--- “I just don’t feel comfortable being naked in front of my partner.”
--- “I never have masturbated.”
--- “It’s strange, when I get aroused, I don’t feel 100 percent good about it. It feels dangerous or bad somehow.”
--- “When there is a sex scene in the movies or on TV, I get so uncomfortable that I have to turn my head away or turn the TV off.”
These are the kinds of comments I hear in my office every day. Sometimes these feelings are left over from what people learned from their families growing up.
Did you grow up in a sex negative home?
You may have, and don’t even recognize it.
When people think of a “sex-negative” home, they tend to imagine a home where parents or other caretakers overtly said things like “sex is bad,” “sex is sinful,” or “sex is dirty.” And yes, those kinds of statements are the classic indications of a sex-negative home.
However, sex therapists also consider a home where nothing sexual is ever mentioned to indicate a sex-negative home. When parents treat the topic of sex as totally taboo — as though sexuality is literally not a part of human experience — it shuts down all talk about sex, and sometimes it even inhibits thinking about sex.
But don’t worry: Even if you grew up in a family that was a sexual vacuum, you can work on the issue and heal it yourself.
Address your discomfort with sexual topics by slowly but steadily exposing yourself to books that are sex-positive.
Sometimes I have adults read books about sex that are meant for children and teenagers, just as a start. As you read books meant for younger people, you begin to realize what was missing in your childhood, and you can slowly educate yourself and become more comfortable. You’ll be filling in a missing piece of the puzzle of your discomfort with sexuality.
If you are curious, you can read more about different kinds of family sexual environments in my book, SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It.
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