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

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

freda freda
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 ...
no struggles
dks210 dks210
I was raised a very conservative Christian. Sex was almost considered a bad word around my mother. I felt guilty when I started masturbating as a teenager. Eventually, I decided I didn't believe in any of it anymore, and became an atheist. It's been very hard for me to deal with my family, especially when they found out I was having sex with my boyfriend - I'd been with him for over 2 years, what did she expect? haha

As far as personal guilt goes...no. I am happy with my sexuality and sex life in general.
ViVix ViVix
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 ...
I was raised Lutheran, but I am now an Atheist. Despite what many believe, I do not dislike religion. I simply found that I am more at peace with myself now because there isn't that underlying guilt about things that I have never felt were wrong in the first place.
ViVix ViVix
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 ...
Very wise to separate how you actually feel and how you were told to feel.
TransMarc TransMarc
Please someone delete this? I shared something much too personal for such a forum, I'm a bit tired. If it's not possible to delete this, I'm sorry for sort of "flooding". :/
spineyogurt spineyogurt
I do whatever I want
K101 K101
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 ...
I am a mixture of these I guess, because I'm Christian and was brought up in a Christian family, not strict and not extremely conservative. We just believe in God and try to do right. I've not ever experienced "struggles" because of my upbringing, but I have experience guilt because of doing something that I believe is wrong in the eyes of God. I had sex before marriage. It's one of the many things I did that weren't wonderful. I really don't feel guilty for it because I felt that I mostly made decent decisions and once we were together for SOO long and were planning to marry, I really didn't see a huge wrong in doing it. I honestly think it helped me overcome what would've been years of uneasyness about sex had we never have done it before. I also think I would not be comfortable around my partner, even after 5 years because that intimacy... I don't know. I guess it'd be like, if he never had sex until marriage, there'd be years of anxiety. Wondering what he's going to think, will I be good enough, what will happen? Nonsense. Now that is just how I feel about our relationship. I did it and it was a sin, but I can't help but think it was for the best?! That sounds crazy, right? There would be so much unessecary stress on me, I think, had we waited.

I can't say that I believe God didn't care that we had sex since we knew we'd be together forever and marry, but I don't feel that doing it was as bad as if we had multiple one night stands with multiple people. I am Christian, yes. I still do bad things though, but I try to do better after asking forgiveness and in the end, that is what matters. If you're making no effort to improve yourself, God can't exactly help you, IMO. However, I believe in constantly evaluating and improving your own self and that is what I do. My weaknesses are cussing (lol). I really try to live right, but I think working on other parts of myself are more important than working on quitting cussing. Lol. I smoke too. That is bad, but heck, I don't beat myself up over it. Making an effort is what I think is important. So I wouldn't call any of these "struggles" struggles at all, but I would call some of the things guilt. If I do something I know is really bad, I feel guilty. If I say something nasty, I feel guilty, but I don't ever struggle due to the way I was brought up. My parents didn't make us feel that sex was immoral at all. I would say we were brought up with a nice middle of sex is normal and good, but promiscuity is NOT! We were taught to be responsible... very responsible and it worked on me.
K101 K101
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 ...
I had to comment on this! That's really great that you were able to overcome that. I am a member of one of those sites too! How cool.

I actually don't think that sex is bad in God's eyes. He made it! Lol. I hate that some people do feel that God views enjoying sex as evil though. I'm not talking about you, I just know a lot of people assume that Christianity means you can't like sex. A Christian can have sex and love it. Afterall the clitoris actually has no function at all except... in my opinion, it was God's lovely gift to us women so that we could enjoy sex just as much as men. It's too bad it has taken so many years for it to be accepted or for people to even realize that women were allowed or able to enjoy sex too
Heatherbipoly Heatherbipoly
I was Raised Christianand has 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. but now things are better and more exspecting of myself.
Bethy Cassatt Bethy Cassatt
I was raised Christian, and I still believe, and for a long time, I was terrified that what I was doing was wrong. Then I realized, God don't care, he loves me no matter what I do with my life, I'm okay. I'm not doing anything bad or wrong.
Jaimes Jaimes
I was raised in a conservative household, but religion was never strongly practiced. My parents understood it was personal, and they weren't big fans of churches. They each needed different things, and felt that church wasn't a place that helped them get in touch with their faith in a way that was meaningful to them.

