Name any sexual problem or concern, and with few exceptions, you will find its origins in the same two sources: fear, ignorance or both.  Fear, that shows itself in the forms of embarrassment or any aspect of sex that exposes our vulnerabilities; and ignorance, or the lack of knowledge and experience.

The good news is that ignorance is the easiest detriment to overcome, and that knowledge is the champion of all our fears.

It was at a recent social gathering that a reader’s comment reminded me of a concern that I have heard expressed on so many other occasions.  He told me that he had read a recent post, enjoyed it, and was inspired to put in the effort to learn more about sex; a welcome comment I was pleased to hear.  He went on to say, however, that he thought about leaving a comment, but found that he was too embarrassed by what that might imply.  If I had had the presence of mind at the time, I could have told him how many “players”, or highly experienced people have also stopped and thanked me for giving them a voice.  And if he had left a comment, how would anyone have known the difference?

The common concern I speak of:

… the fear that what you want or enjoy, or how you choose to express your sexuality, really means something else about you, something that is inconsistent with your chosen sexual identity.

When I began my exploration into “power exchange” sexual play, the first club I became associated with (Club X) was strictly dominant male – submissive female themed.  It was a natural fit for me, and I learned a lot from the association, eventually becoming a skilled dominant.  But as time went on, I explored beyond the confines of the club, experiencing both sides of the D/S relationship and attending several open-themed events as well.

From the first Club X social, to learning how to be dominant, then submissive and so on, each step offered its own list of vulnerabilities and insecurities to overcome, and with each victory came a sense of liberation.  Believing this to be a shared experience, I brought up the question of why Club X was single-themed to some of the senior members.  I was surprised to hear the quick and adamant opinion that “submissive men were really latent homosexuals” from one of the founders, while a couple of men nearby nodded in agreement.  Not only was I offended by the comment, but it certainly wasn’t true.  After all, I enjoyed playing sub nearly as much as dom, had had a few experiences with men, was sure it wasn’t for me, and so there goes the whole latent homosexual theory.  But beyond being offended, I was disappointed, and eventually educated, into the depths by which fear and bias can inhibit behavior, even among the most (presumably) sexually liberated individuals.

By this time, I thought that I was beyond the cultural conditioning that inhibited sexual behavior, and that I was free to follow any desire or interest without fear or embarrassment.  In truth, however, I had yet to face the greatest challenges to my sexual identity, and eventually learning how these fears are nothing more than a product of our imaginations as a consequence.

This life lesson started with a lover I had taken to several D/S events.  We were kindred spirits, with a thirst for new adventure that eventually led us to role playing and cross dressing for sexual gratification.  She was very much the instigator of this new direction and I was the eager participant.  But making out in panties with your girlfriend is one thing, while shaving your legs in a process of “feminization” is another.  And the fear that my smooth legs that felt so fantastic against hers would somehow suggest something unflattering kept me in long pants all summer long.  Yet we continued, with the process toward complete conversion coming in stages; each offering its own brand of fear to overcome.  Many mornings were spent reconciling the image I had of myself as an alpha male, with the person who was taking great pleasure in exploring the feminine side of sex the night before.  Ironically, I never felt more like a man than when the experience culminated with my lover and I walking out of the Golden Nugget hotel and through the casino dressed in full-on drag queen mode on our way to an all “girl” party.  Talk about liberating!

Among the many lessons these experiences provided was learning that the fears that challenged my masculine identity were founded on nothing more than my own imagination.  I was still the man I thought I was, but even more so.  Because in time I could see that nothing changed about the way people interacted with me.  No future lover was shocked by my love for smoothness.  Any hesitation, anxiety or trepidation I felt was coming from me and me alone.  And now, though cross dressing is no longer of interest to me, I keep the smooth legs, and have been asked about them dozens of times.  And in each case as to why, because “I like the way it feels” is always sufficient.

So whether you’re a woman who is no longer content in waiting for a man to please her, and you are concerned that to take what you want is to be too masculine …

… you’re a man that favors the gentle, sensual touch but is concerned that to be soft is to be feminine …

Or you are anyone whose sexual interests and desires are hindered by fear …

… find solace in knowing that you are now alone. The vulnerabilities and insecurities we our apt to feel toward our sexuality, are all products of our culture, as there is no inherent relationship between guilt, shame or embarrassment with sexual pleasure.

Contribute to the discussion here. We'd love to hear what you have to say.