God's watching me have sex!
July 14, 2006 12:11 AM   Subscribe

[ReligiousSexGuiltFilter] How can I lift the mental block that seems to be impending my ability to enjoy sex without turning into a blubbering mass of paranoia?

First, just quickly, some background information:

- In a loving eight month relationship.
- Raised in a religious Roman Catholic household.
- Parents come from a conservative Eastern Culture.

"Sex is bad and evil and if you have it before you're married you'll be punished by God." That's basically the message I've had ingrained into me after 13 years of Catholic schooling and indoctrination by the church. I'm not angry or resentful (well, maybe just a bit), I understand that not all churches or schools are like that and that many people come out unscathed anyway. But I digress.

My current relationship and a previous one have been the only cases where sex has been involved. In both instances, once it's over I'm filled with dread, paranoia and a kind of terror whereby I think that God will "punish" me for committing a sin and I'll get pregnant. These fears are not alleviated until a pregnancy test is taken and I am proven wrong (thankfully). We've always used contraception, but I'm not on the Pill and I have the feeling that even if I was it would not lessen my paranoia by much.

I realise this is a psychological problem more than anything. I consider myself a rational being, I realise the chances of getting pregnant are slim and that there is nothing wrong in consensual sex. I'm not religious but it's clear to me that my childhood upbringing still holds some sway over me.

My boyfriend and I have spoken about it often, he understands what I'm going through but has no experience of it himself. He has been nothing short of supportive and is willing to wait how ever long it takes for me to be comfortable with my sexuality but it seems that unless there is marriage in sight this isn't something that's going to go away anytime soon.

I enjoy sex, I want sex, I fantasise about it often but even when I fantasise the feelings of shame are not far behind. This may not only be a religious issue but a cultural one as well. While I was raised in a religious, conservative environment this did not stop the, ahem, influences of western culture finding their way into my world. I'm left all the more confused and feel the pull of two different roles. But that's a question for another week.

So my question is really twofold. In what ways - if any - can I overcome the fear and shame of doing things that I know are not bad things? And also, is religious sex guilt an actual phenomenon? Wiki seems doubtful and we all know how reliable Wiki is.

If you don't feel comfortable commenting here you can send your answers/advice/blah to the email in my profile. Thanks.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
Clearly you still 'believe' at some level, even though you say you dont. Even if thats now a psychological (rather than an intellectual) 'belief'. (Perhaps more appropriate to say its a dependency).
Maybe you should treat it as that, then. Try to get over it the way you would any other kind of irrational fear or dependency. Maybe a therapist; maybe read stuff that will help your rational side overcome your irrational fears.
Read "Candide" again. ;)
posted by jak68 at 12:29 AM on July 14, 2006


I wasn't raised in a religious household but sex for the first 5 years left me feeling guilty and trashy, so I sympathise. What I suggest you do is write down each time you feel guilty, and why and then address those issues logically. Like this:
Worry: I had sex last night and I feel guilty.
Question: Why?
Answer: Because it's dirty.
Logical Response:I know that's it's not really dirty because we both showered first.

Okay, it's not dirty, but it's sinful.
Why?
Because religion says it is.
I don't follow my parents religion.

Okay, it's not sinful, but it's slutty.
Why?
Because I'm not a virgin and I'm not married.
I don't have an issue with that, it's within my moral framework.


Write it down, because the same non-logical worries will come back and you already have done the work. I believe, that in time, you will stop feeling negatively.

Good luck.
posted by b33j at 1:12 AM on July 14, 2006


First off, religious sexual guilt is absolutely an actual phenomenon.

As to your main question, I will tell you what worked for me when I was at a point in my religious development that I got hung up on the idea that being celibate unless I was married was necessary, yet found this totally at odds with what I wanted (which was to have sex): I worked it out with God. I prayed about it, I tried to figure out what I really thought my beliefs were with respect to sex and my religion. And I decided I didn't believe God gave a fuck about what I did sexually.

