Sexuality and Psychotherapy

By Will

During my first 5 years of psychotherapy in my 20’s I worked with an female therapist in her 60’s and I found it extremely uncomfortable articulating my sexual fantasies with her. I would mostly avoid the subject, but if we did go there, I would box up my fantasies and make them very generic, tame and watered down. For example, we never explored certain fetishes and their possible meanings for me individually. This was one of the reasons that convinced me that a male therapist would be vital second time around. However, I guess if I did reveal things I was truly ashamed of, the real fear would lie in being abandoned by ‘anybody’ whatever their gender.

I still find it uncomfortable discussing the real nitty gritty, I cringe and squirm and beat around the bush, but I do disclose eventually. Oscar Wilde once said “Sex is the refuge of the weak” and that rang true for me in a sense that I tended to gravitate towards sex, or thoughts about sex, when I wanted to avoid emotional pain, which was quite frequent sometimes. In as much as talking about my once hidden fantasies made me feel on edge I knew there must be something lurking underneath worth discovering. When we are uncomfortable we are extremely close to touching on a nerve, and sometimes if we can bear it, we need to step into these darker clouds.

What is extremely difficult is having solid memories about what actually happened to me when I was younger around sexuality and how these experiences developed and got transferred onto my relationships as an adolescent or as a man. While memories of this kind may not establish themselves, due to their elusive nature, feelings and sensations do. Our thoughts and associations around sexuality can hold some real insights into how we view ourselves. Our fantasies and turn on’s may seem strange even to us, but for me I noticed a pattern, in that the fantasies needed to be fuelled and made more elaborate over time which highlighted the fact that these fantasies were built layer by layer. Underneath these fantasies and roles lies an internal message of who we may be which is intrenched in power and dominance or submissive traits.

Sexuality poorly repressed unsettles some families; well repressed, it unsettles the whole world ~ Karl Kraus

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