• Serious thread: Did your upbringing affect your sex life? Possible trigger warning.

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    I just finished writing a very cathartic post in a previous thread, and thought this might be a somber but interesting topic.

    You can look at my profile to find the other post, so I won't re-type it, but I can give the gist. I was a virgin when I got married, and in previous relationships always rather obsessed with what I couldn't have. Being a virgin wasn't necessarily my choice, though I did end up appreciating what it meant for my marriage in some ways. I was inexperienced when we got married and have been enjoying, over the past four years, exploring what sex has to offer beyond physicality.

    In other ways, though, I feel that my upbringing and the sex-negative ideas I was surrounded with have left me with inhibitions and regrets. I might appreciate it for my husband's sake that I was a virgin until I was 22 but the journey to get there was very stressful, painful and full of a lot of unwarranted shame.

    I'm saying this has a 'trigger warning' as I'm not sure what people will write- if anyone does- but I figured this might an interesting topic. I'd kind of like to know I'm not alone in recovering from a sex-negative upbringing and hear some other stories of liberation.

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    rose hip [sign in to see picture]
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    My upbringing wasn't exactly sex-positive but I got over it years ago. I just decided I didn't want those sorts of thoughts in my brain and told them to go away every time they came up. Worked a treat. :-)

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    naughtywildfun90 [sign in to see picture]
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    I know mine did, we've always been very open in my mums house, as a result I felt I could tell my mum that my older boyfriend was trying to pressure me into sex, even threatening to dump me (at the age of 14 you feel you love your bf/gf more than anything.....so you'll do anything to avoid losing it) luckily because we were always so open it meant my mum could talk to me and protect me from that. Leaving me to happily and comfortably lose my virginity at a more appropriate age to the very same man I'm with now.

    I've always been happy that my mum never felt awkward to talk to me about sex and that's the way we are aiming to raise our son (he's only 3, he's too young at the moment to even think about telling him about "the birds and the bees") xx

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    Laveila [sign in to see picture]
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    Hello,

    I do believe upbringing can affect your sex life. I know it did mine. As I was always told not to touch myself, that it is wrong, I ended up very disguested by my female parts and I hated the juices. At one point I was so desperate about getting wet, because I considered it the most disguesting thing that can happen. I guess with the mindset thanks to my family that female are worhtless, you get the picture.

    Obviously I overcame this after time, but it did take few years and I only did it because I was able to deal with my past in general with a help from psychologist. After that I started to shed some of the things I was pushed into feeling about my body and my feminity. I generally did not have a negative thought abour my female parts for last 2 to 3 years now and I am turning 28 soon (I dont count my wish to be guy during my period lol).

    Negative effects of upbringing can be overcome, but mainly the person in question have to want to overcome them and move forward. If they do not want to, then it will stay with them.

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    Yes, unfortunately more so than I care to recognize. My parents had a complicated life and a complicated marriage followed which led to a very unhappy family life for all of us. My mother, though I have no idea where she got them from, had (still has?) very similar ideas about sex as Mox Ruby were passed down to. For her these couldn’t have come from religion, and she was practically raised by a father who slept around and a sister who was a respectable woman, but very sexually liberated (weren’t they all in the ‘60s?). So not sure why and where she got the idea that sex is shameful, and it is a “woman’s duty” in a marriage, and it is dirty. I remember feeling shame whenever a kissing scene would be on TV in a romantic film and they were present while I was watching it. I also remember her keeping a sort of a smaller bad sheet under her pillow, which I asked once while helping her make the bed what it was for and she said it was “for when your father is in the mood”. Of course, what the mood was, was implied as I had never received any real information about sex from anyone (I grew up in a country where sexual education was not mandatory in schools other than some normal anatomy classes). And of course it was also implied that she was never in the mood. My father actually tried to leave her a few years back, and he did lament at that point to me, his now adult daughter, that his sexual life in 35 years of marriage was basically limited to masturbating…

    I did went thru a religious search of my own (I am now an atheist, but was raised catholic), and the church’s teachings about masturbation being sinful and leading to disease did not help much (right up until the point my much older religion teacher paid for a hotel room for us to be in which I didn’t went along with).

