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Religious Shaming, The Influence Of Media And Our Societal Conditioning: Jana’s Story

I’m a rather sensitive person that soaks up information like a sponge, being influenced (and confused) by different attitudes and opinions.

I often do not trust my own judgment…

Driven by the desire to fit in and to do everything right.

That’s why all the books I read, all the stereotypical Hollywood movies I watched have deeply influenced my idea of sexuality and love.

Religious Shaming

To give an example, when I read “Carrie” by Stephen King, in which the mother demonizes sexuality and being a woman in general…

I was left with the impression that many people think the way the fictive mother does.

Even though neither me nor the way I was brought up are overly religious, I seem to have been influenced by religious shaming after all.

When we watch movies or read books in which characters are extremely into religion or depict sexuality as something devilish, we often aren’t able to prevent those ideas from seeping into our minds subconsciously…

I often need to remind myself that it’s not my “fault” that my body seems to absorb values presented in fiction.

I often felt ashamed of myself as I had subconsciously been adapting normative images and ideas presented in everyday life.

(“Men only want sex”; “Sexuality is sinful”; “We must not talk about it.”).

I just need to work hard in order to overcome these mindsets and to build up my own.

Still though to me, there’s a gap between (desirable and positive) liberalization and relaxation regarding sexuality on the one side…

And the depiction of the same topic in media (medieval stories, movies about sects etc.) on the other.

The Influence Of Media

Sadly, communities and cultures demonizing these topic still exist so that we get to hear about that now and then, too.

As a result, I kind of “know” that I shouldn’t feel ashamed of sexuality, that it’s right to talk about it.

That I’m allowed to communicate my…

That I’m allowed to feel desire and pleasure…

I also logically “know” that not EVERY man is a potential threat.

Unfortunately, owing to the gap I mentioned, I feel these nagging doubts rooted deeply within me.

Sometimes, I imagine that if others knew what I’m afraid of or what I think could happen, they would call me “backward”, “conservative”, or “prudish”. Or they would even judge me for my subconscious dread that all men only want sex, since this notion, as I do know, is overgeneralized and utterly unfair to all males…

Some might say: “You’re just ranting about media, nobody else is influenced that way. Don’t blame TVs and the internet for your squeamish psyche”.

I’d say… That’s not what I had in mind.

I’m merely describing my feelings, which have every right to be expressed without being evaluated.

Of course I know that our media including books, magazines, movies, social platforms, songs, radio shows etc. aren’t “bad” through and through.

People reflecting on the massive amounts of different opinions provided by these channels CAN greatly benefit from all those sources.

Sadly, young adults, children in particular and even many “grown-ups” don’t have the life experience or self-reflection based in SELF-LOVE required to make positive use of these sources.

Let’s not under-value… I mean come on.

Typical movies starring perfectly shaped popular girls appearing in the door…

Wind making their hair fly, sunlight accentuating perfect curves…

All of those don’t really help to create a healthy image of ourselves.

Because many industries out there absolutely THRIVE on our deeply rooted insecurities!


Those series, talk shows, films can be found in many different countries and cultures all around the world..

Likewise, there are teen magazines “informing” about the newest celebrities, clothing and whatnot, but also about puberty, sexuality and the like.

Don’t get me wrong – the latter is a good thing as they supply young people with information presenting sex as something natural and desirable…

But my problem is the suggestion boxes in which “experts” offer advise regarding friendship, family and, of course, sexuality.

Some of the questions and answers are printed along with the person’s age (though I’m not 100% sure if they’re all true) and in so many instances this has given me the idea that I’m utterly behind and ‘need to’ get with the program already!

For one, being an inexperienced girl, I “learned” that most people dealing with sex issues seem to be aged 14 to 16!

So that has to be the time you need to become sexually active, right… 😑

Additionally, I started to think that having difficulties and embarrassing moments with sex is not only normal but also HIGHLY likely!

Not so great for the self-fulfilling prophecy that tends to occur when we already expect something bad!


I don’t know how all the other adolescent readers developed a healthy sexuality. As for me, it only added up to my confusion..

Be it on film or paper…

People seem to have the most amazing sex imaginable.

You see tanned bodies intertwined, panting women, you read of him inside her and the explosive orgasms both partners experience simultaneously.

How are you not supposed to think of that this imagery is what you ‘should’ desire, what’s normal, what’s to be expected when you finally get the chance to do it?

Already having a firm idea about what you’ll experience in your first intimate moments, how probable is it that what happens can live up to that?

I’d say pretty slim!

You surely know how tedious it can be to overcome prejudice or solidified mindsets – it’s the same with expectations and fears about intimacy, sexuality and relationships.

Isn’t it unrealistic to produce movies about adults that don’t experience the slightest difficulty with intercourse? As much as I highly appreciate the change in our society that being LGB­T­QI+ etc. is seen as normal…

I would wish for the same thing regarding sex difficulties…

At the beginning of my relationship, I talked myself into believing I didn’t really want sex.

I guess that’s partly because I was afraid of pain.

Since we, vulva-owners, are constantly told that the first time hurts and also partly since it was all so new and I didn’t want to rush into anything.

Our Societal Conditioning

Another thing that influenced me was that I identified myself with being a virgin…

I felt if I lost my virginity, I would be less special, less me.

That, too, was a result of our society making virginity a subject of discussion. For example in movies about the guy aiming to be deflowered or in my peer group in which one boy is teased as he’s still a virgin.

What the heck?

Whether you already had sex or not doesn’t say anything about you as a person. It neither adds to nor reduces your “worth” and it doesn’t define you! Am I right or am I right?

Have you ever felt there’s a divide between the way you appear to others and what you wish for when having sex?

Imagine you’re always told that you’re naive, your peers know that you like sticking to rules and that you have little experience with sexuality in general.

Consequently, you muse that others expect you to be like that in the bedroom – to be only comfortable with the missionary position and perhaps a timid kiss now and then.

What would happen if they or your partner found out you felt different?

They might be appalled, aghast and find you inconsistent!

Those thoughts and fears are relatable, I know that…

But is there any truth in them? No, don’t let them dictate your life!

Your sexuality is your thing and if anyone should be flabbergasted or disgusted by it, that’s absolutely their problem.

The same goes for your partner.

But really…

What IF, instead, he/she is amazed and happy about you having so much in store and being able to shift between the well-behaved schoolgirl and the creative, wild woman?

You have every right to be who you want to be.

Whenever you want to and especially your sex life is none of society’s business. (Unless you want to share it and talk about it, of course).

In short… 👇 That’s the very best we can ask of ourselves.

Let’s put the conditioning of our religion, media and society aside by engaging in the necessary healing around that…

Let’s put the expectations and the shame aside and confidently step into who we authentically are.

With excitement about the fulfilling sex lives we can create for ourselves!

– Jana (20 years old, Germany)