The Sacred and The Profane: ‘Sexual Relations’

As stated in previous entries, I was raised in a conservative Baptist family that believed in the “abstinence-only” approach regarding sex education. All of my knowledge regarding the actual facts of human reproduction and sexuality came to me via my secular public schools, and to this day I’m grateful that I grew up in a progressive city that made  such an environment possible.

With that said, the teachings of my family and my faith regarding sexuality proved to be a formidable obstacle on my path to developing a healthy view of my own body and desires.  My awakening body was giving me messages that were completely at odds with what my elders told me. To even look at the opposite sex and feel desire, to want to touch and kiss someone, to want to feel his hardness pressed against you and your legs wrapped around his waist-to have those thoughts and desires was to commit the sin of lust. And lust would lead you down the dark, wicked path of fornication, which meant you would no longer be pure and honorable to God and your family. A girl who wasn’t a virgin had devalued herself, was ‘used goods’, ruined, a slut, whore, jezebel, hoochie mama, and a tramp. If you wanted to be a good girl, you had to wait. Now the Bible said that marriage bed was undefiled, of course, so you were free and clear to have sex once you were married. Looking back I laugh at that part. They indoctrinate you into thinking of sex as such a negative and sinful thing, yet expect you to do a mental 360 once you say “I do”!

The teachings of our religion and the reality of puberty created a volatile combination, which led me to become a walking embodiment of the Virgin-Whore complex at times. Like the girls discussed in my previous entry, I led a double life. But my undercover existence went beyond clothes and makeup; it wound through the sexual wonderland that my elders foolishly thought they could keep me away from. Seeking to experiment but fearful of judgment and consequences at the same time, I created an underworld with different rules. Since letting the dick of anyone other than my future husband inside of me would be a grievous sin, as a”good girl” I had to avoid vaginal intercourse. But everything else was fair game, and I went hard in that game!

Making out, getting fingered and felt up, dry humping and giving blow jobs were all acts that I(along with and other “good girls” of church backgrounds that I knew) gleefully participated in during our youth. And through it all we managed to tell ourselves that it was all okay because at least we were still virgins. Like former President Bill Clinton, we told ourselves that what we were doing somehow didn’t count as ‘sexual relations’. It only counted as sex-and therefore the sin of fornication-if there was vaginal penetration by a penis.

In creating this dichotomy, this split personality, I was able to bear-temporarily at least- the massive burden that had been placed on my young, fragile shoulders in regards to sexuality. In church I could appear to be all that my elders wanted me to be-sitting in the pews at the front of the church and listening attentively to the sermon,meek and modest, legs tightly crossed at the knee and covered by a lap scarf so that my Christian brothers wouldn’t be tempted by the sight of them. Yet away from that environment I could be a completely different person-listening with intense satisfaction at the  moans that escaped my boyfriends lips when I stood nude in front of him,tangling the same legs I hid from view in church around his slim waist, and smirking at the control that I had over him.

I look back at those days and sigh wistfully. Thankfully I’m no longer that conflicted soul. I have no need to pretend for anybody, nor do I need to lie about what and who I am. Coming to this epiphany allowed me to become fully empowered regarding my sexuality and develop a more sensible, moderate and safe approach to it.There is no longer a struggle to reconcile the sacred with the profane, for I now realize that there was nothing profane, wicked or sinful about my body and my sexual desires to begin with.

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