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Are we sexually repressed and don’t know it?

As a sexual empowerment coach, I get to know a lot about what’s happening in people’s bedrooms, and in their minds. When I tell people that I’m a sex coach, some of them get uncomfortable, awkward and evasive. These are educated, intelligent, successful and influential people, so why does the prospect of discussing such a natural part of life evoke such reactions?

After doing this work for over a decade, I’ve had some important insights. I’ve recognised that society has a problem with sex, and as human beings, we have become uniformed, repressive and infantile in our attitude towards sex and sexuality.

Take a moment to reflect on how you feel about sex, sexuality, your body, your genitals, and in turn how you feel about other people’s sexuality, bodies, genitals and sexual expressions. Are you holding on to some shame about sex? Are you dealing with any sexual issues? Do you wish you could be more sexually confident, informed and free? I’d be willing to place a bet that you would answer yes to at least one of those questions.

As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire. If you want to find the root of the problem, you have to look at its symptoms. After the stifling norms of the 40s and 50s, the sexual revolution of the 1960s brought a new freedom of sexual expression, aided by the pill and women’s rights. The freedom of the 60s spilled over into the 70s, but as the 1980s dawned, the spread of AIDS/HIV brought anxiety, demonisation of promiscuity and a wave of self-enforced abstention. Today, as a society, we are once again at odds with our sexuality, and not just when it comes to our sexual relationships, but also how sexuality affects the other aspects of our lives.

The sexual revolution was not a world wide phenomena, and even in the West, it only affected a part of the population. Some religious countries and societies are more outwardly sexually oppressive than others, with women being required to cover their bodies or even their faces, and young boys and girls often subjected to genital mutilation. Sadly, women are punished, excommunicated or even executed for acts that are perceived to dishonour the family name. There are stringent rules around sexual behaviour, and sex before marriage is usually strictly prohibited. Virginity and chastity are virtues. It’s easy to look at such beliefs and think: “That’s so primitive. They are so repressed. We are so open minded and advanced”. But are we really?

Even in countries that aren’t so overtly repressive when it comes to intimate relationships, society still has double standards when it comes to sexuality. For instance, women are supposed to be ‘sexy’, but not actually be ‘sexual’. A man who has numerous sexual partners is portrayed as a stud, while a woman who does the same is called ‘easy’ or even referred to as a ‘slut’. It’s not hard to see why these definitions cause people who are yearning to express their sexuality, to end up suppressing it instead.

Sexual suppression can be destructive because it can turn into infatuation, addiction, oppression, and obsession. These in turn can lead to frustration, anger, aggression and violence towards both men and women. In essence, sexual suppression can become a disease.

One direct result of society’s sexual repressiveness is the rise of the porn industry. Porn, and specifically online porn, has become a social epidemic that is already affecting tens of millions of people; it is a symptom of society’s suppression of sex and sexuality. It’s common that people who are sexually frustrated seek porn as a substitute, but more often than not, the addiction to the ‘quick fix’ ends up becoming a problem in itself, causing erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation and an inability to connect with sexual partners on an intimate, real life level. And it’s not only men. A third of porn users are women.

Nowhere is society’s infantile attitude towards sexuality and both male and female orgasms expressed more starkly than in porn. If porn is an expression of what is usually repressed, consider the depiction of male pleasure – it’s usually centred around sperm, and lots of it. A scene just isn’t complete without the “money shot”. Even in penetrative sex scenes, the actor will pull out to ejaculate over the woman’s face or breasts. This is akin to a pubescent young man discovering he can ejaculate and revelling in the magic of that over and over again. Sure, it’s a natural and beautiful expression of manhood, but most men stay at this stage and become addicted to ejaculation.

Women’s sexuality in porn and mass media is focused on clitoral stimulation, and while this practice isn’t bad and it does produce some results, it is somewhat limited in comparison to female sexuality that embraces a woman’s vagina, g-spot, cervix, and the rest of her body, as well as forms of arousal and pleasure that aren’t genital-focused or even physical. Sex is reduced to a “rub this to get a result” formula and it doesn’t provide a mature depiction of connection and love between partners. A female orgasm can be so much more than this, but porn perpetuates the clitoral-focus that both men and women suffer from. How are people ever supposed to connect in a meaningful, intimate way, when porn sets out such disconnected, untrue and misguided norms?

From a young age, we are taught that sexuality is supposed to be contained within some form of a relationship. Monogamy is a social norm throughout the world, but most people don’t live to the religious or traditional ideal of a partner for life. Instead they engage in “serial monogamy” – going through sexual partners, short relationships, and a couple of marriages.

Today, close to half of all marriages end in divorce. 40-60% of relationships experience infidelity, and sexual dissatisfaction is one of the main reasons behind it. This is another symptom of the wider societal problem. People who suppress their sexual desires within relationships or people whose partners aren’t dealing with their own sexual issues, find other avenues of expression.

So it seems that the structure that is supposed to contain our sexual expressions isn’t viable, and continued controlled repression of sexuality just doesn’t fit our modern day lives. Now, more than ever, we need to find a way of opening up a meaningful dialogue when it comes to our sex lives.

Sexual education for adults, however, is scarce. People don’t know that a man can last as long as he wants, that men can have multiple whole-body non-ejaculatory orgasms, that women can have over 20 different kinds of orgasms and can orgasm for an hour or more! People aren’t educated on how to pleasure and connect with the opposite sex.

