i have been avoiding this post like nothing else. i think i was hoping something would come over me and i would change my mind about the necessity of writing it. sadly, that hasn’t happened. it didn’t help that i started this post almost two months ago and lost the draft…all of that raw and vulnerable work down the drain. so, this post probably wont be exactly like i first intended it to be. but that will have to be okay.
i have talked about sexuality being bigger than simply the physical act of intercourse.
i have talked about how we are made in the image of God and noted that sexuality is deeply related to what it means to be human, but not limited to the act of having sex.
with this post, i plan to confess. i want to explore my own issues with the act of sex. i want to confess the ways that i have sought to understand my own sexuality in unhealthy ways. and i want to confess the way that i have judged others based on their expressions of sexuality.
i have baggage when it comes to sex. imagine that. my baggage has nothing to do with my own sexual experiences, however, because i have none. rather, and perhaps somewhat self-centeredly, my baggage comes from the way other people’s decisions regarding sex have affected me. these experiences have worked together to form my perspective that sex is bad. i will flesh that out as i go.
my parents are divorced, and have been since i was four. both had relationships with other people while i was growing up. i was a savvy kid. i knew what was up. i knew that when my parents and their significant others disappeared for a little while, i was to keep myself occupied. i can remember this sometimes lasting for entire weekends, my brother and i left to our own devices, sometimes without even a response to our requests for interaction. this, at the very least, i perceived as emotional neglect. sex was more important than me to my parents.
as i grew up and hit high school, friends around me started having sex. boys that i liked started hanging out with the girls who were prettier, flirtier, and would “do stuff.” girls who i called friends started having sex and doing other things with guys that they knew i liked. while all i wanted was to be around people who also wanted me around, it seemed that most of the people around me were usually just trying to have sex.
writing these things out they seem trivial and superficial. i was never sexually abused, and i was not raised with pervasive shame associated with religious purity movements. i feel almost as though these experiences aren’t big enough to have resulted in the perspective i have held for so long. but, i am here now, and somehow i have developed the mindset that sex is the most important priority, men only want sex, and as a woman if you are not having it there is something wrong with you.
this next bit is a little awkward. i am calling it confession, because i feel shame and because it feels like parts of it have been unhealthy. but on another level, part of this is normal self-exploration.
i have seen a lot of pornography, as early as when i was 13. along with masturbation, it started as a desire for knowledge and understanding, and became a way of coping with my own low self-image and loneliness. this is the point at which i believe it became unhealthy. it became about using what should be intimacy shared between other people for my own selfish devices. pornography and masturbation became a means to separate my body from my spirit, for a moment to ignore the brokenness i felt by covering it with physical pleasure.
and now, the piece that i regret is that there are images that will always be in my head. images that i wish were not there. images that i will probably compare with whatever future sexual experience i have. the thing about pornography is that you can’t ever undo your exposure to it.
lastly, for this post at least, i have to confess my own judgment of others. i am limited in my own perspective, and i have realized lately that while i may eventually come to a place of grace and openness, often my initial reaction to people who have made different sexual decisions than me is judgment, or even disgust. i am far from proud of this.
the thing is, i don’t necessarily think that my choices are the best choices, though i think i am following my own path. i don’t want to presume to know what are the right choices for someone else. my hope is, however, to be able to love others. to help people realize the presence of both physical and spiritual elements of sexuality, and perhaps our actions should consider this (which isn’t necessarily to advocate for one set of choices over another).
i am not sure what is next from this point. perhaps it will come from conversations that arise from this post. perhaps it will come when i start my human sexuality class in a week. but i know there is still more to be said.