I am 20 years old. I have never had sex. I have never had a boyfriend. I have never even “touched myself” (sorry for TMI), and I don’t talk about sex, never ever ever. For the last big chunk of my life, I have craved sex. Why, then, am I so strictly chaste? Because that’s what good girls do. And I am a good girl.
My religion taught me from a young age that sex is bad and that I am bad for wanting it. Sex has been one of my most enjoyed thoughts and one of my deepest, tabooed and stigma-rich secrets. Since I was about 12 I have had sexual fantasies weekly if not daily. (I also have other, violent fantasies, probably from repression of these, but that’s another story.)
I do want sex. I do want a boyfriend. I want to be loved. I want my body to matter. Every day that goes by when I am alone puts another nail in the coffin of my desires. If I had not been forced to be religious when I was growing up, I really doubt that I would be like this. My best friend from elementary school got into BDSM. I’ve no doubt I would have been more like that, or at least romantically involved, without church to constantly yell at me and condemn me for having any physical desire for another person.
I can’t even touch people without my inner “good girl” critic yelling at me. My ingrained church rules effectively stunted my sexual development, and I am yet a virgin (their goal fulfilled!), but it’s a success carried out by shaming and guilt. This is partly why I hate myself now. No matter how well I hide it, I have always been attracted to sex (who hasn’t?), making me question myself and the “demons inside me” at every turn when my church leaders said over and over “sex is bad.” Then, if I want sex, I’m bad. I’m female, so it’s not even possible for me to want sex. I should stand up for my brothers in Christ who are taken over by their own desires and protect them from themselves, and that ends my involvement with sex. I am to be a brick wall until I flip a switch on my wedding night.
I can’t believe that the god who designed sex would give me these feelings and not have a safe place for me to vent, feel them, or even talk about them. My church was not a home for me growing up, and has never felt safe for me to express all of me, because of its condemnation of sexual desire, and its refusal to accept that I am both a woman made in the image of God and a body filled at times with lust and sexual desire.