Category: religion

uninvited skin

“Again I belong to the night
I’m a mess Pull me over
I can’t forget her name
Slow me down
It’s like you’ve stolen my soul
So far from heaven now…”
-Issues, Slow Me Down

“I was your prized possession and who was your exorcist?
Thought you was heaven-sent
You left for the hell of it…”
-Banks, Judas

The mind spins at the thought of affection. A desire brought forth those bright blue eyes from behind your fringe. Parting it back and basking in the realization of prayer, God-sent and God-fearing. But mostly fearing your own wants, needs, desires that deviate from the established word. You kept that hidden between kindness and kisses and a fringe of fellowship fell over my own eyes. I wanted to be your back rub. I wanted to taste your laughter. I wanted to get closer to the one who wanted me.

But not that close.

A firm grip on my fledgling innocence, milking it away from me with no choice, no exception, and no time to process the pumping. Building up and blowing out, rinsed in instant regret, falling farther away from the fantasy and crashing into a cascade of concern.

The brain braids together bonds of mutual fondness to detract from this indiscretion, forgetting the words that fell off a cliff, the kisses that cushioned before cutting, the tongue that lied before licking it all up in selfish starvation. Overloaded, overboard, and boring a hole into my chest with your iron-hot hands, singeing all the hair and stealing all the hope from within my heart with your uninvited skin.

A first crush. A last time. A lost signal sped up then jammed in the dark. Mixing chemicals, trusting words, crossing lines, lying in your bed and lying about your intentions. Red lips and nipples and hands, tensed from tugging, a tale tired from being told.

Rise and fall. Rise and fall. Singular in sensation, suffocation, and suffering. Alone in this affliction you thrust upon me.

Carefully selective only to be stolen in sweat and promises of partnership. Three decades dashed as you went down, determined to conquer this basketcase. Cold. Callous. Inconsequential.

An AWOL angel. An MIA messiah. Death waiting above to witness the final climax before climbing down to peel back the chambers of my chest. Thick down your throat, coating you in my trust. A simple spasm of the body. A complex thrashing of the mind. Attempting to reconcile the religion and the regret in the midst of two bodies melding. Had my savior sanctioned this person of faith to flay all my fantasies or was this just a disciple of the devil, deposed in prayer before prying the life from my lips, lungs, and limbs?

No ring, knock, or other notice of entrance. Barged in and banged down my door. Death of dignity followed close behind. A pale horse come to trample my misconceptions of your intentions. Naivety and hope hauled away in the revelation of identity. Ghosted, roasted, and toasted, burned down to the backbone, easily cracked in half under the ramifications of rejection, of need, of confirmation of humanity.

But the only true confirmation was that the devil teases while God taunts. In the face of lethargy and loneliness, when temptation chides chastity, when worship won’t wash away desire, when sigils, sermons, and sacrifices can’t cut through a calloused brain, we knew we had both failed our father. And that neither one of us were leading by example.

You know, Biblically-speaking.

accidental asexual

”Sex is the one thing, more than any others, that makes you feel human.”
-Jeff Garlin

”Remember, your children can’t praise the Lord if they’ve got genitals in their mouths.”
-Nudist Colony of the Dead

I remember walking into my first college class, looking at my classmates, and thinking, “I’m probably the only virgin in this room.”

That was over 10 years ago and every time I walk into a new room filled with people, I still think the same thing.

Living in a small, religious town, I learned early on that the true “F” word was fornication. Sex before marriage was about the worst thing that could happen to you, besides being gay. That sentiment echoed through the church pews and school halls. But as I grew up, my friends realized other people’s genitals was about the best thing that could happen to you. Even the most devout got dicked eventually and their stringent sexual views began to relax.

Except for the gay thing. That was non-negotiable.

But it’s easy to change your mind with a hand down your pants. I never got that opportunity so I was able to hang onto my shame over sex for much longer than my peers. And the interesting part was I actually didn’t mind it that much. Although preachers and parents warned of the religious ramifications of sex, they also lauded the beauty of intercourse between two married people. And that was the message I chose to hold close.

