Alright… It’s time for some straight up honesty that might be awkward. It’s cool though, because I don’t care if it’s awkward or not. So let’s jump right in.
I started jacking off when I was 13. It quickly became something that happened almost daily, and sometimes multiple times a day. I lied through my mission about it, and felt terribly guilty about it for a long time.
I did, however stay away from the pron (yes I know that’s spelled wrong… that’s intentional. Partly because I think it’s funny, but also so that my site doesn’t get blocked in a filter) until after my mission. Strange, I know, but it’s true. I don’t think it was ever really problematic at any point because it wasn’t interfering with my normal activities, but… when I watched it, I watched it for a while. And then hated myself for a long time afterwards and swore I would never look at it again.
And then, when I was about 23 or 24, everything changed. Around the time I stopped going to church, I was thinking a lot about what sinning means to me and about self imposed guilt. And I came to the conclusion that jacking off wasn’t really bad at all. In fact, I now see zero negative consequences to it, and actually some positive consequences. Same with the pron. Well… not exactly the same. I think there’s more to it for different people. But for me, I know that when I’m watching it, I’m objectifying people that are choosing to be objectified. I also know that I don’t like anything really weird, so my mind hasn’t really developed a taste for “harder stuff” like some people say they do. For me, it’s really just a visual thing. Again, to me, looking at pron doesn’t really seem sinful. I’m not hurting anyone and I don’t see any negative consequences in my life because of it. Realizing that jacking off and looking at pron weren’t sinful like I had always been taught changed so much for me. Once I came to that realization, my desire to do those activities dropped like crazy. There was something about the fact that it was wrong that made me want to do it even more. And once I didn’t think it was wrong, I stopped caring about it. Crazy.
It turns out, I was letting my guilt and fear and perceived sinfulness control a lot of my life. But changing the way I thought about put me in a healthier mindset.
All of that leads me to gay marriage. It makes me wonder what would happen if people shifted their thoughts about marriage equality. Maybe if people stopped seeing it as a threat to society, freedom, and families, and saw it as two people joining their lives together – maybe it would change things. Maybe people would be happier and more loving and open. Maybe there wouldn’t be laws restricting what certain couples can and can’t do.
And as I write those last few sentences, it sounds so stupid and silly and simple. Because, duh… of course things would change if people thought differently. If people thought it was a non-issue, it wouldn’t be an issue. I guess, maybe if there’s a way to truly teach others to live and let live, then that would solve so many problems.
So Mormons… keep living your life and your religion of Christlike love the best you can, and keep improving yourself as much as you can.
And gays… keep doing whatever it is that you’re doing with your life. Focus on you and how you can make your relationships and life better, whatever that looks like for you.
And then let others live their lives, in their own way.