As a girl, I never heard any messages directed to the young women about masturbation, which made me feel like I must be especially bad because I couldn’t stop doing something that seemingly no other young women had a problem with.
I prayed and begged god to help me stop, to take away my desire to sin, to give me strength, but I would always give in and do it again.
I was never asked about masturbation as a young woman though. And I never had the courage to confess. So when the bishop would ask me whatever general question he asked about the law of chastity, I would say that I was keeping it and he would give me the recommend but I never felt worthy. I would go to do baptisms for the dead because I didn’t want everyone to know I was unworthy, but that made me feel even more guilty.
When I started dating, my boyfriends and I would engage in some heavy petting and I would feel guilty and go to the bishop to confess. One of those times, I was given The Miracle of Forgiveness, which solidified my belief that masturbation was evil and that I was a bad person because I couldn’t stop doing it.
I got married young and was ashamed of my sexual desire. I didn’t know how to turn the shame off when I was with my husband. I didn’t know how to tell him what I liked because it made me feel dirty and shameful, so our sex life was unsatisfying and I continued to masturbate and feel guilty about it.
We hadn’t been married in the temple and when I met with our bishop to ask about getting a recommend to go to the temple and be sealed, he asked me if I ever masturbated. I said that I did. He asked me how old I was when I started, what caused me to start, what situations would lead me to do it, and how often I did it. Then he told me that I couldn’t go to the temple to be sealed until I had stopped and repented. We had wanted to be sealed on our 1 year anniversary but he didn’t allow it until months after that.
20 years later, I still felt like a terrible, unworthy person because I would masturbate on occasion, especially after my divorce. I suffered with suicidal ideation from my early teens to my late 30s partly because of this mentality. It still affects me today as I’m still trying to recover from so many years of shame.