No More Hiding
“No More Hiding: Permission to Love Your Sexual Self” is the debut book by Dr. Rhoda Lipscomb. Examining past sexual understandings and norms and addressing the needed cultural shift, Dr. Rhoda hopes to eliminate the shame associated with alternative sexual expressions including BDSM, Open Relationships, Kink/Fetish and sexual orientation.
This book is designed for the people who wonder about what those with very different sexual lives are like and ask, “Are they truly happy? Can these kinds of things be done successfully? How do I get there?”
It is designed for the people standing at that fork in the road wondering, “Do I stay on the path I am on, the same path I’ve been on for years and where at least know what to expect, or do I dare take the risk to explore a new path?”
“Packed with rich case studies Rhoda Lipscomb masterfully weaves her academic knowledge with clinical experience and her own lived experiences to bring clarity to questions about how to authentically live and express one’s sexuality in the postmodern world. She writes elegantly about complex and difficult concepts about sexuality from BDSM, fetishes, to non-monogamous forms of relationships. She thoughtfully humanizes and normalizes the vast expressions of variety of human sexuality. She challenges culturally accepted myths about sexuality and magnifies the intersectionality between social, cultural and political influence and power in shaping attitudes about sex and sexuality in the western world. A book that is apt for its time.”Caroline Shahbaz, MPsych MA
“No More Hiding: Permission to Love Your Sexual Self” Overview
Chapter 1: Is this really all there is?
Despite the many advances from the sexual revolution decades ago, most of us are still taught the typical societal beliefs about sex and relationships. Monogamy is usually thought of as the only real way that adult relationships work. And while sex is important in a relationship, it is also just something people do from time to time, especially after you have children.
Most of us are also taught that sex is really not supposed to be that important as a relationship goes on- that it is better and more mature to focus on the other aspects of the relationship, and give up the need for passion, variety and adventure. Even in situations where the people in the relationship are completely mismatched sexually, we are taught that love conquers all.
And, as hard as it is to believe, many people still believe that as we get older we no longer want or care about sex. On the contrary, studies show that many healthy individuals care very much about sex later in life, and that those who do have an active sex life as they grow older, enjoy life more.
Within the last few decades most of the children in our public schools were officially taught “abstinence only-sex education” which was more about keeping them afraid of sex, pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections than real sexual knowledge.
…So while, there have been many advances in the sexual knowledge available, unfortunately it is not what many people are learning even at this point in the 21st century.
Chapter 2: Overcoming Fear, Shame, Embarrassment and Guilt
Emotions ebb and flow and are a natural part of being human. Growing up we’re often not given helpful information about how to deal with our emotions, let alone the emotions of others: it is no wonder our emotions can overwhelm us at times.
Research shows that as humans we struggle with our positive and negative emotions, desiring to avoid negative ones due to four basic and very intuitive reasons:
- They are unpleasant.
- They represent getting stuck in a rut.
- They are associated with a loss of personal control.
- They are perceived (correctly!) as having social costs.
(Kashdan & Biswas-Diener, 2014, p. 61)
These four basic reasons for avoiding negative emotions tell us a lot. Quite simply, negative emotions are unpleasant and people often underestimate their ability to tolerate the distress of negative emotions.
When we learn to accept and manage, rather than avoid negative emotions, they serve useful purposes in keeping us safe and balanced. Yet, when we attempt to avoid our negative emotions, they grow and become overwhelming, keeping us stuck in unproductive, unhappy and unsatisfying situations and relationships.
In this chapter we will focus on four specific emotions that I like to call the Big Four: fear, shame, embarrassment and guilt. When dealing with sexual issues, and especially when dealing with alternative sexual behaviors, these four emotions often come together as a package deal. This makes it appropriate to give most of our attention to them.
Chapter 3: Where did you learn about sex?
There are a plethora of things in our modern world vying for our attention, and unfortunately, sex stops being a priority for many individuals. In addition, the beliefs that many of us grew up with about sex and relationships plays an unconscious role. These beliefs have been hiding under the surface and begin to play out in ways we don’t even notice or fully understand once we get into a stable relationship. And then we unintentionally pass them on to the next generation.
Our beliefs about sexuality and relationship styles are learned at an early age in life and come from many sources. These sources give us the first impression of what emotional and physical intimacy looks like, for better or worse. This happens at a stage of development when we lack the cognitive ability to understand any differently. We often take these images into our belief systems, with little to compare them. Once we have grown to adulthood, our brains now have the ability to analyze the beliefs for inconsistencies and see whether they actually work for us, yet we rarely do it.
There is nothing wrong with marriage, parenting or the typical stable life. Yet, when it is presented as the only successful option despite the evidence to the contrary, (just look at the rates of divorce and infidelity) as the classic line goes, “Houston, we have a problem.”
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