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The main reason for writing this post is because over the last two years, my views on sexuality have changed so drastically.  I firmly believe that conservative religions, including (and especially) Mormonism, are psychologically damaging to people because of their radical views on sexuality.  I really do think that people suffer real, measurable damage when they are taught since the time they are young such extreme views of how we should treat our reproductive organs.

Masturbation is a very natural phenomenon.  Young children masturbate long before they even understand anything about sex at all.  It's simply one of the functions of the body, just like eating and sleeping.  Telling a young person that they must never masturbate can be just as harmful as depriving them of sleep or food, aside from the fact that (as far as I am aware) it is impossible to die from masturbatory deprivation.

My parents never really talked about sex.  I always had the impression that it was a taboo subject in my family.  My dad sat me down once, when I was about 10 or so, and explained all of the mechanics to me, but that's about it.  I remember one time when I was fairly young my dad told me "don't play with yourself".  I don't believe I knew exactly what he meant at the time.  But, I do remember reading through the church's For the Strength of Youth pamphlet when I was roughly 12 or so and reading that masturbation is bad.  I had to look up what masturbation was in the dictionary.

I remember always feeling guilty whenever I masturbated.  This guilt was taught.  I was told to feel guilty whenever I pleasured myself.  I was told that these "procreative powers" are to be saved for marriage.  That masturbation cheapens the sexual experience that a man and his wife can share after they've been wed.  I remember trying as hard as I could to go for extended periods of time without masturbating.  I think the longest I ever went was about 6 months or so.  I'm sure I never made it to a full year.

Why would a loving parent do this to their child?  Why would you take your child and make them think that something that is so natural and so healthy is actually evil and they must feel guilt whenever they do it?  Why would want to torment your child psychologically by teaching them this?  I don't understand.  I have had a very difficult time understanding why my parents were always too scared to talk to me about sex, and why the information I did get from them was so harmful to me psychologically.  If you really love your child, won't you teach them to love themselves?  Won't you teach them that their bodies do certain things and that it's okay because that's the way their bodies were made?

Just think about how much harm you could do to your child if you taught them that eating vegetables was evil.  You teach them that they must never eat anything green until they get married.  They might have a craving for broccoli or spinach, but they must deny it and eat only carbs, protein, and fat.  Think of all of the vitamins and minerals you're depriving your child of because of this.  And think of all the damage you're doing to the child, who sees other children eating vegetables and doesn't understand why he can't have them too.  How could you do that to your own child?  So, why do you do that to your child in the matter of masturbation?  I really, truly do not understand.

The other matter is, of course, sexual orientation.  I was taught my whole life that homosexuality, just as masturbation, is evil and unnatural and that I must avoid it at all costs.  In fact, I was even taught that masturbation can cause homosexuality.  And, since I was taught this from a religious leader that I respected and trusted, I believed it.  In fact, I thought that was why I was gay.  I thought that I had caused my own homosexuality because I masturbated.  I was convinced that the attractions I felt for other guys was really just a perversion brought on by my obsession with my own genitalia and pleasuring them.  I was equally convinced that once I overcame my addiction to pornography and masturbation that I would again become straight.  This is all garbage.  Why would anyone want to fill their child's head with such nonsense?  How much confusion do you want to instill in your child?  Don't do this.

I feel that I am well on my way to recovery from Mormonism.  I no longer feel or believe any of the ridiculous, harmful propaganda that I was taught in my youth.  There is nothing harmful in masturbating.  In fact, it is very healthy.  It helps the body heal and relieve stress.  It is very pleasurable.  Boys are going to release sperm every so often anyway, because that's the way their bodies are made.  It may be in a wet dream or it may be through masturbation.  Some people even have spontaneous ejaculations.  And I believe that the responsibility of the parent is to teach their children that these things are all natural and that they should not be afraid of them.

I have also shed myself of the primitive idea that homosexuality is sinful.  I engage in homosexual acts with my lover all the time, and there is nothing dirty or evil about it.  It is beautiful and wonderful.  It feels great.  It is psychologically rejuvenating.  It brings the two of us closer together, and strengthens the love that we have for each other.  It is the most amazing thing that we do together.  It should never be considered evil or shameful or dirty.  It should be considered wonderful, lovely, and it should be encouraged.

People should have sex.  That's part of our biology.  That's the way we are.  More sex needs to be had.  We do such a good job at shaming people who have sex and don't hide it.  We use hateful words like "slut" and "whore".  But, there is nothing shameful about it.  It is a pleasant and healthy experience.

Also, it is extremely harmful to teach that everyone must fit the monogamy mold.  Some people simply aren't hard-wired to be in a committed, monogamous relationship.  Some people are happiest just jumping from one partner to the next.  As long as they're honest and open about what they're doing--and as long as they're safe and don't spread disease--there isn't anything wrong with that.  They shouldn't be shamed by being called names.  Having sex with lots of people isn't a bad thing.  It's just the way some people are.

And, personally, I think that one of the biggest reasons the divorce rate has gone up so much is that people who shouldn't be in monogamous relationship feel pressured into being in them because that's what society tells them.  Why make someone marry their partner when they just want to have sex a few times and then move on to another partner?  This just degrades the concept of marriage, it doesn't improve on it in any way.  I want to marry Conrad, and I would have already done so if it were legal.  But, I want marriage to mean something.  That's why I don't expect people to get married just so they can sleep with each other.  I expect people to get married only when they're sure that's what they want--when they can honestly commit themselves in monogamy to the person they're about to marry.  This is the best way to defend and protect marriage.  Don't require or expect people to get married prior to having sexual relations, because that just cheapens marriage.

And, yes, some people need to have sex before they get married, even if they're the marrying type.  Knowing that you're sexually compatible as well as simply having common interests can be an important part of the decision to marry.  You may be really good friends with someone, and you may share lots of things in common, but you might get to your wedding bed and find out that it's kind of awkward.  How does that help your marriage?  Maybe that's not important to you, or maybe you're sure you'll be compatible anyway.  I'm not saying everyone needs to have sex before marriage.  Maybe you want to wait til after marriage to have sex.  That doesn't bother me at all.  What bothers me is trying to fit everyone into that mold--saying that everyone should wait and that not waiting is evil.

Anyway, the moral of the story is love your body.  And teach your children to love their bodies.  The human body is amazing and can do many wonderful things.  Treat it right.  Be good to it.

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