I Believe in God But Can't Endure the Sexual Restrictions

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 08:20
Submitted by Betty Dodson

Hi, my name is G and I'm 16 years old. First off, I found yours and Carlin's youtube videos about a month ago, and I am so grateful I did! You two have completely changed my belief of general sex discussion in society (namely that it didn't exist).

My question is I have grown up in a Mormon family. Everybody in my immediate and distant family has been, or is Mormon. My issue, is Mormonism restricts so many things, a lot of them sexual in some way, and when prominent figures discuss them in the Church, I suppose these "restrictions" could make sense. However, as I'm growing up, so many of these rules feel extremely suffocating, and have started making less and less sense. I'm not just whining about how I can't have pleasure, I'm talking about normal, healthy, habits. I understand the religious necessity of commandments like "no sex before marriage" or "homosexuality is a sin".

(I'd like to make it clear that I have had sex multiple times with one person, a 19 year old boy, and I fully support the LGBTQIA movement). However, Mormonism also prohibits masturbation, fantasy (which could be the same thing), and marital sex that is not solely for procreation or expressing love. It makes me want to rip my hair out and scream.

How are teenagers supposed to have any sort of sexual closure, or experience, when we aren't even allowed to acknowledge its existence, let alone talk about it?!? Forget about *gasp* exploring our own bodies. I fully believe in God, and I enjoy worshipping Him, but I have no idea what to do regarding the Mormon church. I know that you and Carlin have stated your problems with organized religion and its suppression, so do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? (I have tried discussing this with my mother and I am not allowed to simply not go to church, although I hardly agree with any of its teachings anymore).

Dear G,

Yes, I do complain about all organized religions especially Catholics, Mormons and Evangelicals. If I couold, I would outlaw each and every one which is not very Christian of me. But then I am an Atheist who honors the goddess of sexual love and abundance. Never heard of her? Maybe that's because I created her in my body/mind/soul.

I suggest you continue to worship your God (as you understand him) and not rip out your hair or argue with Mom. I commend you for exploring sex safely and keeping your own counsel and not torturing yourself with unnecessary guilt. As long as you must live at home, just keep the peace and know that at some point you will have a place of you own. And you will continue to love your family although you disagree with their religious philosophy. Your good sense and maturity speaks well of a young woman who is dealing with the universal conflict that happens in most family's. However, there is an end in sight. Stay strong.

One of my favorite bumper stickers on a car read: "Another Mormon on Drugs."

Dr Betty

Liberating women one orgasm at a time

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Faith & Sex

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 12:08

G,
I am a practicing christian who happens to enjoy sex and believes God gave us this pleasure so we could enjoy it. I also have a 16 year old daughter. The conversation that the two of us have been having goes something like this:

Faith is a personal dialogue, a discussion between you and God and it's a private, personal discussion. I've brought my daughter up in the church group that works for me and my husband (episcopalian) but it might not work for her. There are lots of churches (temples, mosques etc out there) and I hope she finds one that works for her. She might find that she doesn't want or need a faith at all.

It might make me a little sad if she ended up in no church or a church with radically different views but I would still love her. To be honest, I'm not sure what I would think if she ended up thinking homosexuality was a sin, or that sex should only be used for procreation as these seem incredibly extreme and odd ideas to me, but I do know what I would feel for her - I will always love my daughter.

While she lives with us at home, my daughter is kind enough to allow us to practice our faith without great fights or challenges. We have discussions but we all try to keep them as discussions rather than fights.
In fact the only time she runs from the room is when I mention that the best route to enjoying sex is to learn how to do so on her own first - apparently that's way too much information from a mother.
One day she'll leave for university and start her independent life, with or without a faith. Maybe whatever she decides will change and develop - my attitudes to almost everything including God seemed to change almost daily in my early twenties. Life is a journey. Faith is a on-going and evolving relationship with your God.

So, congratulations on coming of age and starting to develop your own ideas, your own philosophy and moral perspective! I wish you all the best for the future.

Faith and sexuality

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 14:34

Dear G,

I grew up in a very restrictive home and environment as well, a Catholic one. Every message I ever got about sex and my developing body was negative. When I was 11 I discovered sexual feelings, but I was immediately told that I was a 'mortal sinner' liable to go to Hell, and even thinking about sex would get me sent to eternal torture. I was so terrified I never touched myself again until I was 18.

