As a teenager, I had a healthy interest in sexuality and had sexual feelings. I masturbated, which I now recognize was normal behavior for a teenager, but I also was so guilt ridden about it, it actually made me sick. I tried so hard to stop, but my hormones were just too strong. For weeks, I would get physically ill and have nightmares when I “gave in”. I dreamed I was running through a field, and the voice of God would thunder overhead and I would be struck by lightning. I dreaded going to bishop’s interviews. I dreaded it when temple trips were planned. Going to church made me feel dirty and ashamed. I felt weak and undisciplined. Eventually, I accepted that this just felt good, and I didn’t want to stop. I also questioned why it was wrong, but was too ashamed to voice that question to anyone. At that point, I just lied to my bishop. It made me sad to lie, and it made me feel awful, but I didn’t know what else to do.
No one should have to be ashamed of their sexual feelings when they are perfectly normal. I plan on teaching my children that masturbation and sexual feelings are normal and nothing to be ashamed of. I spent years wondering if I would eventually be damned because of my “indiscretions”. Every time I had a temple recommend interview, I felt guilty and that I maybe should disclose my activities to my bishop. Now, as a middle aged woman, I’m so glad I didn’t. My youthful hormones are NO one’s business. It’s terrible that the church has made me feel this way for years, but I’ve come to accept I did nothing wrong.