God’s Impact on my Teenage Sexuality

When I met my first love of my life I was astonished to find out that he was God fearing man.  He was at a crossroads breaking away from a church that he had been interested in, but had created some good friends through it.  I remember after a few weeks of seeing each other having the talk with him about religion.  I impulsively blurted out that I could never respect or be with a man who believed in God as I found it childish nonsense.  Yes, I actually said that, or something incredibly similar and blunt (it was years ago so I am probably paraphrasing a bit).  Oddly enough he went on to be one of the strongest atheists that I have ever met, but I digress.  I bring this up because we were both virgins when we met, and I have often wondered what role religion played, in us making it to that point.
While I went to catholic school there were the girls in my social circle with whom we suspected of having sexual encounters.  But the part that baffles me, is that whatever these girls went through they went through alone.  There was no support from their peers regarding information towards contraception or options.  I held onto my virginity merely because I was not interested in high school boys and knew no one older.  Whereas my friends who were experimenting with their long term boyfriends, could not safely share, or ask questions within our group.  The judgement of family for teenagers to be sexually experimental is one thing, but then you add God into the mix and the result is a bunch of ill informed, hormone-crazed males and females interacting in an almost chaotic fashion with a poor sexual education. 
It has taken me a long time to come to terms with being sex positive, and I think being in that environment growing up did play a role.  Although to be fair, I had a very open parent, with whom I knew I could ask anything.  That in itself was almost a detriment though, as I had no peers that I could share my concerns or feelings about masturbating, hormones, or any number of questions I had at the time.  God may or may not played a role with me specifically, but that figure played a large role within my social circle.  Or at the very least, ensured that we were not comfortable openly discussing anything sex related on school property, which we spent the majority of our time.  I will share with you a rather unpleasant memory of just how perverse the idea of sex was within my group of catholic friends.
When I started to date and hang out with more males the summer after high school and my first year of university I had no idea what I was doing.  So I ended up making out with a few guys who knew each other within our circle.  Well people like to talk, including as I would later find out, the males in particular.  The result was a sick little club that was nicknamed the KKK (K’s Kissing Klub) as best I could figure it stood for.   I couldn’t believe that in university I was in a group that was so fearful of sex and who they were that I was the object of ridicule for merely kissing a few guys over a span of a few months.  With brutal honesty I will tell you that the night I lost my virginity, my exact words were, I just want to get this over with.  Sex had become so skewed for me that it was almost a meaningless action.  I was already given the stigma of a slut so I might as well just get the actual act over and done with.  My first time bore no meaning, and as I had broken my hymen when I was kid playing on a playground, I didn’t even have the pain or the blood.  It was insignificant.
I know the role that God played in the eyes of my friends and thereby how I was viewed by my peers.  I am also thankful to that man who stayed with me after that night and would stay by my side for years afterwards allowing a safe environment for me to explore and grow sexually.  He gave me room to flirt and discover my likes and dislikes.  Also he quickly helped me rid myself of that horrible klub with which I was the key member.  I guess my bottom line is, I firmly believe that the role of God should have no bearing when it comes to sex and building a sex positive environment for our teenagers.  There is more harm in mixing the taboos of faith regarding sex, than giving our teens honest and factual education regarding their bodies and hormones.  If “16 and Pregnant” has taught me anything, it’s that sex is going to happen no matter what the circumstance, now let us work towards separating these two ideologies and building a healthier next generation.

Just live… Quest for Happiness

I am currently reading an interesting book which poses a debate between Freud, and CS Lewis about various subjects stemming from their opposing views on theology, called “The Question of God: C.S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex and the Meaning of Life” by Armand M. Nicholi.  It’s interesting to read on how our views on religion seem to affect how we view happiness as well.  As I wrote about in my previous post, Just Live, the idea of living for yourself and being the beacon of your own happiness is instrumental.  It was really interesting to read about two intelligent individuals in our recent history having this posed debate.  I know that I will look back on my lifetime, especially in the last few years and be proud of the actions I took which resulted in attaining my current happiness level.  I will not have to include anyone else in attribute of that achievement.  This is what drives me to get up every morning, responsibility and complete control of my own self fulfillment. 

