When I was about 4 years old I remember being alone in my room one afternoon, naked from the waist down, spreading my legs apart as far as I could, to examine a very interesting place right between them.
I remember being absolutely fascinated with this mysterious gateway between my thighs. It had folds and creases, different colors, and different sensations than anywhere else I touched on my body.
I found this place very interesting, very curious, and very complex. I remember feeling very satisfied that I could explore this area whenever I wanted to when I was alone with myself. Just me and this magical place between my thighs.
The inherent relationship we have with our genitals, the one present when we are born and free of social conditioning, is not one of shame, disgust, or fear.
Our natural relationship to our bodies is one of wonder, curiosity, and magic.
I often tell my clients that sexual and genital shame is learned behavior. We are quite literally taught to feel shame and guilt about our bodies by the adults in our lives, and the society in which we live.
This shame is not something we are born with. It is something that is passed on and imposed upon us.
This shame cuts us off from our own bodies and the inherent wisdom which resides within each of us.
This is why healing genital shame should be a top priority for all of us.
Yet, recent data indicates that genital shame in our society is increasing.
According to data released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons :
- Women at younger ages are getting labiaplasty before the age of 18. Labiaplasty is a procedure that involves cutting or trimming the inner labia, to achieve a more “manicured” look, similar to what we now see in pornography.
- In 2016, the ASPS saw a 39% increase in labiaplasty surgeries with more than 12,000 procedure and an 80 percent increase in the number of girls under 18 who got labiaplasty in the U.S.
To put this in perspective- young cis-gender women are literally having pieces of their genitals cut off because they feel so much shame about their natural appearance.
Male-bodied beings fare little better in their experience of genital shame
- Concern about penis size was listed as the top concern for men in a 2008 study in the Journal of Health Psychology.
- They reported that a large percentage of men also feared being alone or rejected because of their penis size, terror that others will laugh at the size of their penis, and anxieties about being naked around women and other men.
- Men were also reported to feel deep shame about how well their penis performs, and issues such as ED and PE.
There are many who believe that this increase in genital dissatisfaction and shame is a result of the prevalence of internet pornography, which often glorifies penis size and aggressive sexual behavior, and promotes a very specific “type” of vulva as being ideal.
We as a society are well aware of the impact that media can have upon bodily image and self-esteem. Is it any wonder that mainstream pornography would have a similar effect upon our genital self-image?
Of course, pornography alone is not the culprit. A lack of healthy open discourse about sexuality, our genitals, and the normality of genital diversity also contribute to the genital shame equation.
So what can those of us who experience genital shame do to overcome this, short of having your labia cut off or penis implants inserted?
Here is a short Tantric Mindfulness practice I used to help me overcome genital shame:
#1 – Expand your view of reality
Take it upon yourself to learn about and explore genital diversity. Genitals are somewhat like snowflakes, in that each one is unique unto itself. Having visual modeling of the almost infinite variety of genital expression can help ease your subconscious beliefs that you are somehow abnormal or broken.
There are a number of artistic resources that celebrate and explore female genital diversity. I am actually in one of them!
#2 – Connect with yourself and heal
After viewing a wide range of genitals, the next step is to explore your own. I recommend creating a sweet, cozy, “sacred space, with soft music, nice smells, and some Sweet Yoni Tea.
Get into a nice cozy position on your bed, and turn on a soft sensual bedside lamp. You want to make sure you have enough light to see, so candles are contraindicated for this practice.
Get a hand-held mirror, take your bottoms off, and get cozy. Take a few deep relaxing breaths with one hand on your heart and one hand on your genitals. Now open your eyes, place the mirror between your thighs and explore. Just look at your genitals and observe them without judgment. Think back to the many expressions of genital diversity you saw before, and take this time to celebrate your own beautiful genital expression.
#3 – Use Tantric Speech as Medicine
Speak words of love and appreciation to your genitals while viewing them. Find parts of your genitals that you appreciate and speak those words out loud. You can express appreciation about visual aspects, such as shape, or color, or you can express appreciation about how your genitals function. Appreciating the fact that they are healthy and that they bring you pleasure and feelings of closeness and connection with your partner.
Also, if you have a partner, ask them to speak words of appreciation to your genitals, and do the same for them. Words have power, and hearing words of appreciation for your genitals can be profoundly emotionally healing.
As I stated earlier, the genital shame you feel is not your own. You were not born with it, and you do not need to carry the burden of it anymore.
I invite you to begin your healing process using these simple steps and let us know how it feels for you in the comments section below.
Join our membership program and get access to LIVE Monthly Tantra Classes, Meditations, Sexual Healing Practices (PLUS video trainings, ebooks and more)!