Have you buried your sexual desire? How do you know if you have? In our conservative Christian culture, we are often taught that sex is bad or unpleasant, that thinking about it is sinful, or that we should feel ashamed for having sexual desires. But this isn’t how it should be or even has to be! By developing your sexuality, you are going to receive a richness in your life that you have never experienced before. It’s like I always say, when the sex gets better, everything gets better.
A few weeks ago I was in one of the Facebook groups that I am a part of and had an epiphany as I was writing a response. Did you ever see the movie Hook when you were a kid? The one with Robin Williams. There’s a line in there that has become legendary in my family. It was a conversation between Mr. Smee and Captain Hook and Smee said “I just had an apostrophe, lightning has struck my brain.” And Captain Hook says “I think you mean and epiphany” and “that must have hurt.” Makes me laugh every time. But that’s what it felt like when I was writing this response. So whether it was an apostrophe, or an epiphany, lightning, or maybe the Spirit struck my brain, I love it when that happens!
I wrote…”for most women, if you just leave [sex] to “when I feel like it” chances are that there is going to be huge discrepancies and challenges. The way I see it (and this took me years to discover for myself) was that my sexuality is a gift that must be developed. Much like the parable of the talents, if we don’t actively cultivate it, it will disappear. But with active cultivation, it can grow and flourish so that it can bless us as individuals but also bless the marriage relationship.
So that’s what we are going to talk about today. The parable of the talents and how it related to sex.
The Parable of the Talents.
A few days before His Crucifixion, Jesus took His disciples to a place on the Mount of Olives overlooking the city of Jerusalem and taught them. As part of his sermon, Jesus gave several parables, including the Parable of the Talents. This parable can be found in Matthew 25.
To summarize, Jesus told the story of a master who gave each of his three servants a sum of money. The amounts were set according to each servant’s previously demonstrated capabilities. The man then left for a long time. When he returned, he asked each of these servants to report what he had done with the money.
The first two servants revealed they had doubled his investment. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord,” was the master’s reply.
The third servant then came trembling before his master. He had already heard what the others had reported and knew that he could not give a similar report. “I was afraid,” the servant said, “and went and hid thy talent in the earth”. The master was upset. “Thou wicked and slothful servant,” he said. Then he commanded, “Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.”
The Savior then gave the interpretation of the parable: Those who obtain other talents receive more talents in abundance. But those who do not obtain other talents shall lose even the talents they had initially.
In a talk by Elder Rasband, he said “The Lord made it clear that it is not good enough for us simply to return to Him the talents He has given us. We are to improve upon and add to our talents. He has promised that if we multiply our talents we will receive eternal joy.”
In modern revelation the Lord affirmed the principles in this parable: “But with some I am not well pleased, for … they hide the talent which I have given unto them, because of the fear of man. … Thou shalt not idle away thy time, neither shalt thou bury thy talent that it may not be known” (D&C 60:2, 13).
What if we were to substitute the word sexuality for talents or money? We were each given our sexuality (just like we are given talents), although it looks different for each of us. Some were given more and some were given less, but we were all given it. Some of us choose to develop that sexuality and it multiplies. It becomes stronger. Others choose to bury their sexuality, hide it away. They don’t develop it. And is it taken away? I think for some it feels that way. They’ve suppressed it for so long that it feels like it doesn’t even exist anymore.
How do you know if you’ve buried your sexuality?
- If you have shame and distress associated with sexual fantasies
- If you feel guilty or other negative feelings afterwards
- You have difficulty enjoying healthy, consensual sex
- You have a lot of negative self-talk after sexual thoughts or activity
- If you believe your body is unattractive or unworthy of sex
Sexual repression is NOT
- Asexuality or lack of sexual attraction
- A disinterest in doing sexual activities outside of your value system (not wanting to try things like BDSM, watch pornography, rough sex, or sex with multiple partners, does not make you repressed!)
- Limited sexual experience
There is nothing wrong with only wanting one type of sex. Some people might label this as “prudish” but remember that your desires matter! And it’s ok to not like certain kinds of sex.
Burying our sexuality
Let’s talk about what it looks like when we bury our sexuality. Why do we do this?
Sexual repression happens in response to restrictive ideas or attitudes about sex. Parents, well-meaning church leaders, or others may have taught you these ideas directly or you may have simply absorbed them from watching others when you grew up. Here are some things that can lead to sexual repression, or burying your sexuality.
- You were taught in childhood or youth (or even just interpreted) that sex is bad or unpleasant.
- You were taught that if you thought about sex that you were sinful.
- A history of sexual trauma can definitely factor into repression, and if that is the case, definitely seek out a certified sex therapist through Aasect.org for help. Coaching is not the right solution to help you heal from that.
- Thinking that sex is just for your husband, doing it even when you don’t want to because you feel it is your duty or just to avoid the consequences if you don’t.
- If your parents never taught you about sex or talked about it, you may not have absorbed negative ideas about sex, but the fact that your parents never mentioned or said that it was normal and healthy can definitely lead to repression.
