Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mawwage Is What Bwings Us Togethaaa Today

There's a lot of things I am grateful for in leaving the Mormon faith. To a practicing, active, temple-going Mormon (haha) these things may seem completely backwards. And that's okay.

Last year, in my ups-and-downs with faith, religion, god, and everything else, I sometimes thought that I should just throw myself into it. You know, just become immersed in the gospel. I served my mission in the southern states, we had anti every day, I read the Book of Mormon tons of times, D&C, the PoGP (a personal favorite) and half of the OT, and nearly the whole NT (I still have those 90 pages left, I should just do it). I studied a lot, and I had a lot of fun doing it. Especially when I went 'apostate' on my mission I tried to be 'good' by reading Deseret Books, a couple dozen. Point is, I got into it and last year I wondered if I should become an apologetic for the church, in some sense.

Phew, boy am I happy I didn't do that. I still have some Mormon doctrinal books that I probably will read at some point, but really I am not that interested anymore. The last book I read from Deseret was Holding Fast, about faith. I had wanted a book about believing in God that actually had some worth to it. Never could find any, not really anywhere. My other religions library is decently small, about 12 books, and a third of them are related to the Dalai Lama and Buddhism. C.S. Lewis makes up another third, I love C.S. Lewis, but he really has some interesting history and useless points now that I'm not Christian. My example - his proof of God being that because we can imagine God and can hope for a God, yearning he says, because of that yearning there must be a God. Again, I love C.S. Lewis, I love his stories and philosophies, but some things didn't sit right with me even from the beginning (such as A Grief Observed).

But C.S. Lewis made me think there could be a God, so I thought, maybe I should focus my whoooooole life around the scriptures and God and make a career out of it, somehow. I always enjoyed teaching on my mission, I've been told I am very sensitive and inviting in conversation and explain things well. I enjoy preparing lessons and teaching 'doctrines of j-dog,' mainly by allegory or metaphor from the Pearl of Great Price. In particular the Book of Abraham.

In a way I miss all of that. Teachings lessons in Sunday School and on the mission. Giving talks, reading scriptures and coming up with doctrinal points that were never intended by the original writer. But I have my atheism and agnosticism to work through, and that is plenty.

The other issue, though, was marriage. I'm a bit of a romantic and most of my life (except last summer and for about 2 weeks earlier this month) I've always been interested in having serious relationships with girls, looking for marriageable partners. Of course this meant I wanted to get married in the temple. Luckily now I can look forward to, someday, marrying a dirty, godless, apostate, atheist girl! Woot!

One problem with Mormon girls is that so many of them don't really like sex. I use 'really' as a qualifier, a lot 'like' sex, but not entirely, and most don't really like sex. Which is me. I really like sex. In fact, I may venture to say I really really like sex. Not just homebase, but all the bases and even the outfield.

I think I can say this about a lot of Mormon girls cause even outside of BYU I've heard them say, "no, sex will be great, but it's gross" or "I don't think you should talk about before marriage" or "having sex everyday wouldn't be right, it would invite Satan into the marriage," or worse "I plan on praying every time before we have sex ... and I don't think you should do anything else but sex."

Some of these are extremes, yes, but for me hearing those things was terrifying and instantly those girls were scratched off my mental 'potentials' list. By the time I got off my mission I decided I wanted a girl who was a convert, had a dirty history but had repented, and had done some introspection into her sexual appetites. I couldn't handle marrying a girl who only occassionally would be interested, or didn't like talking about it before marriage. The horror stories of those few unlucky men who married the girl who was really grossed out by it or wasn't interested, even after getting married, really scared me.

So then last year, when going back and forth in faith, at a couple points I thought I should just marry the first girl who came along and was interested in me. I thought, "boy, I should just get married in the temple, right now, cause it could save my soul." That I needed to marry some deeply religious girl, regardless if our sexual drives lined up or not.

And again, I am so happy I didn't. Doubly more now due to recent events. But I think I could've seen me doing it if the timing had been 'right' (or horribly wrong) with any old girl who showed interest. Luckily most of the time I went on dates or had a fling was also when I was really doubting. Thank you brain for saving me.


  1. "Thank you brain for saving me."


  2. I think one of the biggest problems with religion in general is you're taught your whole life that sexuality is bad... and then one day it's supposed to be all okay. I know for me, I really liked sex, a lot - but it also had been given a negative connotation my whole life so when I stepped up to the base to actually do it, I both loved it and felt a lot of shame.
    Granted, I had sex with my husband before we got married and maybe had I waited and done things the way I had always been told I should, maybe I wouldn't have felt guilty.
    However, I have talked to many of my married friends who did wait and they have experienced the same problem as well.
    I'm hoping my crises of faith has largely removed that shame from my mind.

