One of the continuing purveyors of sexual shame are conservative religious notions of abstinence and the sinfulness of sexual desire. Enforcing abstinence is sinful
“An 18 year-old college student [was] deeply afraid that he was addicted to masturbation. He was only masturbating ONCE a week, but because he’d grown up in a family where any sex outside monogamous marriage was sinful and condemned, his quite normal sexual behavior was experienced with deep shame and fear.”
I want to share a story with you about a coffee date I had 8 or 9 years ago. It was while I was in grad school (also known as seminary) and in the early days of developing my shame workshop.
A person and I met up on a gay male hookup site called “Daddy Hunt” and our first meeting was at a coffee shop in Oakland. For more context, the person I was meeting identified as a queer transman (Female-to-Male).
We met, chatted over coffee for a while and seemed to be getting on okay. I then excused myself to the restroom – coffee tends to do that to me. When I returned to the table and sat down, my coffee date made an unexpected comment: “you’re much ‘swishier’ than I expected.”
I chuckled and said “You’re right, I am!” I went on to comment that my online pictures at that time could have given the impression I was more ‘butch’ than actually am in my everyday persona.
If this has happened five or so years earlier, my reaction would have been very different. I would have probably been offended because I would have felt a huge bout of shame regarding my ‘lack of butchness’ and the coffee date would have ended a disaster.
When I shared this story at a “Sex and Shame” workshop I attended in Las Vegas this past February, there was an audible gasp by some of the fellow attendees, as well as the presenter when I regaled the aforementioned comment about my ‘swishiness’. I reassured them I was not offended and it was actually a testament to the work I’ve done one myself regarding my shame surrounding my gender presentation.
Being comfortable with my mannerisms, accepting the way I talk and move through the world each day is freeing. I don’t feel self-conscious about my ‘swishiness’ and this allows me to be more authentic with myself and others.