You say you are not religious but if you're obsessed with the idea that God will punish you for having sex, then obviously you in some sense believe in God. Or else God is a sort of symbol - an irrational representative of the disapproval you know your childhood family and community would have for your behavior.

Maybe the real guilt-hence-fear-producing background track is about the cultural divide - you have lapsed (I would say escaped) from your family faith and the cultureof your upbringing, pregnancy would utterly expose what you are probably keeping a secret from your family/childhood community - that you are lapsed, not religious, and sexually active.

Is the thought of your family learning of a pregnancy and their reaction a significant part of the fear fantasies you are experiencing? Perhaps you don't really believe God will supernaturally influence conception in order to punish you for unlawful fornication - you're basically just replaying your mother's/father's/priest's voice in your head as the soundtrack to your own cultural guilt and fear of exposure.

Whatever the case, it sounds to me like you are in a common situation - while you hold a rational, intellectual belief that sex is not wrong and that pregnancy is not caused by Divine Vindictiveness, you cannot help believing (to the point of real fear) a voice forged in the irrational, emotionally based context of childhood cultural/religious indoctrination. I don't know that you will resolve it without digging into that indoctrination and deciding what you really feel and think about it.

Do you really believe in God? Maybe you don't really, you just have the vestiges of that childhood Santa Clause reality that you're not willing to face abandoning because it signifies a deeper breach with the culture of your upbringing.

Maybe you do believe in God (as I do) but cannot accept the pronouncements and dictates about God's will promulgated by the particular orthodoxy you were raised in. The God-concept that is knocking around in your brain causing trouble is a vindictive asshole waiting to spring supernatural punishment for not jumping through the ceremonial hoops Necessary for Authorized Intercourse. "Oh God, what is the purpose for my existence?" "My son, I called you into being to fuck with your mother for being a slut." You can alter that concept or kill it off, but you're not going to get free of it without addressing it, one way or another.
posted by nanojath at 1:24 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


This is a very interesting question for me. I was raised in a pentecostal evangelical church that taught much, MUCH the same logic. "Save sex for marriage," "God will smite you," etc.

It was absolutely engrained upon me and very much pushed through that you find a girl, you get married and then and only then are you "allowed" to enjoy sex, guilt-free.

Then I met my first true girlfriend. She wasn't religious and quickly made it clear that things were a lot more fun the other way around. She didn't pressure me, and I was very very hesitant initially, but after four or five months, I realized that I loved her and that marriage was nothing but a theory and a piece of paper (so to speak) and that loving someone need be my only personal criteria.

I understood this, and I was able to accept it. I was guilty like crazy at first, but it just became my reality after a while—I love her. Why should this be considered "wrong"? And by whom? I know some of my "friends" would have judged me, so I wouldn't go bragging about it to them, but the truth came down to making the decision on my own and for my own reasons.

Both my parents were raised Catholic but went through independent faith-searches and periods of no faith whatsoever. Thus, they knew that a college-aged teenager wouldn't be the most chaste. The most I ever heard from them about it, and I credit this as being an element of making things not completely wrought with guilt was simple:

"You know how we've raised you, and what we believe. But if nothing else, wait until she's 18."

Fair enough, but the logic of "wait until marriage" just wasn't for me.

As far as the paranoia is concerned, I've remained rather paranoid that girl in question would become pregnant and it would be "just my luck," despite using contraceptives every time. I quickly found the freak out factor not a pleasantry, and current-girl is on the pill, which GREATLY alleviates my worries. (99% effective if she doesn't screw it up, and I do check in on that often enough to be confident that's the case.) Science and numbers are on my side, and so I feel a great deal more safe regarding any possibilities. I know she only pays about $10-$15 through Planned Parenthood, but I also know that the pill can seriously bother some people. Still, the knowledge that there is a physiological barrier will likely greatly increase your enjoyment, even if you continue to use a condom. (The odds of you becoming pregnant from doubling up pill + condom and using both properly are so ridiculously low, I'd have to believe God had it out for you personally if you managed to get pregnant that way.)