I realized in college that I was an atheist. I had always been somewhat agnostic, but never fully realized what I believed. My choices about sex have never held any connection to faith.

Anyway, to that point, sex for me was not demonized by faith, but by society. My mother's worst fear, and what quickly became my worst fear, was unplanned or premature pregnancy. For her, an unplanned pregnancy was the end of a career, of a lifelong personal dream. She readily admits she wished she had waited a few years to get pregnant after marriage, so she could have had a chance at a better or more fulfilling career, or even just a little longer to pursue her dream of painting. Now, she doesn't regret having me or my siblings. She loves who we are and the journey we have been on together. But as a mom, of course she wishes the best things for each of her children, and she could tell what kind of person I was and who I wanted to be, and so she taught me the lessons she thought would best help me achieve what I needed to feel successful.

So, that fear was instilled in me very early. Unplanned pregnancy = life ending. I have always been a ridiculously independent and career driven person, so the idea of letting someone get close enough to me in a way that could potentially jeopardize my future, ie sex, was abhorrent. I was 18, in college, and had already met my future husband before I even considered having sex. And for the first year, used both condoms AND the pill, because again, baby = bad. Now, please understand I am talking about my personal experience and beliefs. There are many, many women who feel a calling to motherhood, and babies are and have always been a gift to them, and I applaud that, no matter when they decide to venture into motherhood. I am just not one of those people.

So yes, sex was a shameful thing in my upbringing, but not in the way it is for most people. My shame wasn't stemmed in religious doctrine, but from the what someone believed was the safest path to personal success.
Peggi Peggi
I was raised to be a God-fearing hardcore conservative, homophobic, racist girl who thought premarital sex would send me straight to hell and that discussing things like my period was inappropriate and things like tattoos and piercings were just disgusting.

I turned out to be Pagan, I've dated more women than men, my current girlfriend is black (and I'm white), I have 3 tattoos and 11 piercings to date (though I've had more piercings that I've just taken out), and am so open about my sex life (which I never waited til marriage for) that my friends call me a sex-positivity advocate.

Basically, I'm everything I was brought up NOT to be, and have always been stubborn. I saw wrong in a lot of what I was taught, and over time, I've SLOWLY begun to teach my parents (who are actually 2 generations older, as they adopted me and are in the age-range of grandparents so it IS kinda a generational thing) about a better way of life
heather-mooney heather-mooney
raised in a liberal household, couldn't care less about what each person does with their body!
Supervixen Supervixen
I'm Jewish, and while the Orthodox can be very strict about no sex before marriage (some don't even touch the opposite sex, unless it's someone in their immediate family or spouse--and yes, a lot of them wait to touch each other AFTER the marriage ceremony), I think there's a different perception, for the most part, about sex in Judaism, apart from Christianity. The whole original sin concept is absent, sex isn't seen as a dirty thing that you have to do to procreate, but as a blessing, and something that married couples are obligated to provide for each other. If you come from a more liberal minded Jewish community, views on sex can be surprisingly open. At my synagogue, homosexuality is embraced without issue, egalitarianism is essential, and guilt is not really associated with sexual issues at all. People are private about it, but they can talk openly about it, too. Modesty is a typical Jewish value, and while that can mean a lot of different things to different Jews, sexuality tends to not be flaunted about it public, though that doesn't mean that it's a taboo topic. You can read plenty of open source books about Jewish sexuality, that are actually quite fascinating. And because we're Jews, we all like to debate about it--can't be Jewish and not have a debate over Jewish practices!

That being said, my parents are conservative, and I never really discussed sex with them growing up. Not because it was strictly forbidden, but it just wasn't a comfortable topic. I think it was more my mother's issue with seeing her daughters become sexual beings. I'm the youngest, so I especially felt that it wasn't something that my mother liked to talk about. I got my period really young, and she couldn't even talk to me about it, except to assure me that I was normal and healthy. Instead, she checked out a book from the library for me to read about puberty. Thanks to that book, I found my clitoris, actually!

