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Goodbye Jesus

Sexual Healing.. Needing Input/support


Xiana

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I know I'm not the only one out there who has been sexually messed up by Christianity.... so I'm wanting your opinions, thoughts, advice, etc. with the current situation I'm in:

 

I grew up in an evangelical church and went to a girls' bible study group throughout high school. There was huge emphasis on purity and waiting until marriage. When I "messed up" and "ruined my chances of a happy marriage" by losing my virginity with my high school boyfriend at 15, I was left nothing short of traumatized by the shame, guilt, and fear for the future that I felt.

 

Fast-forward a couple years, and I'm attending a super conservative bible college (the kind where drinking, smoking, having sex, watching porn, or just about any other kind of sin would get you kicked out), when I slept with my boyfriend my freshman year. I felt guilty and shameful and called it off because of it. I lived the next few years in fear that the school would find out and kick me out, though was a good student and excelled in classes. I ended up graduating with a degree and an anxiety disorder in 2010.  

 

Then, in 2013, a few years after graduating, my great awakening happened and I shed all aspects of my faith and religion. Shortly after that, I met my current boyfriend (we've been together for 2 years) who is atheist and has been his entire life.

 

I'm to the point where I can have sex without feeling any shame or guilt, and I'm so happy to have a loving and devoted relationship.  However, I'm dealing with some difficult emotions when it comes other aspects of relationships and sex, which I'm not sure are misguided results of my Christian upbringing or out of valid, human or womanly concern:

 

Porn. He watches porn, says pretty much all men with a few exceptions do, doesn't mean he doesn't love me or isn't attracted to me,  doesn't matter who he's with he'd probably watch porn. He doesn't watch it often, but does when he needs a "maintenance" release and I'm not available.   I have a hard time believing much of this, and I'm terrified that I'm not enough for him, or that it will lead him to become unsatisfied with looking at me/having sex with me and find a physical relationship elsewhere.  I believe he loves me deeply, but I struggle to believe that he lusts for me.  I know in my upbringing there was so much emphasis on the damage porn causes in relationships and was always led to believe that if a man loved a cherished me truly, he wouldn't need to look at other women. 

 

I'm bringing this up today because last night I got very upset at the idea of his future bachelor party (if we ever get married), which I'm almost sure would include a stripper. To me, that idea hurts a lot. He says that the stripper at a bachelor party isn't really for the bachelor but for the other people there.  Still, I don't like the idea that on the night before marrying the love of his life, the emphasis would be placed on putting your sexual energy toward someone else... not at all romantic, and plays into the same fears that I mentioned above.

 

All of this really makes me question his sexual devotion and love.. to me it's like his actions don't match his words in a way, and I'm trying to figure out if these feelings are valid human woman concerns or if they're exaggerated or resulting from toxic sexual Christian upbringing.. or a mix of the two.

 

He's so kind and good to me, a genuinely good guy, but I'm struggling to find peace and feel safe with him in these ways.  I want to know if I'm worrying needlessly, and if so, how I can find some help in shutting out these toxic thoughts/changing my understanding of what's going on.

 

Please share your experiences, thoughts, and advice.  Thank you!!

 

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Goodbye Jesus

Welcome Xiana.  A couple of thoughts:

 

 

1)  Sorry to hear you were raised on Christian lies.  Sadly most of us here had the same.  Staying a virgin until your wedding night is a great way to ensure you will have an unhappy marriage.  Don't ever marry somebody unless you know you are sexually compatible with them.

 

2)  For guys watching porn and releasing tension is very typical.  It won't harm your relationship.  It's not an addiction unless the guy's entire life is being disrupted by masterbation.  If he is doing it at work then he needs to see a therapist.  But if it's just recreational and he only does it in private then he is normal.  A guy who claims he doesn't look at porn is more likely to be lying or has serious sexual issues.  Have you ever considered watching porn with your S.O.?  It can help romance.  Basically everything Christians say about porn is either a lie or an exaggeration.  You will need to find out the truth for yourself.

 

3)  All heterosexual men will look at other women.  Hopefully your guy will be discrete about it.  A glance is not a betrayal.  However staring and drooling is rude.  Now if he exchanges phone numbers or starts texting another woman that is another matter.