The truth is, He doesn't. That's all there is to it. And I'm of the understanding and impression that loving someone should be enough. Different strokes for different folks, but it took a while to transition away towards these feelings of marriage as a necessity. It took me stepping back and looking objectively at the concept of marriage as it pertained to a practical barrier to "rightful sex" when I realized that. I hope this helps.
posted by disillusioned at 1:31 AM on July 14, 2006


All of the advice up there is well reasoned and helpful. I show up to, as usual, bring back to sex...

Maybe if you role played in a situation where the choice wasn't left up to you and you just got to disappear within the moment. Maybe a little light bondage.

Afterwards, instead of staying in bed and cuddling, get up-do something with your partner. Make an ice cream sunday, play a video game, something to keep your mind in the moment and feeling warm happy fun feelings in the after time as well.

and for the obligitory background, I was raised in a strict mormon household.
posted by nadawi at 1:34 AM on July 14, 2006


It sounds like you have scrupulosity - a form of ocd. You need the help of a professional psychiatrist, not from strangers in a discussion forum.

Go get help right away.
posted by raydexter at 2:01 AM on July 14, 2006


Wait, she's uncomfortable and has guilty feelings about sex, so you suggest she step it up and get tied down? Um? Perhaps I'm missing something.

You're one of those "teach a kid to swim by throwing him in the deep end" kind of people, I take it.
posted by Justinian at 2:06 AM on July 14, 2006


I'm in complete disagreement with raydexter, and think that while he's at it, he should also be prescribing Ritalin for your ADD and Paxil for your anti-anxiety.

You're not suffering from anything so extreme as a malice-induced form of OCD. You're suffering from residual guilt as an element of growing up in a religious household and nature vs. nuture, with nurture taking a firm stance.

Look back on my first post for the rest of what I have to say.
posted by disillusioned at 2:51 AM on July 14, 2006


It's just like feeling guilty about eating ice cream.

Eat enough of it, and you will stop feeling guilty.
posted by ewkpates at 3:43 AM on July 14, 2006


Perhaps you haven't adequately researched how exactly one is forgiven? Do you suppose that sinning more makes you less forgiven?
posted by vanoakenfold at 4:17 AM on July 14, 2006


the OP doesn't believe in god, and thus doesn't need forgiveness. That said, sinning more makes you less forgiven if it demonstrates that you are unrepentant. No penitence = no forgiveness.

liquorice:

I'm much slower to call for counselling that many people in AskMefi. However, if you find you cannot get over this on your own, this is exactly the sort of thing counselling is for. You're clearly being harmed by the guilt tripping that was imposed on you as a kid. Things we learn as we are growing up are very hard to shake.
posted by Justinian at 4:46 AM on July 14, 2006


Well, one question might be would you simply be happier refraining from sex? Or would you be less happy without it? While pre-maritial sex is much ballyhooed in our modern world, there simply is no reason that says you "must" partake in it. I know in your post, you said you wanted to overcome this problem, but unless you feel you'd be less happy in a relationship without sex than in one with sex, I'd advise you to not feel like this is a solution you necessarily have to pursue.
posted by Atreides at 4:51 AM on July 14, 2006


My own struggle with the practical application of post-Christian morality mainly involved a knee-jerk dislike of homosexual and bisexual individuals.

I'm not certain exactly when this reflex began to fade, but it *did* eventually. Unless you have some vestigal part of your rational thought process that still considers God sovereign and the bible an accurate moral compass, these antiquated, injurious attitudes toward love and sexual relationships will eventually fade.

Continued familiarization may also be an effective therapy. In my case, I found that my discomfort at the homosexual relationship presented in the second season of Dawson's Creek (one of the shows that I watch on DVD) had faded significantly by the time I started watching the third.

I'm not suggesting that you begin a regular porn regimen, but if you are in a monogamous (and thus disease-free) relationship, you might want to try starting birth control, ditching the condom, and engaging in such activities more often.
posted by The Confessor at 6:08 AM on July 14, 2006


Another one raised in a conservative religious house here.