I actually wanted to wait until marriage. I’ve always thought of myself as a romantic and the notion of me and my future wife saving ourselves for each other sounded pretty special. We’d be the first to have that intimate connection, to reach that milestone in pulsating unison. And so not having sex was not a big deal because, at the time, marriage was not on my mind, therefore sex was not either. But just because I’d made a no-copulation commitment to a stranger didn’t mean I wasn’t affected by sex.

I used to be a great listener and great friend. My classmates came to me for counseling. I heard all about their relationships and through their confessions, I learned that sex not only changed relationships but changed people. And it didn’t necessarily change anyone for better or worse. But it did feel like there was more at stake. Emotions were either heightened or deadened at the point of penetration. Some people could turn off their heads and hearts while others’ only grew heavier.

And just by growing up and living and being interested in people, I learned more about sex without actually ever experiencing it. It came pieced together from conversations, observations, and, thanks to the power of the Internet, research.

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dialing up the devil

”My mommy always said there were no monsters, no real ones, but there are.”
”Yes, there are, aren’t there?”
”Why do they tell little kids that?
”Most of the time it’s true.”

I’m a horror movie fan 365 days of the year. But Halloween is extra special to me because of the larger availability of horror movies. I watch serial killer films to relax. Monster movies get me in the mood. And if I can get a little hipster for a moment, I was way into zombies before The Walking Dead consumed all of America’s brains.

So, while I watch horror movies regularly, I made an effort to squeeze in an extra evisceration or two back in October, Netflixing and Youtubing Z-grade films with ketchup blood and cardboard brains, catching mid-afternoon scary flicks on television and Halloween-themed episodes of my favorite shows. And as I watched nude girls getting nailed to a wall or jocks jogging to their death in a haunted gym, I started to realize how easy it seems to summon evil spirits. Naturally, ouija boards are a clear violation of soul safety. But other harbingers of evil might seem more innocuous at first, like puzzle boxes, a child’s doll, or a suspiciously inexpensive house for a new family.

No one seems to be able to invoke good spirits with such effortlessness. Why is it that most houses seem to inhabit horrible things? Why is it that spirit boards almost always summon the sinister? Why can’t we call upon God and good energy with the same simplicity that dials up the devil? Why is it that when the Holy Ghost possesses someone, he eventually pulls up stakes in their soul while demons wanna settle? And why are exorcisms so exhausting? Why can’t we just extract black spirits with the sam ease we extract blackheads?

If tales of supernatural serial killers are all fake, I suppose watching teens being pummeled by pissed off poltergeists is more entertaining than being visited by the ghost of great Aunt Sue with good news of true love. But when it’s real, having a real demon on your ass is really scary. It’s no longer about the yuck yuck but the yikes. It’s not entertaining. It’s devastating. And a lot of people would say it is real.

I’m not sure how I feel about it. I can’t say what’s real and what’s not. I can only speak for my own experiences and throughout my life, I do feel I’ve had more than my fair share of bad luck. There have been many times I’ve actually thought I was cursed or that something bad had latched itself onto me. It’s never been anything huge, mostly just circumstances that converge into a crippling disappointment again and again. But those little heartbreaks weigh heavy over time.

And I’ve called on God to remove the dulling residue of past demons. But instead of feeling cleansed, I’ve only ever felt crushed. What’s it gonna take to tackle the terrifying and bandage to the bad juju?

I wonder if there’s anything that can be done at all. What if God doesn’t have anything to do with lethargy, larceny, or lunacy? What if, by design or negligence, we are all just hurdling toward implosion? What if our lives are all examples of entropy playing out in real time?

It’s so hard to be nice. We have to constantly bite our tongues, keep our fists at our sides, and step away from the line of fire. We have to talk ourselves up every day and concentrate on keeping the good vibes going. And as soon as we let up on the affirmations, we atrophy all over again. We gotta keep flipping those light switches on less we be surrounded by darkness again.

