Sexuality is a complicated subject, and many people in the West struggle with coming to terms with their own lusts and desires. Sex isn’t something you talk about; its taboo, never to be spoken of except when alcohol loosens the tongue, and only then in crude, broad strokes. Very rarely do we get to discuss the emotional side of sex, how we really feel about it, in a safe environment.

For example, many people enjoy a bit of kink in bed, but they feel ashamed to ask, afraid their partners might think they were wrong or bad for asking or even having those thoughts. They may have either never explored these feelings, or explored them in a casual way earlier in life, and then felt bad about the casual sex.

There is great stigma about casual sex for many people; they feel as though they are bad or dirty for enjoying sex without any associated relationship. Many women are socially conditioned to feel shame, and not fully enjoy their own sexuality; they feel guilt when they revel in unabashed sexuality.

So what to do about this? There are several things that everyone can do every day to feel more empowered. It sounds silly, but simply spending more time naked can help you feel more comfortable in your own skin. The sensation of a breeze against your bare skin, cloth brushing your body, can make you more aware of your own body, which leads to more confidence in bed.

If you feel so bad about sex that enjoying one of the most pleasurable things in life is nearly impossible, seeking therapy may not be a bad option. Sex therapists can guide you through specific conversations, either alone or with a partner, and exercises to help you relax and simply enjoy sex and sexuality without regret or guilt. Even a few sessions with a therapist can be incredibly helpful, and can help you unlock any reservations you might have.

Of course, the simplest solution is just to try having more sex. Particularly if you are already in a relationship, this is a great way to start feeling more comfortable with your partner and your own sexuality. If you aren’t in a relationship, it’s even more important to be careful, but exploring sex with several different partners can help release you from the stress of sexual shame. Be persistent, and you will soon be able to enjoy sex without feeling guilt or anxiety.