This is a very long warning, so if you read it and keep on reading this post, please do not email, text, message me or post comments about how I scandalized you and you have lost all your innocence. I have the strong opinion that some people need to hear a clear and blunt testimony of what it is like to have gone from the secular idea that sex is good however you want it to being a faithful Catholic who embraces every single teaching that this Church has on the subject of sex. I love all the beautiful writings on the subject, I really do, they are romantic and make sex something that is beautifully sacred, but sometimes people who don’t know squat about theology just need someone to speak in normal English. For those of you who have always been Catholic and have never strayed into the dark world of the sexual revolution, that language might offend and scandalize you, so please don’t read this post. Just for a reference point, if Christopher West offends you, don’t read this post. If you read it after this long warning, then I don’t know what to tell you. My intention is not to offend or scandalize anyone. My only intention is to make some things clear and I don’t have the ability or filter to make sure that my words are all written in flowery ways to sound like a tampon commercial.
**Here goes nothing** If you read past this point, then it’s all on you.
I don’t really make it much of a secret that I was a very promiscuous person before becoming Catholic. The truth is that I actually stopped sleeping around on January 2nd 2008, before becoming Catholic was even an idea. That’s when I started a relationship with my now husband.
Up until that point my life consisted of having sex with anyone who was nice to me because I wanted them to love me. I was lost and I was seeking love any way that I could find it. I liked how boys looked at me when I was naked, it felt like they loved me, until they would dump me that is. That was in my teen years.
In my mid 20’s, after my divorce to my first husband, I started sleeping with whoever I wanted to and making sure that I was getting all the perks that came with that. Clothes, shoes, money, paid bills. I also had a span of sleeping with the hottest guys in town just to point them out to other girls and say “Yep, slept with him. Isn’t he flippin’ HOT?!” I used men just as much as they used me at that point.
My point of view on the issue of sex doesn’t come from some place of a puritan upbringing. Sure, plenty of things from my childhood helped fuel that I was a slut for most of my life. I was sexually abused as a girl, I had no father and my mother wasn’t really what you would call warm and affectionate. But by the time I divorced my first husband when I was 28, I was pretty secure in my life of sleeping around. I had cheated on him a handful of times in the 8 years that we were married too. after the divorce I wasn’t ashamed of any of it; in fact I was proud of it. I watched and read porn pretty regularly, both with partners and on my own. I did a lot of things with men and women that would make porn stars blush. And I liked it. There was nothing that I considered “weird” or going too far when it came to sex. I talked like a whore thinking that it was all normal and made me super cool. I liked making the good little Christian girls blush when I told them about my escapades.
One night my best friend and I were out at a club having some drinks for my birthday and to the right of our table stood a group of about 5 men. Out of that 5, I was sleeping with 4 of them. None of them knew about the other, and they were all buying me drinks. I sat there thinking how funny it was and what fools these men were. Some of them were men who others feared and who were considered powerful in town. Two of them were married; I didn’t care. I thought I was making fools out of them, but really, it was me that was the biggest fool of all.
No matter who I was with or how much they bought me, I was still always alone. Every night before falling asleep I would just stare into the dark with tears running down my face wishing that someone would really love me. Not just the sex that they had with me, but really love who I am. At the end of the day, I was always alone; not just alone but pathetically lonely. I did not really understand why either. I was fun, funny, smart, and I would cut for anyone. I bought people presents to show them that I cared about them, and did many other things for them. Then one day my best friend Homer told me why none of these men would ever commit themselves to me: You can’t turn a hoe into a housewife. I sat there feeling like he had just drop kicked me right in the gut. There was no hope for me, I could never go back. That’s when I stopped dreaming about love.
Until Stacey came along.
After I got together with Stacey, I made the choice that I was going to be faithful to him for the rest of my life, but that didn’t mean he would be the only man I slept with. I was the cool girlfriend after all, not some prude who didn’t know how to have fun. Fun was my middle name. And Grey Goose was my first name.
When Stacey came home from Iraq, our first outing was to the strip club that I bartended at. I bought him lap dance after lap dance, not only that but I bought myself a few too. We went to porn shops and had sex in booths watching movie after movie. Our whole relationship revolved around sex, how to have better and crazier sex. It was like we were obsessed and everything centered on that one thing. And we had some awesome sex too.
We spent Christmas 2008 in a swingers club with giant screens playing porn movies. That is how we celebrated the birth of our Lord that year. Just thinking about it now makes me want to throw up. We ended up going to a hotel with another couple also. Looking back at that, that was when we were at our worse.
It all started ending when the money started running out. That’s when my husband started thinking that maybe it was time to stop partying so much and work more, but I was still in party mode. I was still drinking heavily and throwing fits because I wanted to go out. I didn’t understand that it was time to work, not play. That’s when we started fighting. Finally Stacey moved his things out of the house we lived in and went back overseas to Afghanistan.
