Tag Archives: Religion

Why I’m Not Religious

This article from Scientific American frustrates me a little because it’s about interesting topics, but they only skate the surface and it sounds more like conjecture than a supportable argument.

But it raises an interesting point.

There is a lot of judgment out there against atheists. There’s this deluded impression, I’ve found, that being religious somehow means you have a moral code that others do not.

What? Because I don’t go to church, I’d steal from your grandmother, hit-and-run your car, and cheat on my taxes? Bullshit.

Sorry, kids, morality’s just a little bit more complicated than where I park my ass for an hour or two on Sunday mornings. God’s got nothing to do with how ethically I choose to live my life.

Here’s the thing.

I’m not religious today BECAUSE I was raised religious. I was so Catholic I’d go to church as much as 6 days a week. Used to tell the non-believer kids in the ‘hood about the sermons, and they’d listen, too.

I loved me some Jesus when I was a kid.

When I was in high school, I had a priest who told us a classmate was going to hell because she committed suicide. And then we had a teacher, who I thankfully never had classes with, who was discovered to be sexually abusing boys. He went to jail. But around the school we were talking and it seems the Arch Diocese knew for as much as five years about the teacher’s abuse.

The details on the story are hazy for me now and searching the web proves futile as I only know remember him by “Mr. [redacted].”

It’d be some years before I came to believe what Ken Kesey preached, that if you weren’t able to worship what you call God in your backyard, he wasn’t gonna be in no church, either.

I learned at the age of 13 that men are corrupt, so all religions are corrupt. And I fell hard from my pedestal of faith. We found out shortly after the child molesting thing that our elementary school Monsignor had been in a relationship with a woman for more than 2 decades. He had to leave the church.

I decided, if God needs me to join a club to prove I believe, then he’s got really, really low self-esteem, because look at some of the members! Let’s not even talk about Creationism, which is a slap in the face at everything God’s capable of, if you’re to believe the book of Genesis in the first place. If God’s so omnipotent, the idea of the Big Bang and millions of years of evolution speak far louder about a God’s powers than this dumbed-down “The Earth is 6,000 years old” bullshit practiced by people too blind to see science is a faith too.

Anyhoo. I was raised Catholic. I was raised to respect others, be kind, be honest, and all that ethicky jazz. I maintain those values. I just don’t figure God anywhere in the picture.

I live my life with virtue because I need to respect myself in the morning. I may not have money, fame, and everything I dream of, but I do have self-respect, and it comes from living up to how I was raised. Ain’t any church that’s gonna change that about me. My ethics guide my life and always will.

Ethics and the Vatican aren’t exactly in bed together, though. Look at the Catholic Church: With properties and assets, it’s about the most powerful and richest organization in the world. But we don’t know that for sure, because the books are kept pretty tight. The Vatican is literally its own nation-state, remember. For insurance purposes, its incredibly vast collection of artwork is valued at about an euro each, according to some reports. This MSNBC report states the Catholic Church received more than $8 billion in donations in 2003 alone. Never mind tax write-offs, present-day property values, or any of that.

And look at the Evangelical movement in the USA, where preachers are VERY well-paid rockstars ministering to the thousands. Yeah. And Jesus, Mohammad, and Buddha lived as paupers. No disconnect there at all.

If you really believe in Jesus and Christianity, then you believe Jesus threw the merchants from the temple. He didn’t believe money and faith went hand-in-hand.

It’s a mockery, what we have today for religion. It’s everything Christ never wanted. Churches hold the riches today, and look at the average person. Not so rich.

Yet I’m morally bankrupt because I don’t practice and celebrate that mockery of everything Christ stood for?

Don’t tell me religion today is moral when it shouts down the search for human rights for gays. Don’t tell me the Catholic Church has the high ground when it had as its Pope for the last decade or so a Holocaust apologist. Don’t tell me faiths that take in more money than they give back to the poor are doing what God wants of them.

Religion today is nothing of what it has been written as in the Bible. It’s sanctimony and judgment. Church is where the dollar talks and transparency walks.

