Toxic Shame

Look, it’s simple: The cause of the cuckold fetish is subconscious inadequacy.

Fetishes are a way for the brain to deal with some really painful things such as guilt, helplessness, or in this case inadequacy.  We turn that pain into pleasure. Any sexual scenario that involves feeling inadequate (such as cuckolding and humiliation) becomes pleasurable for someone who has a deep-rooted feeling of inadequacy.

The feeling of inadequacy leads to the cuckolding fetish.

If we want to get rid of this fetish, we have to heal that deep-rooted feeling. That’s what this article is about; healing subconscious inadequacy. By removing the root cause, the fetish stops being pleasurable. (It’s 4000 words so make sure you’re ready for this!)



I’ve heard some people refer to this deep-rooted inadequacy as ‘toxic shame’. That is, shame for no reason, about nothing in particular, simply for being. Toxic shame is a subconscious sense that you are flawed or somehow defective.

Toxic shame = inadequacy.

When we phrase it as ‘toxic shame’, a whole new world opens up where we can compare it to normal shame. Because really, toxic shame is just normal shame that has stopped functioning in a healthy way and has started to apply to ourselves. It is shame which has been internalized and has become a state of being. When this happens, we lose our healthy sense of shame.

This usually happens in one of two ways: The first is where every bit of shame becomes automatically magnified and internalized. We accept our low status and find ways to cope with it, feeling worthless or subhuman and simply giving up, surrendering to the sense of inadequacy. We are drawn towards under-achieving.

The second is where we suppress the normal, conscious shame, and arrogantly feel like we can transcend the limits of humanity and be better than everyone else. And that’s very, very bad. We are drawn towards over-achieving.

Mostly, people will have a mix of the two, having times where they feel superior and times where they feel inferior. They may have grandiose fantasies but never actually rise to the top – because they don’t feel good enough to take those steps. Usually, they are adept at looking good enough. 

This is driven by toxic shame.

Conscious shame is a normal, healthy, human emotion. In fact, conscious shame is necessary in being a well-functioning human. We evolved to have it for a reason; it has a purpose.

We feel shame when we make a mistake or act in a way that contradicts our values; we feel shame when we do something wrong. Shame is there to help us to not make the same mistake twice. It’s an unpleasant feeling, and that acts as the deterrent to stop doing the same wrong thing again and again. It makes us feel bad, and so it should, because that’s what helps us to grow into better people. We want to avoid that bad feeling. That’s the drive that makes us want to stop making mistakes. Without shame, we would keep making mistakes forever with no drive to stop.

For example, if you’re carelessly playing around with a glass, and you drop it and it smashes, you might feel a tiny bit of shame. That’s a normal healthy thing to feel; that’s going to make you want to be more careful next time.

If we start getting overconfident and carried away, when we make a mistake shame is there to remind us that we have limits. And we do have limits – we all make mistakes. We are not God. We are only human, and to be human is to be limited. It is to be finite, needy, and prone to mistakes. We are not perfect, that is a guaranteed part of being human. Shame keeps us from making mistakes by trying to act more than human, as if we don’t make mistakes, as if we’re unlimited.

What if you really are better than everyone else?

Many people with this fetish have some very good qualities. They may be very intelligent, talented, creative, muscular, rich, successful, unique, funny, or nice. They may have exceptional abilities. They may be able to do things that no-one else can do. It is easy to get carried away with this. You are still human. You still make mistakes.

And actually, that feeling of toxic shame is what can drive you to get all of these good things. By going to the gym, earning more money, studying harder, being nicer, or being funnier etc, you can have a sense of control over that subconscious perception. It feels good. So frequently people become obsessed with that good feeling and chase that, obsessively working on their body/intelligence/career/money/personality – and obtaining some very good things as a result, but all being driven by that feeling of not being good enough just as you are. Unfortunately, this obsessive pursuit of self-improvement never leads you to a point where you feel good enough.