I stayed behind and started RCIA. I didn’t start going because I had a crazy idea of becoming Catholic or starting on a path to sainthood. I just wanted Stacey to marry me. Plus I knew myself enough to know that if I didn’t fill my time up with something, I would start going out and before you knew it I would be in someone else’s bed. It was not a matter of “if” but “when”, so I put myself in RCIA classes. I knew that those Catholics would judge me enough to keep me inline until Stace got back home.
That’s when I met Jesus. I wasn’t looking for Him, He was looking for me.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.”
Every time something dealing with sex came up, I would just laugh and shrug it off. I knew alllll about sex. I liked sex, I liked masturbating, I liked being a cool girlfriend who slept with girls with her boyfriend, I liked porn and I thought orgies were the shit. I did not want nor did I need anything else. If there had ever been anything lacking in my life, it was love, but now I had love and so it was all good. I just wanted to get through these classes, get my “I’m a Catholic” badge, get married and move on with my life.
Then I met Fr. Jonathan. I was pretty crude and abrasive with everyone else, but there was something about this priest that made me watch my mouth around him. I never meant to tell him about my abuse or about any of the things that I had done, but I did. I told him about how many men had hurt me. I told him how I wanted to be loved so badly that I could feel my heart ache for it, but instead I would fulfill that with the looks on the faces of men when they saw me dressed sexy. I thought sexy was pretty and it got me the attention that I was looking for. He didn’t kick me out of his office or tell me about how I was used goods. You know, the old chewed up gum thing. Nope, he didn’t tell me any of that. And he didn’t hit on me either. How that man dealt with me, is beyond me, but I thank God that he did. He told me that I was worth more than that. It was the first time that anyone had said that to me, and it was the first time that I believed it.
He introduced me to Theology of the Body. From there, I looked up and read everything I could find on the issue of sex, love and marriage written by John Paul II. I read the Catechism and this paragraph made my heart long for this kind of love:
2365 Fidelity expresses constancy in keeping one’s given word. God is faithful. The Sacrament of Matrimony enables man and woman to enter into Christ’s fidelity for his Church. Through conjugal chastity, they bear witness to this mystery before the world.
St. John Chrysostom suggests that young husbands should say to their wives: I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us. . . . I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you.
That’s the love that I had longed for my entire life. The love that I had given up on and the love that I knew was never meant for me, but there was a flicker of hope that maybe I was wrong. JPII’s writings were the kindling for that fire to start burning in my soul.
I read so much that my eyeballs felt like they were falling out. I read John Paul II talk about orgasms. After picking myself off the floor from giggling and laughing, I reread what he was saying. He said that it was an act of charity for a husband to make sure his wife climaxed during sex. Let me just say that I had never once heard any secular sex therapist say that. I had heard plenty of women say how nice it would be have someone tell their men that. He also said that the best orgasm was when a couple climaxed at the same time.
Both people climaxing at the same time is a myth, or so I thought. In any conversation with my circle of friends who talked about this stuff it was fairly common knowledge that the woman had to fake having an orgasm at the same time as her man, but that it was just that: fake. It never happened in real life. And yet, here is this Pope, who I’m guessing never had sex, saying that it was not a myth and nonchalantly saying “Yeah, and it’s the BEST!” Sounded sketchy.
I was so confused and curious all at the same time. But what finally did it for me was when I was really honest with myself and I pulled back all the hurt that my heart had endured in my 33 years of life and I finally saw the wound for what it really was: fear. I was scared of losing the man who I loved. I did everything to make myself this “cool girlfriend” that I was doing things that made me less of a person because I knew that I had talked a good game. If I didn’t live up to it, then Stacey would leave me. I would be all alone again, and I was terrified of that happening.
It wasn’t until we were in Rome that I even had the guts to speak to Stacey about it. He didn’t really get it; we were still having sex, even in Rome during Lent. I went to confession at the Vatican just so I could receive Holy Communion at Mass. In truth, I went to confession anytime I saw that they were being heard in any church, so that I could go to Mass anytime we walked in a church that was celebrating it. It was crazy: sex, confession, Mass, repeat, for 13 days in Rome. I lied to everyone back home that we had stayed in separate rooms, because for the first time in a long time, I was ashamed of myself.
On the last day there I finally broke down in tears telling Stacey that I didn’t want to live like that anymore. I wanted to be able to take Communion without worrying about having to go to confession every single time. (There are still other reasons to refrain from Communion, but I was obviously a newb and this was the issue at the moment) He said he understood so we would get married as soon as he got home from Afghanistan and we wouldn’t have to worry about it anymore. YES! I finally won, I was getting him to marry me and that was the point of this crazy Catholic thing after all.
Done deal. I was going to be married in the Church, we wouldn’t be living in sin anymore and we would live happily ever after. Wrong.
