Your sexual narrative embodies the perceptions, expectations, and understanding you have about your own sexuality. Sexual narratives develop over time as individuals engage in experiences with their bodies, relationships, sexuality, and pleasure. Each person develops their own sexual narrative based on their own unique experiences. Your sexual narrative will be strongly influenced by the relational, cultural, environmental, religious, and political contexts that you’ve been a part of.
These experiences are prevalent throughout your life and have a large influence on how you develop your own perceptions of sexuality and intimacy. Healthy or positive experiences can help one to confidently develop and express their sexuality, while unhealthy or shaming messages can create a sense of confusion, discomfort, or guilt regarding sexuality.
As a therapist I really enjoy exploring sexual narratives in session because it can be empowering for my clients to begin to understand how the stories they are telling themselves about their bodies and their sexuality are often inaccurate or unrealistic. Once my clients can see that it’s the story they’re telling themselves (not them!) that’s the problem, they are able to take control of their own narrative and find more authentic ways to engage in their sexuality.
One of the areas that I find narrative work to be most helpful as when I’m working with clients to address concerns about sexual dysfunction and dissatisfaction. I want my clients to understand the experiences that have shaped their expectations of female sexuality so that they can begin to create realistic expectations of themselves and their bodies. For example, did you all know that there are evidence-based models of female sexuality that show its common for women to experience desire only AFTER sex starts?!
So how do you know if your narrative is getting in the way of your sexual satisfaction? Persistent feelings of shame, anxiety, or fear around sex may indicate there’s something you need to explore further. You may also notice certain thoughts and beliefs about sex or your body that create discomfort.
Sexual narratives that can lead to sexual dissatisfaction and dysfunction sound like…
“My body isn’t working the way it’s supposed to”
“I can’t satisfy my partner”
“Something is wrong with me”
“I’m not desirable”
“I must be broken”
“My body is unsafe”
“I’m not good at this”
“My body exists to serve others”
Recognizing and reclaiming your sexual narrative can help you to shift out of narratives of shame and self-judgement that impact your sexual satisfaction. Imagine if you didn’t have to feel guilty every time you didn’t feel “in the mood” or didn’t achieve an orgasm! Imagine if you felt free to explore desires and fantasies without judgement!
As a therapist my job is to help you slow down and begin to understand the story you are telling yourself about the concern bringing you into therapy. Working collaboratively with my clients, we will rewrite unconscious and harmful narratives to reclaim feelings of curiosity, compassion, and self-discovery that are crucial to embodied, authentic sexual experiences. Contact me today to get started!
This blog is provided for education and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a form of medical or therapeutic advice, nor it is intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. Furthermore, the information obtained from this blog should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. The use of this blog does not establish a client/therapeutic relationship. If you are in need of support please seek out a local medical or mental health professional.