Another TMI post ... about guilt
#1
Let me first say that I am totally embarrassed to post this here for the general public to read.  :blush: However, I need to build up some fortitude before I speak with a priest. Consider this some kind of pre-fact finding mission.

I've been married for 5 short months so it is still very early going. As two (young-ish?!) people of our ages very much attracted to each other, we have a very active and pleasurable sex life. The issue is that I experience severe guilt after the marital embrace. My husband doesn't but he's been made aware of my concerns.

Not, I'm not a dummy, and I know that such actions within the context of marriage are not sinful. Further, even if we engaged in the most vanilla form of it, that was lawful in the most strict of theocracies imaginable, the guilt would still be there. It's just there.

I've read my Bible over and over, the passages concerning marriage, Humanae vitae and Amoris laetitia hoping that something would "click" and this guilt would leave. But then, I wandered into Augustinian thought and just over-thought that as well. In the end, I know the marital embrace is a unitive act in the form of a gift that we share with our spouses. Do we feel guilty for giving and receiving gifts? The logical answer is no, but my conscience always nags me.

It's not that I wasn't properly catechized but rather brought up in a strict, judgemental home. Maybe that's not the best description but rather one focused on preserving whatever reputation a nut like me could have. After all these years of being told not to do something, and knowing to do it outside of marriage is sinful, it's been difficult to make the transition. "Don't let anybody touch your body, it's holy" keeps ringing in my head. (Just because words get twisted, I am aware, understand and agree with the Church why such acts are sinful.) My parents are active practitioners of slut shaming, so while that does not apply to me, those words are still apparent in my mind. As well, on the complete opposite and ugly side of the spectrum, I think about passages from Engel's "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" too. But, I think no one else does that. Our bedroom also has a wall of icons and a crucifix above the door, so, sometimes, I look around and here comes the guilt. For example, earlier today, I was just laying there, with St. Jude Thaddaeus and St. Dmitry Donskoy's stern images looking back. I usually cross myself and say a little prayer. It's funny but the domovoi hanging on the wall doesn't bring any such feelings.  ???

I consider our marriage preparation to be solid and sexuality was covered. At the time, I didn't think I'd have issues with guilt so my concerns were not brought up. Like I said, I am going to talk to a priest but I really don't know what else can be said than what's already out there?

Does anyone know what I'm talking about or experienced this? Does it go away over time? I've read academic journals on psychology that said this issue is fairly common, but you know, they were secular and with academia these days.... well, there it is, my embarrassing post for the year.
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#2
I think that, because of Original Sin, there is always a hint of uneasiness or guilt about sex.

Before the Fall of Man, sex was governed by what St. Augustine calls "cool reason". Adam and Eve could have sex when they wished, but they were never affected by passions or lust or any other inordinate desires. Today due to the Fall of Man, sex is a passionate activity that cannot, I do not think, be completed entirely free of passion, that is to say, in the sexual act we lose control at a certain point and become like animals (this is my opinion). That is why it is so difficult, if not impossible to conceive, of pausing the sexual act mid-way out of free will and not coercion or threat.

Nevertheless, for your case, might I say that you do not have to feel guilty necessarily, but if you do, it is just the affect of Original Sin. I am happy to read that your marital activities are (in your own words) "vanilla", so as long as nothing perverse is done, you have nothing to worry about.

Does my post here make any sense? It's not intended to sound judgmental; and I know next to nothing on this subject anyway, being unmarried and virgin.
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#3
I've heard about other women having this problem before. My opinion is that it happens because in the process of trying to teach our children chastity, we accidentally teach them that, "Sex is bad!!!!" rather than, "Married sex is good! Fornication and adultery are bad!"