I don’t know why possessions are prevalent while good spirits are scarce. The only thing I know for sure is nothing is ever going to change. It’s never going to be easy. And when it all comes down to it, who’s to say our lives aren’t someone else’s entertainment? This is why we have reality shows and horror movies based on true events. And there just might be a higher power that gets a kick out of watching us overcome our curses. Maybe things that are really scary can also be really educating.

And although we have to fight to be friendly, it’s worth the effort. Instead of adding to the agony, we can help patch up other people. Even if it’s just for a bit, even if it’s just a temporary bandage, isn’t that enough to make a difference? In a world laid to waste, it still matters that we hold out our hands rather than hold up a gun, use our tongues to prepare praises instead of slinging insults, and make moves to slowly kill the hate that’s been jammed into our hearts. Maybe that’s how we can make our souls uninhabitable for the inhospitable demons and they’ll be forced to dig themselves out.

And that shouldn’t be too hard at all.

i liked you better when you were agnostic

Several months ago, one of my high school acquaintances went through a spiritual crisis. She revealed to me that she had started questioning her faith and whether or not God even existed. This was a big deal for her because up until then, she was a staunch Christian. She grew up in church and pushed it on me many times. She even quoted scripture in everyday conversations. Of course, I was surprised by her admission. I wasn’t sure what led to the breakdown of her beliefs but I liked it.

Then some of my own Christian guilt bubbled up. I felt bad that I felt satisfied by her questioning. But I also felt relieved. I wasn’t alone. Or at least this was the first time someone publicly acknowledged their struggle with their faith. Usually that kind of thing is kept to one’s self.

As she spoke to me about her questions and conflicting feelings, I listened and mentally checked off every inconsistency she mentioned, comparing my own list to hers. I realized we shared many of the same reservations regarding our religion. I could relate to her struggle. And I felt, for the first time, someone could relate to mine.

My town is divided up into 3 groups: devout believers, devout non-believers, and those who don’t care either way (the smallest group). But I felt like the single soul who actually fit into all 3 categories yet still didn’t belong to any of them.

There was a time when I believed. And then there was a time when I rebelled against my religion. And then there was a time when I think my religion rebelled against me.
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god complex

“If you grew up going to church, at some point in your 20’s you’ll probably stop going to church.  If you grew up with faith as a central part of your life, at some point in your twenties faith might move to the outskirts of town next to the trailer park and three-legged squirrel refuge. Your twenties are a process of making faith your own apart from your parents and childhood. Sometimes that means staggering away so you know what you’re coming back to.”
-Paul Angone, All Groan Up

“Free from the torment of sin
all this I’m giving up…”
The Used, Light with a Sharpened Edge

I feel like I’ve been shedding a lot of old notions about God and humanity over the past several months.  I’ve heard before that sometimes our emptiness is God carving us out so he can fill us up again.  I can only hope that’s what’s going on with me.

I’ve stopped praying entirely.  I’ve been angry with God.  I’ve been rebelling, pushing my self-inflicted boundaries, joking about going to hell and rolling my eyes to all the religious symbolism embedded in my town.  Days go by and I don’t even think about it.  God is not in my life and I don’t cry or fret.  I just float.

I’ve never been so far away from God before and I feel like I’ve entered this new state of being.  I don’t know if it’s good or bad.  I’m slowly breaking away from all of it and there’s a part of me that feels tremendously guilty and there’s another part of me that feels nothing at all, the same kind of nothing I felt when I was more religious.  When I have God in my life and when I don’t, I still feel jaded.  That muted feeling has been my only constant since the mess of my life started.

Despite my anger, I still find myself wanting to defend God against the non-believers, to those who portray God as a fag-hating proponent of ‘Merica.  That is not God.  God is love.  God wants nothing more than to love and cherish all us and have us be happy.  It’s that simple.  But am I right about that?  How do I know who God really is?  It certainly isn’t from first-hand experience.  I was taught God was one of love but what if he really does discriminate and decimate?

