The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. – Anna Quindlen

 - The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself. – Anna Quindlen

Pleasure Is Pain


Guest Post by Anonymous

She is everything I ever wanted.

She lays before me on the bed, naked and beautiful. Her skin glistens. The smile on her lips and the gleam in her eyes warmly invite me to join with her. She is a vision, a goddess, and deeply I love her. I want her.  She loves me. My head spins.

There is only one thing I want more than to touch her, to feel her, to join with her. That one thing is to make this all go away, so that I don’t have to deal with the confusion, shame, frustration and futility I feel when it comes to sex.

Sex is supposed to be simple. Animal simple. Somewhere along the way the simple became very, very complicated and it’s too tangled for me to unravel it. Oh, how I have tried.

When I was yet innocent, when I was far too young to understand, before I felt the hormone-filled instinctual pull, before urge ever colored fantasy, I was direly warned of the eternal dangers of sex. I was told it was too sacred to use, and too evil to think about.  I didn’t quite understand the “sacred” part, but the message was crystal clear: sex is bad, shameful and dangerous. I was not to go near anything related to genitals and sex, not even in thought. And if thoughts were bad, action was MUCH worse. My parents were conveying the warning of God entwined with their own fear and shame to the pure mind of a young boy. They did this to protect me from Satan, God and myself. Satan wanted me to suffer for eternity, but I know now God was much worse.

The programming, the stern warnings, the ambiguity and the shameful secret of sex embedded themselves in my psyche, just as intended, just as designed. These energetic seeds of fear and shame soon mixed in the primal urges of biology. Physically, everything came on line on perfect schedule, creating a rift in my soul I have yet to comprehend. I began to awaken to erections, my body began to betray my programming. Somehow my body sensed what my innocent mind could not, the swelling needed release. I had no idea what would or how to relieve it; hell, I wasn’t even supposed to THINK about it.  I began to notice girls. My thoughts and body betrayed me.  Sex pitted me against myself and others. Instead of growing up, I grew apart. Religion created a schism within and I became the adversary of myself.

My parents had, in unspoken ways, made it clear that this was not to be discussed. I had nowhere to turn, no one to talk to. I was a freak. Instead of appreciating and owning my natural desires, I felt guilty and dirty. As such, I was a creature of contempt. Shame, lust and pain intertwined in the formative years.

Guiltily and powerlessly I lusted after nearly all feminine creatures.  But they were to remain on invisible pedestals.  They were to be protected from people like me. And God forbid if I should fall to temptation and “defile” them and take what could never be restored.  To do this would be to commit a sin “next to murder.” My entire eternal salvation was at grave risk. I was sick.

All this energy and confusion had no outlet. Frustration gave into anxious, guilt ridden angst desperately seeking relief. In secret and in shame, I masturbated. Every beautiful girl of TV, movies or school and every possible fantasy flashed in horrible brilliance before my mind’s eye. I wanted each of them, all of them and yet they were not people, but objects of desire, of seduction, of destruction.

What a monster I was!

I never put the thought into words but if one of them were to actually want me, then they were a monster worse than I; they would seduce me to hell. The enormous attraction I felt was stayed and balanced by repulsion.

Within and without, all around me, hormones raged. Stories of people who actually did “it” reached my ears, making me think thoughts and feel things I wasn’t supposed to think or feel.  My lust nearly burned. I was a slave to desire that I could admit to no one. I could never reveal what a monster I was without feeling even more guilt and shame than I felt now. If I were to fall, I would have the grave misfortune of confessing to the bishop, who was my own father. I had zero frame of healthy reference to compare myself to. I wasn’t normal; I was supposed to be a saint, one of the elect! Sex was frustration! I wanted nothing to do with it and yet I secretly wanted it more than anything else.

The war raged and ravaged, in private and secret.

