What are your struggles, if any, with belief systems (moral, societal, religious)? How have you overcome them?

kck kck
I was brought up in a pretty conservative household, and I myself am fairly conservative. I was brought up and still am a Christian (I won't say what denomination because I don't want this to be a discussion about religions themselves), and I guess this has always made me feel, deep down, that maybe my sexual shenanigans are wrong. And while my mother talked to me openly about sex, it was understood that there was a time and place for it: inside wedlock.

Well, I've broken that rule. Like. Definitely broken it. And don't get me wrong, I love sex and have embraced it and love rediscovering my body through sex. But sometimes my upbringing gets to me. Especially in terms of faith, morality, and religious beliefs. It's something that's not on my mind 100% of the time, but it is definitely something I struggle with.

NOTE: This is an open discussion about personal experiences and journeys; no bashing
Answers (private voting - your screen name will NOT appear in the results):
I have struggled with moral/religious/faith issues in the past and am still conflicted...
55
I have struggled with moral/religious/faith issues in the past and am no longer conflicted...
70
I have never struggled with moral/religious/faith issues in the past...
88
AND I was raised more conservatively.
91
AND I was raised more liberally.
69
Other (please explain)
26
Total votes: 399 (219 voters)
Poll is closed
06/03/2010
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~LaUr3n~ ~LaUr3n~
I was also raised Christian (denomination not important), but I have never had moral/religious/faith issues with sex or sexuality. I have had issues with other thing, but nothing related to sex. I got over the other issues. It is important to note that I am agnostic now. I was raised conservatively though.
06/03/2010
kck kck
I guess I also should have added an option to vote whether or not you are spiritual/religious. Oh, well!

Anyways, feel free to comment
06/03/2010
~LaUr3n~ ~LaUr3n~
Quote:
Originally posted by kck
I guess I also should have added an option to vote whether or not you are spiritual/religious. Oh, well!

Anyways, feel free to comment
I think it will work fine the way it is
06/03/2010
Andromeda Andromeda
Quote:
Originally posted by kck
I was brought up in a pretty conservative household, and I myself am fairly conservative. I was brought up and still am a Christian (I won't say what denomination because I don't want this to be a discussion about religions themselves), and I ... More
I definitely find myself in the same place... My faith is extremely important to me, but I'm also a very sexual person, so I sometimes feel like I'm a "bad Christian".
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Andromeda
I definitely find myself in the same place... My faith is extremely important to me, but I'm also a very sexual person, so I sometimes feel like I'm a "bad Christian".
It's good to hear from someone in the same unfortunate boat (although I'm sorry to hear that you're in it, because I know how hard it is).

My faith is very important to me, too. I'm not sure what to do, to be quite honest.
06/03/2010
toxidlotus toxidlotus
I was raised very very christian. I attended a baptist school, and I attended church every sunday/wednesday.

I am no longer christian. I don't practice any religion, but I do have my own personal beliefs. Sex was never, ever brought up when I was growing up. The only thing ever said about it, was that sex was evil out side of marriage and it was only for creating life. I learned about it from my friends. So for me it always felt wrong. It wasn't until recently I finally started to feel comfortable in my own skin I guess you could say. Sometimes when my husband and I are trying out new toys or just doing something other than the good old default missionary position I have a twinge of guilt or my head screams "oh god you're in trouble". But then I tell myself hey I'm an adult and I love my husband and this isn't how I feel it's how I was told to feel so I'm okay. It happens less and less, but it does happen. I'm looking forward to the day where I don't have any guilt or conflict whatsoever with what I do sexually. It's funny how things that you don't agree with can be drilled into your soul and how they can still make you feel guilty.
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by toxidlotus
I was raised very very christian. I attended a baptist school, and I attended church every sunday/wednesday.

I am no longer christian. I don't practice any religion, but I do have my own personal beliefs. Sex was never, ever brought up ... More
Thanks for sharing, toxidlotus.

I've been trying to be more open myself. But I still feel pretty torn. I don't want to use the term "indoctrination" because it has such negative connotations... but I guess in a way that's what it is.
06/03/2010
Brian Brian
I am a Christian and as such that's caused some internal conflict in my past of if some sexual things were right or wrong. I am also a very sexual person and enjoy trying new things and so this and being a Christian have sometimes seemed to clash with one another in my past . After finding two wonderful Christian websites: The Marriage Bed (both the regular site and the forum) and Christian Nymphos I no longer feel this conflict as really inside the context of marriage there really very few limitations on what is and isn't allowed.
06/03/2010
Chilipepper Chilipepper
Discretion was my mother's religion:

"Don't advertise yourself as being sexual, don't do it unless you really love them, use protection no matter what, and be a Lady."

