When I was a young teenager, I had a bishop ask me if I masturbated. I wasn’t even sure what that meant. I don’t completely remember how I responded. I just know I was thrown off guard and felt terrible about the question. I was already nervous about going to interviews for the first time and had expressed as much to other leaders and fellow youth, but everyone swore up and down that there was nothing to be afraid of as long as I was “being a good girl.”
This same bishop on another occasion told me that many men would want to be my husband because I was an attractive girl. I tried to keep myself calm by saying it was supposed to be a compliment, but it made me feel terrible. I still do. I spent so many years terrified of being a temptress. I somehow got it in my head that until I could completely eradicate sexual thoughts from my mind that I was “impure” and unworthy of temple blessings and marriage. I mentioned this to a bishop in my singles ward years later and he just laughed at me. He didn’t tell me “no, you’re not a bad person for having sexual thoughts.” He just laughed. It took years of hard work to change my mindset so I could have a healthy attitude about sexuality.