Sojourners: Why write a book on sex and faith and shame?
Matthias Roberts: Many of us who grew up within purity culture have rejected the strict, moralistic guidelines around sex and sexuality we were raised with, but aren’t sure what beliefs we do still hold. As a counselor, I noticed coping mechanisms that aren’t necessarily the mosthealthy ways to work with our sexuality. I hope to name what those unhealthy coping mechanisms are and chart a way forward.
What is sexual shame? Shame is a core response that we have that makes us turn away. When things within our sexuality make us want to turn away from either ourselves or other people, we get sexual shame. Sexual shame affects us relationally—and not just within our sexual relationships. It can look like secrecy and avoidance: We’ve been taught we can’t express sexuality outside of particular contexts and yet most people are, so we hide that away, lie about it, or pretend it’s not there.