  3. Yes. Good brain, good brain.

    Sex obviously is not the most important thing in a relationship, but it definitely is second or third ;P I'm very keen on noticing how I treat sexuality since leaving the church ... and honestly it hasn't changed much. I still feel shame sometimes, but other times (like before) I feel totally wonderful and close to the person I'm with.

    I've heard the same thing from married people who waited, I think that's why some girls I've met still say it's gross or that they don't do it often with their husbands, not much beyond a kiss or cuddling.

    Still, the happiest people in the world are those who are 'happily' married, so if you come across something good you may want to stop and evaluate the situation/person. Sex should not pursued purely for pleasure.

  4. I'm fairly convinced that the reason the girls you've spoken with have a troubled relationship with sex is because they're relatively new to it. Everybody goes through the awkwardness in the beginning, the only difference is that those who start early are past that stage by the time they marry. Almost every LDS couple I know that's been married more that two or three years is quite satisfied with their sex life. And then of course there's the problem of selection bias, basically that those who have problems are the ones who talk, making it seem like those problems are more widespread than they actually are. Which is not to say that there aren't major problems with the church's discourse on sexuality.

    As you note, more sex isn't necessarily better, and context matters a lot. Research would indicate that the less sexual experience a man has before marriage, the less likely he is to cheat, and the less experience a woman has before marriage the more satisfying she finds sex when she reaches her mid-thirties and beyond. The oxytocin and vasopressin released in the brain during sex are intended to promote emotional bonding and intimacy, and the more times that bond is broken the harder it is to re-form in the future with a new partner.

    I also think, as you note, that sex is, at the end of the day, just sex. Tremendously important, but the whole notion of sexual compatiblity is a bit of a canard. If there's no sexual chemistry between a couple they're not likely to get together in the first place. When most people talk of compatiblity they seem to be referring to frequency. And any couple that has been married for a while and has had a few kids can tell you that frequency of desire fluctuates wildly over time. Pregnancy and breastfeeding particularly tend to wreak havoc on libido. I've found that the most important thing is not how often one partner or the other wants sex, but whether they are willing to satisfy the other even when they don't want it themselves.

  5. Yet another reminder of the damage done by fundamentalist religion ... it alienates people from their natural desires.

  6. I'm quite sure that a lot of people appreciate me not acting on my natural desire to force myself sexually on most attractive young women I see, or my natural desire to ram the jackass that cuts me off on the freeway. Natural does not equal good.

  7. haha, Demosthenes, the community skeptic ... in a skeptical community. I'd have to say that Mormonism is pretty tame now, but the guilt/shame levels they reinforce is pretty cruel.

  8. This is a tough subject because I'm on the exact opposite end. I've never had a big sexual drive, and when I detoxified myself of the Mormon faith... it didn't come. I've taken a lot of advice, which didn't really work out. But I've also always been taught that most people (and it's always emphasized on men) have a huuuge sex drive. And so NOW I get to feel guilty for not being sexual ENOUGH. :P

    Also I'm fairly certain I need those panties now.

  9. My interest in sexuality is personal, but I know I need someone with a similar level of interest or else we won't match up right. Some girls have a lot of sex drive, some not, and same with men. I think culture affects women's sexuality most. At once it says they don't have much interest, while also trying to squash out any interest. But yeah, I've met few girls who have the same level of drive/interest as me and that's depressing.

  10. I realize that this is not a recent post. I am a single mormon woman, and I might be a bit more comfortable with my sexuality than most, but I definitely definitely like sex. I know some Mormon women don't, but it seems like there are lots that do. Anyway- I wish you well on your journey. I think truth is truth, and you have to live the truth the way that you see it. But I really don't think that faith makes you less sexual.

  11. I know some women in the Mormon faith do like sex, but I find, especially with postmo's i meet, that a lot of women are not nearly as sexual as non-Mormon girls I've known, such as from high school. The average age for masturbation with postmo girls I know is 18 or higher, when the average age for girls to watch porn is now 14. Both obviously are even younger for men, and inside the church, but I find a lot of women and even some men who think they may be asexual or are very asexual.

  12. And I don't wish to be misunderstood, being asexual is fine, but it's a tiny percentage of the population and yet within Mormonism and postmo groups it is substantially disproportionate.