Unhealthy ways:

1. Repression: an intra-psychic process, an unconscious coping mechanism which entails not being conscious of one’s experiences of sexual feelings and not being consciously aware of being unaware.

2. Denial: refusal to admit that certain facts or actions exist; often a rejection of obvious evidence. The denial often occurs in interpersonal and social situations.

3. Rationalization: is an irrational way of using rationality. We attempt to justify the way we feel or behave, with impersonal and socially acceptable reasons.

4. Fantasy: can be a substitute for reality. A man may fantasize overpowering women thus compensating for his poor sexual identity and self-esteem.

5. Projection: is an attempt to maintain our self-esteem and adequacy by blaming others for our mistakes or by imputing to others our own unacceptable feelings and impulses.

6 Compensation: Making up in another area what is lacking in one area. Overeating and oversleeping can be a compensation for lack of sex.

7. Reaction formation: refers to replacing unacceptable sexual urges with completely opposite behavior and intolerant attitudes.

8. Acting out: engaging in genital behavior with others or with oneself that includes oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse, foreplay, and masturbation.

Healthy ways:


9. Expression: to make known or communicate one’s experience of sexual feelings. Expression includes “self –talk”, journaling, and talking to another appropriate person, for example a friend, confidant, or spiritual director.

10. Suppression: A conscious coping mechanism that entails the awareness and acceptance of sexual feelings and choosing not to promote them or act on them.

11. Sublimation: the process of awareness and acceptance of sexual feelings and channeling the sexual energy to activity judged to be “higher” culturally, socially physically, aesthetically, or spiritually.

12. Respectful integration: a direct way of integrating sexual feelings and spirituality to foster religious growth. In respectful integration a person looks in love at sexual feelings as an opportunity to see the whole person (oneself and others).