Women Share How They Overcame Religious Guilt Around Sex
For many women, religious beliefs and traditions can lead to feelings of shame or guilt around sexuality and sexual activity. However, it is possible to move past these negative feelings and develop a healthy relationship with your sexuality. In this post, we’ll explore how some women have overcome religious guilt about sex.
Examining religious teachings more closely
Many religions teach that sex should only occur within marriage. However, some women find that taking a closer look at religious texts and beliefs allows them to move past guilt. As one woman shared, “Learning the actual history of the religion. When you think of how much human atrocity is at the feet of Christianity, you have to confront it, all of it. You start to wonder why God gives a f*** about who, what, when and where you're f******.”
Looking critically at the context and origins of religious doctrines can help determine what principles or teachings are most important for your personal faith and values. This process allows some women to separate rules made by human institutions from their own relationship with God or spirituality.
Leaving organized religion
For other women, moving past sexual guilt required leaving organized religion altogether. As one woman put it, “Stopped being religious and got help for the f****d up way religious leaders taught me to view sexuality.”
Letting go of the structures, rules and judgment of organized religion offers a clean slate for some women to develop their own perspectives on sexuality and morality. This allows guilt to dissipate when the external religious pressures and expectations are removed.
Therapy and self-reflection
Many women emphasize the role of therapy and self-reflection in overcoming sexual guilt related to religion. As one woman shared, “Years of reassuring myself.” Working with a therapist provides support and perspective to unpack religious baggage around sexuality. Techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy can change thought patterns and irrational feelings of shame.
Additionally, practices like meditation, journaling and self-affirmation allow women to explore their sexuality and build self-acceptance. Letting go of guilt requires digging into your unique thoughts, experiences and relationship with your faith.
Broadening perspectives through education
For some women, learning accurate information about sexuality helped counteract religious teachings that breed guilt and shame. As one woman described, “Educate myself : a good book —> smart sex by dr. Emily Morse.”
Reading sex-positive books, taking courses on sexuality, listening to podcasts and more can provide facts and diverse perspectives. This type of learning allows women to view sex as a normal, healthy part of the human experience rather than something sinful or dirty. It also empowers women with knowledge about their bodies and pleasure.
Focusing on personal values
Rather than following rigid religious rules, many women found freedom by determining their own values around sexuality. One woman explained her thought process:
“I realized that sex -is- something meaningful to me, and knew I didn't want to give myself to just anyone. I wanted to really love and adore my partner... If when I die, God tells me I did bad because I had sex before marriage, I'll just have to laugh because that's the human part of me.”
Connecting with your own authentic values and needs as a sexual being can be very liberating. You can still value intimacy and meaning in sex without adhering to institutional doctrines. This inner wisdom helps overcome religious guilt.
Letting go of perfectionism
For some women, guilt lingers due to a perfectionist desire to follow all religious rules. However, rejecting rigid perfectionism and having compassion for oneself is key. As one woman realized, “Everyone has different priorities and holds themselves to different standards.”
Understanding that humans are imperfect can alleviate the unnecessary burden of guilt when you don't live up to an unrealistic standard. Focusing on being a morally upstanding person in areas like kindness and integrity can take precedence over specific religious dictates that breed guilt.
Surrounding yourself with sex-positivity
Being immersed in sex-negative religious attitudes can reinforce guilt and shame. But surrounding yourself with friends, media and resources that celebrate sexuality in a positive way can be incredibly helpful. As one woman found, “Exposure to Women and Gender Studies in uni” and “Sex-positive friends in college changed my life.”
Seeking out perspectives that view sex as natural and healthy rather than sinful provides balance and freedom from guilt. It also shows women they are not alone in developing a sex-positive mindset despite religious backgrounds.
Letting go of religion altogether
For some women, the only way to truly eliminate persistent sexual guilt tied to religion is to stop following that religion completely. As one woman put it, “Left religion lol.” Abandoning religion means abandoning all of its doctrines, values and judgments - including those around sexuality.
While this path may not work for everyone, it does offer a definitive way to separate sexuality from any religious influence as a new non-religious identity is formed. Women who choose this route often find profound relief and liberation.
Overcoming sexual guilt related to religion requires introspection, knowledge and often some distancing from religious institutions. But many women successfully find freedom through practices like education, therapy, self-love, sex-positivity and re-establishing their own values. With compassion for oneself and an empowered perspective on sexuality, religious guilt can be left behind.
The path is different for every woman. But understanding these strategies gives insight into how transformative change is possible. By implementing the approaches that resonate most, women can develop a healthy relationship with their sexuality and shed guilt that held them back from fully thriving.