Two things happened to help me.
1. My guilt feelings (as distinguished from actual guilt) hurt someone else, namely the girl to whom I lost my virginity, who I was crazy about. But the religious stuff made me be incredibly shitty to her ( not to mention myself) because I couldn't get past the guilt feelings and the hovering sense that I'd committed a terrible sin. She eventualyl forgave me but we didn't stay in touch and it's one of the few regrets I have about my life.
A few years after this, I realized that the only "sin" I'd committed was being hurtful to someone I loved. I realized then that blind adherence to a religious belief is often the soruce of great suffering.
So I started to actually looking things up.
I discovered that, for example, the Bible doesn't acutally forbid premarital sex, and in fact, in the later bits of Deuteronomy, seems to accept that it's inevitable. That made me wonder why folks were so hung up on it.
Skip ahead several years to when I met my wife. We dated for a while and then, as it became clear we were going to get engaged, I moved in with her, mostly to save on wedding expenses. My parents lost thier shit, and began being very mean, childish and hurtful, and eventually my father did something so incredibly hurtful to my wife (she was my fiancee at that point -- and it's embarrassing enough for my father that I don't want to write what he did) that I didn't speak to my parents for six months. It took about five years for my parents and my wife to get to the point where they enjoy each other's company.

At that time, I saw again how blind adherence to a religious belief causes people to hurt each other. That, plus the barrage of logical fallacies I had to endure from from friends and family pushed me over the edge and I quit feeling guilty. It is highly likely that if my friends and family had been kind and compassionate about the matter, I'd have never gotten over it.

I've been married for a few years now; my wife and I have a great relationship and great sex life (even with me starting a business and us having a toddler). I don't regret our premarital sex life at all; in fact, I think it was a wonderful thing. I have friends who are in the process of divorce or who report having stale or troubled sex lives, and all of them waited to be married before having sex. Many of my women friends who waited don't enjoy sex or find it a chore. Meanwhile, almost all of my friends who had sex prior to marriage have stable, fun, healthy marriages, and far fewer of them are divorced. I even have a friend who is smart, handsome, funny, and an artist who supports himself from his art, but due to his inability to relate to his own body, is on his way to becoming the 40 year old virgin.

I don't know if there's a cure-all for religious guilt, but I think that if you can find good counseling, it could help. I also think that talking about it with your S.O. is good, and I think, too that it will likely pass with time.

You may recall the story in the book of Genesis about Jacob leaving his uncle's household. His wife steal her father's household idols and when Jacob discovers she's done this, he gets all his entourage to bring him thier household idols. He and they bury them and not long after, he has his encounter with the angel by the river Jabbok.
To me that story says we all have to make that journey -- we have to bury our parents' gods so we can become ourselves and enter our adult lives.
posted by eustacescrubb at 6:20 AM on July 14, 2006 [2 favorites]


Try dress-up games. If you aren't you, maybe the other you can have some fun. Or...

Learn to enjoy being "bad." Enjoy big ol' God-daddy watching you with wrinkled brow and tented robes. Or...

Get married (in the church, secret ceremony, real priest, without your family's knowledge) and fuck your brains out knowing that God approves and is enjoying the show.

If you need to get out of it later, you can always find a way to void it. Maybe the husband isn't a fit Catholic father after all or he was impaired during the wedding -- a friend could slip him something pleasant. Maybe the boyfriend could do other things (without your knowledge) so that you believe you're married before God but the boyfriend knows otherwise. It's something your boyfriend would have to have the sense to do properly -- like pretend he wasn't high after all, that he never took the pill he said he would take to make the marriage void, so you think you really really really got married, and he keeps the secret for your sake.