What made me change my mind and leave the Church was the contradiction between the supposed goodness of God and the incredible cruelty of eternal punishment. And I wondered how teens could possibly develop into loving adults capable of marriage and sexual enjoyment, when they were forbidden to learn the first thing about their own bodies. The ideal Catholic teen is supposed to live in ferocious denial of her (or his) sexuality, suppressing every enjoyable thought and feeling until she marries---when her ignorance and fear will magically blossom into ripe sensuality the moment the marriage vows are over. Nonsense. Catholic and Mormon dogma tries to tell us that healthy sexual development, which needs fantasy and sexual self-discovery, is something evil and sinful.

This could not be more wrong. Becoming a loving, sexually responsible adult happens because we learn to love and accept ourselves---our bodies, our emotions, our sexual feelings and capacity for pleasure. When we're comfortable and loving with our whole selves, we are able to share ourselves with those we love. But when normal sexual development is forbidden by harsh religious teachings, the result is unhappiness, frustration, confusion, and worse---as we see in the abuse scandals in the Catholic Church.

So I hope you'll remember that what God is about isn't punishment and restrictions, but love. I don't think a loving God would have set a trap for us by giving us the capacity to discover sexual feelings, and then punishing us for growing up the way we we were designed to grow up---as sexual human beings. I encourage you to find God in your own way. If some doctrine doesn't seem logical or loving to you, that's probably because it's NOT. You can keep God, and leave those unloving teachings behind.

Negotiating a new relationship with parents, religion & sex

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 04:07

Patrick
I was wondering whether you have any thoughts as to the best way of re-negotiating the parent -child relationship through the teens & twenties.

Where there seem to be real intractable religious/moral/sexual differences maybe Betty is right to advise holding on until after a young person leaves home for the bigger rebellions - it definitely gets easier with physical independence.  Although we didn't fight about religion, my relationship with my parents was certainly a lot easier once we had some distance between us. But then it also becomes so much easier just to let go of the relationship as well as the conflict.

Carlin could probably provide some useful insight here as she also had a fairly fundamentalist religious upbringing that she disagreed with and yet has managed to maintain a strong relationship with her mother despite those differences.

Re-defining our ties with parents and church

Thu, 07/10/2014 - 09:46

NLH, your questions are vital ones for a young maturing person, and they do have to be faced in some way by all of us. I would suggest that someone in G's position be honest with her parents about her religious doubts and evolving personal values, but in a constructive way that avoids violent emotional confrontations. This seems to be what she is already doing, and to me she seems more thoughtful and mature than many of us were at her age.

I stopped going to church when I was 18 or 19, so I was a bit older than G. My parents found my actions extremely upsetting, but I was adamant about how I felt about the RCC and they could see that for me there was no going back. They did try a lot of emotional manipulation, such as insisting that it would kill my grandmother if I stopped being a Catholic, but as she lived to the age of 95 they eventually had to admit they were mistaken in this. My relationship with my parents was shaky throughout my college years, not least because their own unhappy experiences made it difficult for them to be open and loving people, but with the passage of time we came to an accommodation that let us live and let live. I suspect that's the best outcome many of us can hope for as we leave home and become ourselves.

Again, I do think it's important to be honest about our developing values as we begin the process of leaving home, but on an as-needed basis and in ways that spare everyone (as much as possible) those searing accusations and screaming matches. Our accusations may be a hundred percent true, but it's seldom helpful to leave everyone so shaken and miserable. It's also true, however, that some parents are so rigid and controlling that standing up for ourselves may sometimes involve painful confrontations. In those cases, I'd suggest being honest and appropriately assertive about our differences, but making a real effort to keep the blaming and personal attacks to a minimum. That's asking a lot of an adolescent, but I think that a mature young person like G could bring it off. If G does break with the LDS church completely at some point it won't be easy, because that would also mean at least a partial break from the community she was raised in. Yet if she is true to herself it could happen. She might find comfort and new friends in, for example, an online group where she can speak freely with other LDS or former LDS teens who have many of the same questions she has.

Carlin has posted many times about her difficult childhood and her struggles with her parents. If you go back into the D&R archives a year or two, you'll find much more about all this. She had a very fundamentalist upbringing, with home schooling, many severe restrictions, and many damaging and ugly accusations against her. I'd say that as a general rule, the more damage done, the more difficult it is for a child to come eventually to some kind of peaceful co-existence with her parents. Yet it seems that in the last year or so, that's finally happening. Perhaps Carlin will share more with us someday soon.

I used to think that

Fri, 07/11/2014 - 22:39
cristinaberger (not verified)

I used to think that the world is all about love, the universe is made of love, love is the answer to all things, and all you need is love. I now think that is bullshit and love is just a confusing metaphor that hides people's true motivations.\

The world, at its core, is not about love. The world is about fuck. Without fuck, there is no love. Without fuck, there is no sentient life. If we had a planet of people who only loved from their hearts, without the sex, there would be no people.

