My bishop started asking about masturbation at age 14. The interview I remember most vividly was my 14th birthday interview to advance in the priesthood. I don’t remember much about the interview except toward the end he got very serious and asked, “do you masturbate?” At the time I did, but there was no way in hell I was going to share my sexuality with my neighbor, even if he was the bishop. So I lied and told him, “No”. He asked again, and again I told him, “No”. He asked a THIRD time, this time with much more intensity, “DO YOU MASTURBATE?” Again, I told him No. At that point he became flustered and appeared angry with me, but stopped asking.
For me bishop’s interviews were only part of the equation. There was an immense amount of shaming in weekly Sunday lessons. During my 14-16 teen years I remember numerous lessons specifically on masturbation and nothing else. At that time it was a 4-5 teen boys, including me, and one male teacher in the room. Even at that time I was creeped out by it, but I didn’t feel like I could leave.
I had NO CLUE masturbation was normal. Because of written and verbal rhetoric of leaders and church teachings at the time (1980’s-1990’s) I thought masturbation was as evil as murder and I LOATHED myself because of these intense feelings that would not go away no matter what I did. I fought this needless shame until I got married. Masturbation was not part of my marriage, but it greatly impacted my sexual attitudes and behaviors. I was so repressed I almost imploded. I still thought sex was dirty on some level and would only do the missionary position and nothing else for the first few years. Fortunately, early in our marriage we moved past the church’s destructive thought patterns as a couple, and basically kicked the church out of our bedroom. When we transitioned out of Mormonism 15 years later our intimacy blossomed as it never could stuck in an oppressive religion.