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Many people who attended church for a long time suffer from Religious Trauma. It’s becoming more visible to more and more people as more of us are talking more openly about it.
Religious Trauma is often wound up with Purity Culture, which can have a disastrous affect on our attitudes about sex. People who are survivors of Religious Trauma and Purity Culture often struggle to acquire healthy attitudes about sex and feel comfortable with their sex lives. Add to that... if a person suffers these things plus spiritual abuse, there's a lot of healing that needs to happen because these all affect their lives at a deep and fundamental level, including sexually.
Here's a couple stuck in a religious mindset caused by Religious Trauma.
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5 Ways Religious Trauma Can Affect Your Sexuality
Christianity, like many religions, castes our bodies and the flesh in a bad light. I was taught that my body was my enemy and something I always had to deny and beat into submission. I had to crucify it daily. The affect this had on my attitudes about sex was that I felt guilt any time I was enjoying my body or being in my body. For some people it’s even worse: they can never have any pleasure because it’s blatantly sinful, goes against scripture, and displeases God.
For those of us who grew up in intense religious environments, the goal was to always be thinking about God and spiritual matters. Our minds had to be first and foremost stayed upon God, and to allow anything else to creep in was to allow something else to dethrone God from our minds and lives. We could never, to use an analogy, take a vacation and just enjoy ourselves because we were to be “on” 24/7. Even in our sleep, we had to pray for protection so that we wouldn’t stray from this strict path. As a result, when some people are enjoying sex, there can be a deep sense of putting something ahead of God that may anger him, or at least disappoint him.
Religious Trauma teaches us not to trust our bodies. This is deadly for good sex. One of the most important things for a good sexual relationship is confidence. For sex to be fulfilling for each partner, each one must feel confident in their bodies and have some confidence in knowing or discovering what is pleasurable for their partner. Insecurity and a lack of confidence can kill passion and eliminate a feeling of joy and fulfillment.
Religion dichotomizes the world. There’s good and evil, invisible and visible, light and dark, spirit and flesh. And these are always at war with one another. As a result, for many people coming out of a strict religion, when we are making love with someone we love, there is confusion about what’s happening. If their minds are on their body and their loved one’s body and the love and passion taking place, it can feel less than spiritual and therefore, somehow, even sinful, secular, fleshly, or worldly.
We can educate ourselves by giving ourselves therapy and going to get therapy. We can come to a place where we understand that our bodies aren’t evil, aren’t our enemies, aren’t less than spirit, and not unimportant.
When we realize our bodies are good and to be dignified and enjoyed, we are on our way to healing and healthy attitudes about sex and on to enjoying healthy sex lives.