I Waited to Have Sex Until I Was 26, And Now I Can’t Have an Orgasm

I can't even talk to my sister or some of my closest friends about it because they all still think I'm a virgin, living my life of purity for the Lord.

I was raised in an almost cult-like Southern Reformed Baptist church. I was told that sex was wrong, lustful thinking was wrong, and basically anything that involved sex before marriage would send me straight to hell. It wasn't until last year that I had the first physical step of courage to go against my upbringing and risk losing everyone around me to do what I thought was right and okay as a woman — not what I was told by evangelical men.

My parents were divorced before I was born. They only married because my mother was pregnant with my older sister. Almost immediately after having her, she became pregnant with me and left my father. My mother had custody of us when we were young but was quite neglectful and impoverished, so we lived with a trail of her boyfriends. Our inappropriate living situations with a slew of different men every few months got my dad custody when I was in second grade.

My father has always been a father and a mother to my sister and I as often as he could, and I feel forever indebted and grateful for all he has given up for us. He braided our hair every Sunday with his calloused, hard-working hands and brought us up in the church. He did what he thought was best for us and raised us how he was raised, and while overly protective, I don't hold it against him. He's known nothing else and has lived in the same 50-mile radius his whole life. His mind and body have not gone past that small-town way of life, nor do they want to. Ignorance is bliss, as they say.

The church taught us that sex was one of the cardinal sins. Once defiled, always defiled. Women could not make decisions without a father or husband to do it for them, and how would we earn a husband if we were not pure? They trained the young girls in our church, myself included, that we should live and die to find a husband. Education was fine, as long as it contributed to getting a husband. "Be fruitful and multiply" was the mantra.

I went along with this. It was all I knew, and I had no mother figure to tell me otherwise. As I grew older, though, I grew indignant of my small amount of options. They told us to find a husband within the church, one who was "equally yolked," but no man in the church chose from the church. They left the church to find wives and left a congregation of deserted and bewildered home-schooled hearts. Yet they were applauded for their fine, godly choices in women. Meanwhile, the women of the church were left to rot.

I became increasingly disgusted with the boys at church, but still, my father's voice rang in my ears — I must never lose my virginity and I must only find a man who is a spiritual leader; ungodly men only want you for sex, and then they will use you and cast you aside.

Did this mean, as a woman I was not spiritually strong enough on my own? As a woman, I couldn't even be a good enough Christian unless I had a "strong spiritual leader" of a father or husband guiding my path? Did we not have the same brain, the same church knowledge taught to each sex? Were the women not at church every Sunday listening just as the men did? Then why did I need a fucking man to tell me how to be a woman, much less a how to have faith? A man has no idea how to be a woman, so why would we listen to their advice on the subject?

By the time I reached college I knew in my gut that I disagreed with the church, but I was not ready to admit it to myself, or my friends and family, as I had grown up surrounding myself with people of the same faith. I was terrified of their judgment and of letting them down; Christian women are held on an unobtainable pedestal, and Christian men put them there. I also desperately feared disappointing my increasingly depressed father who had sacrificed so much of his life to raise my sister and me and mortgaged the house to send us to college. He started working weekends and took out multiple loans to pay our tuition. I could never betray my father with honesty about my feelings of doubt.

In college, I fell in love. He was a Christian and a Presbyterian, vastly different from the Reformed Baptist boys I had grown up with. I cannot speak for all Presbyterians, but the ones I do know teach love — not fire and brimstone — and they live by it, too. It was a whole new world for me.

As we dated, I became braver about and more interest in sex. He was a "good 'ol boy" who respected the hell out of me — perhaps a little too much. Every time I'd climb on top of him and things would heat up, he would say, "Don't you feel bad about this?"

"Yes," I would say, as I climbed back down and took my seat beside him.

But I didn't. I didn't feel guilty at all. In fact, my sexual feelings seemed natural to me — thoughtless in the best way, what my body was intended to do. I, who was the high school goody-goody, was a bad influence on his morality.

For many reasons, we drifted apart and I became depressed. I felt undeserving of love. My Christian "friends" slowly drifted away from me and to the side of my ex, like I had done something wrong. I felt utterly abandoned by the group of people in the world whose faith is based on love and forgiveness.

