Shame about sexuality

I’m realizing as I dive into things more that a lot of my discomfort lately has to do with shame about sexuality, I feel trapped because I want it, even beyond desire, but I feel shame about presenting my sexual attraction to women because it feels like it becomes this thing, “you only want me for my body,” “all men are the same,” etc etc.

And I feel called out by it as well because it’s true, that is such a strong desire.

I find myself feeling like I need to do this whole long song & dance to ‘be attractive’ that has little to do with sexuality, but that I’m supposed to do to prove that I’m not just in it for the sex, but to be honest I am in it, at least to a large degree, for the sex. So there isn’t sincerity in my actions, which then feels even more manipulative.

Part of my problem is that my life has gotten distorted to the point where I see sexuality as this shining thing that if I can only get that right, everything else will be ok. So I find myself extremely thirsty for it. That creates the whole situation. But at the same time, it is my sincerely great desire and I want to use that energy to have vitality for living, to have vitality to become free. Maybe that desire is starting to show its shortcomings for that approach at this point.

I can see that raw desire for sex lacks care. We are talking about another human being involved here. So for it to just be about me getting off is obviously lacking there. Maybe that is something I can investigate a little more right now.

If anyone has experience with this and/or has had success with this issue, I’m interested!


It may be really that simple, if I can maintain as much caring as possible it’s reason enough for me to let that desire aspect of sexuality die. It answers that question, “you only want me for my body,” with as much genuine care as I can muster. And I do care. It’s just a question of feeding that care.

Hey @henryyyyyyyyyy I’ve got so much to relate on this one I actually don’t think it will be easy to write it all :laughing: Me and Sonya had a really good zoom chat with @edzd the other day so I’m thinking we can do a zoom if you’re interested? She’s away at the moment so it would be just me, let me know.

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Can the following be substituted for the above expressions without taking any substance away?–
I fear getting rejected about presenting…
I fear my partner looking down on me if I present my sexual attraction…

“I can see that raw desire for sex lacks care. We are talking about another human being involved here. So for it to just be about me getting off is obviously lacking there.”
Desire only cares for its fulfilment, why are you imposing that it should also care for your partner?
Isn’t that undermining your desire? Thereby creating tension in you, because you are denying it by placing demands on it, which further fuels your desire? Because tension seeks relief and sex provides that.

Care needn’t be a positive thing, that is, one doesn’t have to have that trait. If you want the other party to be happy, care comes forth by itself to whatever extent it is appropriate, provided you aren’t preoccupied in your mind and happy. Don’t you think so?

And your very posting about this issue indicates that you actually care, because you are bothered about.

If the situation demands you play little tricks to appease your partner and stabilise the relationship, so be it. Play that role. If you both are too incompatible, you’ll breakup and won’t have any doubts, anyway.
Aren’t you imposing on yourself that you behave in a manner that is always true to what you internally are(re:sincere)? Isn’t that a moralist stance?

Also, seeking pleasures can be an indication of discontentment or avoidance of actual issues at hand. Be it alcohol or drugs or sex or food. May be you are focusing on the wrong issue? Is there tension in you because you are not focusing on the actual issue?


what a wonderful questions you tell us to ask ourself Kiman …these really help us for investigation …your other post helped me in seeing my issues as well …
since i do under investigate my emotions , and i dont know how to do it …even though i have been reading srinath’s writing about investigation…


This is really interesting, I thought this was going to be a post about some kind of religious or spiritual guilt and shame about sexuality. Instead, more so about chauvinism. The guilt around not being a better man to women.

I have seen some of these same female friends or associates who have judged men this way then do the same with attractive men themselves. Including being biased towards those men in comparison to other men they have dated who weren’t as attractive. One has only to see how much more an attractive man can get away with, I have seen such people cheat, lie, steal, etc and yet still the women would come back wanting them. Some friends (hetero/bi/gay) I have met are so good looking that they never have to pay when going out, their drinks are covered, men and women will pay them for drinks and sometimes even meals to try and seduce them. They kind of ruthlessly take advantage of it but it is all part of the ‘game’ I guess. One friend used to work for a service that jealous women paid you to go on dates and parties with them to make their ex-partners jealous. He used to make more than I did with my two part time jobs in a week in one night lol.