I wasn't raised Christian, I was raised Baha'i, which had a mildly conservative bend on sexuality ... sex is sacred and to be shared between loving adults, preferably within marriage. To a dramatic teenager this meant the same thing as the Christian dogma, so it took me until I was seventeen to allow myself to just be kissed (I still almost threw him across the room). When I finally began making out and finding out how wonderful it all felt and nothing bad happened ... my guilt was easily thrown by the wayside.

However, my mother's 'discretion laws' had stuck with me, which I don't mind as much (no guilt, just common sense). The only problem I have is the 'don't advertise yourself' one because I am a verbal exhibitionist ... if that makes any sense ... and well, nobody really wants to hear about fat people getting laid. So that's the societal part coming into it.
06/03/2010
Gunsmoke Gunsmoke
Raised as a Christian and still practicing. Maybe I compartmentalize but I don't see a conflict between my sex life and my faith. I admit that is largely influenced by the fact that I am in a hetero & monogamous relationship - which after all is what Christianity seems to prefer.

I could readily see that other relationship types would be uncomfortable with Christian traditions - as I was when I was sexually active before being married.

I don't expect my faith or religion to be perfect - so I'm comfortable with some compromises.
06/03/2010
El-Jaro El-Jaro
I've tried making a post for this thread a couple times, but have a hard time coming up with the right thing to say (without offending anyone).

The best thing I can come up with is:
"Above all else, to thine own self be true"

This is also one of my motto's for life.

Religion is a very personal thing, a set of beliefs that a person uses to put themselves in balance with the world around them. It only makes sense to me that these should change and adapt for a person as they go through life. Gunsmoke is right, compromise is a good thing.
06/03/2010
Victoria Victoria
I don't struggle with religion. I used to worry about societal expectations when I first became a parent, but don't so much anymore. And my own set of morals have been collected and adjusted throughout my lifetime and I expect will continue to evolve and change.

I am more accepting and more thick-skinned now than I was even just a year ago. I try to live a very aware life. I hope to always keeping learning and growing.

I feel that I am accountable to myself before anyone else. I take judgments by others into consideration if I respect the person that is criticizing, otherwise, I don't care.

I think my family has its own religion, we have our way of honoring this life and our own ways of contributing good to this world. Some collectively, and some individually. It works for us.
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Brian
I am a Christian and as such that's caused some internal conflict in my past of if some sexual things were right or wrong. I am also a very sexual person and enjoy trying new things and so this and being a Christian have sometimes seemed to clash ... More
Thanks so much for the sites. I'm pouring over them.
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Chilipepper
Discretion was my mother's religion:

"Don't advertise yourself as being sexual, don't do it unless you really love them, use protection no matter what, and be a Lady."

I wasn't raised Christian, I was raised ... More
Thanks for sharing your perspective, Chilipepper Girl. I understand the frustration with the societal viewpoints on anything that isn't shaped like a twig. I think this generation may be changing that though.

Things like the "Dove Campaign for Real Beauty" give me hope.

Also, have you seen the Vogue issue on size? I took one look at those girls, and thought they were the most beautiful women ever. WHY are plus size people never portrayed as capable of high fashion and true beauty? They're GORGEOUS.
06/03/2010
Brian Brian
Quote:
Originally posted by kck
Thanks so much for the sites. I'm pouring over them.
Glad to share. I hope you get something out of them. They're really a glimmer of light in the usual religious either silence or disapproval of many sexual issues. As I said, they've helped me better understand what is religion and what is truth.
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Gunsmoke
Raised as a Christian and still practicing. Maybe I compartmentalize but I don't see a conflict between my sex life and my faith. I admit that is largely influenced by the fact that I am in a hetero & monogamous relationship - which after all ... More
My religion teacher would call you a "cafeteria Christian." (Blick!)

And for a while, I've felt guilted into thinking that way about faith: that to pick and choose, while convenient, is bad because it allows us to live as we want, not as God wants. However, I've always been of the mind that I myself must question doctrine and try to arrive at the same conclusion as my Church teaches. But that can lead to some dangerously circular logic.

I do think that every human experience is different enough to render things true for some people and non-applicable for others. So maybe compromise isn't bad after all.