It’s driven by toxic shame. And the resulting lack of healthy shame leads to you having no clear limits. You have no boundaries, you fantasise about affecting things that just aren’t your area. Perhaps you imagine becoming a musician despite never having made a good song. Maybe you dream of becoming president despite having no political experience, or becoming a writer without much knowledge of writing, or making a new scientific discovery out of your sheer unrecognised genius. A lack of shame leads to a lack of limits. You end up with no clear direction, wasting energy on things you cannot change.

There’s a movement on the internet called ‘NoFap’. It’s a huge group of men who abstain from masturbation for as long as possible. They claim a number of benefits to this – increased energy, increased mental clarity, confidence, etc. When this is used for young single men to give them drive to get a girlfriend, it’s surely a positive thing. But, for those who consider sexual activity to be an imperfection, a waste of time, or a pointlessly hedonistic activity, it’s not a good thing; it’s a sign of a lack of healthy shame. They deny the fundamentally sexual nature of humanity – they deny their limits and try to transcend them, somehow perpetually wondering why they keep failing.

To have a sex drive is a normal, healthy, human trait. If you don’t value pleasure and would rather only ejaculate for reproductive purposes, it doesn’t matter. You are limited. To deny that limitation is to lack healthy shame. You will always be driven by your penis to have sex with women and masturbate. And that’s ok; even if you think it’s less than perfect to act that way, humans are less than perfect. And your sex drive is one of the most basic human drives along with hunger and thirst. If you attempt to transcend that, just like carelessly throwing around glasses, at some point you’ll fail. We feel shame to remind us of our limits.

Without shame, we have no limits. This could lead to delusions of grandeur – thinking we can do anything. If we don’t know our limits, we have no direction. We’ll try to go everywhere at once, resulting in no net movement. We might try to be the jack-of-all-trades, and end up as the master of none. Shame is what tells us our limits, and signals our direction. Then we can use our energy more effectively, and not waste ourselves on goals we cannot reach or on things we cannot change.

More importantly, having normal healthy shame lets us know that although we’re limited, we’re still human. It’s ok to be imperfect. Conscious shame is the psychological foundation of humility. Humility is a very beneficial trait in life, so conscious shame is beneficial. Conscious shame keeps us grounded. It is a yellow light warning us that we are essentially limited. It is the emotional energy which signals that we are all imperfect and we make mistakes, and it stops us from getting carried away into potentially damaging situations.

But when this shame becomes internalized, when it stops functioning as a normal, healthy, human emotion, it becomes a toxic sense of inadequacy. Subconscious shame is the sense that we are flawed as a human being, that we are inadequate. It is no longer an emotion that signals our limits and that we make mistakes, but rather that we are the mistake. It becomes a state of being, a core identity. Toxic shame gives you a sense of worthlessness, a sense of failing and falling short as a human being. As a result of the toxic shame, we lose our healthy relationship with shame. We stop feeling normal conscious shame and lose our limits.

Conscious shame tells us we make mistakes. We are imperfect, just like everyone else.

Toxic shame tells us we are a mistake. We are flawed, defective, simply not good enough. We are imperfect, but should be perfect.

And, as before, when this toxic shame exists in the subconscious, it is the cause of this fetish. We eroticize those painful feelings to help us deal with them.


A lot of this centers around how you deal with mistakes. Out of all the people I’ve met, the ones who were the most confident and comfortable with themselves deal with their mistakes in the same way. They recognize their mistake, without any suggestion that it’s due to a deficiency in them; rather, they recognize that everyone makes mistakes. They don’t block it out, hide it, or deny it, and they definitely don’t try to blame anyone else. They may even draw attention to it, laughing at their own essentially imperfect nature, and then promptly moving on, likely never even thinking about it again.

However, the people i’ve met with a sense of toxic shame do not acknowledge their mistakes. They try to cover it up, deny it, or blame others. Perhaps in some situations they even might try to make it seem like their mistake was actually on purpose, inventing an elaborate rationale to justify it.

