Why Harry Styles Felt ‘Ashamed’ After Becoming Sexually Active

He wasn’t always a sex symbol. Harry Styles opened up about feeling very secretive about his sex life and even feeling “ashamed” about his experiences.

“For a long time, it felt like the only thing that was mine was my sex life,” the “As It Was” singer, 28, revealed to Better Homes and GardensThe June 2022 cover story was published in the magazine on Tuesday April 26.

He continued, “I felt so ashamed about it, ashamed at the idea of people even knowing that I was having sex, let alone who with.”

Styles, who is currently dating? Olivia Wilde since late 2020, rose to fame on the UK’s X Factor at age 15, and his contracts with One Direction allegedly had “cleanliness clauses,” specific stipulations about his behavior. It was a frightening thought that he could lose the job if he made mistakes in his personal life, or if he said the wrong things in an interview.

Harry Styles at Los Angeles’ 63rd annual Grammy Awards.
Jordan Strauss/AP/Shutterstock

“At the time, there were still the kiss-and-tell things. Working out who I could trust was stressful,” Styles said. “But I think I got to a place where I was like, why do I feel ashamed? I’m a 26-year-old man who’s single; it’s like, yes, I have sex.”

The England native remembered learning that Columbia Records did not have such clauses in his solo contract. “I felt free,” he explained to the magazine, adding that he burst into tears at the time.

The “Watermelon Sugar” performer, who has been open about attending therapy (even giving his therapist a shout-out at a November 2021 concert), explained that he was working on his issues with intimacy and love. However, he doesn’t want to give away every personal detail.


Styles called the expectation that he should clarify his sexuality “outdated.” Styles breaks gender barriers with his fashion choices, such as wearing a dress on the cover of VogueIn 2020, he will wave pride flags at concerts, including Coachella earlier in the month, where he grabbed a bisexual banner from the crowd. However, he has not said if he’s straight or identifies as LGBTQ+ — nor does he plan to.

“I’ve been really open with it with my friends, but that’s my personal experience; it’s mine,” he said. “The whole point of where we should be heading, which is toward accepting everybody and being more open, is that it doesn’t matter, and it’s about not having to label everything, not having to clarify what boxes you’re checking.”

The Dunkirk star and Wilde, 38, are both very private about their romance, but they’re still going strong, with the Don’t Worry Darling director seen supporting her movie’s leading man (they met while filming the thriller in 2020) at Coachella earlier this month.

An insider tells Us Weekly exclusively last year that the pair support each other’s careers, even when they aren’t making movies together.

“Olivia and Harry have an ease to their relationship, they love and support each other, but also let each other be free and work on their own,” the source said in July 2021. “Both of them respect the other’s work and never want to get in the way of each other.”