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It's time to talk about sexual shame

Updated: Jun 14

We start to learn about sexual shame from the world around us - starting from the teachings we receive from our parents as a kid, then later influenced by religion, the education system, our cultural norms and the community we grow into.


Restrictive sexual education and the idea of sexual purity usually stems from either religious teachings, cultural values or an otherwise conservative upbringing. Under such circumstances, sexual education and the idea of sexual purity is typically taught by intentionally invoking shame or guilt in others for expressing sexual desires; based on the traditional view that sex should only be pursued for the purpose of procreation with your wedded partner, and with that, a blanket erasure of sexual freedom and expression while growing up. This extent of sexual guilt is extended into masturbation, self-identification of gender identity and sexual orientation, pre-marital intimacy, kink exploration and more.



Sexual shame is an internalised struggle, moulded and shaped by the influences and teachings we face around us. It holds us back from self-identification and genuine expressions of our true selves, and developing healthy relationships with partners; turning moments of intimacy within the relationship into something perceived as socially and/or religiously undesirable.


Signs of sexual shame can be identified by:


Guilt associated with sexual intimacy/self-pleasure

This is usually expressed through self-criticism and repression of one’s expressions of intimacy/self-pleasure. However, such repression can lead to one being further tempted or attracted to intimacy/self-pleasure as a “forbidden fruit”, thus creating a vicious cycle for the individual.


Sexual avoidance and dysfunctionality

Shame can lead to individuals building walls and limits around physical contact or intimacy with partners, making the relationship less secure. This can also lead into a lack of self-confidence and insecurity with oneself, which may manifest into physical sexual dysfunctionality.



Uncomfortable around conversations about sex

Similar to physical avoidance, individuals may avoid conversations about sex out of discomfort when talking about sex-related topics, sometimes to the extent of even feeling embarrassed just by referring to genitalia.


Difficulty in accepting one’s self-identity

This is especially so for LGBT+ individuals growing up in an environment that being heterosexual and cisgender are the default and only accepted options, and they may end up rejecting and repressing their self-identity to fit into their social circles or families.


The prognosis of sexual guilt and a sexually-repressed history is a shift towards a sex-positive narrative. Sex-positive educators like us have been pushing against decades of sexual education aimed towards sexual abstinence and purity, pathologizing sexual deviancy and non-confirmative sexual orientations and acts. The community and environment of sexual education in Singapore (and, in general, that of the Asian region) is, at best, avoidant and ignorant towards non-confirmative sexual norms and practices; and at worst, polarising and pathologizing, largely resistant towards a new generation making baby steps towards sexual positivity and renewed sexual enlightenment. However, when sexual-negative narratives are constantly pushed and posturized towards a purported moral core, the push towards a sex-positive narrative becomes a challenging, ever-shifting endeavour. The lack of readily organised resources and professionals, keeps individuals who are struggling stuck in their dystopian mind chamber.

Help us help humankind

While sex educators are the resources all those struggling with sexual guilt need, we all can play a part helping those in need by playing the role of the front liners. Let them know they are not alone. The world becomes less cold when we stretch out a hand to those in need, and not to smack it back. But if we don’t, it may be the end of them as we know.


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More about our professional ethics as a Professional Dominatrix in Singapore: here

About FemDom, Goddess Ashley: here



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