When I was growing up, I was very uncomfortable with the degree of sensitivity I had. No one had ever told me that it was ok to feel. Yet, I was also very sexually curious. So when you combine “not wanting to feel” with “feeling sexually curious”, you somehow end up in this tunnel where there seems no exit.
I met a man when I was 18. He was my first ever legitimate relationship. Although I was very sexually curious, I was still a virgin. When I met him, we were in each other’s world. But something was different in this relationship. Even though we were at the same age, he didn’t have the same sex drive as I did. He didn’t have that same level of curiosity. So even though there was immense love there, it started to become very unsatisfying for me.
Going into our third year, I began to notice people around me. I started to see that some men were really attractive. What I know now as an educator is that it’s actually a natural thing for human. Just because we are in a relationship, it doesn’t mean that we can’t find other people attractive. But back then, I didn’t have the understanding nor the skills to deal with it. Despite feeling somewhat uncomfortable and confused, I started going out more, and I started really wanting to create experiences that would ignite me. I remember being in a party, seeing this man whom I found really hot. There was definitely something going on and then, all of a sudden, I found myself making out with him. What instantly rushed throughout my body was this immense amount of shame – as if I were the worst person in the world! Overwhelmed by this feeling, I instantly stopped. I rushed back home and I immediately broke up with my partner, without any explanation. My partner was shocked and devastated. But because I didn’t understand what had just happened nor the shame I was experiencing, I wasn’t able to communicate. I lost my voice. From that day on, I started to feel even more undeserving. I had such low self-worth that I ended up using sex as a form of self-punishment. I would go to clubs, bars, find the badest of the bad boys, get very drunk, and allow them to do whatever they wanted to me.
As more shame and guilt built up, I started to experience something unusual in my body. But I wasn’t listening to my body. I wasn’t listening to any part of myself. Until one day, I woke up and I could barely walk. I felt so much physical and emotional pain that I had never felt in my entire life. “Who am I?!” I yelled. Having realised how toxic my relationship patterns had become, and how much harm I had done to my own body and spirit, I made a conscious choice to embark on a journey of seven years’ celibacy. I knew that coming back to my self was the only way that could help me to remove shame, to recover from that level of disconnectedness, and to know the most intricate places within my own body, mind and spirit. And I knew that within my being, sexuality was magic and deserved much deeper reverence and understanding.
Today, many still experience the same as what I had experienced before. I saw people walking around with these walls and masks, trying to ignore their feelings or pretending to be ok even though they are not. Most people would stay in a relationship completely miserable, but they don’t want to change. They are scared of changes. It is time we reframe these veils of past pains. It is time to turn shame, judgment and confusion into compassion and understanding. My desire is that people can feel safe when they start to feel again, that they will be able to understand themselves, feel comfortable with themselves, even with those parts that might be judged by others. And I would love to see a world where people feel safe with changes, that they feel safe to communicate honestly, and that they can just be who they really are and live a life as authentic as possible. Because for me, that is what true freedom is all about.
Learn more about Tziporah Kingsbury @ Tziporah Intimacy