No Shame in My Game: A Guilt-Free Sexual Confidence Story

guilt free gifI have always struggled with guilt. Maybe it’s because I break too many rules. Maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid self gratification marks me a narcissist. I don’t know exactly how I arrived to such a steady relationship with the feelings of guilt, shame and regret, but they are as constant in my life as blinking and breathing. And when it comes to sex, the guilt has always weighed a little more. Not only did I put it on myself, I felt that my friends, my partners, and society at large shamed me for my sexual appetite, orientation, and experience. I always wanted too much from too many people, and for some odd reason, was undeserving of the pleasure I unconditionally derived from sex. Sexual guilt is a buzzkill, and I’ve made it my mission to overcome this behemoth in the name of sexual confidence and self-love.

My appetite

I started masturbating what I was seven. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was doing, but looking back, I know that I was just trying to quell an overactive and perhaps premature interest in all things sex. Before I had an understanding or grasp on my own sexuality, I had a hunger for sex.

As I got older, and began to understand what my curiosity was mounting toward, I dove in full force. I couldn’t stop thinking about sex, talking about sex, experimenting around sex. I felt that I was more engaged in exploring my sexuality than any of my peers. At first, it felt like a defect…like an unhealthy fixation…like there were other more important things I should be thinking about. My need for sexual experience and openness seemed at odds with my femininity. The guilt haunted me. I felt dirty, single-minded, even immature.

Older still, I am finally at peace with my ravenous sexual appetite. As an adult, it seems like more of a blessing than a hinderance. I’ve realized how sexist gender roles have contributed to my self-doubt. I’ve learned how to activate my sexual appetite in healthy ways, embrace its role in my relationships and ignore negative self-talk that whispers “nymphomania” in my ears.


My orientation

I’ve always been aware of my bisexuality. It was never something I questioned or doubted. I’ve always lusted over women just as strongly as men. But for some reason, I never found myself in a relationship with a woman. It wasn’t for lack of wanting, or lack of opportunity. It just seemed that I fell into relationship after relationship with men. Even now, in yet another serious and deep relationship, I ask myself, what is it about my bisexuality that renders it perpetually budding and never bloomed? How can I have been so sure of my sexual identity from such an early age and never fully realized it in my life? Have I fooled myself into believing I was bisexual when I’m actually as straight as a stick bug?

For a moment I started to convince myself that I must’ve been lying. To myself, to my friends, my partners. I felt the guilt of dishonesty, without any evidence of it . My identity never changed; my preferences never changed; my orientation never changed. So why did it feel so much that I was living a giant bi lie?

After months of musing over my many missed mintle moments, I’ve reached a conclusion that isn’t much of a conclusion at all. Identity and experience are not one in the same. Desire and incident do not always come hand in hand. People don’t always reach their every potential. Human beings everywhere walk around brimming with untapped aptitude in countless aspects of life. At this realization, the guilt drained from my sexual identity as a bisexual woman and what was left was self-acceptance. I’ve come to terms with my orientation and though I still sometimes wonder what it would be like to be loved like a woman, I know that it doesn’t make or break me as a bi girl.


My experience

I lost track of my magic “sex number” a long time ago. I remember when it was two, I remember when I hit 10, I even recall landing on 15. Somewhere after 20, however, the number of people I’d had sex with retreated into the recesses of my subconscious. There was no amount of backtracking or reminiscing I could do to ever be fully sure again how many people I had slept with in my life. When I realized this, I became immediately flushed with guilt. I felt like a “slut.” I called myself a “whore.” I tortured myself emotionally for not being picky enough with my sexual partners.

I internalized this sexual guilt to a level that I wasn’t even fully aware of. I unwittingly picked relationship partners that shamed me for my sexual history. They validated my shame. They called me the same horrible names I called myself. One of them even complained about my vagina being too loose for him. I envied virgins. I villainized other sexually seasoned women.

But my biggest fault wasn’t my long list of sexual encounters. It was that I was allowing a long list of men to determine my sexual worth. I was perpetuating archaic beliefs about feminine “purity.” I was, in essence, setting all women back by feeling shame for my sexual history. Now, I’m proud of the fact that I’ve explored enough to know exactly what my preferences, proclivities and boundaries are in the bedroom. I’m glad I can guide my guy to the exact spots he needs to be to please me. And I don’t ever wonder for a minute what my “number” is.

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