Wednesday, October 24, 2012

She Bop--anonymous

Oh…so that’s what that song was about. 

I am a good girl.  I am a Mormon girl.  I served a mission and am committed to living a chaste life.

I also used to masturbate. 

And still do.  On very rare occasions.  

Did I mention that I’m a girl?

It doesn’t seem quite right, does it?  Perhaps it seems as odd as men on this blog admitting they had an eating disorder.  Masturbate.  What an unfortunate word.  It feels dirty just typing it.  Masturbate.
I never exactly did the porn thing.  I do remember watching racy scenes from R-rated movies alone in our family’s den when I was around ten or eleven and touching myself.  I would do this off and on for a few years.  Alone in my room just before I fell asleep or right as I was waking, my thoughts would turn to sex and I would masturbate.  I didn't think about it, nor did I ever talk about it…it was just something I did, from time to time. 

Once a friend asked me as to how I got over it. 

Here’s the thing.  It just sort of went away. 

Here’s the other thing.  I never knew I was masturbating. 
Growing up in a culture where many parents/responsible adults can’t have much conversation past the initial BIRDS+BEES101 with children and teens regarding sex and intimacy, you’re left to receive the bulk of your education from sexy soap opera scenes, innuendos in pop culture, and dirty jokes told on the playground.  I grew up believing that masturbation was something guys did.  They had penises, and they jacked off.  I had no penis and therefore, could not masturbate.

I never became obsessed with masturbation and I remember by and by just kind of sensing that it wasn’t something that was great for me to do.  Something in me just kind of said, “you should stop.”  

So I stopped. 

For the most part.  

Years after the fact, I found out that was I was doing was, in fact, masturbation.  I was shocked.  But it was all done in ignorance, so I could easily let it go. 

In watching so many of my male (and some female) friends struggle with pornography and masturbation in a church culture, I cannot help but to wonder if all of the guilt has exacerbated the problems and encouraged addiction.  I’d have to do my research, but while SO many men look at pornography, it seems that addictions come up most frequently in the lives of those who adhere to a strict faith tradition.
Please don’t misunderstand.  Pornography is devastating and dangerous.  It dulls the spirituality and sensitivity of those who engage in it.  It promotes violence, and rape.  It damages and taints our views of women, of men, of bodies, and most destructively, of all that is supposed to be beautiful and fulfilling and intimate in sexual intimacy.  I would encourage any who struggle to seek help and freedom.   

In the same breath, it’s not a matter of IF the men in our lives will view pornography.  It’s a matter of when.  So how could we frame these encounters to help our men (especially our young men, and women as applicable) understand that while pornography is wrong, they are still good, and human, and have so much to look forward to in a healthy sexual relationship with their partner?  Pornography will not assist them on their journey to these things. 

Urges and desires and curiosities—these things do not make us mutants.  As Mormons, we understand that the human body is more than “a thing fit only to be tortured and contemned”.  These urges are rooted in a desire for something really beautiful and eternal—complete intimacy.  Love, acceptance, and unity expressed in physical oneness representative of commitment and loyalty.

(I have plenty to say about sex for a virgin, eh?  I have older sisters.  They talk.)
I can’t help but to wonder if perhaps some of these problems would go away if children and teenagers didn’t feel so ashamed of their sexuality, and instead understood the profound positive reasons for keeping your thoughts clean and your life chaste.  Perhaps if we had a more open dialogue parent-to-child, teacher-to-student, we could get the facts straight at a younger age about what really is so great about sex in a committed and healthy relationship.  Perhaps we would feel less of a pull to satiate our curiosity with dirty jokes, racy scenes in movies, and pornography.  Perhaps we’d have a clearer understanding of “the real thing.” 

Though I no longer masturbate (for the most part), one thing no one tells you is that as a woman’s sex drive does not (as I once assumed) peak in the teenage years.  Rather, once she graduates from high school, she’s looking at a solid decade plus in increase of drive.

Actually...there isn't much of a conversation about a woman's sex drive period.  But I imagine that's for another entry on this blog.

On the rare occasion it does occur, I don't beat myself up for it.  I recognize that I am a human, and I am a woman who has a sex drive.  And this is not something to be ashamed of.  It was, in fact, God-given.  And dear parents, teachers, and leaders--I know you are doing your best and your intentions are so good, but not acknowledging my sex drive, or your sex drive, isn't going to make it go away and ensure chastity.  I think it creates more problems. 

I let it go.  Move on.  Try to keep my thoughts clean not out of fear, but out of respect for myself and my future partner. 


  1. Thanks for sharing this. As an LDS woman, this is a topic I've wondered about at times. I definitely wish there were more discussion and direction about it.

  2. This article reviews the historical development of attitudes about masturbation within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Most notably, the article demonstrates how the initial concerns on the part of church leaders about masturbation were driven by incorrect medical ideas from that era. The article further describes how the policy has begun to soften in recent decades.

  3. Thank you for this article. I am also a good LDS girl (and a virgin, too), but I've struggled with this particular topic. I have no idea how or when it started, but it's been a problem off and on. It may stem from abuse I received as a child, but I'm not completely sure.

    I didn't know it was masturbating, either (I hate that word)... it didn't even occur to me that that's what I was doing. Sometimes it's better, sometimes it's worse. I'm just glad to know I'm not the only one who has struggled with this. Thank you so much.

  4. Wow. Thank you for writing this and writing this so well. Reading it was very healing for me. Thank you.