Angry, Angry Sex (actually, angry ABOUT sex, but the first is much more compelling, no?)

Tonight I’m pissed.

Which I guess is a good reason to post this here, instead of over on my personal blog, where I try to be all nice and shit.

Because I don’t know how nice I can be tonight.

I run a lot.  And as I run, I listen to podcasts.  I find they give me something to think about besides the physical discomfort of running.  Tonight I ran four miles and listened to this Mormon Stories podcast about female sexuality within a Mormon framework.

And it seriously pissed me off.

Not the podcast itself.  The podcast was wonderful.  What pissed me was off how deeply it resonated with me.  Because the problems these women experienced were my problems.  Their shame was my shame.  Their hang-ups, my hang-ups.

At one point I found myself sprinting down the track, fueled by a terrible rage that still shocks me, both middle fingers raised in the air, shouting, “FUCK YOU!” to the sky.

(Don’t worry, the track was deserted, it was dark, and I was all alone.)

I don’t know who I was yelling at.  My mother?  My bishop?  My Young Women leaders?  That damned For the Strength of Youth pamphlet?

God?

Yeah, I’m pissed.   I’m seriously pissed.  I’m pissed that I was raised in a culture that made me believe my sexuality was bad.

I’m pissed that I reigned it in out of fear, out of shame, when I could have felt empowered and special and delighted by my body’s incredible capacity for expression and pleasure – even if I’d still decided to wait to share that gift until marriage.

I’m pissed that for years I regarded my clitoris as a shameful enemy, instead of the beautiful friend I now know it to be, that God Himself intended it to be.

I’m pissed that from the time I was 12, men in suits felt it was their business to ask me questions about my sexual experiences, and that I believed them, and that it never occurred to anyone older and wiser to ask, “What in the world makes this okay?”

Most of all, I’m pissed that I wasted years of my life hiding from this deeply divine aspect of who I was made to be, and that I haven’t yet emerged from my hiding place, not quite – even though I know that there is no strength is secrecy, no virtue in fear, that God’s will was nowhere near those awful messages I bought hook, line, and sinker.

So yeah, I’m pissed tonight.  And I think I have a right to be.

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About Katie L

Thirtysomething wife, mother, writer, runner, believer, and lover of good food and bad movies.
This entry was posted in Mormonism, Sexuality and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Angry, Angry Sex (actually, angry ABOUT sex, but the first is much more compelling, no?)

  1. Whitney says:

    The image of you alone on the track, flipping the bird to the universe…

    Righteous.

    And you should be pissed.

  2. katyjane says:

    1. You were running in the dark all alone where nobody could hear you holler? The mama bear in me is clucking her tongue at you. (Mama Hen?)

    2. More on the actual content later. But I love you dearly.

  3. Katie L says:

    Right? I totally should be.

    And flipping the bird to the universe? It was actually a spectacularly liberating moment.

  4. Katie L says:

    @Mama Hen, it’s not usually so deserted; there just didn’t happen to be anyone around at the time. A tender mercy, perhaps? 🙂

  5. Kullervo says:

    I’m pissed that from the time I was 12, men in suits felt it was their business to ask me questions about my sexual experiences, and that I believed them, and that it never occurred to anyone older and wiser to ask, “What in the world makes this okay?”

    Honestly, this is a–if not the–reason why I would be extremely reluctant to want to raise my kids in the Mormon Church. It seemed like it wasn’t a big deal at thetime, but in retrospect, it seems insanely abusive: middle-aged men asking pre-teens probing questions about their sexuality? There is nothing okay about that. Especially given the total lack of a tradition of clergy confidentiality.

  6. Katie L says:

    Here’s how I plan on handling that.

    When A turns 12, I sit down with the bishop and say as kindly as I can, “I know this might sound strange — and this has nothing to do with you or my level of trust in or respect for you — but I’m going to ask you to refrain from asking my daughter about sex. If she raises the issue herself, that’s one thing, but please don’t bring it up yourself. I will send you an email to this effect that I will expect you to respond to before you may interview her, so that I have it in writing that you acknowledge our boundaries and agree to adhere to them.”

    It is a disturbing, abusive, inhumane practice, and I cannot wait for the day it ends.

  7. Kullervo says:

    Nice. I think that’s a god way to handle it. Although I would be hesitant about any one-on one interviews with my kids behind closed doors.

