You always heard about the boys that masturbate, and that always seemed more acceptable. Like it was something expected because men weren’t strong enough to control their urges. You never heard about the girls. And I figured out that it was something I enjoyed doing, and I did it. I knew it was wrong, but I had a hard time stopping. When I was a teenager, we got a new bishop. This started the inappropriate interviews. He would ask if I masturbated. I was mortified, and I straight up lied and said no. Then I would get the lecture on why it is bad. I would go home and feel completely disgusting. Not only was I committing this a grievous sin, I was lying to a man of God. When I started dating, the questions increased. Do you kiss your boyfriend? Do you kiss your boyfriend with tongue? Do you touch him or let him touch you above your clothes, do you touch him or let him touch you under your clothes? Do you make out, rub up against each other, do either of us get turned on? I left each interview (and I was the Mia Maid and Laurel President so I had more than the yearly interview) feeling like I was the worst person alive. I couldn’t quite place the guilt and self-loathing. I just knew that I was unworthy of love from anyone, especially my Heavenly Father. My prayers wouldn’t be answered, and anything bad that happened, I knew was directly related to my inability to follow the rules. I tore apart the razor I used to shave my legs, so It was just the small blade, and had a hiding spot for it in the shower. Almost every time I showered, without fail, I would pull that blade out and cut myself and cry. I don’t know why I did it, I felt like I needed to be punished, and I was hurting inside so bad, it was like I needed a physical manifestation of this pain. I continued to do this until my mid-twenties, even after I was married and had been through the temple.
As far as my relationship with my husband, I did what I was supposed to. I remained a virgin until we were married. But there were times before we were married that I wanted to have sex with him. I felt horrible that I even had that desire. A virtuous and worthy young woman wouldn’t allow herself to have those feelings. When we did get married, I still felt guilt. Now all those feelings I had that were sinful and horrible, were suddenly ok, and that was a hard shift to make. I still felt like no matter what I did, I wouldn’t be forgiven. During temple interviews we were asked if there was any sin we needed to confess of, and all I could think was, yes, I need to confess that I masturbated as a youth, and I let my husband touch my breasts before we were married. I still was convinced that these things that happened years before were staining my soul. After the birth of my twins I felt so much self- loathing and worthlessness that I swallowed an entire prescription of sleeping pills in a suicide attempt. After some counseling and medication I started to feel a little better, but then a fight with my father brought up all the feelings of worthlessness again a few years ago, and I once again attempted to take my life.
Even though I know now that there is nothing wrong with the things I did as a youth, and my relationship with my husband is amazing, I still am fighting those feelings. I am starting therapy yet again, to try and work through why, despite doing amazing things, and raising amazing children, I still feel like I have no value. And I know it all started in that closed office with that “Man of God” behind his stupid desk.