If you need to have another wedding later for the sake of the family, get the first marriage annulled (boyfriend reveals that he dropped a tab of acid before the ceremony) and then have the public wedding to do it properly. I don't think even the second priest would have to know about the first wedding if the thing was properly annulled so that it theoretically never happened.
posted by pracowity at 6:51 AM on July 14, 2006


I would second the obsessive compulsive disorder possibility. OCD isn't just handwashing, it can be obsessive thoughts and guilt - especially about sex. Talk to your doctor, and get a referral for a therapist.
posted by fcain at 7:03 AM on July 14, 2006


I grew up evangelical with many of the same messages, and what helped me was to research it and replace my "sex is bad! you are a slut if you like it!" messages with more positive ones, particularly about female sexuality.

So, some resources for that:
- The Story of V: Opening Pandora's Box by Catherine Blackledge - lots of info about the female reproductive system, both biologically and how it's been viewed culturally, including a lot of info about cultures/times where it's been viewed with much reverence and honour, rather than shame.
- Judy Chicago's work, particularly The Dinner Party.
- All About My Vagina - an extremely thorough set of observations from one girl.

It is possible that part of this is fear of what your family would do/think if they found out you were having sex, but I don't agree with the OCD suggestion. I've found Why Bad Beliefs Don't Die to be really helpful in understanding why sometimes those stupid-ass beliefs are super-hard to shake. It's okay. You were told over and over that this is something to fear, and your brain is just trying to protect you. That's why I suggest doing some reading and letting it dawn on your subconscious that consensual sex isn't scary or dangerous, but a good, safe, and recommended thing, and that your sexuality is a great thing, not shameful at all. It might take some time for that to shift though, which is frustrating, because your brain is really convinced that there is a Bogeyman of Damnation to fear. So, keep walking into those dark rooms and turning on the lights, and let your brain see that there's nothing scary there. Good luck!
posted by heatherann at 7:20 AM on July 14, 2006


OPS I forgot mentioning ! Consider also the following: realizing that sex isn't that OMG horrible thing does NOT imply that (as some may think or suggest) you _need_ to feel that anything sexual MUST be ok to you. That's the exact opposite of considering _everything_ about sex bad ! NOT everything about sex MUST be ok to you, not everything will feel ok or comfortable and that's fine, it is NOT in contradiction with realizing sex is not sinful.
posted by elpapacito at 7:59 AM on July 14, 2006


You're one of those "teach a kid to swim by throwing him in the deep end" kind of people, I take it.

Well...sometimes, sure, but in this case I think it might actually help. I've found with girls that are in their heads too much (as is exibited here by all the guilt) sometimes need to be taken away from their brains...hence, taking the control of the situation out of her hands for a twenty minutes could be very theraputic...hence the light bondage suggestion...

What's you're suggestion? She just keep banging it out while on her back and letting her mind continually wander to all the things that might make sex less fun for her? We should all get over the 'omg! that's so kinky! i could never do that' and just realize that nearly anything two people can do together and enjoy will do much to deepen their bond.
posted by nadawi at 8:06 AM on July 14, 2006


I think it's important to give thought to your own personal, moral, and religious beliefs (to whatever extent you have them) regarding sexuality, in order to stop the leftover "default" beliefs that you were ingrained with from taking over.

b33j suggested a sort of rational discourse with yourself above, which could be a useful approach. I might come at the topic with less of a preemptive bent, ie, don't try to "convince" yourself of something, but rather, really ask yourself what you do believe. What does sexuality mean to you? How does the sexual element of your relationship contribute to the relationship overall? What feelings are expressed in physical intimacy; what benefits and/or what dangers are there on an emotional level? What does marriage mean to you? What benefits and/or drawbacks are there in having multiple partners over your life? ...etc.

Sex and love and marriage mean different things to different people. Birth control has made it possible to comfortably live out all these different philosophies, but it doesn't mean everyone is happy with the most libertine approach even if it's practically available. Personally, I don't consider sex a whole 'nother level of intimacy; I've always been self-conscious, which means I generally feel vulnerable just being in the world or looking people in the face, so in a way having sex almost seems less vulnerable, since you're both naked, you're both responding to not-quite-effable feelings, you're both seeking a connection - whereas in the world, you feel the power of the other person's gaze, but you are often less aware that you're returning it. But for some people, sex is the absolutely most vulnerable/intimate /private thing you can do, and that means that engaging in it has all kinds of important emotional and psychological elements that shouldn't be brushed aside as 'merely' dogma. If your beliefs about sexuality embrace the notion that one should only have sex when in love, then you have to address the implication that one can be in love many times, with many different people over the course of their life, and, again, the pluses & minuses of this outcome.