One problem with people’s views on God is that a lot of people pick and choose what they want to believe.  That’s why we have denominations.  One person didn’t like one aspect of Christianity so they started their own.  The other problem is everyone thinks their way is the right way, which seems pretty egotistical to me.  I thought the only right way was God’s way.  And we can’t choose which parts we want to follow and which parts we want to disobey.  At least, not if we want to be good Christians.

Of course, I’d like to believe that God is one that loves and accepts everyone.  That doesn’t mean it is true but I hope it is.  Unfortunately, there are also a lot of people who believe God is about death and vengeance and punishment.  That doesn’t mean it is true but they hope it is.

I admit I don’t know much about God but I feel I have a better grasp on him than the majority of the Christians that live here.  They know a textbook God through a pastor chosen to recite the words from the Bible and interpret them based on his opinions.  And people come and sit and follow his interpretations, not because it’s what God teaches, but because they agree with the pastor’s opinions.  If they can get behind what he says, they treat it as gospel.  If not, they simply move to a different church that lines up with their own pre-existing values and morals.

But their version of God doesn’t hold up when applied to a real-world setting.  They think it’s about following rules.  They believe if they go to church and pray before bed and vote Republican, they’ll get into heaven.  Stay away from the gays and lesbians because they’ll turn ya!  Don’t mingle with people of other faiths because they could cause you to question your own and we can’t have independent thought!  Stay pure until marriage because sex, out of all the sins you can commit, even though they are all supposed to be equal, is the worst!  Well, besides being gay.

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bumper sticker razor blade beckoning

I stopped praying, stopped talking to God.  I gave him the silent treatment (hey, he started it).  I came to a point where I was just tired of trying to feel something and tired of talking about it and so I just stopped.  Not entirely gave up.  But took a break from calling on Christ and the resulting disappointment.

And then the signs came.

Several days ago, I drove to work and noticed a truck with several bumper stickers attached to the exterior like badly placed tattoos on bare arms.

For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Rom. 10:13

Orly?  I’ve called upon the Lord many times.  Did that mean I was saved?  Was that my confirmation?  It sure didn’t feel like it.  Just another random sign that anyone could have ran into or an actual extension of God?  He must have sensed my hesitation because the signs kept coming.

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fearfully and wonderfully slayed, part 2

“Just let your faith die…”
AFI, Sacrilege

I hear people say that unanswered prayers are still answered.  I keep thinking of that stupid footprints story.  Maybe you’ve seen me through all the pain and I never realized it or maybe I just made it on my own.  How will I ever know because you’ll never tell me!  How can I keep the faith when there’s no sign, no feeling, no subtle recognition to keep me going, to let me know I’m doing the right thing?  Am I just wasting my time?

I kept praying, turned away from my sins, tried to think positive thoughts, focused on you and nothing ever changed.  I was empty on the inside and disappointed with the nothing in the sky.  Why couldn’t I get a sign or a feeling of reassurance?  Why was there such a disconnect between me and you?  Was I still doing something so wrong as to keep you so far away?

I looked for you and only saw sadness.  I saw confusion over the course my life had taken.  I saw this little boy who sat alone, teary-eyed, wondering where the love and comfort was that was promised to him in a big book with big words and big promises if only he would believe in it all.

I believed in you.  But you didn’t believe in me.

I put everything into college and it was the biggest financial and emotional mistake of my life, one that I will likely pay for until I die, which will probably be sooner than later.  Not only did college not work out but I barely scraped through graduation with all of my limbs.  My mind was destroyed as well as my spirit.

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fearfully and wonderfully slayed, part 1

“If I ask you ‘what is truth’ will you be silent still?
My questions and doubts made a chasm
That I fear you can not fill…”

-Showbread, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things
I met up with God the other day.  He actually let me record our conversation and I have conveniently transcribed it for you.  We had a long talk, or actually I had a lot to say to him.  You might notice he was sparse with the responses, which wasn’t surprising.  Below is our exchange.

