“What’s wrong with me that I’m turned on by… (fill in the blank with whatever turn ons you have that you’ve been taught you’re ‘not supposed to have’): rough sex, my partner’s friend, underage girls, being watched, my father, humiliation, homosexuality, my daughter, group sex, violence, my brother, choking, children, the abuse of power, my mother, cuckolding, sex with animals, spanking, snuff, my sister, transsexuality, bad boys, fear, my son, rape…)?”
I was haunted with a version of this shaming question for decades, and I’ve seen the same in so many of the people I work with. We can have the sense that there is something deeply wrong inside us, a “monster”, “whore”, or “pervert” at the heart of our sexuality.
This deep sexual shame causes us to fundamentally distrust our sexuality, our desire, and ourselves. We constrict or shut down our erotic energy, and distance from our erotic self. This, typically unconscious, defense against shame starves us of the juice of life. We fear even knowing, let alone living in our desire, because we’re sure it’s “bad”.
It often seems like there’s nobody we can talk to about our turn on because we’re sure anyone would condemn us. We often feel like we need to conceal this part of ourselves from our partners and even our most intimate friends. We may imagine that we can never be fully seen and loved because of this part of us.
Yet the truth is there is nothing wrong with our turn on ever! Arousal is just arousal, and it’s normal, nourishing, and feels good when it’s not overshadowed by the shame we’ve so often been taught. Being turned on, even by the most forbidden, taboo, or violent fantasies, doesn’t mean that we want to or will harm ourselves or anyone else in real life.
When I realized this and embraced my arousal, even from the most forbidden places, I was amazed at the amount of energy, inspiration, and enjoyment that was suddenly allowed to flow through me. I was finally able to really know and love the shadow parts of myself that I’d always been convinced deserved condemnation.
This gave me a deeper sense of clarity and trust in myself than I’d never known before. I gained such a sense of “I’ve got myself!” Not because I’m shutting myself down and inhibiting myself, but because I’m welcoming everything that I am and trusting myself to move in alignment with the whole of me. I know at my core that I don’t want to do harm or be harmed and it’s such a relief to not feel like I have to hide and guard against myself.
Since then, I’ve had the joy of facilitating similarly profound erotic awakenings in so many people who, like me, were haunted by the idea that there was something wrong with them because they’re turned on by taboo fantasies. What they and I needed to release the shame we’d been taught was the profoundly healing experience of having the shamed shadow turn-ons embraced and celebrated.
If you have a version of the “what’s wrong with me that I’m turned on by…?” shaming question I invite you to work with me, so that you can reclaim your full arousal, sexuality, and desire from shame. We’ll not only embrace and celebrate your turn on, whatever it is, we’ll also explore ways that you can fully enjoy it without harming yourself or others.
By giving ourselves full permission to entertain even the most forbidden fantasies we can fully enjoy all the delicious flavors of feeling in unique cocktails created to suit our particular erotic palate. We can delight in the vast and subtle universe of erotic enjoyment that is so often restricted or shut down by shame.
I offer experiential erotic embodiment coaching globally in-person and online. I also offer an experiential deep dive into the juice of your turn ons with personal retreats – (sex coach Veronica Funess, my partner, co-facilitates with me when this is helpful).
By Adam Chacksfield, January 2024