When I was 14, a counselor once asked me if I knew what masturbation was in a region dance interview. I said yes and he made me explain exactly what it was- he said if it made it easier I didn’t have to look at him when I said it. I told him it was touching yourself. When he asked if I had a problem with that, I said that I didn’t.. not anymore. I had masturbated before and felt guilty enough about it that I had stopped. He then stated he needed to talk to the bishop and see if I would be able to go to the temple that weekend with the YW. I went home and told my parents, they had heard it before because like I said I had been guilty and already confessed to them.. I was terrified. Not just of what would happen, but I was terrified of what would happen after. What would I tell an imaginary future husband? Mormon boys wanted-expected to marry virgins. Did masturbating count as losing my virginity? What if I could never get married in the temple? Would anyone even want me if I was not a virgin? I would be lucky if anyone ever decided they could overlook my sins.
That night the bishop called me to tell me I could go, but needed to see me. When I met with he bishop, he asked me how it started, where I masturbated and with what. He decided that I was forgiven and I went home.
I cried myself to sleep for years. Well into my 20’s I can’t fall asleep without the tv on because eventually I learned that could distract me enough to let me fall asleep. I absolutely despised myself. I was dirty and disgusting and unlovable. I never dated in high school and once I was in college, my first boyfriend pressured me into a lot sexually. And of course I didn’t say anything, I was lucky anyone would have me. I still have trouble saying no to men when it comes to sex. Still have trouble thinking I deserve to be loved.