Unfortunately, there are good people caught up in that sanctimony and judgment. There are fine Christians in the world, and admirable Muslims, and wonderful Jews. While I rail against religion, I do not rail against the believers, not if they are moral, kind people. But being a believer in religion does not mean one is indeed moral or kind, and that’s why I state there’s that prerequisite.

I will not hold your religion against you if you do not hold my lack thereof against me.

Seems a fair trade.

It is absolutely my moral code which keeps me from practicing religion. Until faiths are led by men and women I can admire and respect, I will turn instead to worshipping nature and the world around me, and living my life as I would have had I found a church worthy of my faith.

I would put my ethics against anyone’s. I absolutely know who I am at heart, and if there were more of me, and less pious sanctimony, this would be a really nice world to live in.

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How Much Trouble’s Too Much?

Oy vey. Here’s a doozy. The short of this reader’s question is:

How much trouble is one guy worth?”

The long of the question is, she’s your typical non-religious “Christian” whose religious extent is the putting up of a Christmas tree. It doesn’t matter much to her at all. She’s educated, though, and knows a little about world faiths and is a polisci kinda gal. She’s hip.

And she’s fallen for a Jew. This isn’t your standard-edition Jew, either, who likes bagels and matzoh balls. He’s a lived-in-Jerusalem, goes-to-temple-on-Sabbaths, I-can’t-marry-a-Gentile kind of Jew.

SPLAT. Hear that? That’s the sound of our non-religious girl falling painfully for this Yiddish Loverman.

So let’s get back to her question. See, she’s thinking she could convert to Judaism. As a religion, she thinks it’s beautiful. (As do I.) It’s their politics that bother her. An independent Israel? Never shoulda happened. (I agree. Yeah, here’s an idea: Let’s take a bunch of Westerners who have always misunderstood the “Islamic infidels” and have THEM divvy up the land. Fuckin’ brilliant. Oh, hey, just add water! Instant ongoing war! SMART-like. “Paradise Now” is a movie that’ll make you think twice about this whole Israel issue. In every situation there are two sides. Pity we only hear one.)

So, can she swallow her politics, digest a new relationship, and keep this man she’s head-over-heels for? Sure she can. But should she?

Like she says, How much trouble is one guy worth?

Let’s visit my friends at Websters for that one, okay?

trouble
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): trou‘bled; trou‘bling /‘trou-b(le-)li[ng]/
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French trubler, from Vulgar Latin *turbulare, from *turbulus agitated, alteration of Latin turbulentus — more at TURBULENT
transitive verb
1 a : to agitate mentally or spiritually : WORRY, DISTURB; b (1) archaic : MISTREAT, OPPRESS (2) : to produce physical disorder in : AFFLICT; c : to put to exertion or inconvenience eg: I’m sorry to trouble you

2 : to put into confused motion eg: the wind troubled the sea
intransitive verb
1 : to become mentally agitated : WORRY eg: refused to trouble over trifles
2 : to make an effort : be at pains eg: did not trouble to come

Oh, hey, trouble. That sounds like a bitch. Something like adversity, then, is it? Or (gasp) grief? How do you measure trouble? Does it come with a specially-marked cup? Is it metric or imperial? Is it the same in any language?

Trouble is not fun. This we know. It’s filled with challenges, adversity, and more. That’s not the question. We know what trouble is. What none of us wants to admit is, it’s a standard add-on feature in each of our lives. Okay, so the question is, how much trouble is too much?

Depends on the trouble, then, I’d say. And the guy.

What’s the “trouble?”

Well, here it’s accepting a religion you need to buy into as an adult, with all those lifelong skepticisms and questions and moments of doubt. You need to put aside your logician’s mind and swallow a bunch of beliefs for the man you love. Not that hard to do, but it might be difficult to make your peace with down the line. Does it involve compromising who you are?

If not, great. If so, then proceed with caution.

Two, it’s ignoring your strong politics about something you feel is being unfairly portrayed in the media and misunderstood by the common man. Can you do that? Hell, I do that every time I go to my dad’s house. Not too hard. Politics aren’t a conversation one should ever enter into lightly. I generally try to avoid discussions about politics. Everyone’s a pundit, man.

Three, it’s the guy. Does he treat you with respect? Is he honest with you? Is he a shoulder for you when you need one? Does he know how to make you smile? Can you trust him? Do you want to wake up by his side? Can you see a future with him? Is he the first person you want to share good news with? Sounds like a catch.