Me:  What’s up, Lord?  I know you’re busy not answering prayers and and standing idly by as the world crumbles, yet somehow swooping in and saving certain individuals from damnation to propel the proselytizing of non-believers, but we need to have some tea and a chat.  You’ve been dodging me for twenty-six years so the very least you can do is spare me a few minutes.

God:  *irritated, pointing to iPhone*

Me:  Sure, I’ll let you finish your call.  Tell Jesus I said hi and that I miss him.

God hangs up after several minutes, looks at me, becomes morose.

Me:  Please, have a seat.  Can I get you a Snuggie?  Nescafe?  Comfortable?  Good.  This is gonna take a while.

God:  *rolls eyes*

Me:  I hate to be negative right from the start so let’s get to the good stuff first, shall we?  First of all, I am an incredibly fortunate individual.  I guess you’d prefer the term “blessed”.  Sure, we can use your terminology.  I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you played some part in the positive aspects of my life.  I’ve never starved because my family couldn’t afford food.  I’ve never been beaten by my mother or molested by my father.  I’ve never been left out in the cold or went without adequate clothing.  I’ve never had loved ones torn away from me by death or divorce.

My life is easy.

But I am absolutely miserable.

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graphic tease

While at work, a man came through my department.  He was in his fifties, salt and pepper hair underneath a worn red Alabama football team hat, his eyeglasses shining under the florescent lights.

“Hey, it’s pastor John,” he said into the phone.  “Just calling to check in on you…”  His voice trailed off as he walked away from me.  I turned around and watched him.

A pastor.

I haven’t had the best experiences with pastors in the past at work and I wondered if this guy would be different.  In fact, I was counting on it.  So, when he eventually left the store, I turned to God.

“God, here’s a sign for me,” I silently prayed.  I had given up on God giving me straightforward reassurance through a peaceful feeling or a calming voice swirling through the concha of my ear so I hoped for signs, obvious objects that would soothe my skepticism.  A quote.  A song.  A person.  A pastor.

“Please God, just let that man come back.  Use him,” I said.  I prayed the man would feel some overwhelming need to come to me, to tell me that I will be okay.  God would use him as my sign, my assurance.  “I’ll give it five minutes.  Please, have him come back within five minutes to let me know you’re with me.”

I watched the clock and counted down the minutes.  I felt stupid doing this but people witnessed miracles every day so would it really be that out of the ordinary for this pastor to come back to give me a sign I’ve been so desperate for for so long now?  The best part was no one would know.  It would be between me and God.  My own little miracle in the men’s department.

Five minutes passed.  He didn’t show.

I was a little disappointed but I wasn’t all that surprised.  I know it was a silly request and it’s not like my faith was resting on whether or not the pastor showed up.  But, hey, never hurt’s to ask, right?  I thought I’d give it a shot.

I grabbed a bunch of strewn shirts and went back to my counter to fold them.  I zoned out as I stacked the perfectly folded shirts and when I looked up, the pastor was coming toward me.

My heart swelled.  He was coming back after all, just a little later than I laid out.  We were playing on God’s time.  That was fine by me, as long as I received my affirmation.

As he got closer, I couldn’t keep the smile from blooming across my face.  I looked up to greet him and he walked right past me.

My heart shrank back to its original shriveled prune size.

I stood among the graphic tees and witnessed God’s graphic tease, dangling hope in front of me and pulling it away, constantly pulling it away, magnifying the hurt swirling inside me.  Like I said, I know it was a silly prayer and kind of a dumb thing to ask but it was one thing to let the man just walk away the first time and never see him again but having him come back in my sight only to walk away again just felt cruel.

I wished I hadn’t even brought it up.  I did it on myself.  Stupid prayers on a whim that turned into more of a hassle than they were worth.  I should have put the pastor out of my mind and went on about my day without bringing myself down.      

