Consent, Religion, and my issue with “waiting”

Image result for consent and sex

Anyone who knows me or has read my blog should know by now that I was raised in a very conservative religious household. If you don’t, or even if you do, let me introduce myself:

I am a 28 year old female who’s been married twice, been with two men, and am still learning about my own sexuality and the idea of “firm and enthusiastic consent” is still new to me.

A little backstory: when I was growing up, there were 3 stages of Sex Ed in the school system: Elementary, Middle, and High. When the class was pulled from the main classroom in 4th grade to learn about sex, my parents signed off that I was not permitted to go, so I sat alone in an empty classroom clueless. The rest of the class came back giggling and with all these inside jokes and terminology that I did not understand. When I went home and asked my mom what sex was and how babies were made, I was handed a kid’s biology book and told to figure it out. I still remember to this day staring at a drawn picture of a naked male and female and asking myself “but how does the sperm get in there?? I don’t get it!”

By 7th grade, I entered mandatory Sex Ed class clueless of the basics. We had an anonymous question jar, and I would almost always put questions in, to which the teacher’s answers were never quite sufficient, because I missed Sex 101. When I asked, honestly, why kids giggled at the number “69” and the question was read, the class burst into laughter and the teacher just kind of shook her head with a smirk, let the class laugh, and went on to the next question. I don’t think I figured out what it was until my 20’s.

That was my education experience.

My religious experience was simple and direct: Wait til marriage.

Period. The end. That’s it. Sex is bad unless you are married. Oh, and by the way, don’t masturbate or touch yourself because the only person who’s supposed to make you feel good is your spouse. Little fuzzy on the oral/anal line but the unspoken assumption is that that’s wrong and vile too cause that’s not how God made biological sex to occur.

By the time I found someone to marry (who was Catholic, naturally) and got to Pre-marital counseling, all I was taught about sex at that point was the radical idea that a woman can initiate sex too, and you don’t have to both climax at the same time. Kind of shows you what most Christians think sex is supposed to be if that’s something that is taught in pre-marital….

So here’s the framework: Girl isn’t taught the basics of sex whatsoever other than pictures of STDs from school and what a sketched penis and vagina look like and knows that she can do this sex thing on her wedding night.

Where’s consent? Does she sign away consent completely when she gets married? She is swearing herself in “complete devotion and servitude to her husband,” so can she say no? She’s never taught she can, so she doesn’t. Besides, her body is now her husbands wholly and completely. Divorce isn’t an option, she is now his and as long as he doesn’t strike you (and even sometimes if he does, see Focus on the Family’s sermons on this) that’s all there’s to it.

So, again, where is consent in this framework? Can you see the problem?

I try, very hard, to listen to people who say waiting til marriage is a beautiful thing, but everything in my gut tells me that there is something very wrong with it. You’re telling two people they can’t even touch each other sexually until their wedding night and that they can never leave each other. What choice do they have? Without choices, is there really any consent to be given? Without the option to say “no” and leave, is there really consent?

My experience isn’t, by far, the norm in religious upbringings, but it is neither uncommon. There are gradients for sure. But personally? I can not see how the monogamous “waiting” perspective is anything but consensual.

Without choice and options, the idea of consent is a farce.

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Labels, Lifestyles, and the Like

People-Too-Complicated-for-Labels

While on the road to self-actualization and introspection, one will quickly find stories of finding an identity within a community under a word.

Spritual, pantheist, asexual, gay, bi, dom, femme, male, teacher, mother, Christian, Atheist, joker, trans, black, crazy cat lady, republican, bipolar………………..

The amount of words we use to identify ourselves are immensely vast and varying in type and category.

They serve a purpose. Community, fellowship, rapid ability to identify with another. But does it serve to help, or hurt the individual?

Oftentimes, it helps. For a while. They research, ask around, and eventually find self-meaning. Immediately a feeling of “finally!” comes, and joy in finding people to relate and connect with.

The problem comes when you are known as that, and not as you. If the bond is created because of the shared affiliation, when change comes, and it will as life would have it, the community once shared and feeling of belonging falls. A depressed state often follows.

Some labels we do not choose. Our race and our gender are easy examples. These two can be harmful as genitalia do not define gender identification, and race is not often helpful (a black English, a white African, etc).

None of these thoughts are ultimate, as I’m sure they vary. My thoughts, presently, are that in the least labeling leads to decreased introspection. By accepting “I am this”, although it may be true, it can hinder how the individual actualizes that identity. We all know of the varying denominations of Christianity, yet they are all under that umbrella. Digging deeper, within the denomination, almost every individual has at least 1 theological point they differ on. So do we keep creating names? Everyone fleshes out themselves in their own, extremely unique way.

But, I’m curious. Personally, I see the benefits and frustrations with accepting a lifestyle identity or label, but I also see the impossibility of it.

