I was listening to a podcast yesterday and I can’t get it out of my mind. And it’s not just because I was a guest on the same podcast a couple weeks ago (though if you haven’t listened, you really should! It was super fun!) Last week, the fabulous Nikki Leigh interviewed Dr. Darrel Ray and the subject matter was the Impact of Religion on Relationships and Sex. As they started talking about this subject I became more and more fascinated and ended up staying on the elliptical machine for a full hour to listen to every word!
Shame surrounding sexuality is a huge issue for women in our generation. A substantial part of my mission is to help women understand and embrace and give them permission to explore and enjoy their sexuality. But I had been looking at shame in terms of the historical context in which women in our 40’s and 50’s were raised. It was a conservative time in America for sure. It was the 80’s during my teenage years. Ronald Reagan was President. Sex wasn’t openly discussed. Parents weren’t having “the talk” with their children and much of what we learned about sex was through our peers. A lot of women of my age do feel some level of shame about their sexuality. But I hadn’t really considered how religion influenced these feelings. Of course it had!
So full disclosure. I was raised Lutheran and am currently Episcopalian – two relatively liberal groups when it comes to the subject of sexuality. I don’t really remember feeling guilty or shameful about sex in fact, my most memorable early sexual experiences happened at “bible camp” (and band camp…) in high school! How could something that felt so good be bad and why wouldn’t God want me to experience pleasure (or maybe I was just a rebellious teenager who refused to pay attention during confirmation classes?) What I know is that I was lucky to embrace the yumminess of my sexuality early on. And I feel I have a solid relationship with God today.
But as Dr. Ray discusses in this podcast, all major world religions teach us that sex is shameful. Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and even Buddhism – all tell us that sex is bad! And if you received these messages directly or subliminally, that may be a big reason why you cannot fully embrace and enjoy sex as an adult woman. Some of you may have been able to overcome these teachings, but if you haven’t – or even if you have – this podcast is worth an hour of your time.
Sex is and can be amazing for you as a 40-or-50-something woman. Biologically we are in our prime. If you are not enjoying it or having it, I want you to do the hard work and figure out why this is happening in your life. And if you need help connecting with men to find a nice, respectful, giving partner, I can help. Technology and dating apps can help! I believe sex is a human need, not unlike the need for food and water. I believe it is healthy. I believe it gets better as we get older. And I want you to experience the best sex of your life. Now.