Of course we are all individuals and what works for me will not necessarily work for the next man down or even what worked for me in the past.  I have mentioned my previous believe in God and I will admit that I did find a comfort in achieving a lifestyle for him.  I worked diligently to try and follow the teachings of the bible and put my trust in a higher and seemingly more educated power.  The entity that knew inherently what was right and wrong.  In my early teenage years this was a guiding light in a very chaotic time for me.  Slowly though I discovered something about myself, and that was I felt the same sense of well being when I began to internalize my prayers.  When I started putting faith in myself and what I could and couldn’t accomplish I felt a real wholeness, and a more complete me. 

I very slowly recognized that I was blaming God for my shortcomings and praising myself for my achievements.  When this became apparent I realized that it had to be all or nothing, rationally I needed to accept God in my corner for good and bad as a Christian.  And selfishly I realized that I couldn’t do this.  I was the one living, and making choices, so I needed to accept the good and bad in me.  I could not use an alternate force in times of trouble.  I realized that, I was a strong individual and could attain peace and comfort in my own actions.  I didn’t need the navigational principles of religious teachings to be a good and sound human, it was inside me.  And further I grew to believe that our human race would not have evolved to where it is today if this basic and fundamental rational human being did not exist in almost all of us.  Of course there are always exceptions and variations which allow for cruelty and disgusting examples of humans and their behaviour, as evidenced by many of the genocides and corruption in our world.  This is an evolutionary variant and I do not attribute to any faith or lack of faith meme.
This is my journey of my self-discovery, and why I confidently say that I am the source of my own happiness.  When life is stressful or I am in the pitfall of an emotional roller coaster, it is up to me to attain happiness.  It is my choice to stay in a level of poor me, or to find a way to get out of it.  I have chosen to seek professional help when I was not able to get out of a depressed state on my own.  So I will always recognize that there are situations that we are not always able to find solutions to ourselves.  Be it a simple girls night for emotional team building, or therapy and possibly anti-depressants or mood stabilizers with a doctors strict care.
I have a very brave friend who recently posted on facebook a status regarding making mental health as open as physical health.  I couldn’t agree more, as it is with acknowledgement and openness that we are able to fix the symptoms and provide treatment versus putting our health and welfare into invisible beings and faith only. Happiness is attainable, and more than that, it should not be an end goal or a prize for life’s hard work and achievements.  Happiness should be a daily and even hourly reflection of all that we do in life.  A smile every day is the simplest thing we can do.  It’s your life, so live the best way you can, find the happiness inside and out.

Questioning Our Relationships and Accepting Nothing

The subject of how I was able to question my faith and became an atheist was briefly discussed in an earlier blog.  Now time for the meat and potatoes of my blog which is to take the questioning and exploration one step further.  We have great minds who have questioned faith in our society endlessly, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Friedrich Nietzsche and John Stuart Mill to name a few.  The material available to people who would like to become more informed in their life and the decisions they are making for their children and generations to come is pretty inspiring.  But what about how we view relationships?

I have briefly touched on the subject of divorce.  We are at record numbers in our divorce rates with almost no end in site.  And I wonder how many people actually question why this is?  I have heard the argument so many times that so and so did this and that, broke my heart, cheated, we grew apart, etc.  But why is this occurring really?  In our society marriage is an institution for monogamy, raising children and in Quebec especially, getting tax breaks.  If you are a person of faith, this goes one step further and is sanctioned by God.  That you promise to be faithful to not only your spouse but to God and to be fruitful and multiply, a sure fire way to bring the next generation into religion.

But oddly this idea of marriage still is not lasting even with the legal expense of divorce and the bond breaking with God.  Could it be that it is time to expand on our limited ideals of what marriage should be and in essence our relationships in general?  If the top three reasons for divorce in Canada are : Communication, Money and Cheating, then perhaps the reasons we get married should be re-evaluated.  Humans have the basics in common, to want to share experiences with fellow humans, eat and have sex.  So now is the time to start questioning why we would ruin meaningful relationships over money and sex, and open up the channels for communication over what actually matters.

I think we can get to a point where money is just money, sex is just sex and we find a partner to share the raising of children and our experiences with, for better and worse.  I am questioning why I was raised to believe that monogamous relationships work, if this is only a myth and is there something much better out there.  Something that fits the human condition much better for men and for women.  I know that mistakes will be made and feelings may get in the way but I am willing to put my fears on hold for the exploration of the most amazing relationship and finding the partner to share that with.   I am trying to explore solutions for the demise of marriage and lasting relationships in our society.

