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Flourishing Sexually after Orthodox Religious Upbringings

November 1, 2019

 

Through the process of working with the thousands of individuals and couples who have come to me for help with their sexuality, it has become clear to me that many of the people that reach out have a background from conservative religious backgrounds that affected their sexual development in rigid, misinformed and shaming ways. These people are dealing with 

  1. intense, immense and internalized sexual shame

  2. sex-negative educational foundations

  3. inappropriate meaning ruts 

  4. inappropriate self or partner blame

  5. and developmental stunting in their ability to enjoy the potential, joy and health that sex-positive relational sexuality has to offer

As a result they are often sad, depressed and hopeless about their sex life and either have high amount of marital conflict or avoidance on the topic. 

 

Further Influential Facts:

  1. 35% of Americans no longer affiliate with a religion. 

  2. Even those who do affiliate, hold more progressive and flexible doctrinal views than in the past. Meaning they are open to reinterpretations of their values and doctrinal beliefs. 

  3. Most who come from religious backgrounds think sex should wait until marriage... and yet most have not lived up to that religiously imposed standard. 

  4. Those who are religiously affiliated or come from religious backgrounds are at much higher risk of being treated for sexual/relational issues that are not backed by science (sex/porn addiction, love addiction, kink/fetishes, supposed attachment disorders because of sexual fantasies/desires). 

  5. We know that those affected by what is called “purity culture” suffer from feelings of fear, shame and anxiety in relationship to sex. This can result in everything from poor marital sexual satisfaction to full blown sexual disorders such as vaginismus, performance anxiety, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation. 

  6. Did you know that there is an actual working, clinical definition of sexual shame… and I can guarantee you that many of us would definitely resonate with a lot of what’s in those few paragraphs.

  7. Your government continues to pay for sexual education which has been influenced by religious factors… whether your’e religious or not… meaning that you have never received comprehensive, sex-positive education… and that’s what you are currently functioning under.

Since my background and experience has primarily focused on helping those who are coming out of these types of upbringings, I have created an online program where I can help people move from this unempowered, shame-filled sexual space that depletes from positive marital energy… to spaces of empowerment, vulnerability, sex-positivity, differentiation and creativity. When people prioritize and do this type of work, the intimacy they enjoy in their relationship flourishes and blooms in ways that are astounding for me to watch. I want to help as many marriages as I can to get there. 

I want to help you feel reenergized in 

  1. your sexual connections… 

  2. undertand and enjoy your many different types of potential intimacies… 

  3. in your own personal self-esteem… in your body image and body enjoyment… 

  4. in your ability to share and experience pleasure… 

  5. in your healing from the tolls of sexual shame… 

  6. and aid your movement to better health and wellbeing. 

 

I just ran a very successful class where I received all 5-star reviews. If you're interested, make sure you follow/like my Flourish Intimately Facebook page so that you get notification as to when my next class will be made available (early 2020). 

 

We will focus on a formula for success I have created to help you not be overwhelmed with the task at hand. It goes like this:

 

Step 1: Know where you come from. Acknowledgement and understanding of what messages and scripts you have been specifically affected by and how to counter them through reframes and mindfulness. 

Step 2: Permission. Allowing yourself the permission to prioritize pleasure and healthy sexuality in your life. 

Step 3: Comprehensive Sexual Education. Understanding human sexuality, anatomy, the arousal response cycle, etc. in ways that inform and empower your sexual interactions. 

​Step 4: Practice. Implementing specific tools and strategies to put into practice which begins the rewiring process. 

Step 5: Reevaluation and Negotiation. Taking time to evaluate and explore what is helping in your exploratory journey and what isn't. 

Step 6: Intensive Therapy or more Individualized Resources. Knowing how to assess when you need a deeper dive into getting the type of help your particular problems necessitate that go beyond the scope of the class.  

 

Like anything worthwhile in life, good things require good effort. Making sure you access good, sex-positive, research-based resources is also important in regards to how you spend your effort. I hope you will consider my resources as well as the services we offer here at Symmetry Solutions worthy of this description. 

 

 

 

Natasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT, CST

 

Natasha is the owner and founder of Symmetry Solutions. She is a Licensed Clinical Marriage & Family Therapist in the states of Kansas and Wisconsin and a Certified Sex Therapist. Natasha has been in practice for over 20 years and works with adults and adolescents. She specializes in mental health therapy, sex therapy and sexuality concerns, family/couples services and faith transitions within spiritual journeys. 

 

 

 

 

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