- If you have beliefs that sex is only for procreation or to bond husband to the wife, but don’t believe that sex should be fun and enjoyable for both partners, that can lead to repression.
- Fear. Fear keeps us stuck. We fear responsibility. We fear failure. We fear rejection. We fear vulnerability. We fear that we are doing something wrong.
- Shame also keeps us stuck. It keeps us from connecting to ourselves and our spouse. We are ashamed of our bodies, our sexuality, and of what we were created to be.
It makes sense that with these possible teachings and beliefs that you learned to squash your natural desires in order to protect yourself. But what does that create for you? From what I see from the women that I talk to is:
- Feeling like they are broken.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear this from women and it breaks my heart. Just because your desire doesn’t look the same as your husband or even other women, that it takes you a long time to get aroused, or you haven’t been able to orgasm, doesn’t make you broken. You are not broken. You just need to figure out how to develop this part of yourself.
2. Feeling like nothing will work to fix it
Especially when you’ve been trying to “fix it” for years and it hasn’t worked, a lot of times you give up hope that anything will work. And I get it, but that is why I love seeing the results that women get after they work with me in my program, because they finally figure out how to fix it and are able to do it with my help and support.
When we have shame and distress when it comes to sex, it makes sense that this creates anxiety for us. And that’s not fun for anyone. But it doesn’t need to be this way! You don’t have to anxiety about sex anymore!
4. Lack of confidence
How you feel about yourself in and out of the bedroom makes a big difference in how you are showing up sexually. If you have a lot of negative self-talk, whether it’s about you, your body, or your sexual performance, how you think things should be, it’s definitely going to show up in all areas of your life. That’s one of the things I address in my program, how to have confidence inside and outside of the bedroom.
Developing our Sexuality
So what does it look like to develop our sexuality? I think we develop it in much the same way we do our talents. In an article I found (which I will link in the show notes) it gave 7 steps to developing your talents. I think these can be the same for our sexuality.
- Formulate your WHY
Why do you do what you do? Why do you want to develop your sexuality? What is your purpose? Taking the time to answer this question for yourself is the first step in building a solid foundation as you pursue growth and improvement. This is one of the first things I have my clients do when they enter my program. Why do they want to develop this part of themselves? Oftentimes we are looking for external factors (like our husband wanting us to) but it really should be about you and discovering for yourself. The why is going to help you push through when times get hard. It’s going to give you the determination and the resilience you need to continue when you experience setbacks and obstacles, which of course will be there.
2. Find out the required techniques
Figure out what you need to learn in order to take what is there naturally to the next level and improve upon it. This is exactly what we do in my program. I am giving you specific techniques, tools, and skills, to help you develop this part of yourself. When you learn these and use them, you’ll then see room for even more improvement. But only when you know the possibilities will you reach for more.
3. Know your strengths and weaknesses, then focus on your strengths
Focusing on your weaknesses will keep you stuck and doubting yourself. You’ll gain so much more by focusing on your strengths and watching yourself make progress. Yes, of course, in coaching we work on your weaknesses and help make them stronger. But especially when doing it by yourself, focus on those strengths!
4. Create your own formula
You’ve probably spent a lot of time reading books, listening to podcasts, taking courses and trying to figure things out. As you do, you’ll learn things that work for you and ones that don’t. And while my program is proven to work (because I’ve seen success after success with women I’ve coached) that doesn’t mean that every single thing I teach them works for them. So definitely learn it all, and then decide what works for you and what doesn’t.
5. Take constructive advice, but don’t ask for permission
This is one of the biggest things I see holding women back from developing their sexuality. They want someone’s permission that something is ok or they are allowed. And I get why they do this, it’s part of our conditioning, especially within the church. We are looking to The Church or even our leaders to tell us what to do. But one of the things that I love about President Nelson is that he has been working to get us away from that and to tune into our own personal authority and receive personal revelation. And I am all for that! You don’t need anyone’s permission to figure this out. It’s really between you and God.
6. Do the work
The only thing that matters is your work. It doesn’t matter what anyone else is doing or how far along they are on the path. It always comes down to you. Each of us is going to do things at our own pace. Don’t compare yourself to others. You do you. You develop your sexuality in the way that works for you and the timeline. I have some clients who get it really quick and some who take much, much longer. Everyone has to do it at their own pace and what works for them. But, you have to do the work in order to make changes. And I am here to support you all along the way.
7. Celebrate your progress
Instead of looking at how far you have left to go, celebrate the progress along the way. Celebrate the wins! The work you are doing is important and it’s so helpful to celebrate along the way as you develop this in yourself.
I want to personally invite you to come work with me in my coaching program. I understand why you have been reluctant to do this in the past. It makes total sense based on the way that you have thoughts about yourself and your sexuality. But by developing your sexuality, you are going to receive a richness in your life that you have never experienced before. I always say that when the sex gets better, everything gets better. I truly believe that by developing our sexuality, much like we do our talents, and not bury it, our Heavenly Parents bless us. When I get to heaven, I don’t want to hear “Thou wicked and slothful servant” knowing that I buried important gifts instead of cultivating them. I for sure want to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”