Healing the Collective Sexual Shadow
Healing the Collective Sexual Shadow
We’ve taken so many important steps forward to create a world aligned with the values of equality, inclusion, and acceptance. Powerful social movements (i.e. civil rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, anti-bullying, etc.) have helped open people’s minds and hearts to seeing all people with eyes of love, instead of acting from a place of prejudice based on race, gender, color, age, sex, etc. With deepest gratitude for how far we’ve come, there are places of fear and separation with the collective consciousness that are calling for even more of our attention and awareness.
One area where fear-based beliefs are prevalent is in the realm of human sexuality. In a world where heteronormative values are dominant, there is a belief that heterosexuality is the only appropriate sexual orientation, and that sexual relationships are only suitable among people of opposite sexes. Since heterosexuality is seen as the superior and “normal” sexual orientation, this marginalizes people who do not fit into these heterosexual norms. This fear-based belief is reinforced by businesses, organizations, the media, and social institutions, such as organized religion.
Since sexual expression is one of the core ways we form our self concept, it is extremely damaging to teach people that their unique sexual identity and form of sexual expression is wrong unless it is aligns with heterosexuality. Our core need as humans is to belong and to feel connected to others, so these fear-based teachings often leads to immense guilt, shame, and self-hatred for those individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgendered.
This belief system, rooted in separation and judgment, teaches people that unless their sexuality is expressed in
a very specific heterosexual way, they don’t belong and that an integral part of them is defective. This is extremely damaging to a person’s self-esteem, as evidenced by the fact that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are 4 times more likely to attempt suicide as their straight peers. This heartbreaking statistic shows the depth of suffering caused by belief systems that teach people there is something is wrong with a fundamental part of who they are.
Our sexuality is a central part of being human. It can be mysterious, confusing, exciting, frightening, comforting, disappointing, pleasurable, liberating, and so on. It’s complex! Instead of believing the pervasive, fear-based beliefs about sexuality that many of us have been taught, or getting hooked in to the sexual shame and guilt that is inherent in the dominant culture, let’s choose something different and be curious together.
What would this world be like if all people felt supported and loved as they discovered their own unique expression of sexuality? What if we all lived in a home, community, and world that embraced the diversity and wholeness of human sexuality, and supported our journey of finding our own unique expression of sexuality and sexual identity? In a world like this, people would have a much better chance at feeling positive about who they are as a person and feeling like they belonged. This kind of freedom to express one’s authentic self, and to feel accepted and loved in this expression, could radically transform and transmute the tremendous depth of sexual shame that exists within the collective consciousness.
What affects one of us, affects us all. Knowing that so many people suffer because of these outdated, fear-based beliefs regarding sexuality, we are called to bring even more attention and awareness to the need for a world where people are free to explore and discover their own unique ways of expressing the diversity of human sexuality. We can see the pain experienced by so many as a call for healing one of the deepest wounds in the human psyche.
We are all members of the human family. We all belong. We all have a right to discover who we are and how we want to express ourselves. We all deserve to feel supported as we find our way and discover our own unique sexual identity and how that essential part of us will be expressed.
May we continue co-creating a world where the human rights of all people are honored and upheld, and the diversity of human sexuality is embraced. May all expressions of fear and hatred directed towards our LBGTQ brothers and sisters bring more awareness to the need for healing the shadow aspects of human sexuality. May the institutions that perpetuate shame-based beliefs understand the depth of their impact. May these false beliefs regarding sexuality fall away, and may they be replaced by beliefs aligned with inclusion, freedom, acceptance, and connection. And may we all be held and guided by compassion, for ourselves and others, as we continue on this journey from fear to love.
With gratitude ~ Erin
About the writer: Erin Stohl
Guided by the path of the heart, Erin supports others on the journey of remembering their True Self. She combines traditional, somatic, and spiritual psychotherapy with energy work, nutrition support and other mindfulness-based practices.