Author Topic: For those that used to be religious  (Read 303 times)

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Offline shokenman

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For those that used to be religious
« on: October 28, 2014, 12:38:07 PM »
This is a question for those that used to be Christian or catholic, especially when they were a teenager.
Did you have this overwhelming guilt when you jerked off?
And if so, how did you handle it?
Did you feel it was a positive thing in terms of exercising control over your body in that way?

As for myself even when i was a christian i would jack off without guilt. 
know one guy (not a teenager) who says he managed to not masturbate by thinking about how it does not glorify God.

Offline One Above All

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2014, 04:45:05 PM »
I've never felt any guilt from masturbation that I can recall. Never came up in any religious-type things, so it wasn't a "sin", as far as I was concerned.
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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2014, 04:47:16 PM »
I was just afraid I would need a seeing eye dog. ;)
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2014, 06:33:39 PM »
No guilt of any kind regarding anything sexual. None. Even when I was religious, I figured  doesn't god have bigger things to worry about?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline jynnan tonnix

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2014, 08:14:51 PM »
I did, actually...even though I had not been what one might really call a believer for some time, the notion that sexuality was something shameful was still fairly strongly ingrained. And, having been raised Catholic, my parents were still in a position to make me go to confession at least periodically. But given that I was generally inclined by nature to stick to the straight and narrow, and had very little to confess to begin with, my conscience tried to compel me to include that in my confession while my sense of privacy (and shame) wouldn't let me. I think I once managed to mumble something about "impure thoughts" to the priest. But I never could fathom why it was that this was something which was appropriate for him to be privy to.

Offline Willie

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2014, 01:45:12 AM »
This is a question for those that used to be Christian or catholic, especially when they were a teenager.
Did you have this overwhelming guilt when you jerked off?

Yes, definitely. Discovering my sexuality was an enormously traumatic experience, partly because my religious upbringing implanted the idea that everything sexual was evil, ugly, sin that would lead to a well deserved place in hell, and partly because of being kept in a state of ignorance.

When I was about 5, my dad was building a house (our house, in fact), and while he was installing a toilet, I said something, I can't remember exactly what, about "mom's peewee" (the word "penis" was not yet in my vocabulary). My dad told me that girls don't have peewees. I was astonished by this revelation, and asked "Then how do they pee?". He explained that they have an opening that they pee through. They can't aim the way guys can, so they pee sitting down instead of standing up. My mental image at this point was something like the smooth featureless crotch of a Barbie doll with tiny hole to squirt pee through. Still pretty far from reality, but at least it was better than still thinking that girls have penises. This tidbit of information, plus the idea that sex is some kind of terrible evil thing that shouldn't even be spoken of, much less engaged in, constitutes the entirety of what I learned about sex from my parents. Everything else that I learned about sex as a kid, I learned from other kids.

I hit puberty completely unprepared for all those perfectly normal "dirty" thoughts and intensely pleasurable physical sensations. I had no idea what was normal or healthy or acceptable. My conception of "acceptable" was that none of it was acceptable. I thought I was some kind of freak. An abomination. I hated myself. I prayed about it and begged God to help me overcome it. I made a promise to God that I would stop jacking off and fantasizing. That lasted only a couple of days. I broke my promise to God. I hated myself even more. From about age 12 to 14, I had nearly constant thoughts of suicide, driven mostly by this sexual guilt. I was always dreaming up schemes about how to do it, and trying to summon the courage to follow through. Fortunately, I was never able to summon said courage. Unfortunately, that failure added to my self hate. I believed that I was evil. I believed that I deserved to die. I believed that the world would be a better place with an abomination like me gone from it. I hated myself so much that I didn't see suicide as an escape. I saw it as justice.

And if so, how did you handle it?

I didn't. It damn near killed me.

Did you feel it was a positive thing in terms of exercising control over your body in that way?

No. It has no redeeming value whatsoever. It's just cruelty.


