Kristin Marie Bennion is an AASECT Certified Sex Therapist and the owner of Intimate Connections Counseling in Orem, Utah. She has been practicing as a licensed therapist for eight years and works full-time helping clients with sexuality concerns. She is currently working toward a Doctoral degree in Human Sexuality where she is studying issues related to organizational, state and federal sexuality policies.
Interestingly, one of the most “normal” things people worry about is whether or not they are sexually normal. We are conditioned in American culture to believe there is one “right” recipe for sexual contact. This influences a fear of being sexually abnormal (For example, many fear they have “abnormal” desires, fantasies, body type, preferences, sexual functioning, etc.). Feeling as though one may be perceived to be sexually abnormal can often bring intense shame.
Worrying about being “normal” is simply not useful because it’s often very inhibiting to communication about desires and gets in the way of relational intimacy. People often experience a paradox of wanting to be “normal” but also unique to their partner. This can, again, be quite inhibiting.
Things that continue to perpetuate or magnify this fear: lack of sex education, misinformation about sexuality in general, anxiety brings inhibition (which decreases pleasure and connection), amongst others.
Yes, there can be topics within the sexuality domain that are or become problematic for many people. The most problematic is an over-focus on the area perceived as problematic and loosing sight of all the other ways sexuality may be going well!
- Forget the “prerequisite” of being “normal”. Is this an area of your life you enjoy? Is it pleasurable and connecting? Does it make your life more full, rich and meaningful?
- Move from a goal-oriented mindset to pleasure/connection-oriented.
- Avoid/challenge all-or-nothing thinking!
Re-evaluate and continually cultivate your personal sexual values, as well as, your relational sexual values throughout lifespan