Sexual authenticity | Finding your true sexual self
Finding your true sexual self is key to your happiness and relationship balance
Sexual authenticity is more elusive than many of us care to admit. We are shaped by our upbringing, moulded by society and marked by the experiences that we endure. Even more so if, like me, you were brought up in a sexually-conservative culture.
Yet, finding your true sexual self has innumerable benefits.
Your background can be your strength
I grew up in a strict Catholic environment. At home, we never spoke about sex, except this one time my parents told me that “sex is not important” because “it diminishes over time” while love endured. I also attended a Catholic school where I was often reminded that masturbation is a mortal sin… you get the gist.
It took me a huge personal effort to break free of that mould and tap into my true sexual identity. But it was arguably the most critical step in my personal development. It allowed me to find peace within myself and find the right balance in my relationship with Aliki. Looking back, my background helped me. It made me more sensitive to my sexual needs.
I’m sure this is true for many out there, regardless of religious backgrounds and upbringing. Sex for pleasure has long been viewed as a dirty subject and still is. Facebook’s advertising policy, for example, excludes the promotion of sexual pleasure.
The message is clear: if you are overtly sexual you are unprincipled and a freak. Thankfully, we all have a middle finger to thrust in the face of such bigotry.
Here are 7 things to consider on your journey to find your true sexual self:
1. Finding your sexual authenticity shouldn’t be a reaction
Having read the above, many would probably conclude that my sexual lifestyle is a reaction to my upbringing. They would be wrong and it would have been a remiss of me to do so.
A reaction is still a manner of letting something control you. A conservative background can give you an added impetus to the search for your true sexual self. Your sexual journey, however, should not be a reaction to it. The pendulum doesn’t have to swing in the opposite direction. The needle should only stop where it matches your sexual drive.
And whatever you do, guilt and shame should never be involved. You should never apologise for who you truly are. Just like you should never allow anyone to tell you what your sexuality should be.
2. Love and sex are not mutually exclusive
The subliminal message, in many conservative cultures, is that true love in a couple does not rely on sex. In other words, sex and love do not depend on each other and are, oftentimes, depicted as mutually exclusive. Humping like a rabbit makes your relationship shallow. On the other hand, true love implies achieving a state where sex is almost irrelevant.
Indeed, that state is called ‘friendship’ and is probably a sure way to destroy your relationship as sex takes a back seat. The Independent names “differences in sexual libido”, and the natural upshot: “extra-marital affairs”, as the number 4 and number 2 reasons for divorce in the UK, respectively.
Not only are romantic love and sex compatible, but interdependent. Esther Perel sums it up nicely: fix the sex and your relationship will transform. I cannot imagine my love for Aliki reaching the depth that it has if we didn’t share our sexual authenticity.
Think about it: your true sexuality is ultimately the most naked version of yourself!
3. You true sexual self is connected to your self-esteem
The path to discovering your sexual self is fundamentally linked to the overall development of your holistic sense of self, including your self-esteem. Sexuality is undeniably linked to your body but is not only a matter of physicality either. It builds on a wider self-awareness. Who are you deep inside? What moves you?
If you don’t feel comfortable in your skin, it is unlikely that you are going to allow yourself the liberty of exploring your authentic sexual desires either. Some experts even believe that before working on your sexuality you have to work on your self-esteem.
But even if you feel ok with your physical self, your inner sexual self can still suffer from low self-esteem. Many LGBTQ+ persons experience this first hand. For many, coming out is one of the most difficult steps in their journey towards sexual authenticity. Coming out is essentially acknowledging your true sexual identity. That does not make you a person of loose morals or a sexual freak.
The same applies to heterosexual couples. Embarking on a journey of true sexual discovery does not mean betraying the value of commitment in the relationship. It is exactly the opposite!
4. Do you need your partner to discover your sexual self?
Like most journeys of self-discovery, the path towards sexual authenticity is one that you have to travel mostly by yourself and within yourself. Some hire a personal psychologist or practice solo alternative therapies such as Orgasmic Yoga.
That’s all great. If you are in a committed relationship, however, including your partner in the process would be a pretty good idea.
You shouldn’t depend on your partner to lead you through the journey. But as your closest person, and the one with whom you presumably intend to share your sexuality for years to come, your partner’s support and understanding are essential.
Aliki has helped me grow in my sexual authenticity by giving me the space to express myself and I do the same to her. Without her, I would be much further back in my path of sexual discovery.
5. Will a journey of sexual discovery destroy my relationship?
A journey of sexual discovery is risky. Like any other path of personal development, it might lead to big changes in your relationship, which, at times, may include a complete break-down.
Should you give it a wide berth, then? Not really. The chances of your relationship breaking down or you and your partner leading unhappy lives together are much higher if you don’t know who you are and what makes you truly yourself.
There is, however, a rule of thumb to follow. Always talk to your partner about your sexual needs and fears, no matter how difficult it is. And always listen to your partner when she or he opens up about their sexual fantasies.
Starting such a process early helps you grow together and understand better the transformation you each undergo as you discover your sexual authenticity.
6. Does sexual authenticity imply wanton abandonment?
This is a common misconception. Finding your true sexual self does not imply a life of depravity or sexual debauchery. Quite the contrary. It involves getting to know who your true sexual calling, in other words, what moves you sexually. And once you find it, acting accordingly.
If you discover that you are a true monogamist, so be it. Nobody says that sexual liberation has to involve swingers’ clubs and sex parties. Pushing yourself into a libertine lifestyle when it’s not your calling is as disastrous as suppressing your need for sexual adventuring.
7. Is sexual authenticity achieved once and for all?
Unlikely. Like every other aspect of our character development, sexual authenticity – or Erotic Integrity, as Claudia Six calls it- depends on our age, mental and physical states, and countless other factors. As we grow, we change. Finding your true sexual self is not a one-shot project. You need to stay in-tune with yourself as you develop.
This is why you should always include your partner in your journey and why it’s essential to build a sexual space together where you can explore your sexuality within the safety-net of your relationship.
Aliki and I have worked tirelessly on our sexual space over the past years, and the benefits have been immense. But it’s a work in progress, and always will be.
We would like to hear about your journey towards sexual discovery. You can either comment on this post or send us an email.
Photo credit: Couple of Secrets