Offline shokenman

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2014, 10:33:21 AM »
Thats an interesting story.  It obviously caused more problems for you than anything good.
How did you manage to get over it?



This is a question for those that used to be Christian or catholic, especially when they were a teenager.
Did you have this overwhelming guilt when you jerked off?

Yes, definitely. Discovering my sexuality was an enormously traumatic experience, partly because my religious upbringing implanted the idea that everything sexual was evil, ugly, sin that would lead to a well deserved place in hell, and partly because of being kept in a state of ignorance.

When I was about 5, my dad was building a house (our house, in fact), and while he was installing a toilet, I said something, I can't remember exactly what, about "mom's peewee" (the word "penis" was not yet in my vocabulary). My dad told me that girls don't have peewees. I was astonished by this revelation, and asked "Then how do they pee?". He explained that they have an opening that they pee through. They can't aim the way guys can, so they pee sitting down instead of standing up. My mental image at this point was something like the smooth featureless crotch of a Barbie doll with tiny hole to squirt pee through. Still pretty far from reality, but at least it was better than still thinking that girls have penises. This tidbit of information, plus the idea that sex is some kind of terrible evil thing that shouldn't even be spoken of, much less engaged in, constitutes the entirety of what I learned about sex from my parents. Everything else that I learned about sex as a kid, I learned from other kids.

I hit puberty completely unprepared for all those perfectly normal "dirty" thoughts and intensely pleasurable physical sensations. I had no idea what was normal or healthy or acceptable. My conception of "acceptable" was that none of it was acceptable. I thought I was some kind of freak. An abomination. I hated myself. I prayed about it and begged God to help me overcome it. I made a promise to God that I would stop jacking off and fantasizing. That lasted only a couple of days. I broke my promise to God. I hated myself even more. From about age 12 to 14, I had nearly constant thoughts of suicide, driven mostly by this sexual guilt. I was always dreaming up schemes about how to do it, and trying to summon the courage to follow through. Fortunately, I was never able to summon said courage. Unfortunately, that failure added to my self hate. I believed that I was evil. I believed that I deserved to die. I believed that the world would be a better place with an abomination like me gone from it. I hated myself so much that I didn't see suicide as an escape. I saw it as justice.

And if so, how did you handle it?

I didn't. It damn near killed me.

Did you feel it was a positive thing in terms of exercising control over your body in that way?

No. It has no redeeming value whatsoever. It's just cruelty.

Offline screwtape

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2014, 10:39:37 AM »
Did you have this overwhelming guilt when you jerked off?

I don't recall feeling bad while doing it.  I do recall dreading confession and feeling gross and humiliated while confessing.  I thought it was very uncomfortable and very pervy to have to describe my masturbatory habits to an elderly man while in a wooden box, or anywhere else, for that matter.  As a result, I never confessed to actually masturbating.  I confessed to "impure thoughts".  The priest would always tell me they were only a problem if I acted on them, which I never copped to.[1]  I figured, god knew what I meant.

I thought it was ridiculous, ascetic bullsht that it was forbidden in the first place.  I could not see the point.  I figured it was something cooked up by some sexually repressed creep in the middle ages.

And if so, how did you handle it?

Eh?  Like, which hand?  Oh, wait.  Never mind.

Right, so, I handled the guilt by using SPAG.  Because I could not see the sense in it, and I believed god was rational[2], I rationalized that god did not actually see it as a problem.  What great fortune!  What I want is coincidentally exactly what god wants too!  The sins I forgive are the sins god forgives too!  What an awesome god!

This was one of the things that eventually lead to me on my path to nonbelief.

Did you feel it was a positive thing in terms of exercising control over your body in that way?

I assume you mean abstaining from masturbation?  No.  I looked at it as a wasted opportunity.  I still do.  I wish I could quit my job to devote more time to it. 