As a fellow married lady, I would suggest that every time you start to have feelings of guilt, pull out a giant mental flyswatter and bat them things away. Then replace them with at least one thing you love about your husband, the special things about him that made you want to be united with him in the first place :) Intimacy for women is heavily an emotional experience as it is anything else. If you can bring the focus of your emotions back to the man you love, it might help. Never had your exact problems myself, but doing the above worked wonders for me after we had our little munchkin and I was always too frustrated to feel amorous  :LOL:

On a more lighthearted but practical note regarding the icons and crucifixes, maybe try investing in room darkening shades and turning the lights out?  :P At least until your guilt resolves a little. Seriously though, I find human faces staring at me a little unnerving myself. There was a portrait of my in-laws aimed straight at our bed that I eventually banished to our home office :LOL: Either that, or maybe try placing things that remind you of good times with your spouse around the room. Hang a few pictures from your wedding, tuck the movie tickets from your first date into the corner of your hanging mirror, ect. Again, intimacy for women is about emotion. From what you said in the OP, it sounds like your emotions regarding sex have been fed some negative things, so you might try to start intentionally feeding them happy things focused on enjoying your spouse and what you love about him.
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#4
(06-02-2017, 02:42 AM)Catherine Wrote: I've heard about other women having this problem before. My opinion is that it happens because in the process of trying to teach our children chastity, we accidentally teach them that, "Sex is bad!!!!" rather than, "Married sex is good! Fornication and adultery are bad!"
Yes, this is definitely a major factor involved in all of this. My parents were totally unprepared to raise teenagers in a new country/changing (global) liberal society so they came down hard. Since I didn’t marry earlier, this message had a lot of time to get cemented into my psyche. As a result, I have a multitude of chastity prayer cards that were tucked in my school bag or luggage when I travelled. Perhaps some of them can be tucked away in a keepsake box now but they are still floating around my belongings. Like I said, it’s been a period of transition.

Secondly, if I may be honest, I’ve made the mistake of listening to secular media about marriage. Boy, do those folks have a much different version of it than we do. It’s narrowed down husbands to the roles of “eat, sleep, fornicate” and “wives are glorified prostitutes.” (I guess this is where Engels comes into the picture again.) So, the wife is obliging because she wants something and the man is engaging because he’s a simple animal. Bust out the eww factor.


(06-02-2017, 02:42 AM)Catherine Wrote: There was a portrait of my in-laws aimed straight at our bed that I eventually banished to our home office :LOL:
Oh my, that is definitely something that needs its own special place rather than a direct view.  :LOL:

(06-02-2017, 02:42 AM)Catherine Wrote: On a more lighthearted but practical note regarding the icons and crucifixes, maybe try investing in room darkening shades and turning the lights out?  :P At least until your guilt resolves a little. Seriously though, I find human faces staring at me a little unnerving myself.
All of this makes complete sense. I know this phase has to pass but right now, some redecorating may help. We have gold blinds and drapes but one of our spotlights still shines in our window at night. So, even if it is 3 AM, it’s dark enough to sleep but still light enough to see in our room. We also get amazing moonlight, which helps.  :)  During the daytime, it’s like icon central though, which is like you said, unnerving.

When I research this “issue”, I find information on post-coital dysphoria but the difference is that I don’t feel sad, or irritated, or depressed. Just guilty and I guess dirty. I have no history of sexual trauma and this is obviously not a “hook up” situation since this is the man with whom I am wed in the eyes of God. I think the best solution is what you offered: transitioning those feelings to happy ones and focusing on why I love this man. He's in my life because Our Lord placed him here so obviously, I need to fix this.

I really don’t want to have to resort to a therapist because I doubt I could find one that understood Catholicism or Orthodoxy. We have a great couple that was our sponsor (is that the term?) at my husband’s church but I am kind of shy to say hey lady, I got this problem…  :LOL:
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#5
(06-02-2017, 02:28 PM)Zubr Wrote: I really don’t want to have to resort to a therapist because I doubt I could find one that understood Catholicism or Orthodoxy. We have a great couple that was our sponsor (is that the term?) at my husband’s church but I am kind of shy to say hey lady, I got this problem…  :LOL:

Well I guess that's what we fishies are here for ^_^ sometimes it's easier to ask these kinds of questions to people on the internet than in person! I hope you're able to find a mentor you're comfortable with, though. They might be able to give better advice if they know you better than we do.

If you're worried about secular therapists, most priests (at least the ones where I live) are all trained in some level of psychology/counseling. If you're able to find an orthodox, experienced priest, you might be surprised by how much they can help.
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#6
Take, this is my body given up for you...

Hmmm....why is satan so preoccupied with sex?  Why is it naughtier than eating or sleeping or other bodily refreshments?  Why does he seek to distort and profane it?  Why is the "f" word the dirtiest word in language?

Could it be, perhaps, because it is so very holy?

Could it be because the gift of the husband's body for his bride and her reception is an image of the gift of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and the reception of His bride the Church?