 

4)  When you are in a relationship with someone else you are part of the "consenting adults" so you have a say in what they can or can't do.  The two of your together agree to the rules you will live by, however please remember that if you demand too much it might become a deal breaker.  You have definitely been repressed by your upbringing.  So you will need to work though a few things.  A healthy man has enough sexuality to service several women.  That is just biology. We got it from our mammal ancestors.  So if you are not going to have sex five times a day what would you want your partner to do with all that extra energy?

 

 

 

For the record I am male, hetero, married for over 15 years, have two children and have never cheated.  So you can evaluate my advise based on that perspective.

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Thanks for your thoughtful response, my mistake.  I try to make myself believe these things because when I remove myself from the situation, I can understand that these things aren't necessarily unhealthy, just as you've presented.  But when it comes to myself and my relationship, I just have so much fear and trouble believing them.  I'm trying to get to the place where I don't see my situation as different, if that makes sense. It's the fear that takes over reason, I guess... a result of the repression. Hoping I won't have to live with this forever.  It helps to hear from other people.. so thanks again!

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I know in my upbringing there was so much emphasis on the damage porn causes in relationships and was always led to believe that if a man loved a cherished me truly, he wouldn't need to look at other women.

 

 A man may fall in love, get married, agree to the current societal taboo on "cheating" but none of that makes everyone other than you suddenly sexually unattractive. It doesn't install a switch on his sex drive so he can turn it on only when deemed "appropriate." The desire or need for sexual release varies greatly, but porn is always a safe outlet for anyone. Sexual appetite and behavior should not be mistaken for the emotion of love.

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Thanks florduh. I'd be intrigued sometime to hear your thoughts on cheating. Maybe you've expressed them here on another thread? 

 

Anyway.. he's explicitly made it clear that he wouldn't want to share me with anyone else.. including just visual (he wouldn't want anyone else to be able to see me naked). In your opinion, do you see any kind of double-standard?  He doesn't want other men visually "consuming" (for lack of better word) my body, but is ok for him to visually "consume" other women's bodies. In other words, in principle I'd think that if he had a problem with other men looking at me, he wouldn't look at other women out of respect for their men's desire of the same.  On the other hand, I don't think he has a problem if I want to watch porn or look at other people.. though he probably doesn't like it either.  My question make sense?

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But when it comes to myself and my relationship, I just have so much fear and trouble believing them.  I'm trying to get to the place where I don't see my situation as different, if that makes sense.

 

Do you have trust issues?  That is understandable given your Christian upbringing.  Christianity confuses forgiveness with forgetting, trusting, giving another chance and so on.  Cheating happens so some precautions are warranted but it sounds like you are going in with your own fear.  I wouldn't want to be with a cheater and I can't think of anybody who would but you also don't want to destroy a healthy relationship over nothing.

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In your opinion, do you see any kind of double-standard?

 

Yes, of course. 

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I'm a guy, and I take the opposing view about porn and strippers.  While it won't send you to Hell, it doesn't do any good, especially while you are in a relationship.  I nearly lost my erectile function from decades of porn addiction.  I couldn't ejaculate even in real sex unless I was fantasizing about another woman or situation.  As comedian Chris Rock told the ladies in his audience, "Just because he came, YOU didn't make him come".

 

I am lucky to be in a relationship now with a very sexually liberated woman who doesn't want me to use porn...and she can tell right away if I have been.  My sex with her is like nothing else I have ever experienced, including that with the mother of my children.  It can vary case by case, but I think porn messes with people's heads big-time, from guys thinking their shlong is too small, to thinking the deal they have in real life is somehow boring...  

 

EDIT: to mention that I am a couple years into this relationship and I am back to much -improved performance and ability to climax.   I still feel the lure of porn when I'm on my own, but the thought of "saving myself for her" actually wins out now, and I don;t think it's bad to have that check in place.  Score one (sort of) for the religious freaks.

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Any actual addiction isn't indicative of the activity in general. Most people can harmlessly enjoy a drink, some weed or a porn flick but certain personalities can become addicted to any activity; shopping, eating or tattoos. We can't demonize every activity that an addictive personality might be drawn to.

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Any actual addiction isn't indicative of the activity in general. Most people can harmlessly enjoy a drink, some weed or a porn flick but certain personalities can become addicted to any activity; shopping, eating or tattoos. We can't demonize every activity that an addictive personality might be drawn to.

