If you’re a long time reader, chances are you’ve read me touch on my catholic upbringing as a child and into my teens and how that affected my sexuality. Talking or writing about it at length, though, is something I haven’t done here – and for no real reason, I just haven’t felt it was an interesting topic to anyone but me.
I want to address that. However I will ask you to bear with me, it might get messy.
My father and mother were devout Catholics and raised me as such. I did the whole nine yards – reconciliation, monthly confessions, communion, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday’s, Stations of the cross, Sunday Mass – the whole shebang.
We were a conservative Catholic household and lived a conservative Catholic life. Even the sheer sight of me shirtless around the house would cause outcry. Playful or not, I cannot say, but I just wanted to raise this point.
When I was 12, I started to catch on about sex. My dad, when confronted with the notion, told me flatly ‘Yeah, we did!’. As an adult, my mum would tell me it was my dad’s job to address it as she did to my sisters. As an adult, my dad would tell me he never did enough for me. I wonder if he remembers that conversation.
As a 12 year old though, I was weird sexually. I’m taking masturbation in the weirdest places, I’m talking being excited that I’d have the house myself so I can be naked, I’m talking the primal masturbating in the mud in a frenzy – weird.
Thing was, I was making sense of myself. I found the pulse within myself that reacted against my catholic teachings to be naked, to be primal, to fight back against the feelings of shame – which I very well have now writing this, even though I understand how implausible those feelings are.
This reactionary behaviour paved the way for me to explore myself sexually as a teenager, which led to writing erotica and eventually to the wide world of BDSM and kink.
Looking back as I write this, sex – for me – is a battle between two minds. There’s the part of me who is relaxed and in control and vibrant and flourishing and then —- there’s the insecure part of me, questioning – constantly questioning, telling me that what I want, what I’ve always wanted, won’t be accepted. Somehow I know this to be a product of what I was taught, teaching me that to be naked, to want degradation, humiliation, is all wrong. Disgusting.
These days I have good control over the other part of my brain, though it does exist during my most intimate moments. However, during my twenties, that wasn’t the case.
I can distinctly remember feeling the rush of being in the moment, sexually and as a dominant, and then coming down from that high terrifies, not knowing what that meant, guilty because of my actions – my need to command, to dress, to be sadistic.
I thought I was in the wrong for years, with every kinky discovery bringing with it a wave of shame and a terrifying feeling that, after so long of living my life, I would have to reboot EVERYTHING I knew. This feeling, this scary realisation, led me to suppress it, at this point strengthened by the fact that I was in a relationship with a woman I loved but had zero interest in kink, D/s or BDSM.
Hell, I don’t even know now, years later, if my depression and anxiety is merely hereditary or a manifestation of my upbringing as a conservative Catholic. I can only guess and say it’s hereditary plus the upbringing PLUS my social experiences as a teenager. I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was shy. I was quiet. I still am.
What helped me, what still does – is trying to remember that my own development is important, that my happiness is important and that people like you, my dear readers, or kitten will accept me and my kinks and that it doesn’t mean I’m insane or sick or mentally ill.
These days, I’m not a practicing religious person – but I am spiritual. I live by a set of rules – to be kind to people, to love openly and accept everyone. I pray for my loves and my life and my animals but I consider my relationship between myself and God something entirely different to what’s prescribed in the bible. If that makes me agnostic or something, so be it, but I’d like to think that love is all you need and that if God exists, He – or she – would want me to be happy to my fullest extent. Outside of that, I try to be as kinky as I want 24/7. True to myself, in other words.
So was religion / being religious the catalyst for my feelings during sex? My anxiety? My development as a man? I’m not sure. I cannot say. I’m only a writer, half naked, musing to himself on a cool Monday morning.