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The tension was palpable. I had finally made the decision to pursue my sexual desires!

It wasn’t a decision that was made lightly, as I had remained a virgin for nearly 40 years. Growing up in a strict household indoctrinated by conservative religion I had made it a priority to live a life of purity. This meant things like no dancing, dating with a purpose, and clearly denying any type of sexual desire one may have until marriage. The boundaries were tight: don’t kiss on a first date, no genital contact, and absolutely no sex before marriage. Even the thought of releasing some tension through masturbation was a guilty pleasure that brought upon massive shame.

For greater context, I had grown up during the “purity movement.” Where we were all brought into a room during school and told “true love waits.” The premise was that sex was a precious gift meant only to be shared between a husband and wife. We were encouraged to read books like “I Kissed Dating Goodbye,” and “When God Write’s Your Love Story.” At the end of the course, we all signed pledge cards to commit to one another and God that we would remain pure until we were married.

Ironically this message worked for me for a while. Through my teenage years and well into college I knew that I wanted to wait, because, well, I’d be blessed by God if I did! My life turned into one of service, as I went into ministry right out of high school. The message “deny yourself and follow me” was a well-run track in my mind. As the years turned into decades, I began critically thinking about the message that was so engrained in my mind. It’s true, I never had to worry about STI’s or be concerned about a missed period. However, there were countless evenings where I would lay in bed, tears streaming down my face, questioning why I had such strong desires, and no husband by my side. I did all the right things. Why did I have to wrestle with such a relentless sex drive?

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