How A Tuna Fish Sandwich Created One Of My Biggest Problems

January 15,2019

I remember the first time I ever worried about the smell of my vulva.

I was in 6th grade, hanging out on the playground at recess with a group of boys and girls, awkwardly mingling the way 6th grade boys and girls do. A couple of the boys were cruelly teasing one of the other boys about having a crush on an unpopular girl. The boy being teased lashed out and said, “Ew, not her. I wouldn’t touch her stinky tuna fish sandwich with a ten foot pole.”

I didn’t know what he meant, but I knew it was a horrible insult. Later, I asked my best friend what it meant, and she told me that he was talking about the girl’s “private parts.”

Questions started racing through my head. Was this something I needed to worry about too? Were my privates as gross and stinky as that girl’s? Was it really as bad as a tuna fish sandwich? (I grew up hating seafood, so this was an extra scary prospect for me.)

As the years went on, I heard more and more jokes about the scent of woman’s genitals, and I grew more and more self-conscious of my own.

I can also still remember my feeling of shock when my first serious boyfriend told me that he wanted to go down on me. I remember thinking, “Why on earth would he ever want to do that?” I let him try it, but I felt so uncomfortable the whole time. Was he really enjoying it? Or did he secretly think it was as gross as I did?

I hate to admit it, but I felt some sort of self-consciousness around oral sex for pretty much my entire adult life. Even when I first started dating Xander, I would still feel twinges of embarrassment when he would move between my legs.

This month, I’m sharing the four main blockages that are preventing you from having the sex life you’ve always wanted. You can probably guess that today I’m talking about body hang-ups.

Body hang-ups can ruin your ability to enjoy sex.

Here are just some of the ways:

I’ve put a LOT of work into overcoming my own body blockages over the years, to the point where I can now enjoy oral sex without shame.

Today, I want to share with you one of my favorite techniques for overcoming body hang-ups. It’s called the Take This Back Technique.

The crazy thing about our body hang-ups is that they don’t originate from us.

They come from the media and society.

You were taught to believe that your belly is too round, that your breasts are too saggy, and that your genitals are icky. You were taught to believe that your body needs to look and behave in very specific, narrow ways.

The idea behind the Take This Back Technique is to energetically give your blockages back to the entities that gave them to you.

The first step is to write down the beliefs you were taught to believe about your body. You may have done some of this work in last week’s exercise. Write down anything that comes to mind, no matter how big or small.

Next, pick one belief that you want to work with first.

Visualize whoever it was that taught that belief to you. Maybe, like me, you think about a mean kid on the playground. Maybe you think about a women’s magazine that you read. Maybe you think about all of society as a whole. Visualize that person or entity standing in front of you.

Next, imagine yourself handing those beliefs over. Say to the person or entity that you’re handing it over to, “I don’t want this anymore. It’s not mine, and it’s not serving me. I’d like you to take this back.”

You can repeat this process with the rest of the beliefs you identified.

Your blockages aren’t going to completely disappear the very instant you imagine handing them back over. You’re still going to feel them pop into your thoughts from time to time.

But what you can do each time that happens is imagine the same Take It Back process. Keep saying to yourself, “I don’t want this anymore. It’s not mine, and it’s not serving me. I’d like you to take this back.” Slowly but surely, you’ll notice those beliefs start fading away.

Give this a shot and let me know how it goes for you!


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I'm Vanessa Marin, a sex therapist and writer specializing in helping you have more fun in the bedroom.

I have bachelor’s degrees in human sexuality and sociology from Brown University, and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies. I’m also a licensed psychotherapist. I’ve been working in the sex therapy field since 2002 and have been featured by The New York Times, O: The Oprah Magazine, Real Simple, and many more.

If you’re interested in improving your sex life, you can work with me via my online courses or personal coaching sessions. I look forward to supporting you in creating the sex life you’ve always wanted!