“I feel like I’m leaning 45 degrees off the edge of a huge cliff, and the only thing keeping me there is my frantic grasp on a very tenuous rope. If I let go I’ll fall into the abyss,” I said.
“What if there’s not an abyss, but something better off the edge?,” my professor, Peter, replied.
I was discussing with professor how I’d recently stopped believing in God, but wasn’t sure if I could completely commit to what I knew in my heart was true. I’d had an experience that couldn’t easily fit into the black and white understanding of morality that was encouraged by my Catholic upbringing, and knew that this black-and-white God did not exist. At the time I thought if this God didn’t exist no God existed and then, where would I be? Who might I become?
As it turns out, Peter was right. There was a bigger and better God waiting for me after I let go of that threadbare rope. There was no abyss. Only a richer and more real spirituality waiting for me.
This is often what it feels like when people start to doubt what they’ve been taught regarding sexuality. It’s dangerous. It’s sinful. And you’ll fall into the abyss of Hell if you start to explore it.
Those feelings are paralyzing. Even when they dissipate with time, they can leave residue that shows up in odd ways. A woman may have trouble experiencing orgasm. A man may experience early ejaculation. Or it may be even more subtle, like breaking up with a boy/girlfriend every time it seems like sex might be the next step.
So what do you do?
Firstly, let me assure you, you won’t become a sex maniac when you start to focus on healing, exploring, and embracing your sexuality. You’ll become a more alive, full-hearted, and embodied version of yourself.
Secondly, each step you take toward getting to know your body—your first gift from God—the closer you get to your Divine creator. God desires for you to delight in the gift of your body, even the sexual aspect of your body.
Finally, if there’s anything my choice decision to be atheist taught me, it’s that sometimes what others see as pulling us away from God and the Church, is actually pulling us deeper along our own spiritual path. It can be difficult or even impossible to know that at the time, but if you listen to that voice inside of you that knows what’s true for you, then you know that you’re moving in the right direction.
You’re in the right place. This journey to know your sexuality will lead you to the home of your body held by God.