If he treats you like shit or lies to you or makes you cry and not smile, well, then your answer’s pretty simple: Worth no trouble. Ever. At all.

I’ll go through a lot of grief for a good man. If he’s having troubles, and things are challenging, or things need to be overcome, I’ll try my hardest to ride them out. Good people are hard to find. Good lovers are even harder. I’ve been through hurts, I’ve had my heart broken, and I’ll still do everything I can to make sure a relationship’s not being thrown away for insignificant reasons… like my being too weak to stick out a difficult time. Sometimes it gets real fucking hard, too, having that patience, but I find having regrets a harder load to bear down the road.

We live in a society where everything is instant, and everything is easy.

Need to go to France? That’s an eight-hour plane trip! See you for wine and dessert this evening! Craving a some supper? Two minutes and twenty seconds on high heat in your microwave. Oh, don’t wash your dishes, just throw them out! Here’s new Royal Chinette! You’ll save three minutes of your precious life!

We don’t like adversity. We do fucking speed-dating, for god’s sake, as if 2 minutes is all you need to find the love of your life. We don’t want to go through challenges. We don’t want to take the hard road. When it comes to love and relationships, it’s too easy to walk away and not be there for someone.

The reader asked me about my relationship and said she assumed things have worked out and I’ve decided to stay private about things. Guess what? There’s still some things we’re working on together. Know why? We’re two people on PLANET EARTH, and we don’t live in a fairy tale. Adversities happen. Good relationships can overcome them. And yes, I’m being more private about things. I’m preferring to keep a lid on it these days, but at least the balls are in the air for the moment.

I think girlie, if she’s really in it for this man, needs to decide if she can live with the faith and can handle stifling her politics. I think the price we pay for regrets is too high, and I’d say take a chance and follow your heart.

But I’m a romantic pragmatist, and I’m constantly in conflict with myself. Kinda like the Middle East, I guess.

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AIDS: Another Rant Against the Bush-League

First off, a big thank you to the cute blonde across the way who keeps wandering around in boxers and no shirt. Love those pecs. Welcome to the neighbourhood, neighbour.

Kindness… With Strings

If you attach conditions to kindness, it doesn’t seem to be so much that it’s humanitarianism you’re after, y’know?

So, it was with great amusement – albeit bitter and pissed amusement – that I took note of the sanctimonious stipulations attached to all the “donations” being made by the Bush administration since 2003 in the name of AIDS assistance throughout the world. This was all shown during the brilliant Frontline “The Age of AIDS documentary I mentioned in an earlier posting.

When it comes to countries like Uganda and Brazil, they’ve stood face-to-face with some pretty grave dangers posed by the horrific disease, and through understanding the culture and society in their nations, they’ve managed to come up with social programs to stem the rate of infections.

In Uganda, they teach abstinence and faithfulness, but they also implore the public to use condoms. There’s an intense movement towards education, and they’ve managed to go from having one of the highest incidences of AIDS to a much more stable number (and I’m too lazy to grab facts right now). The government was providing copious free condoms for the public to use. This proved extremely effective.

In Brazil, they’re not kidding themselves. It’s a very sexual country. They work hand in hand with the sex trades to try and control the amount of unprotected sex going around, and they push condoms onto the public awareness stage. It’s working. They’ve also created a system by which their citizens are ENTITLED to the drug cocktail known to keep HIV in check (most of the time). They’ve struck deals with pharmaceutical corporations and they have in-nation drug-manufacturing plants that allow them to make drugs for their citizens at a reasonable price. This is not a wealthy nation, but they have their shit together.

The US has attached stipulations to both these nations. In Uganda, the government provision of free condoms for the masses has apparently dropped by 80% since the Bush administration intervened, favouring instead the preaching of abstinence. In Brazil, they were insisting the Brazil government condemn prostitution (as it’s legal there), which prompted the Brazilian government to say, essentially, “Fuck you” to the money so they could maintain their autonomy.

