When I was twelve I began meeting with my bishop to seek forgiveness for masturbating. The guilt and shame I felt daily was crippling and I just wanted it to go away. As a young girl in the church, I was constantly reminded that my temptations were completely unnatural and that only men were supposed to be susceptible to this vice. I learned to deeply hate myself. I met with the bishop off and on for a couple of years and I eventually was granted forgiveness and told I would never have to discuss the issue again.
When I was seventeen I began dating my now-husband. Though we went to extreme lengths to keep the law of chastity I was constantly interrogated and harassed by church leaders. In temple recommend interviews I always received extra questioning and probing about whether I kept the law of chastity or not.
Our long courtship raised the eyebrows of countless leaders when we entered college. Bishops would inform me that I needed to meet with them weekly so that they could question me about our nonexistent sex life. It was at this point that I began to realize how inappropriate this was. My leaders overstepped their bounds, made assumptions about me, and never gave me an ounce of the trust I blindly gave them.
When I was made to meet with the stake president for no reason other than my engagement was longer than six months, he harassed me about the foundation of our relationship and insisted that after dating for 3 years I should know if I liked my fiance or not. When the time came to get my recommend for my sealing the stake president asked me the question about chastity five different times, rephrasing it in increasingly inappropriate ways, expressing his disbelief that I was telling the truth in saying that we lived the law of chastity.
After getting married I expected everything to come easily and for the emotional suppression, guilt, and shame, that I had instilled in myself to somehow evaporate. However, I found that even when within the bounds of matrimony I could only associate sexual matters with shame. Though I’ve been married for nine months and my husband has been exceedingly patient and kind, I still struggle with sexual intimacy.