The Bedroom Buzzkill That Instantly Kills The Mood

When shame interferes, we cut off the loving.

Shy, embarrassed couple, bedroom buzzkill Getty Images | Unsplash

You tell your friends all about last night's dinner and concert, but do you go into detail about what you did intimately once you returned home? You tell others what your husband likes for dinner, and what time you go to sleep, but what about his preferences in bed? Imagine you're sitting in a coffee shop and want to tell your friend you got a lot out of the book, She Comes First. Do you wonder if the people at the next table will stop talking and listen in? Do you lower your voice? Do you stutter a little as you describe how your partner stimulates you, and what else you asked him to do?


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Shame is the top bedroom buzzkill, and here's why:

1. Every single person carries shame about intimacy

Sadly, we live in a culture that sets physical intimacy apart as some disturbing, hidden activity. We don't accept it as one of the normal, healthy facets of being human.

Some people are so limited by socially imposed shame they can't even be intimate. Others are intimate but have to turn off their intuitive awareness and connection with their partner to avoid feeling it. Most can stay present and enjoy a range of activities, but still, the milder form of shame — embarrassment — is often present. Think about the ways you feel embarrassed about your behaviors, thoughts, and desires.


2. You feel shame during ordinary conversations about intimacy

Did you expect this to fall at the top of the list? When I work with couples on intimacy issues, almost everyone admits they don't talk openly about what they do, what they like, and how they feel.

Some "talk dirty" to get aroused but few can comfortably say exactly what they need or desire when it comes to the details of physical intimacy and pleasure. You may think you keep quiet so you don't make your lover feel criticized. But more likely, these words bring you discomfort, and so you avoid them.

@theintimacytourguide 3 Tips to help overcome shame or guiltaround s*x with your husband.1️⃣Be honest with your husband about your feelings. 2️⃣Identify the lie or belief. 3️⃣Counteract the lie/belif with the truth.❤️ Your Intimacy Coach#intimacycoach #intimacy #christianwomenintimacy #womenandintimacy #marriage #christianmarriage #sextruths #sexuality #theintimacytourguide #guilt #shame #fear #purityculture #maritalintimacy ♬ original sound - Coach LJ

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3. Intimacy in films and TV makes you feel dirty

Graphic intimate scenes in film and TV are extremely common these days. Do your female friends or their men say what types of intimate scenes they like best? Which works for them? No, they don't talk about this. It's our shame that makes detailed scenes of intimacy arousing, but even naming this as dirty and nasty isn't sufficient to allow open discussion of intimacy.

4. Even mentioning non-procreative stimulation brings up feelings of discomfort

He put his what where? Enjoying pain-free, loving non-procreative stimulation as a natural addition is completely possible. But, our perception of it as taboo and shameful interferes. We teach children from the earliest age their butts are "dirty" and "gross", so it's no wonder we struggle with the idea of a lover touching us there.

She says no to the one thing killing the mood Khosro via Shutterstock


5. Anti-gayness runs rampant

A large portion of men are conditioned to fear being gay, even with the acceptance of diverse sexual orientations in our country. These men find prostate stimulation entirely unacceptable, even repulsive because they associate it with being gay. Fear of being perceived as gay dominates their perception.

Men who include stimulation of their prostate with a partner or when alone, but don't talk about it or shame others for doing it. Yet research suggests a large number of heterosexual men are engaging in this activity. This makes no logical sense, but their emotions take over. Perhaps when society stops vilifying sexuality, this shame will have dissipated.

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6. You must have a "perfect" body

Isn't how our bodies look a huge cause of shame? What will he think when he sees you without a bra, without tight jeans that project sexiness? And those extra pounds, or softness where you think it shouldn't be? Men fear that their body parts will be the wrong size, or shape, or worse, not perform properly.

Shame is the underlying emotion, that dreadful inward-pulling, clenching, cautious feeling. If he expresses acceptance of your body, and if his body cooperates, then both of you feel free to go forward. It's always lurking in the back of your mind, isn't it?

This socially constructed tragedy diminishes intimacy, as body parts have little to do with loving each other. When sexuality emerges from caring, it's at its best. When shame interferes, we cut off some of the loving. And it cuts off pleasure.

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Anne Stirling Hastings, PhD is a California psychologist and author specializing in sexuality and relationships. She is the author of self-help books and is now writing Transformational Fiction novels in which she entertains and informs.