Me vs. Sexuality

What a relief it is,
to announce my deepest, darkest secrets to the world,
And still be able to wear my skirt
And daven next to you in shul
And be part of your tehillim groups.
Without you thinking me some sort of perverse travesty.
If only we truly were the type of people who didn’t viciously judge each other,
But alas, here I am
telling you about my sexuality on the internet, faceless.
And honestly, I wouldn’t blame a single person for judging me.
And thats why I must remain faceless.

I found Torah later in life.
And when I say later, I don’t mean that I am of advanced age, I’m actually quite young.
What I mean, is that by the time I found Torah, I had seen and done too much for one lifetime.
I grew up just about as secular as you could get. Drugs, violence, partying, the whole cliche teenage drama.
And I never stood a chance.
After being molested from the age of 7 until around the age of 12, innocence wasn’t something I was privileged enough to enjoy.

So all through my teenage years, I kissed (and other unmentionable things) whoever asked, whoever wanted it, whoever would give me attention. And I felt disgusting afterwards.
But I did it anyway.
I suppose sometimes when you get the message that your body is worth nothing, you act accordingly.
But surprisingly, through all of this, I never had sex.
I was the only one out of all of my friends, out of the whole world it seemed, who just wouldn’t give it up.
I was saving it.
For who or what, I’m really not sure.
Maybe I wanted to believe that love was a real thing, even though the world around me placed no value on it.
Maybe I saved it for myself,
Because after so many years of having my body stolen from me, I now had the option to hold on to it.
Either way, it didn’t last long.
19 years old, boom, lost the V card.
Oops.
And then I entered a very serious relationship with a man who I almost married. And I truly believe that had I not had that relationship, I would have slept around, I would have given my body to anyone who would take.
But I was committed, I was in love. And it meant something.

(He’s Christian, he was an alcoholic, I left him for Torah, that’s a story for another time.)

The point is, he helped me reclaim my sexuality.
To be honest, he didn’t really help, it was more like he provided the canvas for me to paint on.
In many ways I used him.
And wow did it feel great.
I felt like a lioness.
I couldn’t get enough, I was in control of my own pleasure, and I got to decide when he got his pleasure. And that made all the difference.

I used sex as a healing method.
But sex (in this sense) only buries,
sex only distracts.
It wasn’t healing me, it was hiding my pain.
It was putting a bandaid over the wounds,
it was putting a body over the pain. Forcing it down, covering it up with temporary ecstacy.

Flash forward to now.
Here I am, a frum woman.
I’m actively looking for my soul mate.
I’m in tehillim groups, I live in an extremely cheredi neighborhood, I wear the blackest of tights (because I happen to like black tights), I adore Shabbat and I live for Torah.
And all of this is genuine.
None of this is forced, it was all my choice and I’m happy with it.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wear bright colored clothing with my black tights and I rock out to the Beatles and I’m not afraid to talk about my past.
Everyone knows I chose this,
and it’s real.

And so is my sexuality.

I haven’t touched a man in 4 years.
It’s a line I wouldn’t cross.
Shomer negia is actually my favorite mitzvah.
So I haven’t touched a man.
Instead, I lie awake at night wishing I could.
I watch movies about love and I pine.
I go to weddings and dream about what it will be like when my husband touches me for the first time.
It starts out as an honest, sweet longing for my other half,
But it ends up in a full blown lust.
And here it is, the part I would never admit to another soul,
yes, I watch pornography.
Yes, I know it’s wrong.
Yes, I’ve tried to stop.
I’ve even tried to make a neder.
But the force is too strong.

And I’m terrified.

What happens when I meet my husband?
What if he finds out what I’ve done to satisfy myself while waiting for him to come along?
What if he’s not able to fully satisfy me?
What if I turn something so incredibly holy, into something tainted and cliche?

And what scares me the most is not what anyone else would think of me, but what I think of myself. I feel like the lowest human being after watching such disgusting things. I truly believe such things are not meant for anyone to see. But there it is, a force so strong and I feel so helpless.
And I live in way that makes sexuality a very quiet, taboo topic.
Sexual urges are not things that good, former seminary girls have.
Sexual urges are a thing of the past, a thing of the secular life I left behind.
Until I’m married.
Right?
If only it were that easy.
But urges burn, and sometimes I’m consumed.
So I try to squash the urges,
I daven constantly, that I should stop, that I should be able to find satisfaction in Torah, enough to keep me content.
But I know that what I need is a hand on mine, a body on mine.
I also know that what I need is human,
and it’s ok to need it.
But what matters is what I do with that need.
And at that I must say I have been failing.