The same women who have complained about men only wanting them for sex have then hooked up with the same men who clearly and explicitly made it clear it was only about the sex for them and had bad reputations for such behaviour. It all seems like some silly game. I used to feel a lot resentment towards women for that in my teens and early adulthood.

Yes that urge exists but it has never been the be all and end all for me. I would much rather be able to talk and joke with a woman than have sex. I always preferred the fantasy and imagination around it rather than the actual physical experience of it…the mind is the most erogenous zone after all…

I think sexuality is really interesting, there is so much in this topic as regards cultural and parental upbringing that made me realise there were layers to my identity unperceived.

My parents had really contrasting views and behaviours about sex. My mum was quite the cliched British stiff upper lip, plain awkward about it. My dad was just brutally open and honest about it. I recall as I child him explaining to me what masturbation was, in his deep cockney accent. He was really liberal and open and accepting about sexuality including about homosexuality and sexual/gender identity, for somebody born in the silent generation like him, this is quite atypical.

I was really open about sex and with no religious or cultural guilt to deter me I felt free to explore my sexuality from a young age. The only fear being I might get told off for doing it too soon or being in possession of something pornographic. It wasn’t an absolute taboo, it was just I wasn’t of the age to be permitted do it yet a difference my younger self noticed. Looking for loopholes in the ground rules you see.

From about the age of 12 I was trying to have sex with the various girlfriends I was having (not my proudest moment), without regards for the consequences of being punished by my parents or any other the other deleterious consequences, STDs, unplanned pregnancy etc. I never succeeded in this goal though. This urge had reared its ugly head and I had followed it blindly at first, at the beginning there was no awareness like you mentioned regarding women/girls thinking that is all we care about, no awareness that I might be chauvinistic. They were unsophisticated sexual urges, by that I mean my sense of awareness was still maturing.

Eventually, this awareness grows if one is mature enough and self aware enough. You start to reflect on the urges that arise in you and might even experience conflicts about it at times, I know I have. To try and avoid objectifying women. I had an older sister and she always tried to educate me on being more tactful and sensitive to women.

I happened to be the first in my class and year group to go through puberty and my friends on the estate I lived. I doubled in height to everyone else, my voice broke first, for a moment it was ok and wasn’t so bad but I was then suddenly really hairy and spotty (no one in my known families are hairy…my dad would call me the throwback or Neanderthal). Now I was like some social pariah. Throughout the rest of my adolescence I had no relationships, sexual opportunities etc. Those urges were still there though. They felt like torture. It was one of the big blockers that ruined my flow and enjoyment of creativity and learning in my teen years and early adulthood. Many times in my life I wanted an off switch for sexual desire.

I then developed a shame from a sense of being sexually unattractive, unworthy. Which is weird, like some cultural, peer group induced shame based on the standards of what male attractiveness should be. I used to try and find some positive from the experience rather than let it depress me though. If not for being spotty and hairy, I think I was on a path of being quite egotistical and narcissistic. It forced me to see myself in a new way and have to reconcile that loss of influence and status among my peer groups. Ultimately, there is so much I wouldn’t have become aware of if not for those experiences.

I didn’t expect so many of the hang-ups to drag out into adulthood though. I have never been comfortable with flirting, the physical side of things. More areas to explore I guess.

My ex-girlfriend (before I met my wife) was Swedish and was just so much more direct about sexual things. I realised there were cultural rules about how to speak about sexuality and how one communicates with the opposite sex here in the UK, that were like a blind spot. There was no prudishness about it for her, no contextual rudeness. For her, she found UK culture surprisingly backwards and repressed with a weird mix of messages of trying to be more pro the individual exploring their desires, come conservative/liberal mish mash of confusion.