I can deal with alcohol and weed, both of which I only started to use after I was already an adult (the latter only after the age of 40).  But porn started at 12 or 13 for me.  I dunno, the thought of being able to instantly dial up a white, black, Indian, Japanese, etc girl bending over and showing her stuff to me is VERY hard to resist.  Ironically, it took a relationship outside of marriage to show me the benefits of finally resisting this urge.

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I'm a guy, and I take the opposing view about porn and strippers.  While it won't send you to Hell, it doesn't do any good, especially while you are in a relationship.  I nearly lost my erectile function from decades of porn addiction.  I couldn't ejaculate even in real sex unless I was fantasizing about another woman or situation.  As comedian Chris Rock told the ladies in his audience, "Just because he came, YOU didn't make him come".

 

I am lucky to be in a relationship now with a very sexually liberated woman who doesn't want me to use porn...and she can tell right away if I have been.  My sex with her is like nothing else I have ever experienced, including that with the mother of my children.  It can vary case by case, but I think porn messes with people's heads big-time, from guys thinking their shlong is too small, to thinking the deal they have in real life is somehow boring...  

 

EDIT: to mention that I am a couple years into this relationship and I am back to much -improved performance and ability to climax.   I still feel the lure of porn when I'm on my own, but the thought of "saving myself for her" actually wins out now, and I don;t think it's bad to have that check in place.  Score one (sort of) for the religious freaks.

 

 

Hey if your partner makes it worth it to give up porn and masterbation then good for you.  Every couple has to decide for themselves what they accept and what they can live with.  But fantasizing about being with somebody else during sex is actually very normal.  (Just don't shout out the wrong name.)  But don't beat yourself up for thought crime.  Sounds like you are in a great relationship right now and you are happy.  Enjoy life.

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I think after 30-35 years of being in the haze of porn addiction, I'd like to go without it from here on.  I am in the clarity of a really good, loving, and passionate relationship.  So, yeah, I suppose some guys can keep it in the balance.  I'm a recovered addict who almost got ruined by it.

 

EDIT again:  If I had NO relationship right now, then I'd definitely be watching porn.

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Addiction to anything can ruin lives. I don't think that's the subject of the OP. Is the occasional viewing or reading of pornography intrinsically harmful to people and relationships? All studies, and common sense, say no.

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Yes, mymistake.. I definitely have trust issues, and I know they're irrational.  My boyfriend has given me no reason to doubt his commitment to me in that he doesn't sneak around, hide his phone, etc, and is honest with me when I ask about his private life... I just can't help but read his private sexual activity as being disrespectful and indicative that he's not satisfied.  I can conceptually understand that there's no problem, but the fear keeps coming back.  We've had discussions about this over and over, and I know I should trust him. It's when I get to dwelling on it that I really start to worry.  I know it's irrational fear because I can rationally understand that everything is ok, but I am not accepting it.  Very similar to the transition between faith and atheism in general that I experienced... I could see that what I believed was irrational, but I had trouble shedding it until I had my ah-ha moment.  I guess I'm needing my ah-ha moment with this. I'm just fearful that it won't come easily.

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Xiana, you've seen my perspective, but I will grant that if your boyfriend remains excited by you and attentive to you, and you feel the two-way exchange of emotion and affection in sex, then perhaps you have nothing to worry about.  I know that porn and masturbation (at the almost daily level I did it) took something away my enjoyment of sex with a real woman...and women can tell when this is happening!

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Yes, mymistake.. I definitely have trust issues, and I know they're irrational.  My boyfriend has given me no reason to doubt his commitment to me in that he doesn't sneak around, hide his phone, etc, and is honest with me when I ask about his private life... I just can't help but read his private sexual activity as being disrespectful and indicative that he's not satisfied.  I can conceptually understand that there's no problem, but the fear keeps coming back.  We've had discussions about this over and over, and I know I should trust him. It's when I get to dwelling on it that I really start to worry.  I know it's irrational fear because I can rationally understand that everything is ok, but I am not accepting it.  Very similar to the transition between faith and atheism in general that I experienced... I could see that what I believed was irrational, but I had trouble shedding it until I had my ah-ha moment.  I guess I'm needing my ah-ha moment with this. I'm just fearful that it won't come easily.