I began making friends outside of the Christian realm. I fit right in. It was fun, it was judgment-free, and they deeply cared about me as a human being. I became close with two girls in particular: one a Christian, and one not. We all struggled with depression and therefore bonded. This other Christian girl and I were considered "liberal" Christians and found our home amongst the "sinners" of the world.

I still helplessly clung to my purity, though, like it was the only reason my father and sister still had to love me.

I left college. After a year of lonesome depression, never really fitting in anywhere, I had an existential crisis. After months of wrestling, I had to admit to myself that I just didn't think sex was wrong. I didn't think anything or anyone who had goodness and love in them and did not harm others could be wrong.

And then I fell in love again. With an atheist.

I was 26 years old. I got my own health insurance (my family felt birth control was a sin) and I visited a gynecologist for the first time. I told her I met someone and I wanted to have sex with him. She put me on Loestrin, and I attempted to have sex with my new atheist boyfriend. At the time, I was blissfully unaware that I was going to fall in love with this man. I had met him a couple of times and had a crush and figured he'd be a great place to start on my newfound sex-positive journey.

It hurt like hell and it took over a week to actually fit all the way in and "get the deed done," but I was a determined little ex-Christian. I wouldn't trade my experience for the world. He was sweet and caring and made me feel beautiful and safe.

But there was one little problem: I wasn't interested in sex anymore. What used to take up almost every available moment of thought in my mind was now dwindling to something that had the same level of interest to me as a bag of potato chips. I actually I might have been more interested in the potato chips because chips are delicious.

I had only been on birth control for a week or so at this point. I just didn't care; I felt nothing. Granted, we continued to have sex and it was fun and felt good in a new and fun kind of way, but I would never come close to an orgasm, and damned if he didn't try his hardest to get me there. This man spent so much time on me (and still does — he is tireless and determined) and loved every second of it, but nothing.

My libido flat-lined because of birth control.

How ironic that the reason I got on it was to have all the sex I wanted any time I wanted, and it caused me instead to feel completely apathetic toward the act. After about six months of this, I got off of it. Two months went by and I remembered how much my periods sucked and my ovulation pain crippled me (that's called mittelschmerz, by the way), and my libido wasn't back.

I went to my gyno and we tried a new birth control: Vyfemla. I loved Vyfemla. My skin was gorgeous, my boobs were luscious, but still no libido. After six more months, I went back for another birth control. She put me on a different dosage of Loestrin, supposedly the birth control that least effects your sex hormones. It has been over two months and I still have luscious boobs, have gained a few pounds, and still have no libido.

I am 27, and I have never had an orgasm. I have done everything and my boyfriend has done everything. I'll come close, but instead of an orgasm, my physical reaction is to start crying. I physically can't handle the tension that has built up within me over the past year and a half, and my body's release is to cry because it chemically is being restricted from the sweet release of an orgasm. For the longest time, I thought it was religious guilt or the fear of disappointing the small bit of family I have, but then quickly realized that's bullshit.

On my last visit, my gyno told me that nothing could be done. It's chemical. The hormones in my birth control are literally blocking the hormones that drive my libido from doing their job. It's either a life with no orgasms, or a copper IUD that will most likely make my already atrocious periods even more painful and unbearable, or I can run the risk of pregnancy (a number-one worst fear of mine) and just use condoms or the pull-out method for the rest of my life.

So here I am, still physically incapable of having an orgasm. The saddest part about this is I can't even talk to my sister or some of my closest friends about it because they all still think I am a virgin, living my life of purity for the Lord.

I stopped going to church. My boyfriend, the atheist love of my life, wants to move in with me, and marriage is on the horizon. And all this while I can't even talk to my sister about it (she is still hardcore Christian and married to a "spiritual leader"). And I can't move in with the man I love because it would destroy my father, who loves me very much.

Many people have told me to live my life for myself, not my father, but he's all I've got in the parent department. And when I think of all the ways he has sacrificed for my sister and me and lived a life of hard-working unhappiness, I just can't bring myself to add this to his plate of burdens. His two daughters are all he has in the world and I can't take that away from him. Disappointing people is my greatest unhappiness.

In the meantime, I am doing my best to not break my father's heart while also not breaking my own. It is a hard thing to balance, and my boyfriend is incredibly patient for putting up with it, being as supportive as he can. I do not condemn the Christian faith or any faith — who am I to judge anyone? — but I have come to live by my own rules and ideals and I am quite happy with them, in spite of this ironic roadblock.