@henryyyyyyyyyy do you think you that desire leads to deleterious behaviours?


That sounds like a good time! I’m pretty busy today but maybe could tonight (in about 12 hours from now) or we could figure out another day.

Hi henry. It seems to me that you are trying to turn sincerity ( honesty ) into a moralistic view.
As kiman said above, if that sincerity is focused on being as happy as possible ( each moment again )then there is no anticipation about the events that will follow [ whether sex happens or not ] .

The bad thing about desire, is the anticipatory part of it, anticipation builds and builds and causes the
desire to turn into a salve(me) driver. This is where sincerity( with myself, not other ) can come to the
rescue and activate naivete each moment again, so that the naivete ( Pure intent for you who have had PCEs ) can be what lives you, instead of schemes and planned modem operandi, aka insincerity .

Most of what of have said above is based on your own writings, so I thought I would throw it back
at you, so you can “get refreshed”. :slightly_smiling_face:


I’m thinking the weekend will be best as I’m busy with training during the week. I will drop you a DM to arrange a suitable date

I think it does run a bit deeper than the fears of rejection, though that is certainly a sizable portion of it. It’s like I’m doing a bad thing by wanting it. I suppose their reaction and my feeling are the same (mimetically) in those moments, that something bad is happening. My friend said something really good the other day, that awkwardness consists of someone finding something off-putting. So there’s something similar happening here, where someone is off-put by the desire. So then one person is experiencing desire, while the other is experiencing being off-put. Rejection!

It’s confusing because it is a positive desire-emotion followed quickly by the negative.

Yes I agree that the care undermines the desire. I haven’t quite figured out how to resolve this, honestly it seems the desire has to go

I think the care here, as a feeling-being, is closely related to altruism – we do have that instinct, it is a human thing. But it can be allied with becoming free, as in ‘sacrificing myself for the betterment of all.’ So it is a ‘good’ in that sense. But it also seems to be sensible. I guess that’s part of what I’m trying to find right now, is what’s sensible.

This is a really good point which I hadn’t considered. I have been playing with this a bit more lately with different people, for example holding off talking about actualism when I don’t think the other person will be receptive. I would like to be around people that I can talk more frankly about all issues, but I can see that that depends on their freedom/lack thereof. So it is ok to tread carefully with that in mind.

This is definitely relevant and may be the driver of the whole situation. The sexuality aspect seems so forward for me that it’s hard to motivate myself for other things right now. Maybe that is what the actual issue is.

@leila Do you think you have a good understanding of how the instinctive emotions connect to & generate our cultural norms, which then together with the emotions themselves generate our personalities & experiences? That foundation makes it possible to look at your emotions and see how they connect to these other things: to the cultural moral rules that we live within, the emotions arising from your life experiences, as well as these many source emotional reactions to certain things.


This is a really interesting point, thank you for raising this. It reveals how much the complaints of chauvinism are more of another power positioning game, ‘those people are bad’ but really they just want them to go away. When someone attractive is around, everything is about getting them closer, which means putting up with or even encouraging all kinds of nonsense.

I’ve certainly experienced this. Yes, it is.

This is interesting. I feel this way about my own life from experiences of trauma, yes they were very difficult but I only have found actualism and seeked out adulthood PCEs because of the awareness that those experiences gave me. It’s not that I’m glad it happened, but I can see that it has put me where I am today.

Yeah this has literally been me in my life. Wanting to be free as long as I can remember, identifying as some cool sexually free person who was exploring, but all the while the internalized repression has been rearing its head constantly. I think it has something to do with being raised in an extreme protestant country. It’s so sneaky how those religious views seep into other cultures & worldviews.

A big culture I’ve spent a lot of time in has been the extreme left, and in that group there’s a big emphasis on being spotless, on somehow doing everything perfectly all the time, always saying the right things in-line with messaging, always thinking the right things. And there has been a lot of shame related to that. I paint and draw and I always feel shameful about painting nude women, because it is considered one more piece of evidence that men are pieces of shit.

