I have many stories of shame from the Mormon Church. But one that sticks out, and pertains to this issue is this: I grew up in a prominent SLC Mormon ward. One day in YW they taught us about the important role us woman held in the church. We were the protectors of the men in our lives. It was our duty to protect them by refusing their advances. It was our responsibility to keep them pure and able to go on their missions. The Bishopric taught us that we held the power. In teaching and telling us this, it now became our problem and responsibility to keep the men worthy. It minimized our feelings and thoughts, and put immense pressure on us. It also took out the responsibility of men, and made their choices irrelevant and simply not accounted for. What I took away from this meeting is; that men have animal like sexual tendencies, and women do not. Women were built to be calm and in control, that we had the ability to stop sexual behaviors, and MUST.
Well, as you can imagine, I have struggled with enjoying sex my entire life. I always felt like there was something wrong with me. It was always a task, not something to enjoy with the person I loved.
A song from the play “Book of Mormon” describes it best. “Turn it off, like a light switch Just go click! It’s a cool little Mormon trick” I tried so hard to do this very thing. Turn off my feelings because I shouldn’t have them. I was supposed to protect the men in my life.
What an intensely confusing situation for a young woman. What shame it brought me every time I had feelings for someone. How I would torture myself with shame and guilt because I had sexual thoughts about my boyfriend. My mind was in constant torment and pain. I felt broken and out of control.
Needless to say, this meeting with the YW in my ward didn’t help anything, in fact, it probably made everything worse. A few girls got pregnant, a good majority of the youth had pre-marital sex. And so many have had broken marriages and miserably failed romantic relationships. I feel like we were set up to fail. I now wonder, what did the Bishopric tell the YM in my ward?