Sex education, if it’s delivered, is usually focused around STDs and pregnancies, emphasising what could go wrong as a kind of warning against engaging in sexual activity. STDs and STIs are a cause for deep shame, anxiety, avoidance of sex and hiding. As a result, people are often embarrassed, misinformed and uninformed about sexuality, and carrying this mindset into a relationship, it’s little wonder people say they cheat because they are bored with their sex lives.

Most people feel awkward talking about sex in public, or even being in a room where someone else talks about it. Most men feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their friends, and when they do, they focus on performance (I gave her 20 orgasms; I had sex with 5 women last week) or the attractiveness and physical characteristics of the woman as a measure of success.

For women, being measured by physical beauty alone, offers up its own problems. Thanks, mainly to porn, body hair and specifically pubic hair is no longer considered acceptable and many women feel that their vaginas are unattractive. This has led to the rise of labiaplasty, which is genital cosmetic surgery that literally cuts a woman’s labia to replicate the porn industry standard – or ‘designer vagina’ as it is commonly known. The medical procedure also creates a kind of trauma in the body, and some women may even lose part of their pleasure and orgasmic capacity owing to the severing of nerves in the area. Similarly, more and more women are opting for breast enhancement, with girls as young as 16 deciding to have surgery to reflect the pornstar ‘norm’.

Femininity has become superficial and simplistic, focusing primarily on appearance. Women who feel unworthy and unattractive compared to social ideals, spend time, effort and money to alter their appearance, but usually end up still feeling unattractive because they haven’t dealt with the root causes of their feelings. This kind of negative body image and self-criticism can lead to problems in the bedroom, where women simply don’t feel worthy enough or sexy enough to be seen, to surrender, and to both give and receive pleasure from their partners.

Another problem for both women and men, is modern science’s perception of sex as desire, arousal, orgasm and resolution. The issue with this, is that orgasm is considered the goal of sex. Because an orgasm is perceived as a short and intense peak of pleasure and release, followed by a quick decline of arousal and sensation, the experience and enjoyment of the entire act of lovemaking gets overlooked, and other forms of arousal and pleasure are often ignored.

You might be surprised to learn that the average time from penetration to ejaculation in the West is actually 5.4 minutes. That’s what’s considered normal and acceptable, but women can’t usually reach a meaningful orgasm in that time, and the special connection offered by penetrative sex is finished before it’s begun. When it comes to sex, is this really the best we can do?

Even worse, one out of three men suffers from premature ejaculation at some point in his life, which means that he finishes after less than two minutes from the moment of penetration. Men faced with this condition often resort to using creams and pills, instead of addressing the core reasons for this issue. This leads to feelings of shame, anxiety, and unworthiness in and out of the bedroom.

I often hear clients say: “My life is great; I only have a problem with my sexuality”. After a short chat, we usually uncover that they aren’t really where they want to be in many areas of their life, and that actually their sexuality has a lot to do with it. This is because sexuality isn’t something that is independent from the rest of your life. It’s not something you can put in a box, or up on a shelf, or keep hidden in a closet, and just forget about it. It’s not a separate aspect of your life, but rather an integral part which is connected to all other parts.

Your sex life, your connection to your body and to your masculine/feminine energies – how open and expressive you are sexually, and how orgasmic you are – affects your entire life. Your relationship, studies, career, health, joy, creativity and spiritual practice are all linked to your sexuality, or sexual self.

So, I think it’s time for a change. It’s time for society to embrace sexuality as a natural and important part of life. It’s time to establish sexual education for adults, adolescents and young ones. It’s time for people to acknowledge there is a problem, to take responsibility over themselves, and focus on solving their sexual issues. It’s time for a new sexual revolution!

In my experience, people are in denial of their sexual issues, so the first step to overcoming your sexual repression is to admit it to yourself. Take a moment to ask yourself: Do you have any issues with your body, sexuality, or sex life? Can you see how it’s affecting your relationship, well being, creativity, career and other aspects of your life? How would you feel if your sex life was amazing?

To learn more about how sexual empowerment could transform your life, head to:

If you are a professional in the areas of wellness, coaching, personal development, therapy, men’s/women’s work or education, I invite you to connect with me and see how we can bring sexual education and empowerment to your tribe.

References:

Buss & Shackelford, (1997) ‘Susceptibility to infidelity in the first year of marriage’, Journal of Research in Personality, 31, (193-221).

‘Internet pornography by the numbers; a significant threat to society’. Published at Webroot: https://www.webroot.com/us/en/home/resources/tips/digital-family-life/internet-pornography-by-the-numbers

Internet pornography figures found at Wikipedia:

‘Cheating Spouse Survey Results’ – published at Truth about Deception:

One in Three men may experience premature ejaculation in their life:

Bio:

Eyal Matsliah is a sexual empowerment coach, author and speaker.

He helps professionals unleash their pleasure, power and purpose.

Embracing and harnessing their sexual energy allows them to express their creative gifts, help others and live a more meaningful life.

Eyal’s best-selling book, ‘Orgasm Unleashed – Your guide to pleasure, healing and power’, teaches a woman how to transform her sexual experience by herself, and later share that with her partner.

Learn more at: