in the dark, in a little corner, in an internal box of shame. And if one shares them and brings them to the light, one can remove that burden from keeping it secret.

Let yourself be vulnerable. Share the emotion that it brings in you. When there is vulnerability, one stops feeling strange. One becomes human in the eyes of the rest.

The fact that you've honored your own wishes and have the courage to share it, that's where all the sweet nectar of self-esteem resides.

I invite you to put it into practice. To make a list of 5 sexual fantasies or desires that you have (obviously this list can be longer. But let's start with 5). Write next to each one which emotions are awake in you with this fantasy. What would this fantasy bring to your life if you have the chance to play with it? Why do you like this fantasy?



  • Fantasy or desire:I want to be submissive to a man in bed. Follow directions and please him.
  • Emotion:Shame to share it because I will be perceived as a weak person with no personal power in general. Fear that the person I share with will feel unsafe with me and think of me as someone with unhealthy and violent patterns in relationships. Also, fear of being criticized and misunderstood by other women as I work in the field of women empowerment.
  • Why I like it, what brings to my life?:It takes me to a state where I allow myself to let go of control. I would like to not make any decisions and simply follow instructions because I never allow myself that in my life (I like being an independent, completely free woman). I like the feeling of pleasing someone that makes me feel safe and protected. During a normal day, I would feel guilt if I am a pleaser with men and during sex it gives me a space of liberation to explore that energy.

Now is your turn. 

The first step is to share this with you. Begin that authentic relationship with what you have so far tried to hide from yourself.

I believe that sexuality is the most authentic and vulnerable aspect in which we can accompany each other among human beings, in the space in which we can really see each other and drop those walls that during the day to day separate us from people.

And this sexual self-esteem for me in its core is learning that sexuality is a game. To remember to have fun in this never-ending exploration.

It is an adventure. You have to laugh, explore yourself.

And understand that one never stops learning. And with that new tastes are opened. New wishes. New tools. New qualities. And with that new shame and insecurities.

A person with high self-esteem is not a person who has tried everything. Is not a person who dares to do everything. Is not a person who dresses sexier or shows more. Is not a more open-minded person than others. It is someone that whatever she chooses to experience in her sexual life, she does it in an authentic way, from the knowledge that she herself (her wants, her boundaries, her curiosity) is choosing what she wishes to explore, expressing that, and setting herself free by owning herself fully.

Even if that means being celibate. Or not having sex until marriage.

Even if that means having dynamics of domination and submission.

Even if that means having many sexual partners or being polyamorous.

Even if that means that you love threesomes or you like people from the same gender.

And how to be authentic when sharing your desires or fantasies? You must be wondering.

I hear so many types of advice like, “Accept yourself, experiment, talk about sex.”

In my experience, these tips have only made me feel more pressured, more guilty, and so intimidated that I don’t dare to share. Because I don’t feel seen. I don’t feel there is space to be scared and that the solution is to fake that I feel comfortable. 

Authentic is the one that embraces and dares to look at everything that lives within her. All the most hidden desires, thoughts, emotions. She creates a safe space in herself and with others to open up.  She moves away from internal and external pressure. Everything is welcomed and observed. There is no attachment and there is no rejection. There is nothing that you need to change from yourself before fully embracing it. There is nothing to strive to transform into something else before saying...

“This is me and this is how I love myself… With all my crazy things, fetishes and kinky fantasies. With all my boundaries and things that I don't feel open or ready to explore." 

When one understands that each desire has a reason to be there, and is not simply using space.

When one understands that each desire is a piece of our psyche.

A reflection of our soul.

One understands the importance of making room for it.

By Fernanda Pinochet Reymond

Artwork by Tarn Ellis

February 24, 2021 — A J