Here’s an example from the book ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ by Dr Robert Glover:

‘When my son was nine years old, he accidentally poked some holes in our kitchen table with a ballpoint pen. When he realized what he had done, he immediately showed his mother the damage. Our son had appropriate, healthy shame about his mistake. He knew that his actions had caused damage to the table. He also knew that he had to take responsibility. Most importantly, he knew he wasn’t bad.

If I had done the same thing as a child (or even as an adult), I would have had an attack of toxic shame and tried my best to hide or deny what I had done. I would have been convinced someone was going to be angry at me and stop loving me. I would have lived with the secret as well as a constant fear of being found out.’


In my student days, I shared a house with 4 other people. One day, when opening the fridge door in a particularly hurried manner, the handle came off in my hand! The right thing to do would be to admit my mistake, and work out how to fix the handle or get a replacement. But I didn’t have appropriate, healthy shame. So instead, I jammed the handle back in where it was, knowing that the next person to open the fridge would then rip it off, and I would be free from any wrongdoing, without having to face blame, criticism, or the feeling of shame. Not that my housemates would have been likely to do that for such an innocent mistake, (and if they did, they’d be wrong to do so,) but my subconscious perceived that as a possibility and I was unable to do the right thing. I tried to hide my mistake and shift the blame to someone else.

Toxic shame leads to an avoidance of shaming situations. We will do everything to prevent mistakes.

Remember, cuckolding is just the eroticization of inadequacy – turning this toxic shame into sexual pleasure. By healing this toxic shame, there is nothing left to eroticize, and the fetish stops being arousing. I just thought i’d remind you of that now we’re so deep into this, and I wouldn’t want you to forget that we’re just talking about the root cause of the fetish.

What If You Really Are Worthless?

This next bit is for people who are actually inadequate. Some people say this to me: ‘It’s all very well telling me I feel like i’m worthless, but you don’t understand, I really AM worthless! I’m a piece of crap! I’m an awful person! It’s more than a feeling – it’s true!’

This amuses me. Firstly, it is probably true. People rarely have a wildly inaccurate perception of themselves, at least not to this extent. So maybe you are a piece of crap. Maybe it’s been that way for a while. This is how it can play out in those cases:

Subconscious inadequacy forms in early childhood, so you probably started your first day of school with a deep-rooted sense that you weren’t good enough. Perhaps that made you a little less confident, or you didn’t try very hard to make friends. You took a more quiet role in the background.

That, of course, would make you feel more inadequate, because in a very small way, you are more inadequate. You now aren’t the popular one, the others aren’t treating you like the leader, and perhaps that makes you think that that’s your place in life.

This perception of your place in life plays a role in everything, from the way you talk, to the way you carry yourself, to the way you present your appearance.

As I started puberty, I know that I never made an effort at my appearance – out of a sense of not feeling like there was much point. I didn’t feel good enough. I wasn’t popular enough to have any pressure to keep up my appearance. No-one would shame me for being scruffy, because I wasn’t in a position where I should be anything else. That, of course, just reinforced the sense of inadequacy. When you stop making an effort with your appearance, people treat you like you’re less than you deserve. And you start to treat yourself that way too. That leads to lower confidence perhaps, or lower self-esteem, or lower self-respect, and lower respect from others too, which only makes you feel more inadequate. Your actions make you become more inadequate.

Then, as you carried this sense of inadequacy into adolescence, the time came for you to start dating. Which, you inevitably failed to be successful at, because that requires self-confidence and high self-esteem, and as the non-popular kid who doesn’t make an effort with his appearance and who feels like he’s not good enough, you lacked that, so you didn’t do very well. And this failure, of course, made you feel that girls didn’t like you, or that you simply lacked what it takes to be the player/stud/playboy. And because of that feeling, you never tried. You never believed it was possible. So you gave up. You felt even more inadequate, and now that you’re not developing the skills in dating, relationships, and women, you are once again slipping into an even greater state of inadequacy. And it’s because of that feeling of inadequacy.