There are adult shops online that are specifically aimed at religious married couples, and they're not what you'd assume them to be.

Here's a Christian one: link
Here's a Jewish one: link

They have vibrators, dildos, butt plugs, prostate toys, restraints, lube, etc...the emphasis is on married couples, and the Jewish one doesn't have any sexually suggestive pictures of people on the site or the packaging of the items (again, modesty). I say, good for them! I think it's awesome that such things exist for people who are religious but not necessarily sexually repressed or ashamed. You can be religious and sexually adventurous, too. And no, Jews don't have sex through a hole in the bed sheets! (an old myth, that's mostly a joke).

There's a Dutch based Muslim site as well, though they are stricter, so they don't violate Sharia law; there are no vibrators or dildos, and of course, no pornography. But still, it's something sex positive within the bounds of Islamic religious observance, which is great; Islam is VERY strict about sexual conduct: link

A lot of religions emphasize no sex before marriage, but the world is a different place than what it used to be. We now have the very normal, sometimes desirable option, of never getting married. Of course, we're not going to abstain from sex for the rest of our lives, too. It's human to have a sex drive. I personally couldn't imagine marrying someone without knowing if we are sexually compatible--I know my sexuality too well to settle with someone who isn't a fit for me.

But your religious observance and expressions, like your sexuality, are your own. You may have been raised with a particular view point, and no doubt, that has a strong influence on how you perceive the world as an adult. But you also gain your own experiences, and you have to live your life doing what feels right to you. I am an observant Jew, but I'm also a sexually open and sex positive woman. My sexuality is deeply important to me, and a part of who I am as an individual. I see no contradiction between the two things; the observant Jew, and the Supervixen.

If you struggle with your religion and your sexuality, I would urge you to explore both more closely. The Bible is full of flawed people who become the heroes of the stories. Christianity and Judaism are old enough to have a long history of philosophers and different perspectives and interpretations. The Song of Songs is a steamy, erotic love poem. So don't assume that the religion you grew up with is the "correct" way to observe it.
SavingMyself SavingMyself
In regards to sex, I've never had moral or religious conflict. I believe pretty much anything is acceptable between two consenting adults, no matter what any religion says.
gsfanatic gsfanatic
I was raised pretty liberally, and my parents encouraged me to find my own religious beliefs. The values of treat everyone as equal and don't be a dick were the main things they made sure I kept, and it's served me well
hem hem
I feel like belief systems are pretty easily and frequently used as fuel for shaming/looking down on/judging/hating others and others' practices. It's neat if they inspire someone to be better though!
Freyja9 Freyja9
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 ...
I was raised more conservatively, but rarely feel moral guilt
Geography Geography
This is such a good question! I was also raised in a verrrry Christian household. I do love aspects of religion and I wish that I had the faith that my fellow Christians have, but lately I have fallen out of touch with it. This does not mean, however, that my Catholic guilt has gone away! I still definitely get twinges of guilt whenever I think about that white dress I could have worn on my wedding day. (I still plan on wearing white, but I didn't save myself for my husband! The Horror!)
I grew up a fundie Christian with an agnostic father. I grew up terrified of hell and unable to express any sort of sexuality.
I'm okay now though. I had to lose belief in anything and work things out. I feel spiritual for the first time in my life now, now that I don't believe in anything remotely related to Christianity.
TJtheMadHatter TJtheMadHatter
I was brought up a Jehovah's Witness, and things were pretty conservative. Then my parent's divorce. Dad came out of the closet, and fell in love right away (my late step dad was amazing). So I saw gay love, right away, and for the first time. I heard everything under the sun about two men living together, from my grandparents (his JW parents), my mom, kids in middle school/high school (people can be so crude). I didn't care, I saw the love. Both of my parents cheated while married, so that kind of blew sexual etiquette out the window. When I lost my virginity, I told my dad the same week. He and Steve brought me up to be honest about such things (we lost Steve the same year to HIV and cancer). I feel that meeting/knowing/loving someone, will blow a lot of religious BS out of the water.
KinkyKatieJames KinkyKatieJames
I used to struggle a lot with my identity and kinks. I know my family would be freaked out by my lifestyle. No only am I into bondage, cuckolding, etc., I am unsure of whether I am bisexual or not. Although my family is mostly for gay rights, they constantly say how happy they are that we only have one gay man in our family. They still love him and all, but the jokes they make about him (even to his face) are heart breaking.
spiced spiced
No struggle for me.