Anyway, all that is just to say, think about what it means to you and why you want it and be honest about potential difficulties, not just in terms of pregnancy, which is very unlikely if you're careful, but in terms of what that fear might actually be standing in for, ie, do you feel you could have second thoughts about it if you had a dozen different partners in your life, etc. Which is absolutely not to say you should (I personally don't see numbers as a concern; my only goal is that each experience is what I actually want and not something I just kind of 'let' happen or otherwise don't fully endorse) but also not that you shouldn't - you have to determine your own set of hopes, beliefs, concerns, limits, etc. It seems to me that the better you truly understand your own sexual philosophy (and I think plenty of people just adopt what's around them rather than actually thinking it through), the less likely you are to be randomly accosted by thoughts you thought you didn't think anymore :).
posted by mdn at 8:42 AM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


Everyone in your church fucked before marriage, and I'd make a bet your parents did too, even if they say they didn't. If there is a hell, and premarital sex will get you there, it's going to be very crowded, and heaven will be filled with the most boring people you can think of.

This is a serious answer and I hope that, by pointing out the absurdity of your concerns, that your guilt will be lessened. Also, keep using birth control. :)
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:20 AM on July 14, 2006


nadawi, from the above question she clearly states that the difficulty arises after sex. So, changing the type of sex is not really at issue. It is changing ingrained feelings that arise post-cloital .

My mild suggestions would be to try some of the cognitive suggestions mentioned above. And if after awhile (you decide how long) this does not seem to be helping, perhaps think about seeing a therapist. Not to treat OCD, but to work out other ways you may be able to move beyond the difficulties suggested.

After sex try engaging in activities that are mildly pleasant and that stimulate the senses. This may help reinforce the positive feelings associated with sex itself.
posted by edgeways at 9:47 AM on July 14, 2006


...once it's over I'm filled with dread, paranoia and a kind of terror whereby I think that God will "punish" me for committing a sin and I'll get pregnant... I realise this is a psychological problem more than anything.

I'm not a psychiatrist, psychologist or a therapist or any kind, but I do know ocd/scrupulosity when I see it because I have the disorder. I've written about my experiences here and have received hundred of emails from all over the world (including an email from cnn) with inquiries, stories and pleads for help. You have classic scrupulosity symptoms.

You need to see a doctor.

That being said, it also sounds like you have a fully functioning conscience. Fornication is a grievious sin and an abomination in the eyes of God, and if you were raised by devout Roman Catholic parents, your actions are very much in stark contrast to your upbringing. Call it a double whammy.

See a doctor, and stop doing what you're doing until you get married.
posted by rinkjustice at 12:17 PM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]


A tool I have found useful in changing my own behavior is talking to myself. For one, verbalizing (and writing is also good) helps you solidify things. For another, speaking or writing helps you slow down the runaway thoughts when you're agitated since you can't say things as quick as you can think them.

"I have nothing to feel guilty about. I had safe and enjoyable sex with someone I care about, my behavior did not hurt anyone, I took precautions that almost certainly would prevent my becoming pregnant." Say it to yourself when you feel bad. Repeating it will help you believe it emotionally as well as logically.

I think you'll also help yourself if you give yourself permission to be a little illogical and have some anxiety - you're human, be okay with that. Being afraid of something that would be life-changing is reasonable, provided you don't let it control you. Being impacted by your upbringing is also normal. They spent over a decade trying to convince you of something - don't expect yourself to completely throw off its impact in a month.
posted by phearlez at 12:19 PM on July 14, 2006


It sounds from your post that what you're actually scared of is getting pregnant. If you could have sex with a guarantee from God that you wouldn't get pregnant, how would you feel?