The only thing that stops me from 100% going with that is that my faith says there is One Truth. Dang.
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Brian
Glad to share. I hope you get something out of them. They're really a glimmer of light in the usual religious either silence or disapproval of many sexual issues. As I said, they've helped me better understand what is religion and what is truth.
Yes, I definitely am.

My current status is like Pilate: What is truth?

These sites are helping, so THANKS!!!
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by El-Jaro
I've tried making a post for this thread a couple times, but have a hard time coming up with the right thing to say (without offending anyone).

The best thing I can come up with is:
"Above all else, to thine own self be ... More
You bring up some very good points.

Of course our needs change as we grow older. But so does our understanding. I guess that's one of the reasons it's so hard to separate myself from the guilt and how I've been raised--because "maybe I just don't get it yet."

=|
06/03/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Victoria
I don't struggle with religion. I used to worry about societal expectations when I first became a parent, but don't so much anymore. And my own set of morals have been collected and adjusted throughout my lifetime and I expect will continue ... More
That sounds like such a wonderful thing to share with your family.

My mother is way more open than my father is. Having a strong and relatively accepting female perspective to look up to is something I truly appreciate. I hope your kids know how lucky they are
06/03/2010
Alan & Michele Alan & Michele
Alan was a traditional strict Christian, and I'm Pagan. As far as *just* sex, he struggled with the blahblah regarding how men shouldn't indulge in anal play, but got past it. I had body image issues and some ghosts from the past from a sexual mishap that made it difficult for me to enjoy certain sex acts, but that very rarely causes problems anymore. Pretty much anything goes between the two of us during sex now.

When it comes to the moral norms regarding relationships though, we're actually struggling with that now. I had a "coming out" of sorts a couple of years ago and decided that I couldn't live the rest of my life trying to fit the norms that everyone else seemed to. That's when the shit hit the fan, so to say.

When I admitted my true views on marriage (very open... handfasting as opposed to exchanging ownership papers, sex not necessarily equating love, etc) it pushed his boundaries in many ways. We work constantly to maintain a middle ground in the relationship.
06/03/2010
Passionate Pastor Passionate Pastor
I was raised in a Christian home and have embraced my faith as the driving force in my life. For me the Bible has never limited my sexuality but rather gave it wings. I believe that sex is one of the most powerful acts God gave us and that marriage is the only place that can adequately handle it. After reading through the Song of Solomon (a book in the Old Testament totally about sex!) I see that God intended sex to be passionate, playful, creative, and fun. While there are restrictions on sex outside of marriage, many would be surprised that there are very few restrictions on sex within marriage. Basically it needs to be consensual, loving, and beneficial. No specific acts are forbidden in married sex, not even anal!!! Too many Christians give sex a bad rep but given a chance, the Bible has a very, very positive message about sex!!!
06/03/2010
Kim! Kim!
I was raised in 2 very conflicting homes. My parents split when I was 3. My dad remarried and that home was a Christian home. My dad and step mom were Baptists and there were many times I was at the church every day of the week. In high school my step mom overheard that I did not know if I believed in God and I was yelled at for it. I was 17 or 18 at the time. My mom and step dad are quite liberal and look at religion as a more personal matter.

I'm 27 and I have yet to figure out my own faith and beliefs. I currently figure just try and be a decent human and if there's a reward after we die you'll get it. I've toyed around with Paganism and Buddhism as well but I'm still trying to find out where I fit, if anywhere.

I see it as if you aren't using sex to control or manipulate people or to hurt someone then it's a positive thing as long as everyone is happy with the situation. It doesn't need to be in confines of marriage and only one partner for life. As far as Christianity goes when that was my belief, I looked at it as the Bible was written for a totally different set of people and it says a lot of things that we would deem ridiculous today. The views on sexuality that people have adopted based upon their interpretations may not be accurate or at least not for today's people.
06/10/2010
Kyra Saunders Kyra Saunders
I was quite lucky - I was raised by atheists who believed very much that I should explore all belief systems but also maintain a questioning outlook on it all. I love the history of religion and learning about belief systems but I prefer my own relationship with the universe for myself. Most of my beliefs are common to many religions if you pare them down to the core - work hard, don't abuse others, don't take things that don't belong to you, be kind to others, etc. Basically be a good person. Every day I try to be a better person in some way than I was the day before - even if that's just slowing down and letting the harried person with a toddler and cart of groceries go ahead of me at the store. It's a small difference in someone else's day and makes me feel good.

