I didn’t intend for this blog to be about faith. And losing faith.
When I started it, it was to be the place where I could talk freely about things that were too unsavory or too controversial or just too damn scary for my real blog.
I guess “losing faith” falls in all three of those categories.
You’d think when people get older they would question less, answer more, become more stalwart, become more refined. Become elders.
When I picture that, I picture a stone statue. Immobile. Deaf. Tight lipped. Unfeeling. Stern. Impotent.
If anything, the older I get, the more alive I feel. I worry less, question more, listen more, love more. I refuse to become a stone statue.
Especially when it comes to sex.
As a teen and young adult, I knew everything when it came to faith. I knew what I believed. I knew I was right. I rarely asked questions. I spent most of my time answering the questions of others. I prided myself on my good behavior. I went to church. I obeyed my parents. I made good grades. I didn’t drink. I didn’t smoke. I didn’t curse. I didn’t have sex.
All of that was on the outside.
The inside was another matter.
While I definitely loved God and believed in Jesus, I had strong urges. Especially sexual ones.
I remember masturbating as a child. Like, a single-digit child.
Nothing abnormal about that. You have a body part that feels good when you touch it, so you touch it. Big whoop.
Then my mother discovered what I was doing. I think she was shocked. She didn’t try to scare me, but she talked to me and let me know in no uncertain terms that it was unhealthy. And wrong. That God wouldn’t like my doing that. I agreed that I wouldn’t do it anymore.
Until the next time I needed a release, that is. The difference was, after I was done, I felt pleasure with a big ol’ side helping of guilt.
Thus began a long, long trend of pleasure/guilt. If it feels good, it must be wrong. I would do it anyway, then feel guilty about it, repent, do it again, rinse, repeat. I chose to remain abstinent as a teenager and young college student – partially because I had goals, partially because I couldn’t bear the guilt of losing my virginity.
But I still had urges. I took things in my own hands, so to speak, for a long, long time.
Eventually I did have sex and get married, in that order. I had a lot of sex before meeting my husband. It was good, but married sex was amazing. Now that I was “legit” everything should have been fine, right?
But surprise surprise – I still felt guilty, even more after becoming a mom.
It was the whole “whore/madonna” thing. One minute I would be sexy as hell and play with my husband and pleasure both of us. The next, I would pull away and wrap myself up in an isolating blanket of guilt and declare that good girls didn’t behave that way.
That kind of neurotic behavior is enough to confuse anyone. It is murder on a marriage bed. And it took its toll on us.
One day I woke up and realized I was becoming petrified like one of those old stone statues. Stone statues don’t have sex or love or warmth or much to look forward to. I had a loving husband who adored me and wanted to have sex with me. Not having sex with him was hurting him, hurting me, hurting our relationship, building a wall between us, brick by brick. I decided to start shifting my attitude, examining why I felt the way I did, and doing something proactive about it.
We started sharing our fantasies. Not holy versions of fantasies, but raunchy fantasies that really got things warmed up. We went from Song of Solomon descriptions to imagining group orgies on the beach pretty quickly. At first I felt – of course – guilty. Was what we were doing wrong? Was this dangerous? Did this mean we were going to move into debauchery? Would my husband really bring another person into our bed?
No. None of the above. They were stories, steamy sexy stories that made sexual relations between two aging people feel brand new.
Our sex life heated up. Our relationship did too, and took on a new glow and a new closeness. That is a treasure, and certainly nothing to feel guilty about.
It has taken me years, but I have finally gotten to the point where I believe what happens between my husband and me is right no matter what. Whether it’s vanilla sex or spanking and bondage, it’s ok. He loves me and respects me. I love him and respect him. We would never do anything to hurt each other.
Now that I am questioning things, I question why religion – especially but not exclusively Christianity – is so concerned about what happens between people’s ears and legs when it comes to sex.
What difference should it make to God? If God made us, he’s the one who designed us so that sexual stimulation feels so good. If sex is really that big a problem, maybe it shouldn’t be the best way we have to express intimate love. Maybe it shouldn’t bring people closer. Maybe he should have designed it to feel more like hell and less like heaven.
It makes me wonder if the whole “guilt” thing comes more from societal controls than from any deity.
All I know is that it feels good to let go of the guilt. Guilt has a place when you do something that is wrong, and regardless of what you believe about God most societies agree there are things in life that are just wrong and worth feeling guilty about. Things like murder, stealing, bullying, oppressing, etc.
But using your body to express your love to someone you care for, in a way that makes them and you feel really, really good?
I just don’t think that is anything to feel guilty about.