If you grew up religious and therefore struggling with sex guilt, this is for you. I grew up Catholic, going to church as a child and then Catholic boarding secondary school between 11 and 16. I always thought that sex was a bad word. A word to be hushed and only spoken of in secret conversations.
It’s not like my parents were ever strict on sex or made it seem like a taboo, we just never talked about it. Living through all those years of the Catholic church its schools were enough to send the message loud and clear. “Sex before marriage is bad, dirty and wrong.”
The issue with teaching people that sex is bad is that when you’re a teen, you’re so full of hormones that your body is telling you that you want sex all the time. You’re a boiling pot of hormones. To put it bluntly, you’re really horny. Even masturbation, which is medically approved as being healthy, is forbidden. So the idea that you have to wait until your mid-twenties to get rid of this feeling is scary.
Abstinence-only sex education is counter-productive because it promotes shame and guilt around the natural sexual desires that many of us have. People will still have sex anyway, so teaching only abstinence prevents them from learning how to have safe sex.
You can choose to abstain from sex until marriage, but what happens after you get married? Where is the sex education then? I have met a lady who told me she even felt guilty after having sex with her husband on their wedding night. She was too guilty to show up in church the next day.
Sexual shame is not strictly a religious issue. But it is in the religious conditions that we see this problem reach widespread levels.
People can overcome sexual shame in their lives without having to abandon their religious values and beliefs. But it is only when a person accepts their sexuality as an aspect of themselves that they can truly begin to heal from sexual shame. Only then can they assess their sexuality from a position that supports their own health. In a way that promotes healthy sexual values, in their lives, relationships, and even their soul.
Overcoming sexual guilt takes time and can be done with access to proper information. Sex is natural and regardless of your identity or abstinence, you should still educate yourself about it!