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Wednesday, April 06, 2005 

I Live in Sin... You?

As the only member of this blog living in sin, I feel obliged to stick up for everyone who feels like they should have premarital sex. But really, they can probably stand up for themselves.

You might be surprised to learn that "The Chastity Talk," administered biannually as I attended Young Womens and my BYU wards, was really quite effective for me. I knew all of the boundaries.

The way I saw it was like this: French kissing (sometimes referred to by the Brethren as "soul" kissing) was like the caffeinated beverage of the sexual purity realm. Certainly, a prophet advised against it, but was a literal commandment? No.

Therefore, I French kissed boys almost as often as I drank Mountain Dew.

"Petting," however, was off-limits. I made up my mind over and over again, every time I got that talk from my bishop, his counselors, young women's president, the cool couple in the ward, or whoever got the "opportunity" of delivering it.

Another contributing factor to my continuing chastity may have been that my entire "Birds & the Bees" talk with my mother, after sex-education week in the 6th grade, went like this:
Mom: So, they told you about that stuff at school, right?
Me: Yeah.
Mom: Well, if you have any questions, let me know.
I think I also borrowed some of the pamphlets she had left over from her sex-ed class in the 60's that I looked over. That was a big help. In college, I was once so curious about sex that I tried to look up the Kama Sutra in the BYU library, only to find that it was under lock and key.

Basically, between being told not to have sex and not being told about sex... I knew very little about the subject until after I graduated from college.

I know that many people who made/have made commitments to stay sexually pure until marriage feel that their lives have been greatly improved by that decision. I certainly won't argue with them.

I think sexual abstinence has a lot of advantages. I also don't think that it's the only way you can be happy.

More particularly, I've wondered frequently in the last few years as I've learned more about men and their sexual drive, about what a burden sexual abstinence can be for them.

As a female, I never experienced a "wet dream," like males do, and I never experienced an overwhelming desire to have sex while I was young. It's my understanding that males are genetically and biologically driven to procreate and it's a very difficult thing to counteract. I've wondered many times in the last few years about how LDS adolescent boys and young men deal with the guilt that must come from this drive and actions that they take as a result.

I have known LDS men who struggle with commandments against masturbation. Their lives are "on hold" while they learn to cope or overcome this problem, but they never seem to make it.

I think that after I had sex, it would have been difficult to have gone back to being chaste and to have stayed that way. Maybe that's what it's like for men. They cross a certain threshold (with a wet dream), over which they have no control. After that experience and the testosterone that comes along with it, maybe it's hard not to go that line again?

I hate to end this post with a question, but that's all I'm left with. It is my hope that my thoughts on this are not offensive. I own up to my ignorance on the subject (see above conversation with my mother for reference) and invite your comments, anonymous or otherwise, on the subject.

You know, it is just so hard for me to believe that you never felt wildly horney. Never had a sex dream? Really? I'm a girl and my hormones raged! Raged I say. Now I never had sex until I was married, and I'm glad, but I got married at twenty largely because my hormones RAGED.

Luckily it worked out well. I guess my point is, I often dismiss this "oh the poor celibate" guys routine because I think well what about the poor celibate girls? They have hormones too. But then you come along and say it really didn't bother you.

It just wasn't like that for me.

Wasn't (and isn't) like that for me either, Lisa. Though I never did anything about the raging hormones thing until much later in my life, they were still there, they were still raging. It wasn't (isn't?) pretty.

I don't buy into the whole "poor guys" thing, because like everything else, you have agency in this matter. Sure, I will call any guy who tells me he's never ever not even once masterbated a big fat liar, but that's just my point of view brought on by my experiances with the male gender. To be honest, I would call any girl who says she's never masterbated a liar as well. Basically... I'm just looking for any excuse to call to people a liar it seems.

I'm with Lisa (& sort of with Sarah). I'm not feeling sorry for the guys.

I should be more appreciative of how open my parents were with not just sex, but also hormones and how powerful they can be.

Ladies, let's make a deal. Feel sorry for us and our raging hormones, and we'll feel sorry for you with yours too!

I think this goes back to what a commenter said on Becca's post about members of the church often being ashamed or afraid of sex. Kaycee isn't (wasn't) necessarily afraid or ashamed, but the lack of knowledge and understanding may have affected her feelings or hormones. I feel you kinda get programmed (in the church) that sex is bad thing...when its not a bad thing. And I don't think it's supposed to be portrayed as a bad thing...it just happens. More tomorrow...

I disagree with JP. I don't think that church-wide sex is portrayed as bad. I think that some people have had parents or leaders that didn't teach/handle it properly.

I agree Jess. I always felt very comfortable knowing that the issue was timing, not the act itself. But damn, that timing was a MAJOR issue!

I dunno. I think I had some pretty neat leaders and great parents. And coming from someone who DID have sex before they were married (and then got pregnant), I can tell you that you feel EVIL for having the dreaded SEX. Or at least I did.

Again, more tomorrow...

I know you're trying to wait until tomorrow BUT: I think you put that on yourself. Kaycee too, considering today's title. I don't sit around thinking about Kaycee's living situation, I doubt any of us give it a second thought.

What advantages could abstinance have?

The reason why books about sex in the BYU Library are under lock and key is to prevent them from being vandalized. You can check them out, no problem. I wrote a book on the female orgasm for a psychology class. Not only does the Lee Library had an up to date selection of books on human sexuality, but if you find someone with a key, it’s quite easy to check them out.