Years passed to my later teenage years. The schism grew. I begin to rebel. With my girlfriend of over a year, my drunken hands went a little too far. Some sort of barrier had been crossed. I rallied my strength and retreated in shame and fear, vowing not to be a threat to one of Heavenly Father’s daughters again. I couldn’t close the door I’d entered no matter how I tried, but I made sure to stay away from sex and intercourse. I knew there was no going back from that.

She didn’t have the same resolve. One night she took me to a secluded spot. She had something to tell me. The air was heavy. “You’re my best friend,” she said as she began to sob. “I cheated on you.” She cheated on me.  My heart broke. I wasn’t good enough, somebody else was. Irreversible damage had been done. Once virginity was gone, it could never come back. Her betrayal was clearly MY fault. It was me who opened this door. It was my inner corruption that had led her down this path of sexuality into the jaws of betrayal. I deserved this. I deserved to suffer. I was a monster and I deserved this agony that was now mine.

The unflinching reality created pain I could not escape. Pain stabbed my heart and frantic thoughts sent my head spinning. The only way to deal with the agony was to minimize it, to forget it. I would not allow myself to think of it. I suppressed it, made up a story that it didn’t actually happen. She had exaggerated. It never happened. She had confessed to more than she did. Everything will be OK.  Oh, how much better those thoughts felt. In repression and willful ignorance I succumbed to denial.

I had to change. I needed to repent. I needed to get right with myself and God.

I did what everyone always said I should do. I confessed my sins and went on a mission. I would serve the Lord who forgave my horrible sins. I took the years of my sexual prime and gave it to the God that allowed my girlfriend’s virginity to go to another. Any time sex came into consciousness, it was mixed with the familiar guilt and shame but now, it was mixed with the pain of betrayal and the condemnation that it was my fault. Nobody could ever want me.

I served a mission in Brazil. Sex was around me. It was everywhere. The girls were beautiful and forward. Pornographic pictures caught my attention on newsstands. But now, I knew, sex was something to be avoided and desire something to be endured.

Two years passed. I had served God and he offered escape from my sexual hell in the form of sexual paradise that my people called “Eternal Marriage.” I followed the counsel to marry soon upon return and the “revelation” that I should marry my girlfriend of several years.

Our wedding night came and as it was consummated, I immediately fell ill. There was no resistance to my entry, and the wall of denial I had built came crashing down. I felt sick. Dizzy. It was too late to go back. I had covenanted with God. I was in this for Eternity. I vomited as if to flush the emotional toxicity out of my system. I laid in bed for 3 days of my honeymoon.

I came to terms. Sex would be the payoff.  I could have sex any time I wanted now. But she didn’t seem interested?! What to me was liberation was to her a necessary chore and I couldn’t understand why. It HAD to be me. She had given herself to the one she wanted. I was left to pay the price. I wanted to die. I was in hell.

We worked on our friendship instead of passion. We stopped fighting or trying to understand one another. Seventeen years passed by in banality and despondency. I gained weight and lost ambition and respect. I became depressed. My lust for life, my ambition, were tools of disappointment. I would just learn not to feel.

Emotional blankness was punctuated by agonizing thoughts, late in the night. I could not be saved. I cried for the Savior to redeem me. To help me forgive her, to forgive myself. This couldn’t go on, but I forgot about it. Numb became normal. My passion came out politically—I was liberal. I felt for the poor and oppressed. I saw the greed and corruption of the conservative right. And it was sanctioned and encouraged by God’s Church.

I must have realized on a subconscious level that it was time to wake up. The realization that the Church produced bigots became as clear as the stains I had felt upon my soul. While defending the Church I encountered life changing information. I had been lied to. Everything I suffered, all my major life decisions had been based on LIES. I suffered in silent agony for years. FOR NOTHING!!! Not only had I been robbed, I had been PUNISHED for it.