It’s the way God and I roll these days.  I ask for guidance and get gutted.  I ask for good days and receive depression.  It’s in those moments that it doesn’t feel like the actions and circumstances that I encounter are due to free will.  It feels like God is directly linked to my lacerations.  Are those my signs?  I don’t know if I should be relieved that God is finally presenting himself or dismayed that he’s proving his existence by eviscerating me.

I know I have it wrong.  My perspective is off.  I’m making too much of a not-so-close encounter with an unaware man of God.  I’m making too much of God’s lack of involvement in my life.  Doesn’t mean it doesn’t still hurt.  

He keeps holding onto my head, keeping me at arm’s length so I can’t reach around his waist and hold tight.  I struggle, fighting to have faith in him and all I can feel is that hand, pushing away, rejecting me, maybe testing me, maybe seeing how long it’ll take before the fight finally falls out of me.

It won’t be much longer.

sour cherry

“I want to learn how you save yourself 
for someone who loves you for you
So many times we just give it away 

to someone who couldn’t even remember your name…”
-Sense Field, Save Yourself

“We’re under the sheets
and you’re killing me…”
-Ellie Goulding, Under the Sheets

One day in my art history class, I sat at my desk and looked around me as my professor droned on about Duchamp’s “Fountain” and surmised I was probably the only virgin in the room.  I was not interested in a urinal as a piece of art so my mind wandered and landed in sexland. 

Because art history was a foundation class, the students were not separated by major and it was a mixed crowd.  Everyone from the trust fund valley girl fashion student to the animation student who doodled bunnies with manga eyes in his notebook to the chunky girl who wore pajamas to class every day sat among me.  And they had all probably been laid before.  So, why hadn’t I?

“Well, look at me,” I thought to myself.  Although I was the most attractive I had been in my young adult life, I still felt chubby and untouchable and I thought my physical appearance was why I hadn’t yet had sex.

But I knew a lot of trolls who had engaged in sexual activity so that couldn’t be it.  Just about anyone can find someone to sleep with.  People are so horny these days that being picky isn’t always an option when the possibility of orgasm is within reach.  And it wasn’t so much the fact that I thought I wasn’t good-looking enough to be touched, but my looks caused a crippling insecurity that made me feel unworthy of intimacy.

I had enough trouble feeling good about the way I looked clothed, with all of my biggest flaws completely covered.  I couldn’t imagine stripping away all the layers of protection and revealing everything to a partner.  Nakedness and intimacy opened up a whole new world of insecurity.

What if I wasn’t good?  What if I wasn’t well equipped or satisfying enough?  What if I jiggled too much or had no coordination?  I can’t even pat my head and rub my stomach at the same time so how can I be expected to kiss and thrust and massage all at once?  Did I have the capability to cause pleasure?  Could my tongue tantalize?  Could I cause another to shudder with satisfaction?  It was something I hadn’t thought much about.  It was a foreign concept to think I could put my body next to another.

When I was younger, I was fascinated with the concept of kissing.  I never understood how people could be bad kissers.  It seemed pretty simple.  Press your lips together and voila, nerve endings react and fire and pleasure pervade the body.  But when I actually had my first kiss, I understood.  I was so nervous and focused on not landing on her nose that all pleasure drained from the activity.  I tried to navigate my lips around hers without mashing my face into her mouth and the whole thing felt too hard and mechanical.  The thought of tongue usage terrified me so I cut our kissing short.

So with that taste of intimacy, I realized I was either done with it all or simply just not ready.  Through the years, thoughts of kissing progressed to thoughts of sexual intercourse and how much more involved it seemed than kissing but I still wondered how anyone could be bad at that, either.  I guessed it was possible but when you get down to it, don’t the same basic mechanics as kissing apply?  Aren’t you still just pressing parts together and waiting for the slippery friction to send waves of calm across the body?

I feel like some of you are giggling right now, thinking I have a lot to learn about how bad it can be.  But who will I trust enough to teach me?

Do I even want to know?