 1. He must have missed jesus' "lust = adultery" speech in Matt.
 2. boy was I naive!
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Offline Emily

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2014, 03:53:39 PM »
I didn't feel any guilt when I did anything sexual as a teenager. Aside from being curious I was finding guys I thought were cute and just... did stuff. I figured, what the hell, right? I was raised in a very Pentecostal household and had to go to church camps where the girls were separate from the boys because (among other things) curiosity, and that made that curiosity even stronger.

When my husband and I were dating we were 17 and I was still religious, yet on the fence, and he was an atheist.When we first had sex he felt guilty because of it and I felt no guilt at all.
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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2014, 08:09:11 PM »
Had pretty much zero guilt about it until I became a Christian in my late 20s. Then I saw it as not necessarily shameful, but a matter of self-discipline; something to be avoided because god wanted me to be "pure".

That rationalizing didn't help much at all. Jettisoning that bit of uselessness along with my old faith was one of the immediate benefits of atheism.

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Offline Willie

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2014, 12:27:19 AM »
Thats an interesting story.  It obviously caused more problems for you than anything good.
How did you manage to get over it?

I got over it by completely re-evaluating who I was, what kind of person I wanted to become, and everything that I believed.

Imagine your beliefs as physical objects. You pluck them all out of your head and spread them out on a big table where you can look at them objectively, because they're no longer in your head, coloring your perception. Some of them are true, some are false. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Some align with who you are, some do not. Some align with the kind of person you want to be, some do not. You survey them all, then collect the ones you want to keep. The true ones, the beautiful ones, the ones that reflect your true nature, and the ones that reflect who you want to be. Then you walk away, leaving the rest behind.

That, metaphorically, is what I did, or at least tried to do the best I could. The process was partly self discovery, and partly self creation. And in the discovery part of that process, I found that when I looked at myself without the lens of indoctrination, what I saw were things like kindness, intelligence, curiosity, creativity, honesty, a sense of awe and wonder, an appreciation for beauty, a deep capacity to love, and a strong sense of right and wrong. Of course, I saw flaws too. I'm very introverted and insecure, which makes it hard for me to meet and interact with people. I don't handle stress well. I'm prone to anxiety. I try to always be rational, but sometimes react emotionally and end up saying things that I regret. That happens here sometimes. Sorry. But all in all, what I saw was a basically good person. A nice guy. Not a freak. Not an abomination. I stopped hating myself. In fact, I kind of like me. Including the sexual part.

Offline nogodsforme

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2014, 10:44:04 AM »
^^^Yeah! You are a good person. Period. Because of all the real life things you listed, not because you were "forgiven" by some mythical guy dying in a nasty way in the Middle East, or because you met some weird "purity standard" set up by desert tribes thousands of years ago.

One of the many positive things about atheism is this: you do not have to place your value as a human being in the hands of any mysterious supernatural beings described in some ancient books. Beings whose rules and judgments are random and inexplicable--and who can't even be shown to exist!
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline shokenman

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2014, 11:42:55 AM »
Beautifully written.  I think those that are suffering from guilt because of perceived sexual sin should read this.
As for myself I had a bit of guilt but nothing extreme.  I would think 'is this glorifying God?  is this what a good christian does?'.  Of course I no longer think that way.  Even if God exists, he has bigger fish to fry than someone who jacks off or visits a massage parlor for extras, or anything sexual for that matter.



Thats an interesting story.  It obviously caused more problems for you than anything good.
How did you manage to get over it?

I got over it by completely re-evaluating who I was, what kind of person I wanted to become, and everything that I believed.

Imagine your beliefs as physical objects. You pluck them all out of your head and spread them out on a big table where you can look at them objectively, because they're no longer in your head, coloring your perception. Some of them are true, some are false. Some are beautiful, some are ugly. Some align with who you are, some do not. Some align with the kind of person you want to be, some do not. You survey them all, then collect the ones you want to keep. The true ones, the beautiful ones, the ones that reflect your true nature, and the ones that reflect who you want to be. Then you walk away, leaving the rest behind.

