My Experiences With BDSM And Religion

Like most people in the United States of my age group, I was raised in church. Maybe my personal experience with religion is a little different than most people’s, as my father was a Southern Baptist preacher, and I received a lot of exposure to that particular religion’s ideas and ideals, but I’m not sure that’s the case. America has deep roots in Puritanism, and every time I see families taking eight to ten year olds to see movies like “American Sniper” and then freaking out about their sixteen year olds seeing “Fifty Shades of Grey” I’m reminded that blowing bodies apart on screen is fine, but showing some boobflesh definitely isn’t.

This is an issue in many ways, but the thing I want to address most here is the emphasis religion in general (aside from earth-based religions) vilify sex and sexual satisfaction, especially for women. My memories of struggling with becoming a sexual being are very vivid and disturbing. Nearly eighteen when I lost my virginity, I was incredibly torn, believing that the sexual experience that my body desired so much was damning my soul straight to hell.

As my sexual desire developed, and my tastes became more exotic, the feelings of guilt and shame intensified. The memory of thinking that there must be something horribly wrong with me to desire these things is still very strong. What good Baptist girl wants to be tied up, spanked, and pleasured? The things I desired to do, the things I desired to have done to me were at dramatic odds with what I had been taught was right and pure for my entire life. The distance between the Church and myself grew, I couldn’t stand being in the House of God as a dirty, slutty whore that was most likely irredeemable.

This led me down a path that was physically, emotionally, and psychologically unhealthy. Believing I needed punishment for a simply biological drive and some other issues that aren’t really pertinent to this discussion helped me into a ten-year relationship with an extremely abusive man. This was not BDSM. It was a pure and simple (if anyone can call that kind of relationship simple) intimate partner abuse situation. There was a point at which the realization that everything he told me was a lie, and I managed to get out at least physically intact. Unfortunately, the scars that don’t show also take a lot longer to heal. My children and I still have problems, the history of abuse colors all of our relationships in one way or another.

This shouldn’t turn completely into an indictment of the Church, mine or anyone else’s. There are definitely steps that could be taken to help teens not end up feeling the way many of us did and still do, but this article is much more about getting over these feelings than addressing church attitudes in general. As practitioners, we have control of ourselves, and those are the attitudes we must work on.

So, how does something so ground into a child’s psyche ever get released? Is it possible for people to have satisfying sexual relationships and attend church? I’m not completely sure. I haven’t attended services regularly for about twenty-five years, although at times I desperately miss both services and the church community. I don’t feel that I’ve lost redemption or fallen from grace anymore, but I still have a hesitation to get back involved with the Church, wondering if all of the peace I’ve found after all these years will be gone after the first sermon involving sex and the evils thereof.

If you have these problems and don’t want to leave the Church, I strongly recommend a secular counselor that can assist you in dealing with these issues. There are counselors out there who are also involved with the BDSM community and can help with issues regarding guilt, shame, and punishment and help people grow into safe, healthy relationships.

 

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About

Amy identifies as mostly a submissive, but occasionally a switch.  She has been involved in online BDSM since the advent of the alt.sex bulletin board, and involved in actual, real life participation off and on for the last twenty five years.  She’s a nurse that also loves to write erotica, fanfiction, and poetry.  She currently resides in Baltimore with her flying squirrel, Hannibal.

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