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Abstinence and the "Purity Propaganda" Can Harm Youth

The following is from the Liberated Christians Forum, but may be of interest to others I combined some various posts here as he was getting a lot of support from ministers and others on the Liberated Christians Forum.

I'm a 29 year old man and a virgin. I was raised in a strict Baptist environment from Christian junior high all the way through to Christian college. I was taught, and believed with all my heart, that any kind of sexual expression outside of marriage was sinful, and that many forms of sexual expression were never even to be thought about or practiced.

I spent all those years struggling with a very high sex drive and a love/hate relationship with masturbation. It might sound silly for a 29 year old virgin to suggest he has a high sex drive, but with very rare exception I have pleasured myself at least once, often many times, every day since the first day I discovered how. Over the past 16 years I can count on one hand (no pun intended) the days I missed doing it at least once. Most days were 2-3 times, some days I lost count. You can imagine the guilt I felt with such a sex drive in a repressive environment. The fact that I have had explicit fantasies from early childhood, before I even knew what sex was, and the fact that I have a creative and kinky mind (yes, you can be kinky by yourself) never helped matters. In fact on many occasions they made me feel utterly crushed, a worthless and defeated Christian.

Some time (quite a few years actually) after college my godmother sort of confronted me about not dating much and asked if I ever had sex. That opened the door to a conversation about sex and purity. We debated for quite some time, as she was much more liberal minded on such matters than I. The debate ended with my promising to prove to her, from scripture, that sex outside of a man/woman marriage was sinful.

I began to study and prepare for our next debate. The Christian college I had attended actually did a very good job of teaching me logic, research, and proper Biblical interpretation. They just didn't follow the principles they laid out whenever the topic came to sex. But I did follow those principles. One by one, slowly but surely, I watched every single "moral" I had been taught about sex over the years crumble to pieces. I never debated her a second time. She was right, and though it took a long while for me to realize just how right, I knew it to some degree early in my studies.

I actually found this site (libchrist.com) and board pretty late in my studies. On my own I had come to many of the same conclusions, though this site has helped liberate my thinking even more.

I hope to join in the community for three reasons. One is that I think it's important to work towards dispelling the myths. I have a tremendous amount of pain and regret left over from the "purity propaganda" I was brain washed with. I've lost so many opportunities to be intimate with women, and suffered so much pain thinking Jesus hated my fantasies and desires. People shouldn't have to endure these false burdens, and they shouldn't have to choose between their desire for sex and Christ.

Two, I seek the support and fellowship of believers. I haven't attended church in a very long time because I can no longer bear the judgemental attitudes and false teachings. Yet I still long for fellowship.

Third, I'm still struggling greatly in a practical manner with sex and intimacy. Intellectually I know I'm free. But practically speaking, I never really learned how to flirt, date, or be intimate with women. I have fantastic friendships with women, but that's it. Over the past year I've met a lot of new people (moved, new job), but those friendships have just emphasized the fact that there's something different about how I relate to women. Friends I've never confided in about any of this, friends I've never admitted my virginity to, none the less sense that I'm "in a shell", that I don't have romantic relationships or date for some reason they don't understand.

My sex drive is so high that to continue to struggle with this after knowing my freedom is pure hell. I want to experience everything about sexuality, from the romantic and tender to the intense and kinky. I have so many fantasies and interests I've lost count. I need help and prayer in moving from an akward, repressed state to a healthy, adjusted state where I can express, share, and enjoy my sexuality.

So many Christians pretend that abstinence education is a way to "save" children from the "terrible consequences" of sex. Sometimes irresponsible sex does have difficult consequences. But the consequences of "sexual purity" are down right cruel. My pain, regret, and anger are bad enough. I can tell you stories about friends who ended up with much worse (cold marriages, divorce, self hatred, etc).

I've also slowly, carefully, introduced what I now believe to close family members and friends. The responses have been interesting. Some are actually open to the ideas, though they have their doubts. I think some good books, including the ones already out there, might finally convince them. Others soundly reject the ideas, and probably wonder if I have some sort of evil "sex addiction." Oh well...

You are right that part of my problem is shyness driven by lack of experience. I struggle with sharing my past with others though. I suppose part of the reason for my long introduction is my need to share and discuss it more. But being "the virgin" in a group isn't necessarily an enviable position. Just imagine the jokes...

Another problem is my age group. In my experience in my area, people in their late 20's are already "taken". They're either in serious relationships or married. And Christian or not, they're not necessarily liberated in thought. (Or if they are, they're not sharing that part of their lives with me yet.) I struggle to meet *single* women where I could even try to form more intimate relationships. Maybe I just need to get out and meet even more people, I don't know.

I am open with my friends about the meeting singles part. But everyone they know is also taken. Some have suggested Internet dating sites. I guess I don't have much confidence in that approach.

I'm told there's no reason why I shouldn't be dating, that I am attractive and a great person to be around. But on a deeper level I know that one fundamental problem is the signals I send, the way I behave. What few opportunities do come my way, I seem to mess up.

I very much like your last line, it is true. Perhaps my fundamental problem is that I have yet to fully integrate my sexuality with me. I spent so many years telling myself that my sexuality was just part of my sin nature that I sort of created a mental divide. I guess I still don't see myself as a "sexual being", even though I want to.


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