    I also blame my mother’s upbringing for a very traumatic sexual encounter that happened to me when I was young and which then went on to influence everything that happened after in my quest for sexual happiness.

    When, pretty early on, I started my adolescent liberation, staying out late, joining a college theatre group, traveling alone for extracurricular activities, my mother kept saying I acted like a slut (I was smoking). I then went to my gynecologist and asked her to examine me and to give me a certificate which proved to my mother I was still a virgin. She has done so and I threw the certificate in my mom’s face the next time she picked on me about it… However, not sure if it was a coincidence or not, but right around that time I decided it was time to lose “the barrier”, so a few weeks later I gave my virginity to a much older guy on the first night we came together. I was young, he fell in love…

    Ever since then I struggled with my sexuality, between what my “liberated mind” and my “inhibited teachings” litigated in my head. I always thought sex was a good thing, and that everything was permitted within consent, but still today can’t always act upon it. For example, just as Mox Ruby said, I have issues with masturbating, for me it is the search of the sexual (purely physical) tension’s release (lately my husband travels for long periods for work), and it does not involve foreplay or real enjoyment other than that. I don’t have problems touching myself in normal circumstances (like hygiene purposes) and I don’t have issues with my genitalia as such. I just don’t derive pleasure from my own touch, it rather blocks me actually. This is where Lovehoney comes in with our now well expanded toy collection, the toys act as an intermediate between my hands and my other body parts (whether playing alone, or part of a “virtual sex” session with him). We have a very satisfying and open minded relationship on all levels and are very happy together, but trying to overcome some wrongly impressed ideas from our upbringing is still a struggle sometimes for both of us.

    Oh, and after trying to act upon my liberated convictions for about 7 years, without any real success (in fact my sexual life was somewhat promiscuous, but my relationships were a complete disaster); and although enjoying the act, all along I was very inhibited and non-orgasmic, I landed a virgin man who completely satisfies me. Just for the irony of things, my first ever real orgasm came in the session right after he proposed… Go figure the coincidence!?

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    Mab [sign in to see picture]
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    Oh definitely. And not necessarily in the way my mum really wanted. Although today I can rest at ease in the knowledge that I can take any of my problems to my mum, it certainly was not that way when I was growing up.

    I am the youngest and so really, I knew everything that is taught in schools before I got that age. However, I was completely sex obsessed and had no idea how to deal with this. Nobody told me whether masturbating was right or wrong - I wasn't even sure if anyone else knew what it was. So I kept those associated questions a secret and even now I wouldn't talk to my mum about how trapped I felt as a child. As a teenager, the sex obsession did not leave, and although at school I could express it a bit more loudly, it was definitely not something I could mention at home. From what information I got - sex was for when you were married and old. My mother lost her virginity when she was 19 to my dad. Whereas I lost my virginity younger than that to my boyfriend on the first day that I met him.

    Honestly, I feel that had there been more open discussion about sex and the fact that it wasn't something to hide, I would have been far less obsessed and far less likely to jump in to something I wasn't emotionally ready for.

    To this day I am very sex orientated, and I have learned to appreciate my sexuality far more than my younger self. If I ever have children, I would like to be very honest about sex. Particularly the existence of fun outside of penetrative sex - the day I lost my virginity, it didn't even occur to me to try anything else. Sex is fun now, but it came with a lot of guilt as a relatively promiscuous teenager.

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    Mab wrote:

    Honestly, I feel that had there been more open discussion about sex and the fact that it wasn't something to hide, I would have been far less obsessed and far less likely to jump in to something I wasn't emotionally ready for.

    Amen! I remember having this really strong fascination with anything sexual when I was about nine. I drew endless pictures of what was supposed to be 'sexy' clothing for attracting boys. Now that I look back, I'm sure it was due to hormones because I hit puberty right after. Even that, since it was so early... I had no idea. I stuffed my stained underwear in my Barbie house until my mom found them. I thought I was dying but didn't feel it was something I could tell anyone, and by the time I got even the most basic sex ed in school, it was far too late. I had already had periods for a good six months.

    I'm sorry you have had to deal with guilt but am glad there has been a turnaround in more recent years. Was changing your viewpoint something you had to work at, or did it come naturally with age?