  8. Katie L says:

    Agreed, it’s totally shady.

    Actually, I think the whole idea of interviews is pretty squirrelly, even when you’re an adult. It seems to be primarily a control issue, and that is unnecessary and unfortunate.

  9. Kullervo says:

    On an unrelated note, when you want to do some seriously angry sprinting, I suggest you listen to Slayer. Not a Mormon podcast.

  10. Katie L says:

    This one is good for that too — especially ‘cuz it builds…

  11. Jared C says:

    I was lucky enough to have my dad as a bishop until I was 14 and then as a stake president. And he is a clinical psychologist and generally one of the nicer people I know, so he knew how to deal with these issues without freaking people out (too much). But even then, or because of it, I didn’t feel the need to be completely candid about my sexual thoughts and experiences. The more I read about that issue the more concerned I am about my daughters potential experiences. I am divorced and have 3 daughters who are being raised in the church, which I am happy about for the most part. My oldest is 12 so I think I need to be very active in damage control on these issues.

    For me personally, eventually I just stopped having the guilt trips brought on by my LDS upbringing, mainly as I began accepting myself more and not taking myself so seriously, and understanding who God is and who I am.

    My girlfriend, who was an active Mormon into her thirties, but not as active in high school was not at all tolerant of the “disgusting” imagery used to describe “sinful” female sexuality and shares the anger and then some. When she served in young women she was very vocal about not repeating the “water bottle” and “cupcake” bullshit.

  12. ldsrevelations says:

    Great post. I listened to the podcast as well was and worry that my daughters will face the same issues. I’m a disaffected Mormon male. I didn’t quite have the same condition regarding sexuality in Church but experience issues in marriage with a believing active member due to both of our upbringings.

    It’s a hard sell for me with the Mrs. I am male, apostate and challenging the Brethren’s views on sex. How could I possibly be right?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  13. Kullervo says:

    This one is good for that too — especially ‘cuz it builds…

    SIGH. The Avett Brothers ≠ Slayer.

  14. Katie L says:

    Right, because The Avett Brothers > Slayer.

    OH SNAP. 😉

  15. Katie L says:

    It’s a hard sell for me with the Mrs. I am male, apostate and challenging the Brethren’s views on sex. How could I possibly be right?

    ldsrevelation, that’s a tough spot to be in. It wasn’t until a couple years ago, when I finally let myself question the authority of the church in all things, that I could bring myself to admit that damage had been done. Before then, I held it in tight — and even though some of that pain was seeping over the sides and trickling into every aspect of my life, I suffered in silence. I wouldn’t allow myself to consider the possibility that they were wrong about some of this stuff.

    The only thing I could “recommend” is to stay patient and loving. In the end, that’s about all you can do anyway — people change of their own accord and in their own time.

    Best wishes to you.

  16. Ms. Jack says:

    When I was taking the missionary discussions, we hit the fifth discussion, which covered the Law of Chastity. And the missionary asked me, “Will you keep the Law of Chastity?”

    I thought that the question was awkward and uncomfortable, and I was embarrassed that he brought it up. He was 19-21 years old, and I was 16-17. What gave him the right to ask me about my sexuality?

    I replied, “I’m pretty sure that I already keep the Law of Chastity.”

    This wasn’t good enough for him; I wasn’t following “the script.” So he completely ignored my response and repeated, more emphatically, “Will you keep the Law of Chastity?”

    Now I was really embarrassed, so I muttered a “yes” just so he would shut the hell up and move on. Looking back, it’s so odd to me that so many members of the church don’t understand how invasive and inorganic it is to have men grilling women about their sexuality—and in my case, there wasn’t even a clergy-penitent relationship beforehand. I barely knew this missionary, I remember disliking him before this incident, and I had been very vocal about my disinterest in joining the church.

    If my daughter is still attending the LDS church when she turns 12, I am definitely letting the bishop know that he can expect me as a chaperone for any interviews and he can forget about those LoC questions.

    I’ll have to listen to that podcast when I get the chance.

  17. Hermes says:

    I remember a moment in my spiritual journey precisely like the one you describe, Katie L., down to the detail of flipping the universe off. It was very exhilarating. Reading your post brought back the rush. Thanks!

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