I'm basically a pagan with a monogamous relationship with my husband. We talk about everything from who we both find attractive to the idea of maybe a more open relationship in the future but I may be too possessive for that. We made promises to each other and those promises and our personal honor are dear to us, regardless of belief system (he was raised Christian but is basically pagan anymore as well).

I'm pretty darned comfortable in my skin, my marriage and my sexuality. My husband is very open to most experimentation as well.
06/13/2010
Airen Wolf Airen Wolf
Quote:
Originally posted by kck
My religion teacher would call you a "cafeteria Christian." (Blick!)

And for a while, I've felt guilted into thinking that way about faith: that to pick and choose, while convenient, is bad because it allows us to live as we ... More
Who is to say what is in God's mind when it comes to how happy we are? In the Bible itself there are 3 times as many passages exorting Christians to be joyful and free yet it seems only the negative passages get air play. I was raised by monogamous highly religious parents who were raised by monogamous highly religious parents and yes for many years I worried that God hated me for my choices.

Then I realized something that changed my whole life, I realized that I was happy. Now as a parent we are a reflection of our God's love for us to our children. When my children were covered in mud, laughing hysterically and so radiantly happy, even though I didn't WANT them to live covered in mud tracking it all over my house, I was still happy! I still loved them fiercely, tenderly, joyfully. I remember those days with fondness BECAUSE they were reflecting joy back at me. If I am but a poor reflection of my God's love for me then how much more does my happiness reflect joy back at Him/Her? Maybe God doesn't want me to have to work so hard to balance my time between two men and my kids...but I'm radiantly happy and content should not it follow that the joy I am reflecting to my God makes Him happy? Maybe there is an easier way but if I climb the rock face the hard way and still reach the summit will I have accomplished so little that I will be damned for not doing it His way? I would never do this to my children and I firmly believe God will not do this to me.

Enjoying sex is not a sin, REALLY enjoying sex is not a sin. Placing limits on God's love, however, is a sin. You know when you are doing something God probably won't approve of when you are unhealthy and your life isn't working joyfully. That's my take on the matter.
06/18/2010
gone77 gone77
I consider myself lucky in that I was not raised within any religious context, so I've had no struggles with religious systems versus my sexuality. I have my own set of morals, or what I believe to be right vs. wrong and religion and/or society play no part. I'm a happily non-spiritual atheist.
06/19/2010
kck kck
Quote:
Originally posted by Airen Wolf
Who is to say what is in God's mind when it comes to how happy we are? In the Bible itself there are 3 times as many passages exorting Christians to be joyful and free yet it seems only the negative passages get air play. I was raised by ... More
I agree with you. And I hope you didn't take offense to what I said. I'm not into the whole judging other people and interpreting their actions. I'm mainly addressing the issues I have about judging myself--or at least feel like the Church is judging me.

It's just really hard to let go since it's something so indoctrinated. I sometimes have difficulty letting myself just enjoy.
07/02/2010
Jul!a Jul!a
I was raised as a mostly non-practicing Catholic, although at this point I consider myself Agnostic. While we weren't the most outrageous out there, we certainly weren't the most conservative either.

The biggest thing we were instilled with was that we were good people and happy with who we were. Because of that I was fortunate to never really struggle with sex vs a belief system.
07/28/2010
Annemarie Annemarie
Quote:
Originally posted by kck
I was brought up in a pretty conservative household, and I myself am fairly conservative. I was brought up and still am a Christian (I won't say what denomination because I don't want this to be a discussion about religions themselves), and I ... More
I was brought up Southern Baptist and extremely conservatively, and after a long journey through self discovery, I now consider myself non-practicing Buddhist.

As far as sex goes, my dad handed me a book meant for teens at age 8. I read the parent version at age 10. Beyond that, nothing remotely open about sex. Oh, wait, there was that "promise ring" thing that I did at church. I lost my virginity at 11, so that was a bust.
07/29/2010
Valyn Valyn
Quote:
Originally posted by ~LaUr3n~
I was also raised Christian (denomination not important), but I have never had moral/religious/faith issues with sex or sexuality. I have had issues with other thing, but nothing related to sex. I got over the other issues. It is important to note ... More
I'm kind of on the same page here. Raised Christian with pretty conservative parents, but I've never had an inner religious struggle when it came to sex. It was all very natural for me, and way before I ever had sex I remember wondering why something so natural could be so "bad" or whatnot.
07/29/2010
Total posts: 118
Unique posters: 94