The rampant increase of dating sites and ways to meet people is overwhelming right now, but before we get to a point where speed dating is the normal way to have a relationship, lets accept that the confines of a relationship are becoming broader.  Our society is becoming more educated and with that restrictions must be questioned.  If we start judging people based on a few minutes with a skewed perception of what marriage and a relationship really mean than our next generation is going to have an increase in broken homes and more challenges to face.

Ask the scary question of why your relationship would end right at the beginning, try and get on the same page with open communication and let us start evolving our ideals with education and acceptance.


Just Live

“There is something infantile in the presumption that somebody else has a responsibility to give your life meaning and point… The truly adult view, by contrast, is that our life is as meaningful, as full and as wonderful as we choose to make it.” Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)  Although this quote was written directly against using God or Gods to guide your life, I believe that this quote has so many applications to ones happiness. I have written specifically about my view to not live life with regret.  Taking responsibility for your own life and the way you live it goes hand in hand.

When I am on my deathbed,  I want to clearly understand that I lived my life with as much happiness and fulfillment as humanly possible.  I do not ever want to be in a position to say, that so and so treated me badly and held me back.  I have heard time and time again that God has judged my friends and that they feel that they let him down.  But what does that really mean?  Are they just to afraid to admit that they let themselves down, or that they did something that made them feel great and are afraid to admit it? Some of the things I have written on my blog so far, I do not think I would be very pleased if my grandparents read it. 

There is a generational gap and a respect that I have for them, also there are just some things that I would not feel comfortable discussing.  I do have to catch my self either over censoring myself or under censoring myself knowing that I do have family members that read this occasionally.  In the long run it does work to keep me honest about everything written.  I will look back with pride that these are truly my thoughts on specific subjects and I can back the information up with knowledge and research.

My dear readers with any religious affiliations, all I can say is please live your lives to please yourself.  Whether God exists or not, you live with you.  Make yourself happy, and know that when you die it will not be God giving your eulogy, it will be your peers and family members.  In a perfect world, we would not need religion to govern the masses and their behaviors.  There would be a free flowing system of ideas and thoughts, and criticism would lead to debates and more research not violence.  I welcome feedback and criticism when it comes to my views on sex and relationships.  Sometimes even male perspective is appreciated.

Religion’s First Impact on Me

When I was a little girl, the idea of hell was a very scary place, and I was directed to pray each night before I went to bed.  I tried very hard to be a good Christian when I was entered into the Catholic school system at the age of 8.  As I grew up I was given every opportunity to ask questions, read any book I wanted, and ultimately given freedom with my personal spirituality.

When I was 14, I openly became agnostic, which evolved to atheism as a late teenager.  As an atheist religion has always been a secret fascination of mine.  I first read ” A Skeleton in God’s Closet” when I was in high school which just blew my mind.  Although it was fiction, it had an unsettling way of ending right where it should have began, it ended with religion being the only answer and all the evidence that riveted me to the contrary in the elaborate hoax.  I realize it is a very cut and dry summation but its meaningful also because it is the last fictional book that I have purchased. This book had such a major impact on the reading material I have chosen from there on in.

As well there are some amazing writers out there who have opened my eyes to the possibility that what the faithful wanted to be a hoax, in the novel above, could actually be a reality.  For example, “The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail”, which predates any of the fiction that Dan Brown has written.  I truly am of the opinion that each book you read leaves a little bit inside that shapes your reality going forward. I want to be shaped by factual research and well written material and not some dribble about vampires or wizards.

Once I switched to non-fiction the pieces of the puzzle which religion tried to answer for me, were finally answered, by the ironic lack of it.  As a girl trying to be the best Christian I could, I was always trying to please this invisible being. I was constantly seeking signs and reassurances that I was on the correct path in life.  I would find signs in nature, my food, the weather, really anything.  The weird thing was when religion was finally absent from my life, I realized that the only person I needed to please was me.  The idea that I am the only judge and jury of how I live my life, and how I appear to the people I surround myself with has been my own personal salvation.

Religion has caused incredible harm, and bloodshed throughout our history, but unless we research and learn from our past mistakes we are doomed to repeat this cycle and raise children who do not look to themselves or their parents for answers, but rather turn to some invisible being.  I know who I want to raise my children, and it is not the voices in their heads or some pious male preaching at church.  Making mistakes is not sin, it is part of being human, what you learn from those mistakes is the real value to your humanity.