It starts with a warm, tingly feeling in my toes. (As I sit here writing this, I’m trying to think of an accurate way to describe it, but the only analogy that comes to mind is electricity). Then, if the proper sensation is maintained, the warm tingle quickly moves up my legs until the current hits my fuse… “box” and then waves of electricity cascade through my body.. all the way to my fingertips and the top of my head. On a lucky day, this will happen multiple times. In very simple terms that is my orgasm.
Why am I talking about this? BECAUSE I CAN. I was raised in a very religious, high control group. You’ve probably heard of them- Jehovah’s Witnesses. When sex was brought up it was about the DON’Ts of sex. Don’t have sex before marriage. Don’t masturbate. Don’t have gay sex. Don’t have oral sex. Don’t have sex with someone you are not married to (which of course excludes threesomes, orgies and the like).
And then they quoted disturbing scriptures like Ezekiel 23:20 which says, “She lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose semen was like that of horses”. So yes, one of my first lessons on sex involved donkey balls and horse semen and even then I’m not sure what the lesson was supposed to be. I remember having the “birds and bees” talk with my mother but all it really consisted of was “boys have penises and girls have vaginas”. I don’t think she even mentioned the actual mechanics.. how the penis and vagina worked in concert to achieve this thing called “sex”. Not to mention how vaginas worked with vaginas, fingers, dildos, etc. And anal sex or oral sex weren’t even on the radar. Of course gay/lesbian sex was not discussed except to point out that that was sinful. I was also told that masturbation is a no-no, but I didn’t get a clear explanation of what masturbation was. I was so sheltered that I didn’t even know until I was a teenager, that I even had another hole down there and had no clue the joys of the clitoris. When my mother had The Talk with me she did say not to touch down there except for when I peed or bathed and NEVER let anyone else touch me in that region. I was too young at the time to even know why a person would touch down there if not to pee or bathe so I accepted it with no questions… but it wasn’t even my job to ask such questions. It’s a parents job to preemptively address the feelings that will eventually come up.
Unfortunately when I got older and started to have urges.. I was completely ignorant as to what I should do about those feelings both physically and psychologically. This is what religion does to a lot of young people. We’re taught to wait until we get married to have sex and in the mean time receive no advice on how to deal with our hormones.
Eventually most of us find ourselves in a sexual situation and are completely unprepared for what’s going to happen. I’m not just talking condoms and bodily fluids, but also the emotions. Many of us aren’t exclusively heterosexual or are sexually fluid so our ignorance is confounded with confusion.
I was a devout Christian. I wanted to “save” myself for marriage even though at age 21, I found myself very horny. I moved out of my parent’s house that year and I remember seeing my first porn. (Hallelujah for the internet).
Sadly though, aside from the horse semen scripture and my mother’s inadequate sex talk, porn was my first real sex education. Let me restate that: porn was my first real sex education. I don’t know if it was my age or the freedom of not living with my parents or if it was the fact that I started college that year and found myself around “men”, but my libido shot through the roof! Along with secular education (biological anthropology, cosmology, etc.), my sex drive is another big reason I became an atheist. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that at the end of 2001 I was more concerned with sex than I was with God, but, I assumed I could repent later and all would be well.
So.. I did it and it was fabulous. Orgasms were fun and I wanted a lot of them. As luck would have it, I met a nice atheist man. He was cute and also brilliant. I wasn’t concerned with his disbelief in God, I was a Jehovah’s Witness after all, I’d just convert him. That obviously didn’t work out as planned. We ended up taking several classes together and I suddenly had someone who helped make concepts like evolution plausible! And I got to have sex with him! I felt like a very lucky girl. I ended up marrying that atheist man (to my parent’s dismay) and we’re still together 14 years later and I’m still in awe of him.
Even after I shrugged off my god-belief, I still had sexual hang-ups. I didn’t masturbate until several years into my marriage because I thought it would be “icky” and I was embarrassed by the concept. Yes, I had watched porn, but that’s all.
Luckily, I got over that. I now consider myself “sex-positive” which is “an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is ‘an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation’ […]”. The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference”. (For a different take on the term “sex-positive” check out Heina’s blog on it.)
Growing up in a restrictive religious environment where sex was only spoken of in hushed tones or as sinful, while also putting absolute restrictions on masturbation and homosexuality is unacceptable and unhealthy.
Still, I’m thankful for my libido and orgasms helping to override my concern with “God”. They ultimately helped lead me to my atheism.