Our priest wouldn’t marry us for three months and he said that in that three months we would have to be chaste; aka “not have sex”. Stacey was not ok with this deal, and neither was I to be honest. But I had already made up my mind that I was all in when it came to this Catholic life. Stace on the other hand had not yet come to that conclusion. In short: I became a prude and he became angry guy.
His biggest issue being that his first wife would use sex as a bargaining chip and hated giving him blow jobs. When we started living together that was no longer an issue in his life. He hit the sex lotto and now here I was becoming just like his ex-wife and telling him he would never have a blow job again in his life. Not cool.
At some point God gave him the grace to sacrifice his wants for me. He is the only man in my life who ever stayed with me after I stopped having sex with him. He did it out of love for me and out of obedience to the Church. Nobody had ever loved me like that before. So we spent the next 3 months living, loving and planning a wedding.
When our wedding night came we thought that it was going to be this magical night of making love since we had done the right thing for once in our life. The truth is it was kind of boring. We were both exhausted and we were awkward and clumsy. What could we do? What would send us straight to hell? We didn’t know. And nobody really told us in plain English. It was all “conjugal love” and “marital embrace” bla bla bla. Who the hell even knows what any of that means when you have been where we were just a year before?! We were in bed with another couple just two years before for Christ’s sake. We had no clue what chastity really was. We thought that it meant not having sex, not having virtuous sex. Hell, we didn’t even know what virtues WERE.
To make a long story a little shorter: We have spent the last 3 years trying to figure out how to have holy sex. One of the best books we have read on the issue is “Holy Sex” by Dr. Popcak. It really has put some perspective on things. But it was really Simcha Fisher’s book “The Sinner’s Guide to Natural Family Planning” that made me realize just how much I was in the wrong. Not because I was holding myself up to holy standards, but because I forgot that sex is about love, unity and that just because it’s sacred. That doesn’t mean that we can’t like it. God made it. He knew that we would like it; in fact He counted on it.
Elizabeth Scalia’s book helped me too because in the end I figured out that by holding out on “fun” sex, I was making myself queen of the world. I was not thinking about my husband and I wasn’t thinking about being holy really. I was using “holy” as a way to make myself god who decides what will and what won’t happen in the bedroom. It was all about me me me, and not about God. Sex is like everything else, it is supposed to bring Glory to God, not to self.
After reading her book and Simcha’s book, I had to do that thing where I take a look at my actions and motives. I had to look at myself and admit my faults. I also had to come to terms with the fact that I had gone from one extreme to the other.
The issue is that I don’t find it easy to talk to Catholic women about sex. In my old life, my friends and I talked about sex in detail all the time. What men like, what we like, what this guy did that made our eyes pop out of our heads, etc. etc. As a Catholic woman, I don’t really know how to do that at all.
Of all the sex that I’ve ever had in my life all the ways that I’ve had it, nothing beats having Holy sex. Sex where I say “Oh God!” and I mean GOD for real.(And my eyes are popping out of my head.) My husband and I have sex about 20 days out of every month and 90% of those times we have those mythical simultaneous orgasms. I climax 100% of the time, during intercourse. We don’t use sex toys, I don’t read erotica, he doesn’t watch porn and we almost never have any foreplay. Not because we don’t like foreplay, but just because we don’t need it. We have sex in 20 minutes, with mind-blowing orgasms and go to sleep. It’s awesome. No huge circus show that takes hours and hours or making any plans. And it’s not boring in any way shape or form.
Yesterday I saw a sex therapist on a reality show tell a client that women rarely, if EVER, climax during intercourse, I almost cried for her. How sad. I’ve been there, done that. No wonder I had to have all that crazy sex, I was never satisfied.
After seeing that I started talking to my husband about this whole subject and all he could say is “Thank God for Pope John Paul II, that’s all I know!” Yep, I agree. This world is so lost, they are looking for orgasms and they have no clue that the way to have the best sex of your life is by letting God into your sex life.
I really don’t know how to convince anyone of that, nobody could have convinced me of it a few years ago. Plenty of people tried. But I had to seek the truth on my own and then at some point, I had to live it. There really is no other way around it. I wanted to write this because so many times people say that Catholics who talk about chastity need to get laid. Well, I’ve been laid; every which way known to man and it did nothing for me. Each time took a piece of me, it broke me a little more and it left me a little more alone. It was an ugly cycle of looking for love, being high on sex and then falling flat on my face in a pool of my own tears.
The only thing that has healed that brokenness is the love of God, an encounter with Jesus and the Grace of the Holy Spirit in every part of my life, including sex with my husband.
I know what love is now, and I know what it isn’t. Love is not using someone else as a means to an end. Love isn’t exploiting the hurt of another person to get what you want. Love doesn’t use. Love gives. Chastity is an act of love. You can’t love someone if you are not willing to be chaste for their sake. My husband did that for me. And I’ve done that for him. Are we perfect? No, we have many faults, but we are trying none the less.
I am that ho that is now a housewife, because an encounter with Jesus changed everything.