Just like many other young women in the church, I was specifically taught from a young age that my worth was dependent on my purity.
Young women are taught that we are responsible for young men’s thoughts and actions. I was taught that if I dressed immodestly that I was “walking pornography” to the men around me.
To tell a 12 year old girl that older boys/men are constantly viewing her sexually…How sick is that?
Interviews with a bishop as a young woman terrified me. We’re taught that through the “power of discernment” he would know if we lied… And although I never confessed to masturbation (I didn’t even know what it was until college), I was so afraid that he would think I was lying.
In my late teen and early adult years, I had a number of boyfriends that I kissed, made-out with, etc. and some of them ended our relationships because they were feeling too “tempted” (sexually repressed) and it caused me to feel a lot of shame and guilt that I wasn’t supporting them enough in their preparation to serve missions.
After I was married, I had no idea how to express my own sexual needs to my husband and I felt guilty for wanting to enjoy sex with him. We are in a much better place now, but it’s hard to break down those walls.