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Intimacy: One female Mormon's Experience
From a young age on I was taught intercourse, all other sexual relationships (including petting and masturbation), the very thought of sex and even the looking or listening to anything that presented immorality as acceptable was wrong and evil. As a teenager I abided by the rules as found in "For The Strength of Youth" pamphlet.
Believe it or not I have had my first boyfriend when I was 18 years old, that is not very typical where I grew up (Europe). He was a non-mormon and way older than me. My parents did not like the fact that he was not a member of the LDS Church but never had a talk with me about it rather my father went to talk to my boyfriend when I was at work one Saturday. (In my homecountry you are an adult when 18 years old). In this conversation he made it very clear to him that he would not allow anything sexual between the two of us. He was surprisingly cool with it and even started to have Mormon missionaries over for lessons. At one time he touched me where he should have not but nothing, what I would call, serious.
This relationship did not last a year. I was heartbroken when I found out he was cheating on me. He was sexually deprived because I was forbidden to express my love for him physically and looked elsewhere to get what he needed. I was taught that sex was something dirty and I now viewed him like a dirty dish rack, I could not be with. I still loved him and the break up hurt both of us.
My next relationship was sort of arranged by friends. This guy was investigating Mormonism and the fellowshipping couple that we both knew and were friends with hooked us up. I must admit things went a little bit to fast for me, since I had just broken up a relationship but I gave it a try. After only a short time of dating my young bishop approached me and told me of my new boyfriend's plans to take me camping and having sex with me for the first time. I was scared to death. I am not sure if I was scared of sex and its repercussions (punishment from the LDS Church) or if I simply did not feel any romantic affection for him. I broke off with this person quickly.
Third time is the charm, or so they say. After quite some time I fell in love with an LDS American soldier. We had a very romantic relationship, without breaking the "rules", and I thought for sure that this was it. We both were raised Mormon and his plan was to go on a mission and mine to wait for him. Just before he left Europe to return back to the States and leave for his mission from there, he proposed to me (against the will of his parents) and I accepted. We wrote and sent tape recordings to each other on a very regular basis and just month before his homecoming he wrote me and called of the engagement.
I did not know what to do when that happened and because I was over 21 I decided to leave on a mission myself which I did. During the last month of my mission, which I spent in Salt Lake on Temple Square, I had a dream where I saw myself kissing a man with darker skin color. I forgot about this dream until I met and fell in love with another US soldier upon returning home. He was a returned missionary and also Navajo. A couple month later we got engaged and six month after we were married. Not to long before we were married we had intercourse which we "repented" from.
Even though we both lived a good mormon life and "repented" from our "sins" we always felt guilty about or sexual "transgression" (by the way sex before marriage is very common for mormons, as long as you do not get pregnant you can still get married in the temple, it's just not talked about). Intimacy was non-existant which doesn't mean we did not have sex. I always felt uncomfortable taking off my temple garments because of the instruction to wear them day and night. To be honest I was always wondering about church policy regarding sex and garments but could never find anything on it. Anyway, for me intercourse felt mostly like a duty to my husband, was the way to create children and was never about me and my fulfillment. I was embarrassed about my own body and only allowed sex under the covers or in the dark. Oral sex was not allowed, according to one of our mormon bishops.
Everything that I was taught during my unmarried and married life created what is called sexual inhibitions in me, such as being uncomfortable nude in front of my husband and performing and enjoying oral sex.
All my unmarried life I was told that all sexual relations should be reserved for marriage and now that I am married I have to wear long non-sexy underwear and cannot and should not enjoy sex.
I feel that I was set up for failure in the bedroom.
Education on Sex and Intimacy
The only sex education I have received was a short course in school. My parents never explained to me what the forbidden things like masturbation, petting and sex actually were. I could only guess and go by the information I have received from non-mormon classmates or the little I have learned at school. It is embarrassing to admit that I only knew about the female monthly cycle from school and sisters that were already menstruating.
Unfortunately this is the case with to many Mormon teenagers.
In the United States of America Sex Education in schools is opposed by Latter-Day Saints and is not made available in most homes. Parent's are asked to use the booklet "A Parent's Guide"to educate their children about sex but no information on sex is actually given there only advise against pre-marital sex and basic gender information.
After more than a decade of being married I finally opened my mind to real sex education and found that many of the things that I have been taught and were not really explained to me were stirring me in the wrong direction sexually.
Is the lack of intimacy or misogyny the reason Mormons have the highest divorce rate?
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Conservative Christians of all types, evangelical as well as Catholic, tend to link their conservative brand of their religion with proper moral behavior. By far the most popular context is marriage: they claim that a good, solid marriage is only pos