Religion and Sexuality

Previously published on my Tumblr page, http://a-woman-apart.tumblr.com/

I was looking for ideas on what to write, and my friend suggested to me that I write about how my religion has affected my relationships. This is going to be a tough one, because I think that in exploring my sexuality I did a lot of things that were definitely in contrast to my religious beliefs at the time.

In a way, I kind of felt like two people at once. On the one side I was this perfectly agreeable Christian girl, and on the other side I was a very sexual being. I ended up not waiting until marriage to have sex, and I just kind of went with it without experiencing the crushing guilt that a lot of Christians that end up “giving in” tend to experience. I wanted to do it, and so I did. I think though, that it is worth noting that at the point in my life that I was active sexually I was also off my medication and in the midst of my manic phase, so I did do a lot of “high risk” things and my judgment was somewhat damaged. This does not mean that mania is the only reason I was so sexual, but anybody who has bipolar disorder knows that when you’re like this everything is heightened and turned to 11.

Previous to that little fling, I had only really been in relationships online- one of which lasted for a really long time. Obviously the only way to be sexual was remotely, on webcam or by trading risque pictures back and forth. It was my longest relationship ever- lasting years really- and it definitely was affected by my religion. I drew the line about a lot of things for the longest because I was concerned with being too revealing or too immoral, but in the end I got really bold as things went on. Also, I broke up with my boyfriend more than once when I was on a spiritual kick because he was “too worldly” or “too unspiritual”. We’re great friends now, because I’ve finally accepted that even though he hadn’t changed- that I have.

That was the great big deal of it. Part of me was never really as “innocent” as I seemed. I was never as “Christian” as I seemed. I’ve always had a thirst for knowledge, and the confining nature of my faith was never going to be satisfactory for me. I always thought that I would marry a Christian man and raise Christian children, but deep down I knew that wasn’t what I wanted. I was attracted to “worldly” guys with a sense of adventure.

Also, even though I had come to accept that I was bisexual (sort of), I never allowed myself to picture the possibility of being in a relationship with another woman- especially because my faith forbade it. I always thought that my attraction was purely sexual and that I was pretty much just heteroromantic. I know it sounds very stupid, but seeing happy couples on Youtube like Jelly and Day and Kaelen and Lucy changed my mind. I realized that I had an entirely warped picture of what being in a relationship with a woman had to be like. I always thought it would be unhealthy because women were “too emotional” and now I see that women who are in relationships with women have relationships that are just as varied and just as valid as women who are in relationships with men.

I think before, when I was an adherent to Christianity, I had a lot of “rules” and had to live with constantly breaking them.

1) Don’t have sex before marriage

2) Don’t masturbate

3) You can only date fellow Christians

4) You can only date the opposite sex

5) You shouldn’t really “date” but “allow God to guide you to the ‘right’ partner”

And sometimes 6)

6) Birth control is immoral even when/especially when you’re married

And so on. So yeeaaaahh…you can pretty much see why that wouldn’t work too well for me. Now though, instead of just continuing to live against the dictates of my religion I just decided to live without the religion. It kind of cut away a lot of the hypocrisy that was in my life.

I also used to see relationships as means to an end- that if this wouldn’t/couldn’t end in marriage it wasn’t worth my time. This was a problem because I don’t have any strong desire to get married right now, either.  I just have so many other things that I’m concerned about.

In many ways, even though I’ve changed, I’m not that comfortable with just “dating for fun” or the whole one night stand thing. I’m not very comfortable with my sexuality, and I’m very guarded when it comes to relationships. I do hope that I find something happy and lasting, but if it doesn’t come I’m okay with that too.

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