I withdrew to process the anger but my wife saw it as more depression. Because we didn’t talk and she put on a happy face, the same numb one I had become accustomed to, I didn’t realize she was heading out of the marriage. And once again, she cheated on me. She ended the marriage. I had nothing left. In a flash, I was reduced to ashes and hopelessness. My life was a sham. It had been wasted. Lost. Ruined. I resolved not to let that be the end of me.

I’ve always been a fighter. I vowed not to let the Church or any person define my life. Externally I was free. I could have sex and do anything I had ever imagined, but sex was the last thing I wanted. Sex was confusion, frustration… It was slavery.

I craved feminine attention. I was safe. Women sensed that I wasn’t after them for just for gratification, they sensed my genuine openness of heart and suddenly I had value in a sea of predatory pricks and lazy losers. I was wanted and it felt good but I wanted nothing to do with them—not that way, anyway. I just needed feminine energy to soothe my wounds and to re-inflate my ego. Half-heartedly and with a detached curiosity I indulged once or twice. I felt no guilt, but I felt no relief. It felt hollow. Meaningless. I felt lonely. I felt lost.

I stopped trying so hard and asked the Universe for THE ONE I had been looking for all along. Magically, she came along and rocked my world—connected with me on every level. This should be where the nightmare ends. But part of me has been lost in the damage of it all. I have no lust anymore. If it didn’t die in the fire, I lost it in the traumatic aftermath, and I sure wish I could find it, because everything I ever wanted is right here in front of me and I can’t quite lose myself in union with her. I want to more than anything, except perhaps for this to all just go away.

There are times where I feel love so strongly, where I get out of my head and my body takes over. I have experienced bliss I could not have imagined. But there are times where my head will not silence itself and the echoes and fears of old come between me. My pained frantic mind takes over my body and it travels from the vision of paradise who lays before me to my personal hell and back again, in nano seconds. I have no heart nor will to even TRY to explain all that happens within me to those loving eyes that have never lost their flame. And I dare not believe that I am wanted, because I can never face being unwanted or replaced, again. That would take everything I have left.

Yet, I am a fighter. This is the first time I have ever shared this story, with anyone, including her, including myself. Maybe through this, I can unwind it all and find the part of myself that has missed out and is missing.

Category: Ex Mormon, Sex
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  • Jill Searle says:

    I read your story and relate to it on so many levels. I first think of my own life and the teachings I absorbed from church, parents and well intended adults in my life. Then I turn and think of the lessons I’ve consciously or unconsciously passed on to my own children.

    I left the church while my kids were still young; I made conscious efforts to talk about sex in a far more liberal and open way than they were hearing from their dad and the church. They got very different messages from both sides. Hopefully this gave them choice and freedom from guilt.

    Good luck to you as you untangle the messages that have been passed on to you. It sounds like you are in a good place right now and have the opportunity to rebuild. Thanks for sharing; you are insightful and courageous. Someone is lucky to have you in their life. xoxo

    June 20, 2013 at 6:42 am
  • Lorraine says:

    Hearing a man’s point of view of sexual desire and lusting over God’s virginal vessels is enlightening. I never considered how a young man would feel guilty for defiling a daughter of God. As women, we received all sorts of lessons about licked cupcakes and how we were responsible for the young men’s immoral, though totally normal, thoughts. Getting a different perspective has really helped me see things differently about my own life.

    Thanks for sharing your very personal and powerful story with us.

    June 20, 2013 at 11:42 am
  • Miss O says:

    This was beautiful and thanks you for sharing your journey of uncovering the pain. I’ve read so many stories from exmormon males about their sex-less marriages and I understand it from a female side. The lack of passion and drive is stemmed from shame and self-hate that is taught from the Church and the culture. It’s very eye opening to see it from the male side.

    I’m so glad I got my children out young and we talk about sex in a healthy way. Our sexual expression is a huge part of soul and can be tainted and defiled with garbage like the Church teaches. Good luck to you and the unwinding of the toxic programming. <3 Thank you for sharing.

    June 21, 2013 at 7:35 am