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    (I dont count my wish to be guy during my period lol).

    Negative effects of upbringing can be overcome, but mainly the person in question have to want to overcome them and move forward. If they do not want to, then it will stay with them.

    To the first quote- haha! Yeah, I am so with you on that one. They've somehow gotten worse with birth control, but the IUD is expensive and we're probably going to be kid-free at least two or three more years. Friend visiting with baby and subsequent exhaustion confirm it.

    As to the second point of yours that I've highlighted, I also think that partners have to be very gentle, understanding and patient and if they're not, they will absolutely make it worse.

    I got lucky.

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    My goodness. I am so sorry that you have been through this. That last paragraph has a lot of hope in it, though, and I wish a continued happy and fulfilling life to both of you.

    OH and I had a very sleepy, very, erm, *boring*, frankly, attempt at playing ConSEXtration last night far past what should've been our bedtime, something I hope to remedy when we're both actually up for it. But there's a card about fantasizing when you touch yourself, and I realized- I don't. I don't even make a sound, though when my husband's got his hands on me, I can't stop making noise (so long as we're alone; if we're, say, visiting my parents, I'm completely silent by nature). Sight is not even such a powerful motivator for me when I'm alone, though reading is. There's an entirely different sexual 'me' when I'm alone versus with my partner. I don't 'see colors' or think about anyone. It's just... darkness and sensation. I'm not sure why, but I'm fairly sure it's not 'normal', and I'm entirely willing to blame my upbringing.

    It is thanks to Lovehoney that we were able to explore beyond what we can do with just our bodies. I tried to explain it to my OH- that I wasn't interested in introducing toys because anything was *lacking* in our relationship, just that it seemed fun, I was curious, and it seemed like something fun to try together. Now, I've been sufficiently bolstered as to feel comfortable telling him I'm interesting in light kink and bondage. Still haven't explored that very much yet, but just being able to tell him was such a huge relief, and thankfully, it seems something he's into as well.

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    Gentle giant [sign in to see picture]
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    Hi Mox Ruby, I have so wanted to post on your thread but as it can be such a emotive subject I have had to give it a great deal of thought. I quite often post things that need saying but upset some. It is only my opinion so I don't want to upset I just see it from what can be a very different angle sometimes.

    Sexual happiness is at our very core, it lies very deep in all of us the primary things we need to do as animals are eat, sleep and reproduce. If any one of these things isn't working well it shakes us , we carry it around and it constantly nags us.

    As we have developed into intelligent beings we have refined these things. Sleeping is a whole science bed design, pillows and people that study it and advice. We all know if we don't sleep, well we start to struggle with life. Food we have taken it to the full extreme. It is only our bodies fuel yet we know do amazing things with it, restaurants ,recipes and every type of food from any where in the world we can try or buy.

    Reproducing, well because it is pleasurable we can know do it without the need to reproduce. It has now been proven that other higher intellect mammals mate for recreational means apes and dolphins do it. Some say it's bonding others say it is just for pleasure.

    Pleasure, here for me in lies the issue with religion. Most religions have taught that most pleasures are a sin. I don't want to go to far down the religion route but most find there origins are about control over others and oneself. We cannot be trusted with our own morality. Enough said because everyone is entitled to there own believes be it Jeses, Allah, Budha, The Devil, Green men, Rocks or water,Earth ,wind and fire. So long as they don't hurt others and don't force their believes on others especially Children. This I find wicked as children are vulnerable and are learning and believe adults. Believes are believes and not truths.Edited in ( it's a hang over that schools and education can still be set up on and run from a religious believe. In my opinion wrong, why not on a humanity believe?) Sorry small rant.

    However it's my opinion that everything in our upbringing effects our sexuality,so our perants are a far greater influence. If they happen to be religious then this will have an impact. Things that we are told or view and experience as children are what shape us sexually. This is why for me it is one of the biggest responsibilities as perants we have. When we here politicians talking about subjects, high on their list is education. We all want the best for our kids, sexual education is a joke and so is our believe as perants that all most a complete stranger who is not qualified should teach our children about it. Taking religion( I am sorry to use it as an example but it works best)We have dedicated teachers who teach it and it is part of our curriculum,yet what good is it. For me it should be just part of Geography and History and nothing more. We need to understand believes to teach tolerance. I feel that we would be so much better having a whole subject and exams about life, relationships and sex. Is it as adults we would then fear that our children would come home at then teach us ? All teachers can teach are the machanics of sex. I don't have the answers but I do know that the embarrassed of talking to our offspring about love, relationships, respect and sex should be over come. We as perants wanted them it's our job and not the country to nurture and guide them, this will teach them to be happy in life and with this foundation go on to do whatever they want work or recreationally.

