We all know men want sex, right? All the time! Well, at least that’s the stereotypical image. Well, there’s a lot more to it than that. Sex is the stage upon which some of the worst embarrassment and deepest shame get played out for men.

Through our work with men, and my contact with hundreds of men in the men’s community, it is clear that the vast majority of men carry around heavy shame and guilt around sex literotica. This shame and guilt color their sexual experience to a degree where many men are afraid of the very thing they supposedly want the most! How this shows itself is anything from sexual “overdrive” such as addiction to porn, using prostitutes, or having affairs; and its seeming opposite, “underdrive”, such as avoidance of sex, inability to complete intercourse, impotence, feeling like a little boy in sex, or plain lack of sexual desire.

Granted, I am no medical doctor, and anything said here is not to dissuade you from seeking medical council if you are so inclined. By all means do so. That being said, it is my firm belief that all these painful “issues and conditions” have nothing to do with medical issues; they are not “diseases”, they are not “illnesses”; and they are not best solved with medicine. They are symptoms of a story we men live in, even if extremely painful symptoms, personalized through our own experiences, but in essence similar from man to man. Symptoms are like the projections on a movie screen: If you don’t like what you see on the screen, sure you can throw paint on it to make it look prettier, but that will not change the movie one iota, as the actual movie lives not on the screen, but on the film roll in the projector. Same with sexual symptoms; you can throw medicine at them, and it will not change the projector from whence they came.

So the place to start freeing yourself from these pains is in your mind, your memory, and your story. There is, however, this “big monster” standing in the way of starting that journey.

What makes it scary to dive into this pain, is that it’s so…well, scary! It feels SO BAD to be in bed with a woman (or man), finding yourself unable to get, or hold, an erection. The anxiety feels unbearable, and men will do almost anything to avoid it. It takes a lot of guts to start looking into this pain, because we assume that since it feels SO BAD, there must be something VERY BAD under it. Interestingly, that is often not the case at all. I want to acknowledge that some men do have severe sexual traumas that are not to be taken lightly, but for most men, it’s a different kind of problem.

Now, before I share some practical ways to get started, let me bring this back to relationship. The sexual pains men live with affect everything in their life, and most notably their relationship. The feelings of shame and inadequacy, if not dealt with in the open, have to be “put” somewhere. Typically, they either get “stuffed”, that is repressed and hidden, shoved to the darkness of Unconscious Land. Or they are compensated for in some other way, like anger, criticism, working all the time, drinking, sex addiction. It’s no surprise that symptoms like these affect relationship, but the interesting thing is that it’s not the sex addiction or anger in itself that is having adverse effects in relationship. It’s much more about the man not being able to be fully present with his honest self in the relationship. He cannot show up as who he is with his partner, because there is a part that has to remain hidden. And the man thinks he can’t possible bring this “monster” out in the open, all kinds of terrible consequences would follow. And even though the thought of bringing it out in the open seems horrifying, there is no other choice. The relationship cannot lovingly thrive, be joyful and fun when both partners can’t show themselves fully.