 

Well I am glad you two are talking.  Communication is the life blood of a relationship.  Have you considered seeing a professional to help you learn how to trust?  Avoid any who make their faith a selling point.  I'm not saying a Christian can't be a therapist but don't go to one who puts their Christianity before their practice.  Still if I were going to one I would want one who isn't religious.

 

I know you directed this question at florduh but technically sending naked pics and looking at porn are two different activities.  You don't have to settle for the rules your boyfriend wants.  Perhaps you can ask him if there is anything more you can do - you know negotiate.  But if he wants the rules to be the same for both of you - yes to looking at porn and no to sending naked pics - then he has the same standard for both.  You should also get his opinion on receiving naked pics from individuals.  That activity is not what I call porn.  I would call it sexting.  Again you two should work it out so that whatever rule you decide on should be the same for both.

 

In my personal relationship sexting is forbidden - don't send and don't receive but my wife and I both use porn freely either by ourselves or together.  The key is that we have reached an understanding we can both live with.  For other couples the agreement might take some other form.  So talk it out.

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I'm with you, florduh. As a regular weed and drink enthusiast (not addict), I understand the importance of recognizing addiction as rooted in the person and not the substance. Some things certainly have more addictive potential than others when it comes to chemical dependency, but ultimately it's the addictive potential in the user that needs the attention.

 

I don't believe there is an addiction in my case as you've described, ax345 (thank you for being so candid).. we've talked about that and agreed that if it did seem to turn to that kind of addiction that we'd address it.  My problem remains with my thought/concern about why he needs it at all, even if occasionally. 

 

Even as an occasional drinker may drink to escape, which obviously isn't the best way of dealing with problems, I know that some people can drink without it harming the user.  My problem is that I can't see porn as completely casual, the way I can understand drinking.

 

Thanks to all for your input.. it's making me think and definitely reassuring me that I have little to worry about. I know I will continue to worry though, and that's my problem. I'll continue to look for ways to break through the fear that doesn't seem to have much founding.

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My problem remains with my thought/concern about why he needs it at all, even if occasionally. 

 

 

 

It is very rare for a couple to wind up with matching libedos.  It could happen but most of the time one partner has a more drive than the other.  Hey when I was growing up my pastors lied to me.  They told me that God had designed me to fulfill every single need that my wife would have.  And God had designed my wife to fulfill every single need that I had.  What a load of lies!

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mymistake..

 

You're right, the two are different. I wasn't very clear in my question... by naked pictures I meant porn.. any kind of sexually explicit image, video, gif, etc.  Let me rephrase:  He doesn't like another man to be pornographically satisfied by me, yet he's fine with taking pornographic satisfaction from other women. There seems to be the double-standard... how can he do something so casually that would make him sick that another man did if I was the subject?  When I look at it that way, I have a hard time taking porn use as something casual.  It's like a kid who has no problem taking your lunch money but gets upset and hurt if you take his. This begs a moral/character question.

 

In our talks I have made it clear that it makes me uncomfortable, but as you mentioned earlier, I don't want to drive him away and I want to show him trust and respect privacy, so we've basically agreed to a don't ask, don't tell kind of thing.  If he watches privately but we can still enjoy our sex life together, then I give it the benefit of the doubt and compromise/don't ask him not to do it.  It doesn't mean that I don't still worry about it.  I did let him know that while I'm willing to compromise on watching/looking, I consider anything interactive to be non-negotiable. For instance, if he exchanges pictures or chat with someone online, that's different.  Maybe part of my worry comes from how little it takes to cross that line?

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Thanks again to all of you for your kindness in contributing and staying with me on this. I know this probably isn't the first time you've read a question like this, and my head is definitely spinning with all kinds of thoughts so I know I may not be making a ton of sense on a bunch of it, so it really means a lot to me that you've thoughtfully given your 2cents.

 

I'm heading off for now to clear my mind a little then will return to any other thoughts you have later.

 

Xiana

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if he doesn't have a problem with you watching porn then there isn't a double standard, if he's a porn star then that would be a double standard, because the issue he seems to have is you personally being looked at by other men, not you looking at other men. At least that's my understanding of the issue presented.

