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My struggle with Sex, Relationships and Spirituality

By M ~

If God created us different, why are we all expected to be the same?

There is so much I could write. I could probably spend the rest of my life discussing and sharing about my story of how I became a Christian and my experience in a highly religious household. I call my parents the "Crazy Christians".

I became a believer in Jesus Christ when I was two years old. My parents were Missionaries so you could say I was a "Missionary kid/Pastor's kid".

We all know the unbelievable pressure and single mindedness that comes from being raised by "Bible Thumpers".

I went to church every Sunday/I went to Awanas (Group where you memorize scriptures/intense bible study/sing Christian songs etc). I was home schooled my entire life and I was extremely religious due to my parents being missionaries. I'm pretty sure it doesn't get much more sheltered then that.

I also really enjoyed these things when I was really little though. I remember one time of actually experiencing God's presence even at a young age during the musical worship.

In Junior High I joined the worship band at my church and thrived. I was hugely into music like I said and could be seen as the one that was always most passionate about it. Then I got to High school and became the main worship leader. Talk about a lot of pressure! I loved it because I felt most happy when I was "worshipping God". But there was something wrong. I wasn't happy outside of worship, I felt oppressed whenever I "had fun". My diary was filled with "God break my heart for you, God help me to love you most above all else." I go back and read it now and almost tear up as I read the lines filled with depression and confusion. I felt like I had to be serious all the time in order to not make a mistake. I felt that if I made a mistake it would be the end of the world. I was weighted by constant fear of sin.

My brother and I were protected from everything as kids. My mother wouldn't let me watch "Cinderella" because of the fairy godmother in it. She said all magic was of the devil and that she didn't want evil spirits in our house. When I became older my parents were still extremely strict. Some of the rules they would enforce were "no bra straps showing (if you do show your bra straps while wearing a tank top, you simply don't value yourself and men will not value you either.)

My mom was a very spiritual person and still is. She would walk around the house and anoint the doorways, come into my room and say "she felt sick" and then pick up an item in my room and say that their was evil spirits on it and pray over it. I even joined in with her because frankly I was young and didn't understand. But I was also very spiritual myself and I thought I "sensed evil spirits" too. We would have long prayer sessions for hours on end, praying for my healing and obsessing about things as simple as deciding what shampoo to buy. My mother always told me that there wasn't anything too small, that God cared about everything. She also shared with me how when she was young Satan would stand at her doorway and keep her up at night and she would have to pray and sing Jesus songs for him to go away. She would share dozens of stories about how demons came into her room and would tell me what they looked like. I was very young when she told me these stories. Maybe eight years old and they scared me to death. I couldn't sleep at night and fear constantly gripped me. Nevertheless I matured very quickly in some ways and to this day have very deep conversations with people. I would definitely say I was an extreme Christian for the longest time. I obeyed all the rules, I was in touch with my "spirituality" etc. I always always always did the right thing no matter how I felt.

Now let me talk about relationships and sex and what I was taught.

I was always taught that sex was this terrible thing. When I was a bit older my mother told me it wasn't bad but it was good in a certain context. That made no sense to me even at that age but I tried to understand. My mother would tell me that once I kissed someone I would want more so that I should just not do anything until I meet my husband. So I ran from guys.

I was told I wasn't allowed to date ever so I did what I thought was best and didn't even talk to guys because if I did, then I would start liking them...if I started liking them well that would be the most terrible "sin" ever because then that could lead to lust and a possible "secret" relationship. But remember I was miss perfect so that would never happen. I would never lie and I prided myself on being miss perfect. It was extremely unhealthy. I was so wrought with constant fear of mistake that I couldn't even look men in the eye.

In junior high I would be constantly sassy towards them so they would leave me alone. In high school I opened up a bit more but didn't even get asked out til college because all the Christian guys I knew were chicken and had to pray for ten hours before asking me out to make sure it was "God's will". Of course a few years later I found out all these men in the church liked me but never did anything about it. I began to hate Christian men and thought that I just must have not been beautiful. That was all a lie and I'm so glad I got past that.

During my last semester at college I met this boy who was a Buddhist. I freaked out at first because there was no way I could date someone of another faith. My heart belonged to God! I had this plan to go far away to school and so did he. To the same place. The second time we talked there was this instant connection. This unspoken bond and rush of fresh air and this peace inside I'd never experienced except when "I was in God's presence" so it scared me because I found out he was a buddhist after (GASP! Not of the same faith!). Something brought us together in the end and we began dating, my first boyfriend. I was SCARED TO DEATH. I had never kissed anyone. I was a 21 year old virgin. The most I had done was hold a guys hand ONCE. I had no experience whatsoever and told him I wouldn't kiss him unless we were official. So we became official and he finally kissed me one time. He wanted it so badly and I because of what I was taught I thought he just wanted me for my body. But he didn't. (Well maybe at first cause there's always that natural attraction). He thought I didn't like him for the longest time and I even set "physical boundaries" with him because everything he did freaked me out.

Everything we did I felt so bad about in my head but in my heart it all felt completely natural. I struggled so much with being okay with it and getting past the idea in my head that it was all filthy and wrong.I'd never been touched in the ways he was touching me. He ended up having a meeting with my father for four hours about everything and it was good but it made things so rocky in our relationship because then there was another meeting. The second meeting consisted of my parents telling us not to have sex. Telling us how they didn't approve of our relationship. My mother told me (offline) that we could never touch each other or be alone. WHO LIVES LIKE THAT?!? I would stay over at his house early on in our relationship because he lived 45 minutes away so it made sense. We never did much because I made boundaries with him but we always pushed the limits a bit. I didn't let him even take my shirt off for a while. Maybe a few months into our relationship I finally did. We didn't start doing oral sex til five months into our relationship and it took me six months to let him take my bra off.

Everything we did I felt so bad about in my head but in my heart it all felt completely natural. I struggled so much with being okay with it and getting past the idea in my head that it was all filthy and wrong. I hated kissing for the longest time. I wasn't sure if it was the lack of intimacy I had experienced, if he was a bad kisser, or what the deal was but things have gotten so much better recently. Anyways, my dad threatened to kick me out if I stayed at his house again (EVEN THOUGH I WAS STAYING IN THE DAMN SPARE ROOM). Basically the way my parents have treated my boyfriend caused me to really question my faith. Because he's not Christian they are so judgmental and hurtful.

I'm trying to move out at the moment once I get enough money so I don't have to be under this oppression anymore. I'm tired of "healing conferences", my parents bashing homosexuals, my parents telling me that only one way is the right way and that if I have sex that it's the end of the world. I'm tired of them telling me that once you have sex you give everything and that you have nothing left to give another if you don't end up with them. It took me the longest time to get over that my current boyfriend had a previous sexual partner. HE ONLY HAD ONE. Which the more I learn is really not a big deal. And she was crazy anyways. But besides that I'm still struggling with my faith and what to think about sexual things before marriage because of what I was taught. I believe in sexual compatibility. And I am so excited to experience sex with this man that I love. We just celebrated our six months a few days ago. I'll be turning 22 soon and I'm still a virgin. I am nervous to delve into the unknown. In fact I've had panic attacks at the idea that what if everything I believed was wrong about God. But being with this new man and experiencing a different world has never been better for me. I've never been so happy. And that scares the hell out of me.