Brazil’s aggressive approach to controlling AIDS, which includes HIV treatment, massive condom distribution and explicit HIV education, has produced one of the few success stories in the developing world: In the early 1990s experts projected 1.2 million infections in Brazil by 2000, but the interventions cut that number in half.

Read the source here.

As the Brazilian government rep said to the documentary’s producers, “This year it’s prostitutes, and maybe next year it’s homosexuals. Where do you stop?”

That’s a very good question. Where do you stop?

You stop when it’s your moralizing that is limiting the potential for other nations to save the lives of their citizens. You stop when it’s your failure to realize that husbands and wives get AIDS and, thanks to their marriage vows, they should expect to be able express their love in physical terms, and telling them to abstain, and not to use a condom is something that will get you laughed out of most bedrooms. You stop when your vision is so narrow that you’re not even seeing the dangerous ramifications of your moralizing. You stop when the disease has afflicted more than 5 million people in a single year (2005). You stop when the total number of dead now exceeds 25 million in just 25 years. You stop when more than 40 million people are living with it worldwide.

You stop when your sanctimonious beliefs mean you’re being a hypocrite to the very faith you profess to believe in. It’s about saving lives. It’s about letting people live, helping people live, and, if you happen to believe in an afterlife, letting God do the judging at the end of those lives.

You just fucking stop. You help. You do whatever the fuck you can to end the deaths. Because that’s what a good person does. They help in the face of all adversity. They help when they’re called upon. They don’t put conditions on it. They don’t judge those needing help. They just help.

If, in fact, AIDS (as Pat Robertson and his ilk believe) is an epidemic unleashed by God in an effort to punish the immoral, then why has “He” given man the tools to treat it even the least little bit?

I despise hypocrisy. More importantly, I despise the knowledge that 40 million people on this planet will more than likely die from this disease that we seem unable to find a cure for, but that many of them will die far sooner than they need to, and more will contract it than are necessary, all because of to many governments who have been too ashamed to admit they need help, or those who are too fucking sanctimonious to offer help without strings.

The United States wants to be a world leader? Then fucking lead from the trenches, not the pulpits. Get in there and get dirty, and don’t worry how the fuck it looks. Be like Nike, and just do it.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I just read this, and it blows my mind. YOUTH, AGED 15–24, ACCOUNT FOR MORE THAN HALF OF ALL NEW HIV INFECTIONS WORLDWIDE. More than 6,000 are infected daily. Wear condoms, kids! Fuckin’ hell!

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Sex, You, and Your Kid: How Parents Are Failing

Parents bear so much responsibility for how kids view sex. It’s a shame most of them don’t handle the subject better, and terrible that so little emphasis is placed on sexual education.

Two things caused me to spend years questioning sex and feeling like a whore for engaging in it: the Catholic Church and my mother.

The Catholic Church is a given. I had to laugh when I received an email the other day for a “Sexosopher’s Café” at a local sex shop, where they wanted to do a philosophical discussion of whether “religion is sex-negative.”

Come on, you had to think about that one? Oh, please. What’s the last church you went to that encouraged you to tie your lover up and pleasure them? What’s the last church you visited that said consensual sex could include just about anything under the sun? That’s right, none, ever. Sex, when it comes to religion, is only good when done in certain ways.

Am I stereotyping? Fucking right I am, but rightly so, too.

My Catholic guilt still tugs at my heartstrings now and again, but as long as I live, I will never, ever come to understand how my mother could have fucked sex up for me as much as she did.

I never, ever, ever got the conversation about what sex was from either of my parents. I saw them fucking once, and I still remember the horrified look on my mother’s face – before they realized I was standing in the doorway. Most damaging, though, was something my mother said to me when I was 15 and they had split up.

She commented, quite casually, that the thing she was most grateful for about the separation was how she no longer had to fear my father coming to bed and wanting sex.

My father was heavy then, but he was always a kind and gentle man, so I knew instinctively she didn’t mean in a violent or demanding way. She meant she loathed sex. She told me she’d sleep as close to the edge as possible, so she could more easily dissuade him from making advances. And then she expressed how relieved she was that she could now sleep anyplace she wanted on that bed.

Between her lightly dismissing my question on blowjobs at age 8, her horrified look mid-coitus, and this new complaint about fearing sex, I was quickly developing a perception that sex was something women had to do to satisfy men, and something worth dreading.