If it would be OK, I would devise a complete plan for that eventuality. Even with birth control, pregnancy is statistically quite possible during a lifetime of sex.
posted by trevyn at 12:23 PM on July 14, 2006


I probably worded my inital post too strongly. The feelings of terror and fear stem from thinking I'm pregnant not that I've disobeyed God. I mention that going on birth control wouldn't ease my paranoia by much but only because I know that no form of contraception is 100% safe.

I feel like Nanojath really hit the nail on the head here. This has more to do with my family than religion itself. If I became pregnant I would be "exposed" as hiding this other side of my life. (As my parents don't even know I'm currently in a relationship).

I'm not so sure about the OCD suggestions, I'll look into it anyway, but I think it has more to do with the consequences of sex rather than the act itself.

b33j I'll definately try that technique to help ease my irrational thoughts but I realise that it goes deeper than that too.

Someone mentioned that I should try some more kink in my life, don't worry, we've got that all...tied up already. :p

Thanks for all your advice, comments and help. I really appreaciate it and hopefully it will allow me to come to terms with the underlying issues in this whole little saga.
posted by liquorice at 6:13 PM on July 14, 2006


By the by... while it will not eradicate concern, if your body/metabolism is amenable to the pill (or shot or patch or... ring... thingy...) extra conception never hurts. Even if you're not chemically compatible there are other options for women. Condoms never failed me but you know, it happens.

This thing is complicated by the fact that the fear of unplanned pregnancy is not irrational. I'll let you in on an unhappy little fact of the routinely sexually active: pregnancy scares become part of your relational life. I've been out of my mind worried on at least a couple dozen occasions through 16 years of being sexually active, with lesser and greater "rational" justification. The closest I ever got to truly worry-free sex was with the pill (probably because it highly regulates the menstrual cycle, the erratic spokes of which are the source of most "scares"). Aside from actually trying to conceive, which of course is go-crazy time, but then there's this thing where hello, baby. Which I'm finding totally awesome but hoo, I'm glad it only happened when we were ready.

Why aren't you on the pill if you're 8 months in on what sounds like a serious relationship? I mean if it doesn't agree with you fine, don't mess with that, but it doesn't sound like that's an issue? Is there a possible psychological barrier, like it's too much an admission that you are fully committing to a sexual life?

And your parents don't know? 8 months? Sounds pretty, ah, serious? I know it's hard to open these worm cans but it sounds like you need to start taking ownership of your life in more ways than one.
posted by nanojath at 11:02 PM on July 14, 2006


Coming from someone with a religious background, I think some of you are misunderstanding what the root of the "fear of getting pregnant" actually is. When you grow up in the church, "getting pregnant" is constantly held over your head as The Bad Thing that if you engage in premarital sex. And I don't think it's totally about that you'll have a baby and have to raise it for 18+ years, possibly alone. It's about What People Will Think. I know, because I've seen it happen- the daughter of the pastor of the church I went to in high school just got knocked up. Her father had to write a letter to the church, the word races through the grapevine (I got a phone call from my sisters in Florida, which is rare). Fearing pregnancy isn't the fear of having a baby- it's the fear of everyone finding out that you're a slut and letting them down.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:09 PM on July 15, 2006 [2 favorites]


If I became pregnant

Would it be rude of me to suggest that if your concern is getting pregnant that your boyfriend use condoms?
posted by eustacescrubb at 7:43 AM on July 17, 2006


eustacescrubb, the poster states "we've always used contraception" in her question. So I guess it was sort of rude that you didn't double-check the question before you posted. Otherwise it would have just been, well, sensible.
posted by nanojath at 10:46 PM on July 17, 2006


Yeah, nanojath, I read the post, but my understanding of the question was affected after she re-emphasized that the fear was mostly about getting pregnant, so I wasn't sure they're using condoms.
posted by eustacescrubb at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2006


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