And your right about men lying about masturbation. But reports I’ve read (from Hite to Johnson & Johnson) indicate that there’s more variation in sexual drive among women than there is among men, and they indicate a lower masturbation rate among women than among men.

Oops, I wrote a paper on the female orgasm, not a book.

And to think Kaimi didn't like the off white dress comment from my post... goodness!

I love your post and your honesty K, but I so don't feel sorry for boys. I will though if, like CYC proposed, they start feeling sorry for us. I have sexual desires and I have for a very long time. I don't think the guilt associated with the desires is unique to young boys. I think it includes many young girls as well.

And, not that it means the same coming from me, but I've never thought twice about the fact that you live with your fiance until you mentioned it today.

Arturo - I'm very interested in reading that paper. Would you be willing to share it?

I, like Kaycee, was incredibly sexually naive growing up. I blame my environment more than anything - in my little close-knit community of devout Mormons, sex was BAD. It was evil, it was dirty, and GOOD little girls didn't want to go near such things or even think of them. As much as intimacy was talked about as being a godly and divine thing, the actions and comments that people made *outside* the talks suggested otherwise. If I had a sex drive as a teenager, I utterly repressed it. It wasn't until I left home in body, and more important, left home in psyche, that I've become sexually normalized, realized that it isn't bad, evil, or dirty and decided that no way in hell will I live a life without it.

First, for the record, I'm active LDS and a proud dad of great kids, but many LDS are overly judgmental about this stuff and can’t grasp the need weaker single saints have for healthy sexual activity. I was born Catholic, joined the LDS church at ~ age 12 with my family and was sexually active on and off from age 15 until "getting my act together" at age 18 before my mission. Now, I’m not advocating sex at age 15. In some ways it really messed up my head for a few years. But after serving an honorable mission, going to BYU and honestly having every intention of keeping my temple covenants, I ended up resuming sexually activity in my first serious relationship after my mission at age 22. Rather than the wrath of the almighty, it brought enlightenment and a renewed sense of purpose. My studies became much easier as if my IQ increased. From then on I remained sexually active with almost every gal I dated, including my wife, who I met at Univ. of Michigan. I rarely felt guilty about it. It just seemed like a normal part of developing a relationship with a woman. When you were ready, you took that step. In any event, my wife and I are now sealed in the temple and very active. I appreciate people who can wait until marriage. I just wasn’t one of them.

With that background I don’t understand the sexual naiveté comments here. In my limited experience Mormon women are anything but sexually repressed.

As far as the comments about masturbators and fornicators lying to Bishops, are they lying or employing a kind of “don’t ask, don’t tell”? I used the latter. When a BYU bishop called me in to discuss accusations from other students that I was sleeping with my gf (they found a condom in the trash). I told him there was nothing to discuss, and he was smart enough not to pry further. I never lied to any church leaders about my weakness.

I find that most single members (and many marrieds) lie about their pre- or extramarital sexual activity to the bishop and stake president--if only in the way Steve FSF describes: don't ask, don't tell.

They lie (or omit) info to get or keep temple recommends.

Those who are honest and have integrity usually suffer needlessly, some go inactive, stay away from the church, or leave entirely. Not everyone can be completely celibate until marriage, especially if marriage never happens.

I find that most single members (and many marrieds) lie about their pre- or extramarital sexual activity to the bishop and stake president--if only in the way Steve FSF describes: don't ask, don't tell.

They lie (or omit) info to get or keep temple recommends.

Those who are honest and have integrity usually suffer needlessly, some go inactive, stay away from the church, or leave entirely. Not everyone can be completely celibate until marriage, especially if marriage never happens.

It seems my “don’t ask, don’t tell” comment above needs clarification. As a youth, I did openly discuss sins with my Bishops (I no longer view masturbation as sin or an appropriate topic of conversation between a non-parent adult and a teen, but that’s a subject for another day.). In any event, those discussions were generally positive experiences. While emphasizing abstinence and self control as essential steps to be worthy to serve a mission and marry in the temple, they also wanted to make sure I was up to speed on pregnancy and disease and maintaining respect for a girl as fellow child of G-d by not discussing past intimacies with others, etc. In short, I found my Bishops were very helpful in getting through a very difficult period of life. I never lied to them.

My shift to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” type approach was as a temple endowed RM adult who had fallen short of a very serious covenant that I wasn’t ready to deal with at the time. As mentioned above, when confronted by a Bishop, I did not lie to him. I just made it clear there wasn’t anything to discuss. Church leaders can’t compel repentance. The first step was up to me, and I wasn’t ready to take it. I was already inactive (less active in today’s jargon) and, in hindsight, that was a self imposed excommunication. When I was ready for marriage and church activity, I did return to church, made a full confession and after a very loving and understanding disciplinary council, we were married by the Bishop. I had expected excommunication and denial of a church wedding, but that didn’t happen.

The point of all this is I just wish the LDS culture at large was more sympathetic about this stuff.

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This Week's Topic:

  • The Sabbath Day

Various Authors

  • Monday:
    Kaycee opted out of Mormondom 4 years ago. She calls herself agnostic.
  • Tuesday:
    Sarah is not your average Gospel Doctrine Teacher.
  • Wednesday:
    Carrie Ann comes from pioneer stock, and lives in Provo, but is open minded and fair.
  • Thursday:
    Ned Flanders hasn't been to church in a while, but maintains an interest in all things Mormon.
  • Friday:
    John C. is an academic with a sense of humor and a testimony.
  • Saturday:
    JP's not going to church and feeling okay about it.

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