My parents tried to raise me to be religious and conservative — but they made the "mistake" of teaching me how to think for myself; religion/conservatism just never rang true or were supported by the facts as far as I'm concerned.

I just accept who I am and what I want to do without judging myself for it, (or other people for who they are and what they want).
karenm karenm
My family isn't religious but my parents are very conservative about sex. They've never talked to me openly about it and many of my friends are religious and haven't had sex, so I used to be very embarrassed about having a high sex drive and buying sex toys. I am much less embarrassed now, and I'm able to talk to my partner openly about things I'd like to try (which I never have with anyone before).
Jaybird Jaybird
I was raised with a Catholic background, but my parents weren't very religious and didn't really force religion upon me. They established more of a base for me if anything, so if I chose to continue with how I was brought up I could. I ended up not liking how overly sure of their correctness the religion was, and decided I didn't like being told things as fact when those telling me the things had no evidence to support their claims. I'm now an agnostic. There could be something out there, and I'm open to that idea, but honestly I haven't seen much in the way of evidence that there is. I think I would like something to be out there, though. It would be nice to know there is.
I guess I can still be spiritual, I'm jut not very religious.
peachmarie peachmarie
I came from a fairly sexually conservative family. My grandfather is a pastor so religion was very much a part of my childhood. But I never had a moral problem having sex, I think sex is a very important part of a relationship and if you love someone but have zero sexual chemistry (especially if you are in a "very religious" couple your guy MAY not even feel comfortable expanding/learning more about sexuality because it freaks them out from a childhood of ingraining negative sexual information) So then your stuck in a relationship, where while you may love them you are not sexually satisfied. That can be like a disease slowly eating at your heart. I am all for having sex before you get married just because it's that "shiny new glow" to someone that you just really want to have sex with, then when you've done that glow fades a little, it's not quite such an immediate need, and you start to see who they really are, not who you've built them up to be (because your horny for them) and it's easier to see how you will really be compatible. It just feels like a trap to me. I was raised christian all my life and while I think that there is a higher power i've been fairly disillusioned by the church and I just am not feeling it. Why would god care if you go out and have sex with someone you love even if you aren't married? What is he sitting up in a cloud watching you like "oohhhh your in trouble now my friend, hope you like STD's because you didn't wait" women saved their virginity because it was a symbol of breeding, if you were a well to-do lady you needed to save that virginity for the man your father married you off to so he knew he had un-tampered goods.(because women were chattel, virginity=worth) That no longer being the case I think as long as you have good morals and are overall a good person you should be able to live your life freely, Spread your Labia and fly as it were. Having sex helps you find out what you want in that department and having it with other men shows you the whole package (Pun very much intended) of that partner and if they would make a suitable life partner (what if you loved him, never had sex, got married and he secretly turned out to be really into feet or something you weren't into? You my friend are boned).
kaylajoy89 kaylajoy89
i was raised with no religion and i'm VERY grateful. i lost my virginity at 19 because i wanted to wait until it felt right. sex is natural and if you're doing it safely, i don't feel like it's a bad thing.
Pastafariette Pastafariette
My father attempted to raise me a religion that I can't remember, but it didn't work out. My mother openly talked to me about any questions I had about sex and anything relating to sex. Morally, I questioned whether I should sleep with my ex after we broke up because he was the one I lost my virginity to. I gave myself the answer, "Do whatever makes you happy!" I haven't had any other struggles since.
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