So, then came the time to get some useful qualifications and enter the world of work. Perhaps the same thing happens again. You don’t fulfil your potential. You don’t get the grades you want, or you don’t pursue the career you want, or you don’t even study the subjects you want, because you don’t feel good enough. So you don’t do as well as you could. Maybe you give up entirely, or maybe you do just well enough. Either way, you don’t fulfil your full potential. You become more inadequate, because you felt inadequate.

This endless line of one mistake after another obviously leads to an incredibly bad life. Perhaps you develop coping mechanisms (that i’ll elaborate on later) – overeating, alcohol abuse, or other addictions. These are bad things – you literally become more inadequate, to cope with this sense of inadequacy! And being an alcoholic does not make you feel good about yourself. It makes you feel even more inadequate.

Then what do you? With this newly-strengthened sense of inadequacy, you find cuckold porn to eroticize these painful feelings and masturbate to your heart’s content. Do you feel good about this? No, you feel toxic shame, once more. You feel like it’s you, like that’s your place in life. You feel EVEN MORE inadequate. Then things get progressively more humiliating and darker and it doesn’t end well – you become more inadequate.

And after all that, are you going to be a friendly, happy, well-adjusted member of society? Of course not. So on top of that, you just won’t be a very nice person to be around. You won’t make people feel good. You’ll be so deprived of social validation that you do things just for attention. People really won’t want to be friends with you. And so you don’t have friends, you’re not happy, you’re not even a good person. You’d be an idiot to feel even slightly adequate after that, because you’re simply not.

So, yes, you really might be a piece of crap. Your life has been an utter failure. And it’s because all along, you’ve had this same feeling of not being good enough, from the first issues in childhood, through adolescence, school, work and now. It’s spiralled downhill to the point where the issue is not that you feel bad, but that you literally are bad. Your life is literally inadequate.

And that’s why people say ‘you don’t understand, I really AM worthless! I’m a piece of crap! I’m an awful person! It’s not a feeling – it’s true!’.

From the first days of school, a simple lack of confidence created a downward spiral of acting sub-optimally out of a sense of inadequacy, which in turn made you become more inadequate, which made you feel more inadequate, which made you act sub-optimally, which made you become more inadequate, which made you feel more inadequate, which made you act sub-optimally, which made you become more inadequate etc.

Your feeling of inadequacy repeatedly led to becoming more inadequate. Every step in this process led to your life getting progressively worse.

A sense of inadequacy creates real inadequacy.

Feeling like you ARE the mistake eventually becomes more and more true.

The only way to heal this is to realise that it all initially stems from that subconscious feeling. You life is bad because you feel like you’re bad. You’re a piece of crap because your sense of inadequacy has made you that way. It’s all caused by that feeling.

Break this downward slope by intentionally feeling healthy, conscious shame. Feel shame about your life up to this point. Feel shame about the opportunities you’ve missed and the mistakes you’ve made. Mourn your deficiencies. Allow yourself to feel sad for the life you’ve missed out on.

But most importantly, keep it directed away from the feeling that it’s your true nature. Understand this downward spiral. Feel the shame about making mistakes and not yourself.

(Side note: if your life is a total mess, don’t expect it to get fixed easily, and don’t expect it to be all ok tomorrow. Change takes time. But there’s nothing in you stopping you from doing it. Take it one step at a time. If you’re seriously depressed, the first step is to see a doctor.)

