Society is both obsessed with sex and sexually restrictive. There are often
mixed messages about what kinds of sex are permissible or considered healthy
and with whom it is acceptable to have sex with. In addition, sex education
is sorely lacking. Much of what is learned about sex is from watching porn,
hearing stories from friends and personal first-hand experiences. It can be
like watching car races as the way to learn how to drive.
This sets up a dynamic where there is little space for sexual diversity and
to more thoroughly enjoy sexual pleasure in conscious and consensual ways.
There are also different expectations placed on sex based on one’s gender,
sexual orientation, and religion. This can lead to people feeling “out
of control” with their sexual desires, fantasies and behaviors.
When someone is sexual in a way that contradicts their core values, religious
beliefs, or is not in agreement with their commitment to a relationship, it
can create intense discomfort, anxiety, and relationship difficulties. Learning
where this comes from, reducing any unhelpful sexual shame, being in better
alignment with core beliefs, improving communication with partner(s), readjusting
beliefs if necessary, and making sure to have consent can be steps necessary
to more thoroughly enjoy ones sexuality.
Some repeated problematic sexual behaviors can also be associated with mood
disturbances, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, impulse-control disorder
and personality disorders as a coping mechanism that ends up harming more than
helping. Working with a Marriage and Family Therapist from a sex-positive perspective
can help to understand these patterns and learn how to experience healthier
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