Micah J. Murray Profile picture
Jun 1, 2018 27 tweets 6 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I'm gonna do a quick thread here about #Exvangelical and #ChristianAltFacts when it comes to male sexuality. Some folks assume that the fundamentalist patriarchy was all fun and games for people with male bodies. This is not the case. Buckle up, kids.
1.) We were constantly pounded (ha!) with the idea that lust is "every man's battle". It is a battle that is almost impossible to win ("If you have unrestricted internet, you're guaranteed to look at porn!"), but if you loved Jesus you would try anyways.
2.) Here's the catch: All sexual desire was labeled as lust. You think a girl is cute? Lust. Intrigued by the pictures on magazine covers? Lust. You imagine having sex with a hypothetical future wife? Lust. God forbid you touch your own penis! Lust, lust, dirty sinful lust!
3.) So to be a person with a male body and typical sexual desires is to be constantly awash in shame. When you try to pray or read your Bible, all you can think of is how disgusted God is with your attraction to female bodies and the fantasies you've had of married missionary sex
4.) Accountability groups for men are almost exclusively about repressing your sexual desires. If you are a good Christian, you confess your sins to your father and other men: "I thought about a woman naked, I looked at the lingerie section of the JC Penney catalog, I wanted sex"
5.) By the time I was 15 or 16, I believed that my "spiritual growth" & "godliness" could be measured solely by how successful I was at repressing my sexual desires. If I could go a week without fantasizing about sex w/ my hypothetical future wife, I was in good standing with God
6.) We were told that "men give love to get sex, women give sex to get love". In other words, your natural sexual desires will cause you to be manipulative. Your future wife will only begrudgingly participate in sex with you. She won't really want it. She won't really want you.
7.) We were told that we were responsible for the well-being of a woman's heart. If we allowed a female friend to have feelings for us, we had failed to guard her heart and had permanently, irreparably harmed her.
8.) I remember being 18 and asking my male friends what I should do to prevent my female friends from having feelings for me. Because of that idea: It was my job to guard their hearts. If they developed a crush on me, I had failed. And God would punish me for my carelessness.
9.) We were told not to have feelings for girls. If we did, we were giving away a part of our heart that we'd never recover. If we did this too many times, we'd have no heart left to give our future wife. All past crushes would have permanent legal ownership of our heart-shards.
10.) We were told not to consider dating until we were ready to be the spiritual and financial head of a home. If you were dating before you were ready to get married, it was like going shopping with no money - "you'll probably wind up taking something that doesn't belong to you"
11.) We were told that (until we were ready to be married), we were not to want a girlfriend. Desire for a girlfriend was evidence that we were not completely satisfied in God. (Psalm 73:25 - "Whom have I in heaven but you? And on earth there is nothing I desire besides you.")
12.) We were told to desire the things of the Lord only. When we were sufficiently pure of heart He would bring us a wife. Only when we no longer desired a woman would we be deserving of one (Ps. 37:4 - "Delight thyself in the LORD & he shall give thee the desires of your heart")
13.) We were told that God was a jealous God and that He resented us for having feelings for girls instead of Him. If we liked a girl too much, she was an idol. If she became an idol, God would take her from us. God will destroy everything you love until you love nothing but Him.
14.) People think that "God told me to break up with you" was a cop-out, an intentional manipulation we used to get out of relationships. Maybe for some it was. But it was also proof of our love for God. Necessary for spiritual growth. And part of "guarding a girl's heart".
15.) When I was 18 I cut off contact with my female best friend because we liked talking on the phone every day and I was afraid that she was becoming an idol. A preemptive break-up. It was terribly painful for both of us, but I was convinced it was God's will.
16.) I was so committed to being a good Christian that I aggressively tried to destroy my straight sexuality. I'll share a few excerpts with you from my journal that summer. Bear with me, it's wordy and horribly cringey, but this shit needs to see the light:
17.) [At this point I was a 19-yr-old boy. I had never said "I love you" to a girl. I had never seen a woman naked. I had never looked at porn. I had never kissed anyone (and would not until my [first] wedding day). I did not masturbate. My "sin" was talking to girls.]
18.) "I've begun to take steps for dealing with the problem, which is yet undefined except for 'girls'. These steps have consisted of deleting comments from my blog, deleting my music, and making a decision to not stay in touch with any new girls that I meet..."
19.) "...I've also learned a few 'tricks' to control my emotions... But somehow I feel like all this is like hitting a big monster with sticks - it keeps it under control, but it's still a big ugly monster." [reminder: the "monster" is my tendency to like girls]
20.) "... I'm tired of hitting the monster with big sticks & I'm actually ready to deal with it. It's time for blood... I realize it is an ADDICTION. Suddenly everything makes sense. I am an addict" [reminder: my "addiction" was non-romantic conversations on the phone with girls]
21.) This was not everyone's experience. But it was mine. I was hella conscientious and really wanted God to love me, and I thought that in order to do that I had to kill my desire for women. I thought it was an idol. I thought it was a sin.
22.) Twelve years later you wind up divorced, on Tinder, in therapy. You ask your therapist if you're a slut if because you've kissed 15 people in a month. You ask your gay friends if you're gay because 5 of those people were men.
23.) You don't have sex with anybody cause after all these years you're still scared of ruining what's left of your heart.
24.) Eventually you're brave enough to have sex, and then sometime after that you're brave enough to really love again. And in the context of good sex and good love (and good therapy), you start to let go of the fear + shame that's been embedded in your heart for all those years.
Also: I want to point out how heteronormative this whole shitshow was. There was no space in fundamentalist patriarchy for queer sexuality. It was terribly destructive to mostly straight people like myself, but also to trans and gay and bi and ace men. Probably even more so.
I am lucky enough to have a bunch of queer guy friends who have been through a lot of hell in the name of Jesus. You should listen to their stories too: @Runaway_Writes @theKevinGarcia_ @AustenLionheart @jeffchu

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