“There are two ways to absolve ourselves of shame: One is to speak of it, share it, expose it to the light and watch it burn away. The other is to use it.” Joy Davidson

In our culture, there is still a lot of shame around sex, even for men. We all know the demeaning words that sexually fearless women can be called, and even men can be shamed by being labeled “womanizers”, or worse, “dogs.”

I am not talking about guilt here. Guilt, unlike shame, can be positive. At its best, guilt can help us return to our values (for example, when we’ve had unprotected sex, feel guilty about it, and decide to take responsibility so we don’t do it again). Shame, on the other hand, is never life-affirming. It tells us to hide our true self in order to belong. However, when we hide our desires, they fester in the shadows. Experts have found that being shamed can lead to sexual compulsions and not the other way around.

At our Passion and Presence® retreats, rather than trying to sublimate so-called “base” desires, we encourage you to “tell your story from the heart,” as Brené Brown puts it. It can be heartening to know that at our retreats couples discover that they are more similar than different to each other, and that in fact most people struggle to embrace and express their sexuality.

In our advanced retreats we teach “Parts Play,” a fun and daring way for couples to integrate fantasy elements into their erotic life. Both developing “sexual empathy,” a term Tammy Nelson uses to express the deep acceptance that partners can develop for each other, and consciously forming what we call an “erotic team” with your partner, can transform shame into its opposite: deep connection.

  • Have you ever wondered how to uncouple sex from shame and recover pride in your sexual longings? Do you have secret sexual compulsions? Do you long to feel deep erotic connection instead of shame?
  • How do you wish to triumph over your shame? Are you ready to experience connection and empathy by “telling your story from the heart?” Would you like the fun and daring that comes from forming an “erotic team” with your partner?