Sex, Religion, and Guilt… Will It EVER End?

This extremely controversial issue comes up over and over again. People from a very strict religious upbringing experience many relationship difficulties around sex and sexuality.

They especially take issue with their partner’s sexual history. But the problem comes in when they pass judgment on their partner for “sexual indiscretions”, and try to “save” this person. This is a very common problem with men from very religious backgrounds, when they discover their wife or girlfriend has had sex before them… and, gasp! sometimes with more than just one man!

This of course results in serious relationship problems, and often a break up or divorce.

We are today the product of our upbringing, experiences, and choices

The person you love is who they are because of their upbringing, their experiences, and each and every choice they made up to this point in their lives. Without all those factors, this person would not be who they are today, and would likely not have ever met you – since all those circumstances in their life also ultimately led to the two of you coming together.

So it is naive and hypocritical for people to talk about “forgiving” their partners’ sexual past, when they love this person for who they are today.

Women and virgins… “Hey – who broke the safety seal on this one?!”

This whole thing about “I want to marry a virgin” sounds nice in theory, but it doesn’t reflect the reality in our society today.

The real question to ask is – “who cares?” So what if she’s had sex before? Maybe then she’ll actually know what she’s doing when she has sex with you – better yet, maybe she’ll actually know what she likes.

Gasp! Women taking pleasure in sex. No, it can’t be! Sure, it’s barely been over 100 years since the ever enlightened medical establishment of the day (read: men with large egos) was telling us that women don’t actually take pleasure in sex. Of course during those glorious days doctors could only examine the parts of a woman that weren’t covered by her mandatory head-to-toe clothing. No, seriously. This is not fiction. It’s the height of the arrogance and hypocrisy of the Victorian age… a time from which many of today’s sexual taboos stem, and thus many of today’s relationship sex and intimacy problems.

There are places in today’s world still where women cannot show their faces. Lifting their veils amounts to public pornography, and is against the law of the land. Can you believe it? And let’s not forget that it’s barely been sixty years since women have been allowed to vote.

We live in fascinating times, but our dark history is not far behind.

Strong religious upbringing and sex education…

Something we see very often from people raised in a very strict religious manner is a complete lack of sex education. Unfortunately, when we hide away from sex and don’t teach our children about the realities of sex, the inevitable will happen… from teen pregnancy, to sexually transmitted diseases, to child molestation, and so on.

We are sexual beings. Ignoring this very important part of our very nature results in many of the sexual and relationship problems we see today. In addition, there’s a strong trend toward the “behind closed doors” type of sexual activity and experimentation.

There are many wonderful things that have come out of religious circles. But it’s important to remember that at the core of most of today’s religious teachings is the original message of peace, love, and forgiveness. The problem comes in when organized religion tells us to pass judgment on others and change them.  What happened the peace, love, and forgiveness part?

Can you forgive her past indiscretions and move on with your relationship?

That’s a tough question since there’s nothing really there for you to “forgive”. She didn’t do anything to you.

The real question is… can you embrace the love that you have been blessed to partake in, or is your anti-sex bias more important to you… important enough to give up your love and move on?

Here’s a question from a man in Ontario trying to cope with this same dilemma.

Dear Dan and Jennifer,

I have a really loving and caring partner that I love and care for too. I have concerns about previous past with that person. Before I start I want you to know that I am 25 year old Catholic and this is my first serious relationship. My fiance is 27 years old and she is Greek Orthodox who had a few previous relationships.

And this is what is bothering me… the fact that I have not dated and got affiliated with people whom I knew that I would not want to stay with but also I lived a very lonely life because of that. My bother comes from her past that for one she had a first marriage that in her early twenties but got a divorce shortly after. That bothers me because I was expecting to meet a girl who would be a virgin.

What also bothers me is that she dated more guys after and got affiliated with them also. It was very painful for me to find a box of condoms with condom cream in her bathroom that was hidden under a big mess. Now you may see where I am coming from I feel that she has done such horrible things and here I am the person who loves her who is suppose to accept her.

This person has lived on her own at a very young age and only has a mother because the father passed away. I can see that she may have a reason that this has happened and I believe its from being alone also.

She loves me with everything and says that she has never met someone like me before who is caring, emotional, very sensitive and not a typical guy who drinks beer and watched tv all the time. I need your help in making me understand why I am feeling sad, anger at times, unhappy and no being able to talk with my partner. It is very hard to forgive and move on. Please help.

– Rafal, Ontario


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