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Is this a Christian if you think it, you are guilty thing, even if you don't do the deed?

 

Reality is a healthy place to draw lines.   Is he really cheating or not?

 

Masterbating to your computer using porn isn't real.  If you don't like it, its very much your perogative to ask he doesn't do it in your presence.  But to deny him that when you aren't there?  What next?  You don't like violence and guns and you'll ban him from watching action movies?  Because he likes Rambo, is he going to get gunned up, camp out in the forest and shoot at all comers?  Or because he really likes Rocky, will he join a boxing club and start training to be a heavyweight world champion, ditching you for a woman called Adrien?  Similarly if he likes to watch pneumatic blondes with tattoos on his laptop and fondles himself a bit whilst doing so, does it mean he will go out and fuck a pneumatic blonde with tattoos for real?

  

A stripper is sort of becoming real.  A stripper in front of a load of guys just dancing creating a semi public spectacle, well so what?  A stripper with a can of whipped foam asking your fiance to lick the foam off her nipples... that would definitely be a no.  Or your fiance with the stripper in a private room.  A no could easily be justified here.

 

I don't know how to say this, but just because you are getting married doesn't mean your fiance can reverse millions of years of ingrained of evolution and deny his primitive urges.  It will leak out in many ways.  Whether you like it or not, you will have to accept it is apart of him.  To this primitive side, you represent something attainable within a spectrum of opportunities.  You are only special in that you are available.  Of course all guys also have a thinking / loving side, capable of compromise, dedication and commitment, but both sides are equally real.

 

Did you try setting boundaries based on reality rather than your fears?  I think he might respond well to this sort of discussion.

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As Mrs Ellinas (who is more of a realist than many a Christian I've met) once said to me: "You can look as long as you don't touch".  She's seen the book of erotic women that I have (arguably art rather than porn, assuming that there is a clear difference; it's still women naked and in provocative poses) and has no illusions but that I would sort myself out (so to speak) if she was unavailable.  I would expect her to do the same were I unavailable.

 

I have never been unfaithful to her.  I'm as certain as I can be she has never been unfaithful to me.  Neither of us would want the complication.

 

Where there is openness there is no cheating.  Where a person is satisfying for him or herself a physical need that the other temporarily cannot satisfy, that is not only normal but probably necessary if frustrations are not to damage the relationship.

 

Talk to him.  Don't judge him.  He's probably told you precisely the situation as it is - otherwise he would not talk about it.

 

All this is predicated on the nature of the porn being within the realms of the legal, and participation by consenting adults.  If it's extreme/illegal, then there is a problem.

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xiana, I feel you completely with the stripper/bachelor party thing. I don't like this tradition at all. I think there are so many fun things that men (and women) can do at their bachelor/bachelorette parties. To me, it's about celebrating with your friends, not sexually indulging (even if only visually). At my bachelorette party, the girls and I drank margaritas, pedicured our toes, and watched Twilight (don't laugh, it was 2009!) :) At my husband's bachelor party, he and the guys went paintballing. I personally would not have been okay with a stripper party, but luckily my husband felt the same way. Like others on here are saying, each couple sets the boundaries that are comfortable for them personally.

 

It's a totally separate issue from the porn stuff, IMO.

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Well Xiana, not much left to say for me that's not been said already. I think I'll add one word of caution, in case you aren't aware of it yet:

 

There's lots of shit about how sexuality and relationships should work floating around both inside and outside the jebus cult. Whenever someone is thinking "this is how sex / relationship should be" (usually followed by "ZOMG it's not like that for me, what's wrong?!"), chances are she's obsessing about something unrealistic promoted by pop culture. Just one example: Even today, in the early 21st century, movies and TV love to tell us the goo' ol' story of "he wants her, she turns him down, but he keeps fighting for her love and finally she realizes he's her Mr Right!!!" - at least I keep seeing this shit everywhere. But these days we have a name for that "fight for her love" thing, don't we? On the big or small screen we're taught to call it true love... in the real modern world we're told to call it stalking.

 

Bottom line is, one should be careful applying any scale of right or wrong to the individual sexual/romantic relationship of two people. As long as all persons involved are adults, mentally sane, and are in it out of their own free will, the only ones who determine right or wrong for them... are these two personally. ;)

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