So I continue to stand next to you in shul, I say my tehillim, I learn Torah, I daven with tears in my eyes, I yearn for my soul mate,

And I do the unmentionable alone in the dark.

7 Comments

  1. 900windows February 7, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    MY friend, although .i am old, you and .i have a great deal in common. And you helped me release some of my lingering guilt, when .i read this, and I thank you sincerely for that, and send you love, and solidarity, sister, and empathy. A lot of what you wrote sounded like it was written about me – some things I have never told anyone. I’m old now, and widowed: the pain of losing him is so big. The love we had for one another was deeper than I have words for. I guess the pain is the other side of that coin, I suppose, which while true does nothing to ease the hurt)

    Enough about me, except to say how much like you I was ……and it was a sense of relief to read your words, to know that someone else was like me. I was not physically abused, but emotionally, and psychologically( which carried on until I was in my fifties, no matter what I tried to do to get away from it. It only stopped when the person died)

    Thank you again and may you too find your soulmate, I have a feeling you will…..

    Reply
  2. Anonymous February 9, 2017 at 8:15 am

    If watching porn is something you would rather not succumb to, it’s actually relatively easy to make it inaccessible to yourself.

    Get a friend to set up an Internet filter. Works for me, as long as you’re willing to put up with the occasional web page being unnecessarily blocked.

    K9 for a computer
    Mobicip for an Android
    iPhone has built in under Restrictions in Settings

    Reply
  3. YAM February 9, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Please know there is nothing wrong with pleasuring yourself. Married couples can end up having sexual disfunction and intimacy issues when both women and men have zero relationship and knowledge of what gives them pleasure, knowledge of their own bodies, what feels good, what doesn’t and how to reach orgasm. You will have a wonderful sex life when you find your committed partner, precisely because you know how to enjoy yourself. Don’t be hard on yourself. Hashem made pleasure to be experienced and there is nothing normal about celibacy as an adult. We long for intimacy, we need human touch.

    Reply
  4. Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 11:51 am

    I feel the same way. I’m still a virgin, but I use pornography and hate myself for it. I wasn’t abused, but I use pornography to self-medicate, to deal with mental health issues and extreme loneliness (don’t have many friends and have limited dating experience). My one and only relationship was with someone who had, let’s say, had some sexual experiences. I was initially pleased to find someone in a similar situation to me, who didn’t judge me for my failures, but in the end it didn’t work out (she wanted a much more sexual relationship than I wanted before marriage). Now I worry a lot that if I ever marry (which often seems a remote contingency – aside from that one relationship, no one has ever been interested in me) I would have to hide my past or be rejected. I also worry I won’t even be able to stop using pornography even if I start dating and get married. I couldn’t live with myself if I did that.

    I’m trying to be more forgiving of myself, not just regarding this, but generally. Paradoxically, I think if I could forgive myself, it would be easier to stop masturbating: less guilt –> less depression –> less need to self-medicate. But it’s difficult to learn to love myself after so many years of feeling unloved, by myself and others.

    I too want to touch. More than I want to experience pleasure, I want to give it to someone I love. I want emotional intimacy. But it all seems so far away and the porn is always close at hand when I feel lonely and hate myself.

    So, sending you empathy and praying that one day you find the man you deserve who can accept the whole of you.

    Reply
  5. Anonymous February 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    (This is the same anonymous as before, I just thought about it a bit more.)

    I’m probably going to surprise you: what I really take from this is your incredible strength. I really mean that. You’ve moved on from the abuse you suffered (do you know how many people are unable to do that?), you did teshuva on your sexual relationships (also very difficult to do), you’re looking to love someone. So you aren’t 100% there yet. None of us are! I think you’re a much better person and a much better Jew than you give yourself credit for.

    Also, in terms of worrying about your husband, it could be that he also has issues of some kind. Maybe not in this exact area, but somewhere. Because then you can bond by accepting each other’s vulnerabilities.

    Reply
  6. Yirmiyahu Fischer February 23, 2017 at 4:03 am

    You’re being WAY TO HARD ON YOURSELF. There is nothing wrong with you for having desires. It’s completely normal, and that’s the way Hashem created you. May Hashem enable you to direct this energy for good purposes and for you to find your true Ben Zug, and for these desires just to strengthen you connection with him.

    Reply
  7. Elisheva Marissa September 13, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    You are beautiful and new and restored by Hashem through the Torah…. You will be the most beautiful kallah someday BZ”H, and nothing from your past will ever define who you are now.

    Love,
    Your BT Sister Elisheva

    Reply

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