What are your thoughts?

Perhaps, if you will, what are your identities and how do you personally flesh them out that not necessarily everyone under the umbrella term do?

Emotions and the Bible

The-Wife-Who-Bases-Her-Life-on-the-Bible-rather-than-Her-Emotions

I’ve been thinking about emotions lately. Why people I’ve been discussing with are admonishing more actions to obtain emotions, mainly “happiness” and “fun.” This, I compare and contrast with the logical self, the “Spock” who feels no emotions, or at least only acts upon what is logical.

Naturally, the extremes of the two are not considered desirable. Yet, I believe that Christianity has taught the latter extreme.

Consider the sermon on the mount: anger and hate is subject to judgement, as is lust. Don’t hate your enemy, and looking at another woman apparently is adultery in itself. Article after article with a simple search (or sitting in a conservative service) spreads demonizing the “harlot,” and the type of women who entice men.

Suggestive, seductive clothing is one of the traps she uses to lure the young man. I look around at some gatherings of believers and wonder, “Don’t these women realize what they are communicating to men by the way they dress?” An outwardly modest appearance reflects a modest and wise heart. Immodest dress suggests a foolish, immoral heart.


You know, cause a woman wanting sex is bad. But a man “courting” a woman and “wooing” her is a noble thing.

This seems very damaging to me. The extensive nature of Christian upbringing in America says to me that many of us have been indoctrinated in these models of thought and the tendrils may run deeper than we realize.

I could write more, but it would be excessive.

What are your thoughts, on any of it?

Transgender, Sexuality, and Cruelty

You are beautiful, no matter who you are or become or was or will be. You are human, and part of us.

You are beautiful, no matter who you are or become or was or will be. You are human, and part of us.


**I wrote this without a lot of awareness of terms and uses of pronouns. This is new to me. Please forgive them before I get to a full edit.**

Today, I met and spoke as an equal with a transgendered individual who identified as “queer,” so in this post I will use “she” to identify “her” due to it being the gender “she” identifies most with and seeks to be. It was humbling, frightening, sickening, and saddening. The pain she has been through in her search for complete alteration (operation) shot a dagger of pain into my heart. I had to vent it out after our discussion lest I carry my sorrow over her pain all day.

She had been raped, faced with the rapist on the bus on her way home because she was afraid to prosecute him. She’s been called horrible things. Treated horribly. Shown almost no support due to their being so few people who identify as transgendered in our city. And yet still, had the strength to be alive today. As she unleashed her pain and suicidal thoughts and intentions (could not keep living pre-op, hated herself), I tried my hardest to understand, try to understand, and show support and complete non-judgement.

She was a wonderful person. I talked to her for the first time about by own monogamous polyamory (perhaps I will share at a later time, here, on that), and she understood and listened. We talked, and my heart lightened.

I hope to see her again, I hope she carries the strength to keep going. I hope humanity can rise above judging their fellow man for such things. I have hope that we can.

I can type no more on this, so please: your thoughts, feelings, reactions, advise, and stories for a penny or more.

Men are from Mars…

men are, women are

 

“Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.” The implication of this phrase is that the female and male gender act differently, think differently, process things differently and simply are, in conclusion: different. There have been many a book written trying to grapple with just what these differences are, including one with the phrase as the title.

Although there is natural truth to be found in this understanding, I have always really struggled with addressing it. I do not like it, nor do I entirely agree with it as an absolute statement.

However, my problem is not with the designation of “differences,” but in the “male” and “female.” It is simply not true in all cases, and therefore is not something I can accept. It’s as inappropriate, to me, as saying “girls have long hair, boys have short hair.” The issue is with the implied “all”, and, as with most things, generalizations are usually not entirely accurate.

But, rest assured, this is not a post about sexism, feminism, or misogyny. This is a post attempting to discover the true reality behind the accepted idiom.

Surely, most people will accept the removal of the implied “all.” Not all females are feminine, and not all males are masculine. It, also, does not have anything to do with sexual preference as there are masculine heterosexual females, masculine homosexual males, and so on.

So then, “Masculinity is from Mars, Femininity is from Venus” seems to be more accurate.

So where does femininity and masculinity come from if not from the assumed sex? My belief, and it seems Biology would support this, is that it is the hormones: Testosterone, and Estrogen. Some others are in their too, but those two are the usual mainstream understood hormones.

I must digress here though.

It seems we are still different. We still disagree, and we still see things differently.

What exactly are the differences? How can we reconcile them? Can we come to understand each other and what can we do to better expedite this process? What expressions, acts, generalities of either is considered by media/mainstream as weaker in a harmful way? What is usually assumed to be a “masculine” or a “feminine” trait that is just another untrue generalization?

And so many more questions…. Pennies, many pennies for your Thoughts!