Author Bridget Gaudette
I'm an ex-Jehovah's Witness with a focus on Black atheism, humanism, and sex-positive dialogue. | @BridgetGaudette
It starts with a warm, tingly feeling in my toes. (As I sit here trying to think of an accurate way to describe it, the only analogy that comes to mind is electricity). Then, if the proper sensation is maintained, the warm tingle quickly moves up my legs until the current hits the fuse box and then waves of electricity cascade through my body.. all the way to my fingertips and the top of my head. On a lucky day, this will happen multiple times. (If you’re a nerd like me, you can read about what happens in the brain during an orgasm here. Cool stuff!).
Why am I talking about this? BECAUSE I CAN. I was raised in a religious, high control group and when sex was brought up it was about the DON’Ts of sex. Sexual relationships were only to be had within the confines of marriage. Masturbation.. well that simply wasn’t allowed ever, so I never asked about it and didn’t do it. I remember having the “birds and bees” talk with my mother but all it consisted of was “boys have penises and girls have vaginas”. I don’t think she even touched on the actual mechanics.. how the penis and vagina worked in concert to achieve this thing called “sex” (not to mention vaginas with vaginas, anal sex, etc.). Of course gay/lesbian sex was not discussed except to point out that that was sinful. I was also told that pleasuring myself sexually was a no-no. I actually was too young at the time to even know why a person would do such a thing (why would I touch down there?!). Unfortunately when I got older and started have urges.. I was completely ignorant as to what I should do about those feelings both physically and psychologically. This is what religion does to a lot of young people. They are taught that sex outside of marriage is essentially taboo so don’t even worry about it pre-marriage and then when you get married, just figure it out.
I was a devout Christian. I wanted to “save” myself for marriage even though at age 21, I was seriously ignorant about my body and sex. I moved out of my parent’s house that year and I remember seeing my first porn. (Hallelujah to the internet). Sadly though, that was my first real sex education. I don’t know if it was my age or the freedom of not living with my parents or if it was the fact that I started college that year and found myself around “men”, but my libido shot through the roof! Along with secular education (biological anthropology, cosmology, etc.), my sex drive is another big reason I became an atheist. I’m slightly embarrassed to say that at the end of 2001 I was more concerned with sex than I was with God, but, I assumed I could repent later and all would be well.
So.. I did it and it was fabulous. Orgasms were fun and I wanted a lot of them. As luck would have it, I met a nice Atheist man. He was cute and also brilliant (I’m a sapiosexual so his brilliance is important). I wasn’t concerned with his disbelief in God, I was a Jehovah’s Witness after all, I’d just convert him. That didn’t work out as planned. He ended up teaching me SO much about the world that I had written off. We ended up taking several classes together and I suddenly had someone who helped make concepts like evolution plausible! And I got to have sex with him too! I felt like a very lucky girl. I ended up marrying this Atheist man (to my parent’s dismay) and we’re still together 12 years later and I’m still in awe of how knowledgeable he is.
Even after I shrugged off my god-belief, I still had sexual hang-ups. I didn’t masturbate until several years into my marriage because I thought it would be “icky” and I was embarrassed by the concept. Luckily, I got over that. I now consider myself “sex-positive“. Wikipedia defines it as “an ideology which promotes and embraces open sexuality with few limits beyond an emphasis on safe sex and the importance of informed consent. Sex positivity is ‘an attitude towards human sexuality that regards all consensual sexual activities as fundamentally healthy and pleasurable, and encourages sexual pleasure and experimentation’ [...] The movement makes no moral distinctions among types of sexual activities, regarding these choices as matters of personal preference”. Growing up in a restrictive religious environment where sex was only spoken of in hushed tones or as sinful, while also putting absolute restrictions on masturbation is unacceptable and unhealthy. I’m happy that as an HIV case manager (social worker) I am able to provide safer sex education on a regular basis. Children growing up don’t need to be protected from sex, they need to know the realities.
In close, I’m thankful for my libido overriding my concern with “God”. It helped lead me to my Atheism.
P.S. It was pointed out to me that I ended this blog rather abruptly, but all of this typing and thinking about orgasms and sex.. well.. I needed to go!
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