I didn’t know sex could be enjoyable. I never learned it was an expression of how much you cared for someone, or a really wild way to spend a night in. I didn’t know it wasn’t (really) painful, and I sure as hell didn’t know I was supposed to love having it.

For me, sex has been a long journey to where I am now, and there’s still road to travel. There are new destinations I’d like to reach, particularly considering my traveling companion of late, and the idea of sex is still something I’m ever curious about.

It’s a far cry from the girl who was terrified to sleep with her boyfriend shortly before she turned 18, who was sure it would hurt like hell, who was adamant she was doing him a favour and it wasn’t something she would be benefiting from.

Today’s kids are in a strange, strange world. They’re bombarded with sexuality from the moment they emerge from the womb. Cartoon characters (Disney in particular) are sexier than they’ve ever been, clothes are more provocative, and MTV borders on porn most days. When they’re not getting hit by sexuality from the world at large, they’re playing on the internet, surfing at random, probably landing on smutty sites like this or worse, (don’t read this, kids), or still worse yet, engaging in cybersex.

Am I a conservative? Not by a long stretch, but I’m sick and tired of seeing kids being raised in a Fuck Me Now world, where sex is the only currency that counts. I think sex is important. Hell, it’s crucial to my quality of life. A day with sex is better than a day without it, and that’s just how I feel. I’ll never be a sex-negative person, but it doesn’t mean I can’t be objective about this oversexed world we’re living in. There’s a fine line, and I think we’ve crossed it of late.

What kills me are the conservatives, the true conservatives. It’s so fucking ironic, their POV. They can’t control the endless stream of sexuality pouring in from media and marketing today, so instead they want to limit sexual education and birth control. Does it make sense? Not in the least. To pretend kids are not surrounded – bombarded – by images of sex and sexuality is akin to confessing a belief in the Easter Bunny. There’s no question that it’s out there, that dirty s-e-x thing, but to ignore it and hope that sticking your head in a hole in the ground will somehow make the world around you more palatable to your moral beliefs is delusional.

(As an example, Kansas has adopted opt-in sexual education. Meaning, if the kid doesn’t show up with a note from the parents that gives permission to teach them about sex, the kid can’t take sex ed. Isn’t it precisely those kids who are most in need of sexual education? Christ. Can someone, anyone, teach these people how to fucking connect the dots?)

How is ignoring the fact that we live in a world that doesn’t respect sex the way it should, doesn’t portray it the way it should, going to help anyone? That’s the perfect reason why kids need to learn more sex-positive education both in the home and at schools, so they can negate this overwhelming pornification of sexuality seen constantly in the media.

I’m not saying I want to do away with any images of sexuality, I’m just saying I sure as shit wish there were more sex-positive images, because there aren’t many.

I’m tired of knowing that I’m not the only person who never actually learned about sex from my parents. Sex isn’t biology, people. It’s passion, it’s emotion, it’s mind games, it’s exploration, it’s creativity, it’s dangerous, it’s satiating, it’s intense, it’s anything you want it to be. But it ain’t biology, and it ain’t all reproduction, and kids need to learn about what it is, and what it isn’t. They need frank, honest discussion, or else we’re going to continue having young adults who need to get past wrong perceptions of what sex is.

Considering all the head games and mind-fucks that come with courtship and relationships, dealing with mixed-up, backwards perceptions on what sex is, is probably the last thing any of us needs to waste headspace on. In the face of AIDS and other STDs, ignorance is a pretty horrifying prospect, but one that’s rampant as I type.

By teaching kids the realities of what sex includes – from the wet spot to day-after pains and aches to STDs and emotions – a little of the allure might be swept away, but so too will the unrealistic expectations and the fear, and maybe even the blasé attitudes most kids today have about getting shagged.

Here’s a very, very simple consideration for parents to take under advisory: Imagine your kid has come to you and asked you about sex and all the things that happen during it. Imagine your discomfort. Imagine the awkwardness of trying to explain it. Imagine the weirdness of divulging to your offspring about how you essentially created them. Imagine sweating under the pressure you would feel to do a good job. Imagine you cut it short and explain instead just the biology of what happens, and not how to be a good lover, or the emotions that come with, or the potential fall-out after the fact.

