Roots of Our Shame: Sex & Schooling

Our denial of our sexuality, and the subsequent corralling of our children in isolation from nature, creates and perpetuates our shame. To be free, sex is key.

Born from sex, naturally sensual beings from birth, we are no doubt shamed at some point for the way we experience pleasure in our bodies. This causes us to shame ourselves and change our behavior so that we can fit in.

By the age of five, we are taken away from our tribe and forced to be inside all day with many other children. We are not allowed to touch, talk about our “private parts” nor express pleasure. We are trained, shamed, blamed, hit or disciplined for our instinctual desires. This births self-contempt.

Experiencing being in nature, playing outside for long periods of time, and having freedom to express ourselves is a pleasurable, sensual experience. Currently, there are too many mandates about what a preschool child needs to know and be able to do to match other kids their age. Do any of them include what those children naturally want to do?

 By four, five and six, our children are being cajoled to conform, perform, and meet standards to compete against other nations. What is it all for?

Robbed of our right to live in the sunshine, swim the sea and drink the wild air, to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, we are prisoners. I remember when a student of mine said, Ms. Haynes, school is like prison. When I didn’t flinch, I knew it was time to speak my truth.

Expected to maintain the status quo from the beginning of our lives, our creativity and natural soul gifts are squelched under the expectation that we must be like everyone else. This nation robs itself of the true creative offerings of its young people, it is so hyper focused on achievement.

Imagine that you are a playful, sensual, pleasure-seeking human being who enjoys discovering the world, interacting freely, creatively and suddenly you are shamed for your pleasure. An association of joy and pain is made. If that didn’t happen for you at home at an early age, enter school: you are isolated from your tribe, the people you know and trust, and fed many rules, day in and day out for years to come. Any out of line, unruly, or boisterous behavior may bring stark consequences.

Is it possible that the following quote is true?

Modern day public education takes place inside of four walls, under unhealthy lights, sometimes with no windows or natural light at all. An average student can expect to get 25 minutes of outdoor time per day, and that is not a guarantee.

We must begin to see and understand that our isolation from our mother earth and our early separation from our birth mother contributes to mal-adjustment in the world.

Substituting the opinions of teacher, authority and state, over the ways of our immediate family, we become a breeding ground of self-denial and puppets of patriarchy.

We sacrifice the feminine principle, tilt the scales out of balance, and foster a world of living that only accepts, acknowledges and honors half of what it is to be human.

Denying our need to follow cues from nature and rest, restore and replenish, we push on, burn out, suffer, and stuff ourselves with drugs to keep up with a restless world.

Internal knowing that what we truly desire to is to be free, play, commune with nature, express ourselves and enjoy pleasure, we think we are different, something must be wrong with us, we are not like others. For, obviously, school teaches we are here to sit inside, perform tasks, be assessed and achieve, all the time, no matter how we feel.

Any discord we feel with the nature of this education roots and feeds our internal shame. Mommy and daddy and teacher know best and they all say this is the way life is. This is what matters: do, perform, and deny your instinctual desires.

If you feel sexual, if you wonder about sex, maybe we will talk to you, maybe we won’t, either way, you know that who you are, fundamentally, is taboo.

Taboo, in the most ancient sense of the word, means, “sacred.” Sex is sacred. Our sexuality is sacred. Tied to our divine nature, union with the beloved is access to bliss, creativity and emotional fulfillment.

Take a woman’s first menstruation. In the public schools in the state where I live, education at the age of menarche ranges from not taught at all, to maybe mentioned on one day, one time.

I remember my shock as I showed a ten year-old girl a diagram of the female sexual anatomy and she asked what a uterus was. Do I have one of those? She said. Yes! I replied, in awe, yes.

A young woman could be of fertile age and not know that she even has a womb? We memorize math facts, but we don’t know our capacity for creation? Why is it not taboo to honor dead presidents who stole this land from natives and had slaves, but it is taboo to publicly honor the life-giving womb of the mother?

How can we quantify the extent of robbery we commit by denying our children the right to know of their own sacred vessel?

How disembodied and disconnected from others and the earth do we feel if our own being is off-limits, shamed, taboo?

I cringed as I watched the nurse in my school tell the girls that once they got their period they could put on a pad, and get on with their day, nothing has to change, it’s like it never even happened.

I would interrupt and say, It’s okay if you honor that time. It’s okay to nurture yourself, curl up with some tea and relax for a while. You don’t have to keep up when you are bleeding.

 As Vicki Noble states in her book, Shakti Woman, “In truth, menstruation is a time that is absolutely taboo in the most ancient sense of the word, which means ‘sacred.’ It is explicitly nonordinary and requires that we be set apart from the ordinary tasks at hand. It is, for humans, the major magical event of the lunar month, corresponding to the waxing and waning cycle of the moon and the ebb and flow of the oceanic tides.”

