Deeper darker secrets: Sex, it’s a thing
Sexual preference is a thing. Keep that in mind as you read. Also, keep in mind that I’m going to be talking about sex today. No holds barred sex talk. So if that’s something you don’t want on your screen or in your mind skip this post. Don’t read this. I want you to be able to love yourself so I’m going to be honest with you. That means talking about sex. Because I wouldn’t be struggling as much as I am today if someone had been honest with me back then.
Outside of the “sex talk” my parents gave me in the fourth grade, sex was a nonapproachable topic. AIDS was a big thing, so my school decided to educate fourth and fifth graders with a sex talk that included condoms and tampons. Needless to say, my parents felt the need to add to that education. As a parent, I will too if my child faces this some day. But that was it.
“I’ll tell you when you’re married,” was my mom’s response every time I brought up anything dealing with sex. My dad was a lot more open-minded. We had this pact that if I was ever in a situation where I wanted to have sex (before I was married of course), I’d call him first. If I still wanted to after that conversation, that was up to me. I just had to make sure and call. So I did, on my wedding night. We both laughed. Both of my parents believe in abstinence from sex before marriage. No exception. No questions.
For the most part, sex didn’t tempt me. My first boyfriend came and went. I held strong to the agreement I’d made with my family. No sex. Then came college and a whole new problem arose.
I’ve been clear about how much I hate my body. How I see myself as ugly and fat. This was emphasized by the fact that for years men weren’t interested in me. Women were. Girls would hit on me in class, but I couldn’t get a single guy to look my way. In college, I got asked out on dates by women. This good Christian girl who felt attracted to boys got very confused. And no one would talk with me about it. No one in my circles even understood lesbianism. This was before the L Word, and I ran in dominantly conservative circles; draw your own conclusions.
The fact that the first boyfriend I’d mentioned broke up with me. I felt rejected by men and attractive to women. It was a confusing time where I questioned everything from my own sexuality to how a physical relationship would even work with another woman. I eventually came to the conclusion that I liked the attention I was getting from being asked out, but I was not attracted to the people that were asking me on dates.
Fast forward four years. Yes, I held onto this for four years before caving. Four years of a dateless, menless existence. This was NOT by my choice. I watched my friends date, find the one, and get married only to leave me out because I didn’t have a guy. And the propositions from women kept coming.
No one could answer my question about the “how” of a relationship with another woman. Don’t get me wrong. I get how two guys can be “together”. They have the most important piece of equipment when it comes to sex. Women do not. We have fingers and toes and other parts sure, but not the main one. I was confused and no one I got the courage up to ask could tell me. So I turned to the only place I knew might be able to give me answers: the internet.
The internet had an answer, true, but it came at a cost. Curiosity killed the cat. I was hooked on lesbian porn. My cycle of repentance became like this: watch, pleasure, hate myself, pray, tell God I’d do better next time, repeat. It became an addiction. More importantly, I trained my sex drive to respond to specific visual/oral ques for sexual pleasure. Training that I still haven’t been able to reprogram even when I overcome the porn watching part of my sexual life.
When I did get married I unknowingly brought these preferences into my marriage bed.
TIP: The best possible outcome is to avoid this altogether. Like any addiction (and sex is addictive), it is better to never start than to have to quit. Porn is like cigarettes: deadly, destructive, and made to get you more addicted. It also has a lasting effect on your life. You might quite some day, but get “lung cancer” later on. This is what happened to my marriage. I have almost no ability to have pleasurable sex because of my earlier addition to porn, regardless of taking it out of my life.
Culture has tied sexual pleasure and love so closely together that they promote addiction over connection. TV, internet, and friends teach us it’s better to self-pleasure than to burn alone. Except sex was never meant to be a private affair. It is an act of community building between a man and a woman. No joke. You cut out the partner you lose the point. Sure, having an orgasm is great. Did I not mention the addictive nature of it above? The problem I ran into was in masturbation you create an image that no other human can live up to. You are building a relationship with yourself and fiction. So when a partner does come into your life there will be a roadblock.
Masturbation has created in me a place of self-hate. I hate myself for needing to watch porn to have a pleasant sexual experience, but I’ve been helpless to release it. It is so much harder to rewrite a habit than to not form the habit in the first place.
If you are struggling with this here are the steps I’m using to break free of the habit I got myself into.
Step One: Strip the guilt by applying grace
Back to the basics here. In order to love ourselves for who we are, we need to accept the things we are judging ourselves with. They just are. God doesn’t see them as good or bad. He sees them as constructive or destructive to our relationships.
God wants all of our relationships to be full of life. That means your sexual ones too. Both our sexual relationships with ourselves and the ones we have with others. By stripping out the guilt and applying grace over our circumstances past, present and future, we can start to see our sex lives as God sees them. Not as a momentary passing experience that can be pleasurable or painful, but instead as a relationship tool to bond with the most significant person God has put into our lives, our spouse.
Step Two: Take responsibility
Now that you’ve let go of the judgment, own up to the issue. Your actions (good or bad) have brought you to where you are. You are not a victim of your body nor are your bodily urges something for the judge in your head to hold against you anymore. They are. You are. And that is enough.
Step Three: Look at the agreements you’ve made with your body about sex
Write this part down. Have a conversation with your body. Talk with yourself about where you are at and where you are going. Write down what turns you on and what you WANT to turn you on. Knowledge is power. If you know the roots you can take the next step.
Step Four: Change it
Don’t rely on your partner to change. Change it yourself. Your overall sexual preference might be set in stone, but I had to learn to get off on lesbian porn. Anything learned can be unlearned. There are a number of techniques for changing preferences. It is possible one step at a time.
Know that this is a journey. I’m personally somewhere between steps three and four. Feel free to comment on where you are in your journey and ask about what can help you today. You do not need to hate your body anymore. Join our mailing list for weekly inspiration to change your self-image. You are not alone.
We are on this journey together.