And now imagine your kid going out into the world with barely even an understanding of the biology, let alone the rest of the sexual happenings. Imagine them going into a sexual experience clueless about what should go down. Imagine the panic and worry they’ll feel afterwards when they wonder unnecessarily if one of them has gotten pregnant, and how pregnancy really works. Imagine they can’t figure out what way a condom goes on or how careful they need to be when pulling it out. Imagine the guilt and shame they’ll feel for doing what we all inevitably experience at some point in our lives. Imagine the self-loathing they’ll feel when they suspect they’re a bad lover. Imagine the awkardness of trying to fumble towards ecstasy without your help.

And now own your failures as a parent. So, I say this to every parent out there: Get the fuck over yourselves, and do your jobs. This is too important to continue letting kids learn by bump in the night, and the price paid for it is far too high.

You can’t explain it? Then buy a good book that explains about sex and give it to the kid. Better yet, pick up a pack of condoms and some lube and grab the book, and give them to your kid, and then tell them you hope they’ll be mature and responsible enough to wait for someone special when it comes to sex, because if they sleep with the wrong person the first time, they’re probably going to always wish they’d decided differently.

You may not appreciate the idea of your kid fucking in the back seat of a Ford, but the reality is, it’s gonna happen, whether you’re on page or not. You’ve done so much for your kid over the years; is it really worth abandoning them on the issue of sex so you can save yourself a panic attack?

Think about it.

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Q&A: My Girlfriend Won’t Fuck Me Anymore

I get a lot of emails from readers from time to time, and for some reason, this past week has been filled with emails. Some are easy answers, some are ones I don’t want to tackle, some involve giving instruction (which I dislike doing, so I take my time), and some are just total mind-fucks, like this one.

The long and the short of it is a bit complicated, and due to privacy concerns, I don’t want to quote his email directly. Let’s call him Jimi, since he sounds like the rockstar type.

When he and his girlfriend got together, they had wild marathon sex constantly. He couldn’t get enough of her and it seemed to be mutual. He’s a guy with a sex drive in overdrive, and having a partner who’s into sex as much as he is happens to be a pretty major consideration when committing. He thought he had that in this woman.

She changed, suddenly, when her father had a heart attack. It turns out that she was raised Catholic, and in this moment of crisis, she turned to God and made a vow that, if her father was to live, she would abstain from sex until marriage.

Although he neglects to mention, I’m pretty sure the father lived, because Jimi hasn’t been getting laid much in the last two years. He’s in love with the girl, so he’s taking this in stride, but after two years of little happening, he’s nearing breaking point. Don’t get this wrong, she’s been getting her orgasms. He pleasures her orally, etc, and occasionally they “slip” and have sex, which is always good, but he says that, since she vowed God she’d abstain, he finds himself embroiled in guilt after they’ve finished. While he does non-intercourse things to satisfy her, it seems she doesn’t return the favours. Not very democratic, eh?

His dilemma is, how does he proceed? Does he marry her? Does he break up? Does he confront her? Honestly, fuck if I know.

Here’s the deal: Catholicism is a life-long all-ages ticket to ride the guilt train. You cannot possibly understand the absolutely overbearing sense of guilt and fear that is bred into you when you’re raised Catholic unless you’ve been exposed first-hand. Trust me, I not only drank the Kool-aid but spent 10 years in Catholic school, going to mass probably 5 times a week for 60% of that time. Guilt has been a lifelong struggle for me. It does not ever go away, as far as I can tell thus far.

And I understand the absolute horror of knowing your parent could die. I was far closer to my mother than I am to my father, and even so, when my father nearly suffered a stroke last year, I was terrified.

Religion, as we’ve all heard, is a crutch. Take that as you like, but when it comes down to difficult times, religion’s a pretty easy thing to lean on to get you through. Adversity is hard on all of us, but having a creed that tells you everything’s gonna be all right after the dying of the light somehow makes it easier to get through, regardless of how much you live your life according to the faith.