 The blatant ignoring of women’s sacred moon time is a symptom of our blatant denial of our natural ways.

By loving ourselves, we treat others with love. When we love ourselves, we love the earth, we take care of our planet, we make choices that are balanced and healthy.

The destruction and pillage of our earth, the rape of our women, the abuse of our children, all of this, my dear friends, stems from our early years.

The way we are nurtured in the womb, the nurture we received from loving (or not) adults in our formative years, and they way we were indoctrinated into our world through schooling.

If our most sacred, natural, sexual urges are shameful, we grow up a shadow of a human being, hiding ourselves, suppressing our feelings and taking that internal anger out on others. We need only look to the most war-torn countries on the planet and ask: how do they treat their women? How openly are they allowed to express sexuality?

Disconnected from our pleasure, our natural state, we have dis-ease. Enter a world where women have breast cancer and cervical cancer, men have prostate cancer, and illness is everywhere. Instead of teaching to go within during the winter, we speak of flu shots and toughing it out. Instead of talking about our sexuality and our wombs we hope we have good pass-codes to protect our kids from internet porn.

It is no wonder to me why we have to cut off our most sacred parts. The hiding of our sexuality creates the dis-ease of our parts.

The root of shame is this: extracted from our natural environment at a young age and taken away from the people we feel safest with and then put into a room where we have two choices, either conform and do as you are told, or be punished, we quickly learn to conform. We do what every one else does. This robs us of our unique gifts. This assumes that the most important things for kids to learn are facts and figures outside of themselves, and steers the course away from a deep dive within.

Connection to self, a willingness to dive within, harnesses an abiding trust in ones Self, and cultivates a capacity for love. The standard of a good education could be how well it encourages one to know thyself.

If pleasure were okay, it would be talked about openly. If feeling good was normal, we would do it. We would all feel good, we would share it, express it and talk about it. If it mattered, we would honor it, right?

We leave a vital resource untapped and untouched. Our young children come in with wisdom, they come with knowledge, any educator knows that it is not about filling up the pupil with information, but like the David, we sculpt and peel away until the masterpiece is revealed beneath.

This is known in education, but in truth, it is not really practiced. Public education does not exist to nurture and bring forth the divine masterpiece in each one of us, but rather, it decides what one should know, and holds mandatory tests that cost millions of dollars and prove very little.

I am a woman who has watched five-year old children be trained, year after year, to walk down the hall with one hand over their lips in the “shh” position, while the other is behind their back.

They walk in a single file line, in silence, and they practice this every day. Each time I witnessed this training, my heart sank. Teaching through repetitive practice  to silence ourselves represses the joy of being alive.

In this endeavor, we lose the light within each divine child, we suppress the magic gift they were born into the world to birth, and we perpetuate a system of robots.

This is not what you were born for. This is not your purpose. I want to whisper in the heart of every adult and child, “Wake up! Share your light! Don’t lose it, my love, don’t lose your special gifts.”

So, it is our deepest creative parts, it is our deepest instinctual yearnings that create the world. Celebrated, talked about, honored and brought out into the light, we are free to be seen and known as we really are, and the world, our souls and all of everything integrates into balance.

As a licensed educator, with seven years of full-time classroom teaching, I wonder, what are we to do? If you are an educator, start with taking your kids outside more often.

Incorporate movement, dance, yoga into your classrooms.

Begin to cultivate acceptance of those kids who don’t easily fit the mold.

We must stretch to include creative expression and cultivate self-awareness so we know when we are insisting another conform so we feel comfortable.

Contact me for consultations on how to incorporate connection with others and nature into your classroom.

If you are a parent, have you considered homeschooling?


  1. I could not have said this better myself. I am a parent of 3 school aged kids, and agree with everything you have said here. We, especially in America, are doing our kids so very wrong by the way we educate them. Just take a look at the kids today. How many of them have been put on unnecessary medications so that they will sit still and fit into the one model that society has given to them. This one model, which according to the “professionals” is the only way to succeed. Really? We are putting so much pressure on kids to be perfect that we are stealing their spirit. We do not support the cultivating of creativity or allow each individual to flourish in their natural gifts. Instead, we jam facts down their throats,; facts that will be forgotten if not used in their daily lives. We are failing our human beings. Why are so many teenagers on mental health medications for anxiety and depression? I could seriously talk about this all day, I am just not sure how to change it. I am very appreciative to hear your beliefs, especially from a previous teacher. Thank you!

  2. Thank you for writing about such a critically important aspects of our lives…being true to our nature in all of its stages and expressions. As women we can give the gift of being feminine and model for all young girls what that looks like and educate them on what it means. Personally, one of the best gifts I have given myself was making peace with my menstrual cycle and all that came with it. Thank you. I love the depth and intelligence of your writing.

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