In my church days, we were told not to “be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ”. Funny, I was more worried about people discovering about me being a “fake” Christian than anything. If they knew the desires I hid deeply and couldn’t see the “Christ” within me it was over!
There was one other thing I was ashamed of more than anything: I was ashamed of letting people in church (or elsewhere) know that I loved sex. I REALLY love sex! I loved to masturbate. I love being naked. I love being sexual with another woman. I love learning about what is out there.
But I couldn’t do that.
I couldn’t because this faith I followed wouldn’t allow me to be honest with others and myself. Why? Because sexuality was seen in a narrow frame with little leeway outside of the marriage bed. Even if you are in the “marriage bed” it doesn’t guarantee freedom or automatic happiness. Those in the faith may find all those years of “abstaining” doesn’t guarantee happiness or the automatic knowledge of what to do in the bedroom.
For over 30 years of my life I’ve was in a long and painful journey wanting so hard to please God, but failing miserably because of my love of sex and my desire not to be pigeonholed into a marriage. .
The cycle of shame and guilt went like this: it was faithfulness with my (then spouse), then I’d masturbate or commit adultery with a prostitute. From there it was waves of guilt and shame, then promises to God seeking his forgiveness promising I’d never do it again. Then “forgiveness” was given leading me back to faithfulness until the next “fall”.
When my marriage and life finally caved in after years of this kind of life I was devastated. What turned me around were several things: Acknowledging my love for sex, coming to terms with the shame and guilt attached to it, and then embracing and learning to appreciate who I am sexually finding the freedom to enjoy it.
I came to terms with a lot of things after my marriage failed. It came early when I finally embraced that it was okay to masturbate. Then, with my new partner, we tried swinging and realized this was not only fun but it was also a chance to learn how to be first honest about what I want, then honoring the terms of such encounters with someone other than with the woman I’m currently with. I started to understand that this lifestyle demanded of me — accountability, honesty, communication and respect. These were things we never got any kind of instruction about in church (much) regarding sexuality. With swinging it not only helped my high sex drive (a thing I didn’t know was even possible in men or women) but it also gave me a freedom to enjoy it not doing it behind my new partner’s back, but with her blessing — and visa versa.
Then, I came to terms with guilt and shame.
The book The God Virus by Daniel Ray gave insight to how most religions uses shame and guilt to subjugate men and women (especially women) to a narrow, vapid, and restrictive expression of sexuality. I never once even thought of questioning maybe having these desires and wants is as basic as breathing, eating, or needing water to quench my thirst.
Once I started realizing that sexual connection and desire is something we all need on some level or another I found out I can be honest, open, and real about what I needed. This is still a work in progress, but I’m starting to find my voice and be able to express my needs without hiding it away.
Finally, I was able to embrace who I am as a sexual being. It was something I wasn’t allowed in my faith to do, let alone acknowledge. Acknowledging that I was a sexual being made me look at sex not as an enemy to my life but a friend to my body and soul. I embraced who I was as a sexual being. I took it in as a friend, let it eat, and walked together as brothers. I’m happy to be at this place.
Sadly, the damage of broken lives, lies, dishonesty, etc. are things I will have to live with the rest of my life. Even with this knowledge, it doesn’t guarantee that I don’t make my share of mistakes or fall flat on my face going to old habits due to fear of discovery.
I am, however, determined to continue my quest to treat who I am as a sexual being with an appreciation of what it is. I’ve learned I have boundaries which I know I won’t cross. And I know what areas where I am broad to enjoy and embrace with others who share similar likes. To my dying day, I will do everything to kill off any trace of shame or guilt rising up to stifle my sexual side. I shouldn’t ever be ashamed of my sexuality. I should never feel being honest and real about sex is a wrong thing.
There is nothing more right to me than to know my sexual side is one of the best sides of me. And there is no shame to my game about it!