Or because marital intercourse is a reflection of the total self giving love of the Father for the Son and the return of that total self donation in the love of the Son for the Father in such a way that new life is formed in the Holy Spirit (or human children God willing)?

If this is the case, then wouldn't God the Father take delight in married couples enjoying the sacrament he created for them to give expression to that very holy love and self gift?  Wouldn't he want you to cherish it and make it as beautiful as possible?

Indeed, marital sex is like a fire in the fireplace.  It is beautiful, gives light and warmth to those around.  It is only when you take it out of the fireplace of Holy Matrimony that it burns a path of destruction leaving wounded lives and souls in it's wake.

Because every time you make love with your spouse you are re-creating your wedding vows, imitating the love of Christ for his bride in the Holy Eucharist and the love of the Blessed Trinity, you are open to great graces in that moment.  Remember, your sacrament didn't take place at the altar, but was consummated in your bedroom.

For this reason, I made our master bedroom as appropriately romantic as possible.  This included a fireplace, dual jacuzzi tub, and refrigerator.  I took great pleasure in pleasing my husband with beautiful lingerie (not trashy mind you), and a stereo for musical relaxation.

My 5 year old son questioned me at the time by saying that boys can't take baths with gurls and I explained that if they are married they can.  ;)

Because Catholics have the fullness of the truth about human sexuality we should also have the best and most enviable sex lives imagined.
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#7
Sacred Heart lover, thank you for that beautiful and thoughtful reply. There is obviously a lot to think about here.

Your post is very similar to discussions that were held during marriage preparation. Spot on, actually. Primarily, that marital intercourse is holy and should never be sullied. It is a beautiful gift and unitive. If I may give a little more TMI, my husband has a very sordid sexual past but he has come to recognize the grave nature of those sins and has atoned. As a result, moral teachings on sexuality and the holiness of marriage are much more fresh and apparent in his mind. He hasn’t had a lifetime to percolate the same messages I heard all my life but rather he had an immense shock. Not to further make myself unsexier by bringing Thomas Kuhn into the picture (who else talks about Kuhn and Engels when discussing sexuality?  :crazy:), but a paradigm shift happened. He understands where I am coming from and is actually happy this is a serious matter to me and reflective of my character. But, like Church teachings, and advice here, he says there is no reason for guilt.

Don’t get me wrong, I take delight in being close with my husband. I have been extremely blessed to have a handsome loving husband and I thank God every day for that blessing. (Especially with my conditions.) Every morning, I wake up to his words, “Hello beautiful girl!” so I feel absolutely awful that I feel this way. Awful, awful, awful. He goes out of his way to shower me with love and gifts, especially those meant for private time together. He came back from Moscow and bought me the most beautiful Italian lace lingerie so I know his intentions. Meanwhile, I’m wearing the lace cape around the house like I’m in a T.Rex cover band.  :eyeroll:

I dug up the materials from our marriage preparation and I really feel a lot worse than just simple guilt now. I was provided a copy of St. Gregory the Theologian’s poem to Olympiatha. So, I am well aware that today is much different than 384 A.D. but that advice made me feel so much more solemn on top of this. I’ve been accused of over-thinking more than once and this could be a case of it. I’m sure once I have some solid spiritual counseling that this can be resolved.
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#8
Quote:He came back from Moscow and bought me the most beautiful Italian lace lingerie so I know his intentions.

Precious gifts are only better when beautifully wrapped. ;) 

Also, lingerie kept only for special occasions can help make them more so and get both parties more in the mood.

But you needn't worry so much.  There's a band width of balance in between the two extremes.

You're fine,  and you both have a lifetime to continue to learn and explore the truth of this beautiful mystery. :)
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#9
I knew I was onto something with the posts I made on CAF about Engels being the proto-feminist and the dangers of feminism, particularly his brand of the family is patriarchial oppression of women. I mean you can't get more anti-Catholic than tearing down the bedrock of society, but somehow we're supposed to baptize feminism.
:shrug:

Sorry for viewing you as a proof of my pet ideological theories OP. I really can't commiserate otherwise. God bless you and your marriage though.




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#10
I don't have much to offer because I'm unmarried, but have you read Casti Connubii?

https://w2.vatican.va/content/pius-xi/en...nubii.html
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