Young loving black couple lying in the bed and communicating.

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The way we are conditioned directly shapes our thoughts around sexuality. In fact, there are seven major influences that form our sexual identity and desires. Get familiar with what I’ve coined “The Seven P’s,” and determine how you can break through the programming to own your sexuality.

1 Your Parents

Our parents handle our first questions about our bodies and our sexual feelings. Sometimes they’re dealing with their own traumatic experiences around sexuality and can share problematic programming with their little ones. Sometimes parents are fully empowered and pass on a wealth of sex-positive knowledge to their children. Watching how your parents interact intimately also influences how you choose to approach your interactions with others. If you feel your thoughts about sex are not living up to your standards, begin to dissect your thoughts from those of your parents by making a list of what you saw or were told, versus what you believe to be true for you.

2Your Peers

Listening to friends talk about their sexual experiences or lament about the ills of sex can have an effect on your sexual perception and preference. Sometimes peer pressure and the desire to “fit in” will lead individuals to participate in activities that don’t align with their  sexual identity. Remember to listen to your friends’ experiences and advice objectively, and use your power of decision and inner guidance when determining what’s right for you sexually. 

3 Publications

Whether it’s a book on how to perform a technical sex act or a magazine delivering advice on how to spice things up, publications are a major source of information for the sexually curious. Publications can be great educators because they are produced by experts and deliver factual content to their readers. Whether it’s Playboy, Glamour, or any of the self-help books on the market, reading assists in building skill set, confidence and curiosity. Begin to collect more publications and books that can help you become the sexually empowered being you desire to be. Erotica is also another source of education for people who enjoy the fictional retellings of sexual musings.

4 Porn

The type of porn you watch will have a direct influence on your sexual perception. Adult entertainment is primarily curated by men for men, and is largely fantasy based. The women who perform in adult films often represent the exaggerated hypersexual woman, and the men who dominate them on screen are painted as well-endowed masters of their sexual acts. The thing to remember about these salacious scenes is that it’s all entertainment. In real life, your partners will not be professionals to service whims. Use porn as a springboard to fuel your curiosity to do research to become more educated about sex.

5 Professionals

Whether you’ve come across a professional on TV, in a publication, at school or at an event, sex experts are there to help you navigate the plethora of nuances within the sexual realm. Many educators create content for online consumption in the form of blogs, podcasts, radio shows, social media updates and videos. Searching the hashtags #sexed, #sexeducator, #sexpert and #sexblogger are ways to find these experts in the field. Utilizing professionals is the best way to receive a comprehensive education, and to work through trauma or toxicity within your sexuality.

6Your Pastor

Religious practice is good for the soul, yet may be repressing for sexuality. Religion often casts heavy judgment around homosexuality and sex outside of wedlock. This type of messaging can cause anxiety and fear of even having sexual thoughts. It’s completely okay to want to please God and to practice celibacy in the process. The key is to remember that sex in itself isn’t good or bad. The meaning of sex is established by your own perception. If the sexual messaging you’re receiving from your religious leader doesn’t feel in alignment with your beliefs, go within and ask inner guidance to show you the way. Talk directly to God about how you feel and allow Him to reveal to you what you should do. Your sexuality is a personal journey and it is your birthright to explore. Afterall, sex is the reason why you’re having this human experience in the first place.

7 Partnered Performance

Partnered sex is where you apply all of the things you’ve learned from publications, peers, parents, professionals, pastors and pornography. Depending on how the other P’s have influenced your sexuality, your partnered performance will either be a pleasurable experience or one that plagues you with anxiety. Being paired with a partner who is patient, knowledgeable and empowered enough to communicate with you about sex is the perfect way to overcome any hangups. Experiences with partners who may not be as mature sexually can lead to dampened attitudes towards sex. Be willing to partner with people who are committed to a loving union.


Glamazon Tyomi is CASSIUS’ resident sexpert. Follow her at @GlamazonTyomi.