I’m thinking that there is some good reason that many people have such a problem with men, it is true that many men have done terrible things out of desire. But that doesn’t have to be me. So then their judgment doesn’t have to apply to me. It’s not really because of the sexuality itself, it’s because of the desire that these problems are created.

I think it has led me to be unsatisfied in love a lot, I’m always looking to the next girl. I’ve experienced this in every relationship that I’ve ever been in. Some of the desire is sexual and some of it has to do with that ‘the mind is the most erogenous zone,’ there are always reasons to want to go elsewhere. I guess I feel controlled by my desires in that sense.

Something I can do with that is continue to strive to be sensible in my decisions and actions. I don’t have to be controlled by my own sexual desires.

This is interesting, I can redirect my project from being ‘I must be always honest’ to ‘I must become free,’ which is of greater benefit to all anyway.

:joy: :joy:

This again reminded me I have also sort of dodged political identities too, phew. I can still relate though, internally I have that sense of never wanting to be perceived as the bad guy.

My first serious relationship was with somebody who was a Christian (protestant/Church of England). Sex and masturbation caused her tremendous guilt and psychological torment, to reduce her to tears after the act. We were total opposites. It cemented a deeper imprint in me that there was a lot I would not ever be able to understand or relate to people on. I really used to not know what to do or say, I was pretty perplexed by it. There was nothing I could do or say to assuage her pain. Again I resorted more to attacking her religion and God, what a wonderful supreme being that created you with said urges and then makes you suffer for them. I don’t think I was the compassionate, supportive boyfriend she was looking for.

I think this sort of lone wolf identity, it kind of makes you not affiliate with any religion, political leaning, strong gender identity or any type of collective identity. Therefore, I never identified as a man in that sense of the collective manscape, one of the lads, one of the blokes. I am something separate and different, not always better though, I was honest to myself that I was flawed in some ways, with different flaws.

Though a lot of my social identity was already weakened before starting on the AF method, I had a lot of interpersonal identities, the lone wolf, the writer, the scientist, the atheist, the programmer, the intellectual rebel…I am sure I could think of more. These were all attempts to instil some form of intellectual exceptionalism.

Yet under the surface, I was so insecure about sexuality and interpersonal relations with women. These were all ways to try and compensate for those monumental failings.

I can relate to this too, for me though I was so happy in the mental realm that the hypothetical was enough. I didn’t need to leave a partner and wander into that whole ‘is the grass greener on the other side’ schtick. My imagination sufficed. However, it made porn extremely addictive and a powerful pull for me, porn coupled with my imagination was a terrible pull. Hence, I found myself in that whole NoFap movement, except not out of Christian shame like so many of them but more so out of self disappointment in being such a predictable male. It sort of contradicted my individual exceptionalism identities.

The sexual urges have definitely been more of a blocker for me. It seemed that once my deep love of learning and creativity waned in depression and anxiety and post intro to AF, horniness just suddenly had more of a pull. In the suckiness of depression the consistent hedonistic pleasure from horniness and self stimulation (and other things such as eating) consistently take you out of those numb or painful states. These then become more habitual addictive behaviours too.

When I am really felicitous and decently happy and in regular EE territory, that urge has less appeal and it seems to sort of diminish that horniness/sex drive.


I find boobs to be the most compelling thing in the universe to me. The only things that come close are the other parts of a womans body. I love it! It’s a great treasure to have something that one loves so much. It’d be nicer if I had a pair in my face right now but sometimes the rarity of a thing makes the thing when experienced all the better.

I was walking down the street and noticing the sundry things on a summer day one can appreciate. But I still much preferred the sight of a woman. I was looking at a tree, I think. Maybe it was flowers. Either one, it was particularly delightful. But it wasn’t even close to as delightful as the sight of a woman. At night time, during another walk, I saw the stars. The street was desolate. No woman around. But I recalled the sight of a woman. And I easily admitted to myself how much more attractive are women then these immense energies we can see in the night sky. But there were no women around. So I could only appreciate the stars and the other sights and sounds and smells. And appreciate I did. Women will always be here. I don’t need to appreciate one right now. But I look forward to them. But, you know, I like ice cream. Not as much as a woman. But I do like ice cream. I could live without either but there’s no need to. Similarly, I can be happy in the meantime as at anytime an ice cream cone or a nice woman will present itself to me.