When I say the world is about fuck, I refer to fuck in the sense of "the movement of sexual energy." This has nothing to do with literal pro-creation, nor does it have to do with
insert point A into slot B.

If we would embrace life from the context of fuck, there would be a lot less confusion about reality. Religion would lose its grip on people’s minds. We would no longer believe in a god who hates, moralizes, punishes us regarding the very thing that keeps life going. By understanding fuck, we would naturally understand people’s “hidden” motivations.

There wouldn’t be a question about why he or she is talking to me. We talk to, listen to, hang out with and follow people we are attracted to, who if given the chance, we might fuck. We could drop all the shaming, blaming, guilting perspectives we currently have regarding sex, because fuck would be the baseline of obviousness.

Love is delicious and necessary to happiness and fulfillment, but fuck is
essential to life. The suppression of sexual energy will always leak out in weird ways.

The world is about many things

Sun, 07/13/2014 - 00:53

Sexual energy is a creative, driving force that is indeed behind much of how we live our lives in the world. And love and compassion are what make that world bearable. Monotheistic religions have often tried to demonize the sexual life force and separate it from our innate capacity to love, but in reality this can't be done. Love and sex are facets of the same evolving whole.

Religion and sexual repression

Mon, 07/14/2014 - 09:51

As a religious Jew (with some exceptions as with sexual issues,) I can tell you that any difference of opinion you may have regarding your sexuality and faith ultimately boils down to this: Either your faith is more important than you, or you're more important than your faith. All religions seek to control their followers regimenting their lives, especially their reproductive lives. With the LDS in particular, who faced great persecution at the hands of the US government including attempted genocide, much of the attempt to control Mormon reproduction came about as a way of ensuring continuation by encouraging reproduction.

As I've written elsewhere on the subject of homosexuality and the Abrahamic god, 'God loves homosexuals (our religions don't.)' Yale University researchers estimate some 10% of animals exhibit homosexual behaviours/preferences proving beyond all doubt that if God created all life on earth including animals, and if animals can't commit sin, then God made some animals opt for this option. Further study reveals evolutionary and social advantages to the presence of homosexuality in animal groups. Short article here,
http://www.yalescientific.org/2012/03/do-animals-exhibit-homosexuality/

So ultimately you have to choose whether to believe religious claims absent scientific support, or scientific claims as above.

As to your specific complaints as to what LDS forbids, might consult Jewish religious laws from which your's evolved. Then it's simply whether you believe the "original version" or the edited version of Mormonism. Judaism does not forbid non-procreative sex and one of my fav commandments is how a husband may not deny his wife "food, clothing, or conjugal rights." (Exodus 21:10) And from the scientific realm, in bonobo chimpanzee society some 75% of sexual activity is not reproductive (it's for fun.) So if animals God "programmed" have sex for fun, why wouldn't that be true for us as well?

Masturbation, or an act akin to it isn't found in the Bible. This has led some Christian theologians to explain it not being forbidden nor sinful (with the proviso if you're fantasizing about someone sexually, that would be sinful as per Yeshua's 'you commit sin simply by thinking about adultery.' From science though, it's impossible not to think about something until you think about it. So if you're trying to not think lustily about a woman who isn't your wife, you're thinking about the woman in precisely the manner you're not supposed to. 'Don't think of a white elephant.' See? Can't not think of it without thinking of it.

Lastly, despite the rhetoric, the LDS isn't all down on youthful sexual pleasures,

"At Brigham Young University, a Mormon-owned and operated institution in Provo, Utah, approximately 45 miles south of Salt Lake City, a subculture of dating reigns. Known to be an ideal place for Mormon youth to find a same-faith marriage partner, it is also a hotbed of sexual exploration. Mormon coeds fine-tune their “NCMOS,” (pronounced “nick-moes”), which is an acronym for “noncommittal make-out sessions.” These sexual forays include “everything but intercourse”: extensive kissing, petting, and “dry humping” (rubbing bodies) is common, but touching of the genitals is typically off-bounds, as is penetration of any kind.

[Brigham Young University, the oldest private university west of the Mississippi River, boasts a student body of more than 30,000, comprised almost entirely of young Mormons who come from every state in the country and many nations outside of the United States. The amount and types of sexual activities that the author reports occur among BYU students are not all that atypical of young college students in general. However, given the strict code of sexual conduct that Mormons have for themselves, even nongenital sex play and sexual activity short of intercourse give BYU the appearance of a “hotbed of sexual exploration.” At the same time, such activity also suggests that young Mormons have healthy sexual appetites, and perhaps are not as peculiar as it may first appear when compared to their peers on other American campuses."
http://www.sexarchive.info/IES/usa.html#2

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