My insecurity about my weight and face have played an important role in preserving my virginity.  But I wonder if that’s all.  If the desire for sex is there, it probably doesn’t fade away because of insecurity.  You can be ugly and still want to have sex but I was ugly and didn’t want to have sex.  I never thought sex was vital to my life.  But was that because I thought I was too gross for grinding and simply put the thought out of my mind or was I just a guy who simply didn’t walk around with a lump in his pants all the time?

I used to think I wasn’t a sexual person because I was never sexually attracted to anyone.  I didn’t see tits and ass, only temperament and attitude.  I was more intrigued by people’s minds instead of bodies and when everyone around me discovered sex, I discovered Doritos.  But in time I realized I was sexual.  Just not with other people.  And it’s served me well so far.  There are times, however, when I do wonder what it would be like not to have to do all the work.  I wonder what I’m missing out on.  I wonder what the difference is, how someone else can bring out certain sensations I cannot reach.  What could they do that righty can’t?

But it hasn’t always been about hiding my body away like I was a hunchback locked in a bell tower.  My Christianity  has cock blocked me as well.  When I was younger, I was all about waiting until marriage to have sex.  And so were my peers.  But that certainly didn’t last long.  Puberty hit us all and the hormones replaced hymnals.  Girls got boobs.  Boys got balls.  Bran got acne.  Maybe it was a good thing.  Maybe the pustules and prayer helped preserve my purity.  Or something like that.

As I grew older, my uptight views on sex loosened a bit.  I saw classmates and coworkers relating and mating in the real world and realized the real world is full of real sex.  And in a lot of instances, it almost feels like we are hardwired for it.  It’s easy to forget that Christians are people first.  As much as you may love God and be a follower of Jesus and that’s how you identify yourself, you’re a human being first with a clean slate of skin and then religion is placed on top of that.

I felt waiting until marriage was ideal, that it was probable but not quite practical.  I also didn’t understand why Christians hand picked sexuality to convert and condemn others.  Isn’t it a sin no greater than any other?

But the humanity always bubbles up with temptations and lust and feelings of longing.  Your natural impulses constantly fight your faith and sometimes you mess up and that’s okay.  I can’t see premarital sex, or sex in general, as a graveled path that leads to hell.  We all fall short of the glory of God, right?  So why should we be punished for breaking a rule no one expected us to obey in the first place?

Admittedly, it’s easy to say you can wait until marriage when there’s no one trying to get in your pants but when you’re put in that position (pun intended), it’s harder (pun intended) to say no.

Perfect example:  an acquaintance recently revealed to me that one of our classmates from high school, an ultra religious and straight-laced girl, had sex before she got married.  You’d have to really know the girl to understand the full impact of the shock I was in when I heard this juicy bit of news.  She was practically a nun in high school.  Granted, she was engaged to this guy and they were only months away from their wedding, but still. 

The funniest part was when the acquaintance said she and her fiance prayed right after!  I just imagined them, naked and hunched over on the floor, covered in tears and semen, praying for forgiveness.  Hysterical.

But the point is, if she can’t hold out, I don’t have much hope for myself.

So, for me, for now, it’s easy to stay virginal because I don’t have anyone trying to tear off my drawers.
Hypocrite alert: Although I just mentioned how sex shouldn’t be such a huge deal when it comes to Christianity, I have to admit maintaining my virginity has had a lot to do with trying to hold onto my faith.  Although I’m a bitter guy with a lot of hurt and anger in my heart, and although I don’t pray as much as I used to or love my neighbor or attend church or spread love like a good little Christian, I’ve at least remained pure.  Sometimes I think it’s the only semblance of obedience to God I have left.  But if having sex isn’t a hell sentence, I don’t think abstaining is going to guarantee salvation, either.

So why exactly am I still clinging to my cherry?

I definitely get curious about sex sometimes.  Or actually all the time.  There are days when I’m perfectly fine going without and then there are days when I want it but I wonder why I want it.  I think it’s partly out of curiosity.  Sex is a part of life I have yet to experience, and at my age, most have by now.  I feel slightly left out of the loop.  I have nothing to add to a group’s conversation of sordid sex stories.  I can’t trade sex tips or get or offer advice when it comes to intercourse.