I think my argument took a left turn. Sorry if it’s not 100% consistent. Point is, there are a lot of nice things in this world. Woman are at the top of my list. And it’s not even close. And why not? Something has to be at the top. And what’s the big deal, why should it be an issue at all, if what’s at the top is far ahead of what’s in second place?

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Yes @Kiman raised this point as well, I think it does apply to my situation. It was something that was causing friction in my previous relationship, that I was feeling down and wanting my partner to somehow assuage that down feeling, whether that was via more sex, more time together, talking about different / certain subjects more, etc.

Either way the source was that I was dissatisfied, hunting around for something to change. So now this is just the outcome of that same dissatisfaction, coming from me now as a single person.

I think questioning this in myself yesterday led me to asking this question on the forum today. I’ve only propped up all those identities as a way of appearing attractive to someone else. The whole goal has been to be attractive, and yet I have to admit that all those machinations have utterly failed me. Yes I have been attractive to some people, but never in a way that genuinely satisfied me.

I still have some kind of perfect dream in my head which I think primarily comes from folk/fairy tales that I heard when I was very young, the prince or whatever always finds an interesting girl that’s always described as being so exceptional in some way, and they go off “happily ever after” together. That lives in me.

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Hm, I could get behind this. All the drama in me comes from a kind of childish object-permanence problem, ‘there is no woman right now’ and I throw a fit. That can also become ‘she doesn’t want to have sex with me’ → fit. But that’s where the care aspect comes in, it’s such a lack of care to push the issue at that stage, and really even the introduction of the desire vibe is pressure in itself.

There are 1000 an infinite of ways to appreciate a beautiful woman/man, and there are an infinite of other things to enjoy as well.

It seems my homework is to get to a point where I’m enjoying what is happening already sufficiently, to get where care can take the fore.

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Wow, I almost wrote something similar to this in the previous post but cut it. I really had a true love, the one sort of belief. My first big deep true love, she made hints for me to ask her out but I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t face the risk of rejection. In the end it was unrequited love that caused me a lot of torment too, with only introduction to AF helping in that arena. When it didn’t become something and it didn’t work out it was truly baffling to have to dismantle those beliefs, this being before AF exposure so I didn’t have some method of framework to guide me. I was so love sick from it and confused.

I would fall in love with the idea of having a partner like quirky female characters like in certain films or TV shows, like the woman in the French film Amelie or Kate Winslet’s character in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

I knew I wasn’t attractive so I created these more so to feel better about myself.

When my skin improved, it was more painful, in the sense that I started to get more female attention. I liked the certainty of bad skin and of being undesirable. The reality as is the case now that some people will be attracted to me, some find me neutral and some unattractive makes me so uncomfortable, uncertain, I need a definitive outcome. I would rather be ugly or beautiful than this, when I feel this out, it is that hyper vigilance again but in protecting myself from harm/ridicule/rejection in the opposite. Needing some definitive formula. Again in EE and more felicitous territory I am ambivalent about it all, at ease.

I think the belief is that if we find the ‘right person,’ that it will be easy, that everything can just fall into place. But the emotions spoil it. ‘I’ spoil it.


I have been having a few EE’s this week and I spotted that I enjoy looking at women but each time I encountered a woman on my walks recently it would end any EE I was having. I noticed I was suddenly going into this attention seeking state, hoping the woman would look at me or smile at me or give me some form of validation. This better current time awareness running quickly sees the game in play. So habitual again.

Yes, this belief for me has long been shattered :rofl:

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Actually I forgot something, part of that writer identity is that all pain and rejection that happens to you will make your work more deep and meaningful. You need to suffer to be able to write better.

It was like a belief system to validate my personal rejections.