That, metaphorically, is what I did, or at least tried to do the best I could. The process was partly self discovery, and partly self creation. And in the discovery part of that process, I found that when I looked at myself without the lens of indoctrination, what I saw were things like kindness, intelligence, curiosity, creativity, honesty, a sense of awe and wonder, an appreciation for beauty, a deep capacity to love, and a strong sense of right and wrong. Of course, I saw flaws too. I'm very introverted and insecure, which makes it hard for me to meet and interact with people. I don't handle stress well. I'm prone to anxiety. I try to always be rational, but sometimes react emotionally and end up saying things that I regret. That happens here sometimes. Sorry. But all in all, what I saw was a basically good person. A nice guy. Not a freak. Not an abomination. I stopped hating myself. In fact, I kind of like me. Including the sexual part.

Offline screwtape

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #13 on: October 30, 2014, 01:34:02 PM »
Even if God exists, he has bigger fish to fry than...

You'd think.  However, if you are omnipotent and omniscient and sort of omnipresent, then a minnow is as easily caught and fried as a whale.  There is no difference in them to you.  Literally everything can be your #1 priority.  You do not need to choose. Prioritizing is for mortals.  Having eccentric hang-ups about what a particular species of ape does with particular parts of its body is for gods.

This bears out scripturally too.  All sin is sin.  And the wages of sin is death. 



edit - removed confusing "Being"
« Last Edit: October 31, 2014, 07:24:41 AM by screwtape »
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Offline King_Me

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #14 on: October 30, 2014, 06:59:40 PM »
This is a question for those that used to be Christian or catholic, especially when they were a teenager.
Did you have this overwhelming guilt when you jerked off?
And if so, how did you handle it?
Did you feel it was a positive thing in terms of exercising control over your body in that way?

As for myself even when i was a christian i would jack off without guilt. 
know one guy (not a teenager) who says he managed to not masturbate by thinking about how it does not glorify God.

Well I was Catholic now I am Atheist.  I never had guilt though I suspect it's because I could just confess my "sins" and be all clean...  The guy you know might have been able too.  I have a friend who is asexual and simply not attracted to anyone or anything and I cannot picture them masturbating, though because I don't picture it doesn't mean it doesn't happen.
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Offline nogodsforme

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #15 on: October 30, 2014, 07:28:17 PM »
^^^^Interesting point, King Me.

If you don't do the nasty because you are genetically asexual and have no desire to, does that make god happier? Or does it not count because there is no struggle?  I remember skeptic saying that god wants people to be exposed to sin and resist it, like reformed alcoholics should test their resolve by working in bars, or recovering drug addicts should work in pharmacies. Maybe sex addicts should test themselves by working in strip clubs? and of course, pedophiles should work in day care facilities.[1]

If sex is wrong, and god wanted asexual beings, he could have made everyone that way. No sex drive, no fornication, no adultery, etc. To make babies, have people go into heat once in a while so they can "be fruitful and multiply". Instead god made humans with this hugely diverse range of sexuality from gay to bi to straight and every combination thereof, and then condemned oh, 95% of sexual expression.

It is hard to figure out what exactly god wants.
 1. Do I need to remind everyone that is terrible advice, and god would suck as an addictions counselor?
Extraordinary claims of the bible don't even have ordinary evidence.

Kids aren't paying attention most of the time in science classes so it seems silly to get worked up over ID being taught in schools.

Offline BlackLight

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Re: For those that used to be religious
« Reply #16 on: November 01, 2014, 02:21:06 AM »
Never had any real, lasting guilt over my "emissions." My Catholic upbringing wasn't particularly intense, even though I attended mass fairly frequently, and took religion classes apart from school.

I do recall some very mild consternation that my deceased relatives could see me jerking off, which, in hindsight, felt silly for a lot of reasons. That God would forgive me for this at my request, but that my grandparents might not.  :)