An example of this is my aforementioned fridge handle incident. I acted like a bit of an asshole because of a sense of toxic shame. Over the years, this memory has repeatedly popped into my brain time and time again, and every time I think of it I feel even more inadequate. I resent myself for not doing the right thing, and shifting the blame and responsibility to someone else. I hate that I was not a good guy, and ended up causing someone else to feel like they had made a mistake, when they were completely innocent. This reinforces my sense of inadequacy, making further actions like that even more likely, meaning I move further and further away from being the good guy I want to be, and progressively closer towards actually being a piece of crap.



That above explanation is not enough for people to accept that they really aren’t fundamentally flawed. Usually, they’ll then hit me with an unchangeable, lifelong, permanent thing as justification for their inadequacy:

  • ‘I have a small penis’,
  • ‘I am too short’,
  • ‘My nose is too big’,
  • ‘I am going bald’,
  • ‘My eyes aren’t symmetrical’,
  • ‘My hands are tiny’,
  • ‘My penis isn’t perfectly straight’,
  • ‘I have bad teeth’,
  • ‘My skin has blemishes/moles/freckles’,
  • ‘I have ugly scars on my body’,
  • ‘My hips are too wide’
  • ‘I have a lazy eye’
  • ‘My neck is too long’
  • ‘I have a weak jawline, girls will always choose a guy with a strong jawline over me, I just am inadequate and always will be’ (direct quote)

These are insecurities. I compiled this list by reading this on online forums. Each item on this list is a genuine insecurity that is preventing someone out there from feeling good enough (yes, even Mr. Tiny Hands).

Insecurities can be pretty brutal sometimes. Their factual nature combined with their unchangeability offers no hope. Not only are they true, but there’s nothing you can do. Insecurities offer the clearest and most undebatable evidence of inadequacy.

Read that list again and pause at every item. Try to imagine how they feel – really put yourself in their shoes for a few seconds. These people think that no-one will ever love them because of this. Some may even give up completely. Imagine that feeling, over those insecurities.

Hopefully you’ll see that these are ridiculous, and a stupid way to prevent yourself from being happy, no-matter how true they are.

This still comes from toxic shame, and the resulting lack of healthy shame. Remember, healthy shame involves accepting that you’re not perfect, and that no-one is. Toxic shame is accepting that you’re not perfect, but you should be. Toxic shame is the feeling that you’re flawed. Healthy shame is the feeling that everyone is flawed.

Insecurities come from toxic shame too.



If you have an insecurity, see if you can find out other people’s insecurities. You’ll be amused at how silly they are, and how crippling they can be. Once you truly understand that everyone has insecurities, even the people you look up to, you’ll stop being restricted by them.

I once had a female friend that I respected very much. She was the sort of girl that most men would go crazy over. During one of our more introspective conversations about insecurity, she told me that she was insecure about her ‘fat vagina’. She couldn’t have sex with the lights on and didn’t feel comfortable during sex. She found a picture on google images of what it looked like and showed it to me. It was just a normal vagina, but I suppose it was a little ‘fat’. That’s not something that matters – at all – to ANY MAN IN THE WORLD. But for her, it was interfering with her life. She was genuinely upset about it. I was surprised to find out that a woman like her could have such an insecurity. As I spoke to more women, I realised that actually, women can be INCREDIBLY insecure. (That’s not to say it’s unique to them of course – we all are). Other women are insecure about the size of their labia. As if a man would see it and think ‘maybe we should just be friends’! It’s very comforting to know that everyone else has stupid insecurities.

We are all imperfect. Toxic shame makes you think that’s unique to you. Toxic shame makes you think that’s not ok, and you should be perfect. Insecurities come from toxic shame.


In conclusion:

  1. You’re not fundamentally flawed. You’re not god-like either. You’re human.
  2. Feel shame. Allow yourself to feel conscious shame to repair this unhealthy relationship with shame.
  3. Give yourself some self-compassion: accept that you’re not perfect, you make mistakes, and that’s OK.
  4. See if you can find out other people’s insecurities, and start to acknowledge your own.

By doing so, you start to heal the root cause of the fetish.

Thanks for reading.

 – Connor


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