Sunday, January 30, 2005

The Talk, The Guilt, The Pleasure

Today's stories come from a European (oh la la), a New Yorker, and someone who wanted to make sure she remains anonymous. Yes, you're anonymous, I promise. If you like, I'll even say you are me. 'Cause your story's kind of a turn-on. heh heh.

But seriously, bravo to all as always for your bravery. We are changing Christianity for the better. Let us all bring sex into our worship of God (kudos to story #2!). Wait...isn't that smacking of New Testament temple prostitution??

ONE
Growing up, my parents never gave me "the talk" -- in fact, I know of few families where parents spoke openly with their children about sex. Moreover, from a very early age, I had the intuitive sense that all matters of physical, romantic love were unmentionables. Frequently I didn't even know the meaning of a word, nor had any notion of just what it was about a term that cautioned me to avoid asking my parents about it, but I knew that I knew, and thinking back upon it, I was uncannily correct.

Physical affection in my family was something my parents reserved for their children -- myself and my older brother, and after his death, for me only. I do not recall my parents ever embracing or kissing passionately, but for special occasions -- their birthdays, Christmas
morning -- my father would hug and cheek-kiss my mother, and she would protest and physically and verbally show her displeasure. From the time I was 12 or so, when my grandmother's death freed up another room in the house, my parents kept separate bedrooms. None of this struck me as abnormal, but looking back, I can clearly see the message they were sending me: Sex was of course reserved for spouses only -- we were, after all, good Catholics -- but sex between spouses was at best non-existent and at worst revolting. I didn't have to hire a
counselor to figure out how this conditioning skewed my own perspectives on sex as a clandestine and desirable matter, best avoided in settings of emotional intimacy, but I ended up spending a lot of money on working through "fixing" and adjusting it. I am, in retrospect, grateful that the Christian/Catholic message kept me from too much mischief -- and, more importantly, kept me from considering my parents' version of sexuality as normal.

TWO

1. Episcopalian by both upbringing and temperament. I really love the Episcopal liturgy and the church feels "right" to me, but I am not active. I was very active in high school -- lots of youth
conferences, served on a diocesan commission, ran for my church's vestry, et cetera. But I lost touch with the church in college -- all those great youth outreach programs just disappeared -- and do not currently go to church. (I hate getting dressed up, and it's hard to get up on Sunday morning, especially when your girlfriend (who you only see on weekends) is Jewish.) I'm starting to miss it, though, so I think I will cautiously, warily, start going to a local church's
"Come As You Are" services on Sunday evenings. TMI? I'm sure.

2. I'm not really sure I know what "Christian sex" is. It sounds like a setup for some dippy comedian's facile punchline. It sounds like something my atheist/agnostic/UU friends would snicker at. But I was raised to believe that sexuality is a gift from God...and like other gifts, it must be used carefully and with responsibility and thanks. That's what stewardship is all about, right? I believe that sex can be spiritual and moving, and allow communion with God -- why
can't a loving couple be worshiping God as they have sex? (I know this sounds weird, but bear with me here.) God has given us this wonderful life force, this drive, these intensely pleasurable
sensations. It can be used poorly -- in non-loving relationships, in casual flings, in careless or hurtful ways, and for the wrong motives. But it can be approached prayerfully and responsibly, to build intimacy in a loving, committed, monogamous relationship, and to celebrate our humanity with a spark of the divine. After all, I believe in the "resurrection of the body" -- with all of the attendant good and bad things about the body implied.

THREE
I have recently decided not to feel guilty about masturbation. Once I realized and accepted that all the "Biblical" arguments from my youth are arguments from silence, I made a concious decision that I don't have to be ashamed any more.

I have touched myself before, but because of my guilty feelings, I never really masturbated before - or at least not enough to give myself an orgasm. But somehow, just putting my fingers near my vagina was comforting to me, despite the lingering guilt afterwards, so I would do it often.

However, since deciding that I had nothing to feel guilty about, I have committed to the act of masturbation. I'm not sure yet whether I have actually had an orgasm - all the websites out there say "you know it if you've had it" which doesn't help me much - but I am going to
continue to explore and practice and find out what makes me feel the best. What does happen, though, feels good and is a great release of a lot of tension and frustration.

I am a Christian woman in my late 20s and am a virgin, nor indeed even kissed a man. I find it hard to love myself sometimes and wonder quite often if God really truly loves me too. Perhaps I can find some measure of emotional release in the act of learning to love myself physically?

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Hmmm...you'll know it if you've had it? I bet it's not that simple. Can someone help out with a description of an orgasm? Or better yet, a "Christian" orgasm?

7 comments:

Pilgrim at First and Lake said...

I don't know if Christians orgasm any differently than others, but I do remember the first time I did. I was in graduate school at the time; I'll spare you the sordid details, but I was by myself and ended up with the same kind of: "This was great ... uh, was that *it*?" sense and ended up asking and good anonymous fashion in the "sex talk" forum of a certain BBS (... the wonders of the online community.) I used terms very similar to those mentioned above; it felt good, but it didn't, ahem, "make the earth move" or was even the absolutely incredible feeling I had been surreptitiously taught to expect.

The friendly, affirming responses I got were all "yes, yup, you're doing it right, etc." with the helpful explanation that it often was less a matter of seeing stars than simply experiencing a pleasurable release of tension.

That description has served me well for the last 5 or so single years :)

Anonymous said...

I think "Christian orgasm" in a nonsensical term, like "Christian sneeze". Orgasms are orgasms. Agonizing about them keeps you from enjoying them.

A description might be: tingly warm rush, building pressure that demands release, with a brief moment of forgetting anything but the pleasure you feel. Including your own name, sometimes :-). But there are many varieties, from the pefunctory, nice little buzz just before sleeping bit, to the amazingly horny, got to get some release right now kind.

Maybe the young lady has only had the mildest sorts of orgasms, especially if she has not been letting herself think sexual thoughts. I find the most powerful sessions involve a long drawn out fantasy. Erotica works pretty well when you run out of your own ideas; she should get a collection and browse through the stories to find one she responds to.

If you want to Christianize them, I suppose you could make sure you were fantasizing about a husband and a wife. I don't think it matters much, though I know those who disagree. But fantasy sex and real sex are two different animals, and fantasizing about anonymous doings with a random hunk doesn't mean you'll one day have sex with a stranger.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm... a description. The first time I had an orgasm, I was 13 (19 now), and I guess I just knew it when I had it :) because it was like nothing I'd ever experienced before. I felt this tension building up to something and then all of a sudden these involuntary muscle contrations... down there. Afterwards I realized that that must have been it.

I was then, and am still, a Christian, but I don't think there is anything particularly Christian about that...

me said...

It's the one where you thank God over and over.

mark said...

See... I think a "Christian orgasm" is when you shout things like "Oh Jesus!" or some other title pertaining to our Savior.
If you only yelled "Oh God" it could be a Jewish orgasm, too.

TKP said...

Seriously, that was one of the best posts I've seen here. Your commenters are quite witty.

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