    We're am I going with this, well we can only truly communicate and have input from our own experiences. Me I was very lucky and still are to have been brought up in a safe and loving environment. My Mum is RC but didn't force it on me. So through choice and education I am agnostic. They wernt wealthy, I didn't go to uni or even college. They did spend a lot of time on family and showed me that taking pleasure out of the simple things in life is what will bring you the most happiness. They are both now in their late 70's and are still sexually active.

    My wife though on the face of it came from a very simular family but her mum from where ever, probably here own mother has some very strange ideas about sex. I am opinionated about my MIL but she has messed her daughter up about sex and love. I have spent our whole life together trying to undo everything she indoctrinated in her daughter. "It's dirty" "stop playing with yourself you dirty girl" " don't rub it or it will break" " watch out for men they only want one thing" to quote a few. MIL obviously thought sex was just for reproduction. My sister in laws life is a train wreck , two failed marriages and four children. I cannot be 100% sure obviously but all the pointers are her depression and struggles with relationships are about this upbringing. If she didn't hate us for our happiness we could tell her.

    I personally think that sex is at the core of us all we are social beings and want the bonding and intimacy it brings. When we can't share it with some one we still need it so we masterbate it's second best but still gives us a good feeling( my wife told me she had never masturbated until I asked her too). The ability to communicate on this most intimate level is fundamental to each of us. To be able to give this to our partners as well as receive it is huge. To please and be pleasured and feel good about is just so important the same as eating and sleeping.

    This is why I find LH especially the forums such an educational and ground breaking place. We are able to discuss our most intimate and vulnerable issues without fear of being judged or persecuted. If it leads us to one day being able to talk to our loved ones especially our children about sex and relationships it can only be a good thing.

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    I think, because of the "one small world" concept we live in today, and of course in a huge part thanks to the internet, these kind of dangerous views are rapidly dying out. Taboos are constantly broken, and while initially sex was everywhere just to sell items, now "sex is everywhere" means it is also becoming what it should be: a natural part of our social lives we all feel more comfortable with talking about. Of course, this has its negative sides also, if you watch certain teenagers act around today with irresponsibility and far too much promiscuity for their consciousness. But this all leads back to parenting too.

    So while I think that the generation now in their 20s is the last one that has suffered so massively and “under the rug” about misleading sexual concepts growing up, the teenager generation is on the opposite side of the line completely, handling their own sexuality too loosely – and some of them are doing so because parents encourage them to do so as a “means to an end” (thanks to above mentioned “sex sells” marketing concept). So I think there will have to be a complete generational exchange before things get balanced in our society. Our generation of adults (between the ages 20-50) is experiencing the real “sexual liberation” as I see it and they have to make amends with it thru the education we will give our children.

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    flaneur [sign in to see picture]
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    I'd say yes, but it depends if you count unpleasant experiences which weren't anything to do with my parents as part of my upbringing or not.

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    cockringsandvibratingthings [sign in to see picture]
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    yes my parents were very protective and i didnt pop my cherry till i was 20 now i am a sex addict i want it more than my partner does

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    Laveila [sign in to see picture]
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    Mox Ruby wrote:

    (I dont count my wish to be guy during my period lol).

    Negative effects of upbringing can be overcome, but mainly the person in question have to want to overcome them and move forward. If they do not want to, then it will stay with them.

    To the first quote- haha! Yeah, I am so with you on that one. They've somehow gotten worse with birth control, but the IUD is expensive and we're probably going to be kid-free at least two or three more years. Friend visiting with baby and subsequent exhaustion confirm it.

    As to the second point of yours that I've highlighted, I also think that partners have to be very gentle, understanding and patient and if they're not, they will absolutely make it worse.

    I got lucky.

