Way back in graduate school, I wrote a paper on how sex toys could help alleviate internalized gay shame. I continue to see how it improves the lives of clients who try it at home on their own or with their partners. This internalized gay shame is something all gay men experience and can often not be realized until it is brought up and named. It’s the result of interpreting messages all our lives, from our childhood, adolescence, and adulthood about how being gay or a member of the LGBTQ community is not normal. As LGBTQ individuals, as we grow up, we often do not understand why we feel so different from others, and the other people we know don’t either. The result is growing up feeling isolated and ashamed for not fitting in with others. We may know we are gay, but having a different identity than most or all of the people who know makes us feel like outsiders. The question for us becomes, why must we feel this way? Then we question whether we are acceptable not only others but ourselves as well.

This questioning and fear can lead us to be afraid of approaching sex and intimacy in any deep way. We suffer from a self-neglect and shame. Thankfully, we can work through the shame and guilt by becoming more comfortable with ourselves at our own pace. Through exploring our bodies, we not only begin to trust ourselves in regards to sexual experience and learn about our bodies, but we also learn more about the erotic piece of ourselves that we put away in shame.

This translates to more confidence with our partners and more satisfaction in the bedroom. Because we have learned more about what we want, we can incorporate that knowledge to make sex better for us.