Fulfilling my sexual desires will not separate me from God’s love
My sexual desires are a function of the body that God gifted to me.
by Kamilah Bush
I am a Queer woman with sexual desires that should and can be fulfilled. That took a lot to say. It took a long time for me to say it—precisely because it took a long time for me to even realize it. Not because I was “denying” it, not because I was scared of it—but because I legitimately did not know it. And I didn’t know it until I was 22 years old because I have spent all of my life as a devout Christian.
When I was a teenager in the church, every sermon preached specifically at people my age warned against sex. For many of us, all you had to do to be a “Good Christian” was to come to church and not have sex. Because my parents were ministers, coming to church was non-negotiable, and because I wanted to be a “Good Christian”, not having sex also became non-negotiable for me.
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I didn’t even particularly struggle with it. I have no memories of shirking the advances of anyone. I cannot think of a time when I found myself in a “compromising” position, and when asked about my sexuality my answer was almost always “I don’t think about it.” And for the most part, I didn’t. The marginally few times I experimented with masturbation, I became overwhelmed with shame and guilt and I stopped doing it altogether after a while.
I simply wasn’t meant to be a sexual being, in my mind, and I believed that I wouldn’t become one until I was married. This attitude rested on the assumption that I would get married one day, that I would get married to a man, and that once I was married to that man I could then begin to think about sex.
I went to college carrying this with me. I endured five years at school, still carrying it with me. I wanted to be married before I had sex. I thought that if I didn’t wait—especially since I’d already waited so long—I would lose some sort of game that God and I had been playing.
I had been told, so very many times, that sex was a “soul tie” to someone else and that was serious to me. I continued to shut myself off from sex and desire—when asked about it, my answer remained, “I don’t think about it.” And I didn’t. Because that was the only way I was going to survive. When I finally did think about it, I thought about what I would feel if I ever did give in and all I found there was overwhelming shame.
And then for the first time ever at age 22, I had sex. Also for the first time ever, at age 22, I felt no shame. In a journal entry from that time I wrote: “I’m still me. I did something natural and normal. I’ll do it again, perhaps soon, and with this boy more than likely. The concept of losing my virginity seems less and less like a big deal. I’ve thought a lot about what this means… It means that I had to learn desire, that I am entitled to it like everyone else.”
It wasn’t reassurance—it was realization, and that moment of realization shifted my whole perception of what it meant to be a “Good Christian”. It also made me realize I had no opinions of my own on what it meant to be a “Good Christian”.
I had to spend a lot of time not going to church, not talking to others about Christ, and not listening to other people’s interpretations of right and wrong. I had to realize that what had been in control of my spirit and, by extension, my body had not been my own voice and not even the voice of God.
Taking a step back from the swirling voices around me allowed me to—for the first time ever—have a real relationship with myself. Once that was established, I could then also have a relationship with God. It meant that I could be reminded of what the Bible says in Romans 8:38—”And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow”—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
As an adult woman, who knows herself and is getting to know God in a brand new way, I find that I no longer have shame about my sexual desires and I have no shame about acting on them. My sexual desires are a function of the body that God gifted to me. Those desires, in and of themselves, can no longer cause me shame.
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Unlearning shame has been the single most important part of my blossoming connection with God. Once I realized that God was not sitting somewhere policing my every thought and every breath, and began to realize that he wanted me to be happy, healthy, whole, and balanced, I was able to fully appreciate what it meant to live in my body. I was able to find where my spiritual being and my physical being intersect and diverge. And when I found those places, I erased the shame I had been carrying there.
My spiritual and emotional connection to what I do with my desires have become a place of personal conviction for me. I know when I’m doing something that does not align with my spiritual, physical and emotional health. When that happens, I repent, redirect, renew my mind and I move on. In my walk with God, I have found that freedom brings me closer to Him, not piety or restraint, and certainly not shame. I hold fast to the belief that nothing—and especially healthy, fulfilling, natural desire—can separate me from God’s love.
Kamilah Bush, a homegrown North Carolinian and the Co-Artistic Director of Paper Lantern Theatre for Our Tomorrow, is a playwright and dramaturge who is committed to telling the varied and complex stories of Black women. James Baldwin said that an artist’s responsibility to their society is to “never cease warring with it” and she takes this responsibility very seriously. Follow her on Twitter as the battle wages on @writingthewrong