And then I think I partly want to do it just to get it over with so I won’t have to think about it so much.  It’s not that it even takes up too much of my thinking processes but it does swirl around in my noggin from time to time.  It’s just one of those things I’d like to cross off the list, just to say I did it, just to have a new experience to ruminate over and help influence me when it comes to writing or reflecting and connecting with others.

And when it comes to connecting, there’s that need for a physical connection.  I’ve rarely felt connected to people in my life.  I’ve had intellectual connections and have come close to emotional connections but nothing deep enough (no pun intended) to satisfy me.  Believe  me, I’ve tried.  One of the only close connections I have yet to attempt to form is a physical one.

The majority of the time, I feel I can’t relate to people.  The separation is so strong that I don’t even feel human.  I’ve heard nice things about sex.  It helps connect.  Is a little penetration what it will take to feel like I can actually be a person who can form bonds with someone else?  Isn’t it just one of the many healing powers of sex?  Doesn’t it also reduce stress and boost confidence?  Those are areas I certainly need help in.  I can’t tell you how many times people have told me to just get a blowjob to relax.  I usually prefer a Snickers but they might be on to something.

But Bran and blowjobs just don’t go together.  I’ve been so separated from people for so long that I can’t see myself linking up with a lover.  I actually feels unnatural.  Alone is where I find my comfort.  It’s also where I find my depression.  What’s a horny boy with social anxiety to do?

I even had someone tell me they started to feel more confident when they started having sex.  I can see this being reasonable.  Knowing you aren’t as gross as you thought is nice.  Being able to bare it all to someone without fear of rejection and even being embraced for all that you are is a wonderful feeling.  It’s also probably nice to know you can rock someone else’s world with your sexual prowess. 

I’ve also abstained because I still have some standards.  As I said, just about anyone can find someone to have sex with.  It might not be an ideal partner but there are willing participants out there.  And I’ve run into my fair share.  I’ve been propositioned on more than one occasion and have always politely declined.

And although I’m not as religious as I used to be, there’s a part of me that still wants to wait for someone special, even if I don’t marry them.  As charred and black as my heart has turned, I still think there’s something romantic and special about waiting for someone you love, to share an intimate part of yourself with a carefully selected individual instead of anyone willing to open up wide.

But that special someone is nowhere to be found around here.  Everyone around is already married or has a child or is pregnant or wants babies.  None of that is for me.  It’s another reason I need to leave this town.   I’d like to go somewhere new where I was appreciated and longed for.  I’d like to find someone to pull me out of my half-death and make me come alive.  Maybe new limbs in new locations will help the heart beat again.

There are days when I want nothing more than to cuddle, to have someone just grab my face and kiss me.  But then I realize I don’t like people and don’t actually want that.  It’s just the inexperience, the hormones, the need to see what it feels like talking.  But I kind of do want it and the whole thing is confusing.

I’ve just encountered so many terrible people that I often want to pull myself from the population.  In some ways, I think I already have.  And since I’ve ostracized myself, it’s not so easy to try to jump back into the barrage of bodies.  Just like with Christians.  Although I think of myself as an outcast, as a guy barely revived from a three year death, I’m still a human with needs.  I’d like to love and be loved and get it in every once in a while.  I’d like to know what it’s like to have someone’s arms wrapped around me.  I’d like to feel safe and make someone else feel safe as well.  Sometimes I think something as simple as a long hug would be beneficial to my body.

We all want it.  We all don’t get it.  And I don’t get why I haven’t gotten it yet.

Have I really been saving myself or have I just been blowing myself off? 

When exactly does sexual attraction start?  And once you’ve had sex with one person, does it change the way you see other people?  Do you find yourself being sexually attracted to more people after that initial intimate encounter because now you know what it’s like and you want to see how other people are in an intimate way?  What are your thoughts?  How do you feel about virginity and sex?  How did you feel about losing your virginity?  If you’re still a virgin, what are your reasons?