That said, I’ve made my own vows to God. I can’t remember what I promised then, but I remember being in the shower and just knowing with absolute certainty my mother was going to die, and promising God I’d behave better, be more moral, give up drugs, whatever the fuck I promised, if only she’d live.

She died. I was off the hook – literally and figuratively. I descended into a few years of craziness and here we are now. If she’d lived, I’m pretty sure my life would be a world away from where it is now, whether I liked it or not. That’s the price you pay when you promise God to behave better, and you secretly believe in His wrath, thanks to the upbringing you’ve been dealt.

Girlfriend made her vow, and now she’s struggling to keep it. The question is, where does that leave Jimi?

Between a rock and a hard place.

I’m a firm believer that, whatever you enter a relationship for – their looks, their personality, their sex drive – that you are, essentially, entitled to a reasonable expectation that that status quo will continue. If their sex drive dries up overnight, you have reason to be concerned about the future of your relationship. If they gain 60lbs, you have every right to be upset about the change in your lover. If they become moody and morose and give you no reason to enjoy spending time with them, you have cause to be concerned. It’s not selfish – it’s simply expecting your partner to live up to the terms of the agreement; that they are the person you fell for, and will continue to be that person, or will at least change in ways that are congruent to who they were at the time of the initial hook-up.

In the restaurant business, one of the “rules” for success is, you’re only as good as your last service. In relationships, we all go through rough patches, but the immediate past is the part that’s most relevant to the present, not the good times that were had five years past. Problems emerge, solutions need to be found, and life can hopefully continue. But if you’ve gone and changed the rules of the relationship without cluing in your lover, you are establishing grounds for dismissal.

Relationships go two ways. Agreements and communication and compromises are the lifeblood of any good relationship. If you have adversity and need to change how you’re acting in the relationship, you need to discuss that with your lover, otherwise, they have good reason for leaving you. It’s really that simple.

So, Girlfriend’s withdrawn the sex that made her so desirable. Fortunately, she still has personality and a lot to offer. The question is, can Jimi handle living a life with less sexual promise? That depends on him. She’s essentially notched herself down from love interest-non-pareil to friend with occasional benefit.

Her motivations for doing so may be questionable to the rest of us. Who knows, maybe Jimi can solve his problems over Bloody Marys and a little rat poisoning during a tete-a-tete with the father, but something tells me that, one way or the other, he needs to come to terms with the fact that his lover had no problem making a decision that impacted both of their lives in a dramatic way. Instead of turning to him for support, she turned to God. Not that I’m saying turning to God is a bad thing, I’m just saying Jimi should have been consulted before she decided the future of their relationship without his input.

And when she decided sex was no longer on the menu, she should have done the right thing and said, “This will change things between us, and while I can live with that, you need to decide if you can.”

The facts are, Jimi, pretty simple: She has changed, whether you want to understand why or not. She made a major decision without consulting you. She handles stress, clearly, in less than practical ways. She withholds sex either to punish herself or punish you, whether the eyes of God are watching or not. If things haven’t changed back to what you call normalcy yet, you need to accept that they may not ever change. She has a reason to explain away her lack of interest in sex now, and if you marry, who’s to say she won’t find a new reason then?

Your relationship is only as good as the recent past has been. We can’t go into our Way Back machines and remember fondly the way it usedta be, because the facts are, it is what it is, and you have to go with the averages.

Am I telling you to walk? No. I’m telling you to be realistic. Will she change back to the girl of old? Who fucking knows. Is that a gamble you’re willing to stake your sexual future on? Who fucking knows. Can you justify cheating on her to get what you need while she figures herself out again? No. Not for a second.

So you have a choice to make. You want to hold on to the memories of how it used to be and might one day be again, or do you want to live in the moment and experience life as it unfolds? You decide.

You could always let her know exactly why you’re going through so much emotional turmoil over this, and tell her you’ve been patient, you’ve tried to understand, but that she ultimately changed the rules of the game without telling you, and you’ve never had the option to choose – but now you’re making that choice, and you’re around if she decides you’re worth changing her mind about that vow, but for now, you need to discover yourself again.

Either way, you’re in a shitty situation. I feel sympathy for her, but she’s up against a mighty powerful religion that really, really fucks with your conscience. That, I know first-hand. Good luck, dude.

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