    True but I did it at time when I was not with anyone. I just was horny and learnt to enjoy my body, not to think about it as something disguesting. It then helped when I had partner as it was far more easy to get out of the mind set.

    I came accross few stories here at LH over the years, when the partners were struggling with their OHs having these problems from upbringing, but as their partners did not see it as anything wrong, then there was little what understanding partner could do. It must come from the person with the problem.

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    Mab [sign in to see picture]
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    For me, it came naturally with age. I love my mum and somehow it that helped me work out that I was just different to her - she is very private and really not one for talking or joking about sex, where as I am. Going to university allowed me to have a lot more sexual freedom, and being slightly more independant helped me work out who I want to be - and that despite how much I adore my mum, I don't actually have to be her!

    As for hiding stained pants in the barbie house - that was something that terrified me throughout high school, maybe I was off of school the day that came up in sex-ed, but I was convinced something was wrong with me. Urgh! I here that scandinavian families are far more open about these things from a much younger age... let's copy that. There is no way I would want my child to feel ashamed of being human.

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    naughtywildfun90 [sign in to see picture]
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    Mox Ruby wrote:

    naughtywildfun90 wrote:

    Leaving me to happily and comfortably lose my virginity at a more appropriate age to the very same man I'm with now.

    I've always been happy that my mum never felt awkward to talk to me about sex and that's the way we are aiming to raise our son (he's only 3, he's too young at the moment to even think about telling him about "the birds and the bee's") xx

    I was pleasantly surprised that they were so matter-of-fact in teaching their children about the human body even from a young age. Still funny to hear the word from a toddler, though! .

    I know what you mean, our little boys nursery ran a course which I went to and part of the course was showing us how children can get confused or misheard when talking about their bodies so advised the parents to teach the children the proper names for everything to make sure they were understood (I.e I hurt my toes instead of I hurt my piggies). Since then I still giggle when he tells me he washed his penis or his penis is sore, its so strange to come out of the mouth of someone so small! Xx
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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    Laveila wrote:

    their partners did not see it as anything wrong

    This makes me really feel for them. They don't know what they're missing. Damaging attitudes have been drilled into them until it's entirely internalized. When I 'lost' my faith, questioning other aspects of its influence on my life went with it. My desire to stay 'pure' was mostly external.

    The thing that was so odd/funny about my mom is that once I was near getting married/got married, she started giving me tons of advice. She said as long as it doesn't involve other people or animals, it was probably fine. She gave me a Christian sex book (Sheet Music by Dr.-something Lehman), which was oddly informative. Though I've looked at it again recently, and though it doesn't condemn masturbation, there is still absolutely no mention of using toys alone or together, or kink.

    This was really, really hard to reconcile with the 'don't talk or think or focus on sex' attitude before marriage, and I have never shared my feelings. Now that we're on opposite sides of the world, we're pretty close, but I have never, ever broached this subject.

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    naughtywildfun90 wrote:

    I know what you mean, our little boys nursery ran a course which I went to and part of the course was showing us how children can get confused or misheard when talking about their bodies so advised the parents to teach the children the proper names for everything to make sure they were understood (I.e I hurt my toes instead of I hurt my piggies). Since then I still giggle when he tells me he washed his penis or his penis is sore, its so strange to come out of the mouth of someone so small! Xx

    That is a fantastic idea! I'm going to be a teacher in a few years, and hearing about attempts like this to be matter-of-fact with children's education make me really happy. I hate that we have our own discourse with children, and in the country that I live, there's a fairly broad 'children's' vocabulary. Teaching them 'piggies' is the same as teaching them about the stork... it just adds another layer of 'truth' that has to be swept away first when they eventually learn the real thing. One thing I must credit my parents for is that they similarly didn't subscribe to the view that things had to be dumbed-down for kids. It makes the approach to sex that I grew up with all the more puzzling.

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    Mox Ruby [sign in to see picture]
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    flaneur wrote:

    I'd say yes, but it depends if you count unpleasant experiences which weren't anything to do with my parents as part of my upbringing or not.

    Certainly- we are all shaped by our experiences beyond those at home. But if those experiences are unpleasant to talk about or would cause you pain to do so, please do not feel any pressure.

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