Annette’s journey of sexual healing
My journey of sexual healing shame has been a powerful, at times painful, yet always rewarding one, for which I have much gratitude. As I’ve healed my shame I’ve identified the associated limiting beliefs about myself that were holding me back in being open and loving towards myself and others. It’s also given me greater self knowledge to create more of what I want in my life, rather than what I don’t. It’s allowed me to access greater sexual pleasure and heights of ecstasy that I hadn’t even dreamed of, which I really enjoy sharing with my loving partner Graeme. Working with sexual energy has also given me access to a personal pathway to spirituality which I use in meditation, making love and for simple but profound moments of connecting to spirit in every day life.
My early self beliefs
When I was growing up, like a large proportion of the community, I was sexually abused. I was an older child at the time, and the abuse was imposed by two people I knew. They were minor encounters but the effect of them was life changing, the energy of sexual shame is so powerful. I created three beliefs in response to these two events. One that I was “bad” in a way that I couldn’t understand but felt to my core. Secondly, that I was powerless to speak up and no one could help me, which caused me to become even more reluctant to express myself than the shy child I already was. Thirdly, that “I should have known better,” so beginning a life of readily taking on guilt, and over responsibility for everything in my life.
Beginnings of change
In my forties I developed an interest in personal growth, wanting to make some changes in the many areas of my life that weren’t working for me. Surprisingly to me at the time, part of this growth turned out to be sharing my experiences of abuse with a supportive group of people and healing, through conscious witnessing, the feelings attached to them. This process helped me to identify the beliefs I had formed as a result of these experiences and how to recognise where they were still operating, unhelpfully, in my life. This was the beginning of reclaiming what I had lost in myself. I had no idea it would lead me to sexual healing!
Learning about sexuality
The next step was deciding to consciously embrace myself as a sexual being and explore what that meant for me. This included things as simple as allowing myself to feel any sexual feelings that came along and enjoy them for what they were, rather than shutting them down, or taking on shame messages about myself for having them. And wearing some flowing skirts, feeling soft, feminine and sensual (and somehow vulnerable at first). I even occasionally went without knickers to enhance the effect and let go of the “stories” that came into my mind about how bad I was! Another thing I did was to dance for myself, making sensual, then sexual movements with my pelvis, freeing up this area of my body that had become locked up into stiffness and pain, feeling and releasing the shame as I went.
Then I took a more complex step of choosing to get into relationship with a new man in my life, when after the ending of a 20yr marriage 18 months prior, I felt more like withdrawing, staying single and safe. Graeme was, and is, someone who really enjoys the sexual side of life and this was a real challenge for me. As my journey entwined with his I was given the opportunity to act out my sexual feelings in the heady excitement a new relationship brings. I was being encouraged to not only have sex, but give myself permission to enjoy it to the max as never before. I’m happy to say I did!
Some months down the track I began to develop a reoccurrence of pain in my yoni (vagina) during sex, which I had experienced during the later stages of my marriage. This was not what I wanted at this time, let me tell you! But try as I/we might, there it was. It turned sex from bliss to a highly emotionally charged and painful event, very difficult for both of us. Avoiding it didn’t help. Nor did any medical investigations, psychology sessions, creams, medications to numb the pain, relaxation techniques, lubricants or other treatments ad infinitum. One Dr even suggested cutting the lining of my yoni and stretching it to cover up the painful bits- I retreated in horror. There had to be another way.
Tantra and sexual healing
Discovering tantra and sexual healing taught me that the way forward in this situation was to have the courage to go through it, not avoid it. That my pain was there to challenge me to fully embrace my sexual (and ultimately spiritual) self. So with the loving support of my beloved Graeme (who has his own journey in this as you can imagine) I have discovered a way through. By continuing to open to my sexual energy, through tantric lovemaking and sexual healing practices, telling myself it is ok to feel sexual pleasure, consciously witnessing the feelings as they come up to be healed, and by discovering and removing any layers of resistance my pain has slowly resolved. As those of you who have been on a conscious healing path will know, many opportunities will come up when you are seeking to heal, and I learned to trust myself to take up any which seemed like they would provide a pathway to remove any pockets of shame or pain- even if the “how” didn’t always become clear until I was actually into it. Through loving, respectful, honouring and sacred practices I have learned to allow myself to feel as much pleasure as it is possible for me to feel, as I have a right to feel. I am slowly learning to love and trust myself and others, as a sexual being, then as a human being, and finally as a spiritual being, able to truly open myself to love.
This is the abridged version of my journey here and the journey continues.
For any of you who may be considering sexual healing any for your sexual shame, which I believe we all carry at some level, then take heart and dive in. Your journey will be different to mine, but I assure you, if you persist you will find that it is worth it.