Been doing a lot of introspection, suffering, trying to get to the root. I grew up in a very strict religious household. What I'm having to really face right now, and it's rough, (and a disclaimer that I'm going to share some very personal stuff) is that I have lingering and debilitating sexual shame. It's the soul killing kind of shame. It has fueled addictions, it has led to hopelessness, despair, loneliness, so many bad chapters of my life and I'm just now, at 46, facing that this is the root cause. What is the root cause of the root cause? My upbringing. And, yes I have an average sized "package". I know there are plenty of guys out there, "average" "below average" even just flat out "tiny" who embrace and enjoy their sexuality, shame free. How did they manage to be able to do that? What's the difference? Parenting they received? Perceptions shaped in childhood. The church I went to from a very young age was on the more extreme side of a very strict literal interpretation of the bible complete with pounding fists on pulpits delivering hellfire and brimstone sermons. The subject of a lot of those sermons was "sex" and "sin'. Neither of my parents ever talked to me about sex. It was not discussed other than in the context of "sin". My mother was emotionally supportive. She was very religious, but she didn't use religion to shame. She was looking for answers, for truth. I still respect that. I don't think she ever found those answers, or maybe she did, maybe some do. She got Early Onset Alzheimer's and passed away in 2012, very young for that type of thing. My dad on the other hand, used shame as a weapon. It's part of his communication style. He shames. He's angry a lot. He hurls bible verses and like bullets of condemnation. There was no healthy father son relationship ever. He was gone a lot on business trips when I was a child. He was completely consumed with becoming a success during my formative years, and he did become a success from a financial perspective, but there was never a loving father son relationship. I always felt from him, discontent. I try to process all of this without blaming him but it's not easy especially since every time I see him he still shames me with religion. I've been doing spiritual work for a while, I do it quietly in my own way, at my own pace, and taking what works from here and there. But this little tidbit from my shadow is a real bitch. My goal is healing this wound and reprogramming this misconfiguration of my psychology so that I don't feel shame about sex and my body. Not sure where to even begin. The inner child needs healing. But how? There was an unhealthy psychological framework laid in my childhood. That combined with the damage done by religion messed me up when it comes to having any kind of positive view of sex. I know it sounds like I've fallen headfirst into the victim trap, but I don't know how else to get this across. I know I'm not the only who struggles with this type of thing. It's very difficult to open up about. So, I'm putting this all out there, full transparency.