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mobius4niner

Wife's Feelings on Masturbation (OCD)

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I need some marriage and relationship advice. My wife is a very sensitive person and she always feels she is doing something wrong. Part of this feeling is exacerbated by an apparent obsessive compulsiveness that is difficult for me to comprehend. She is sensitive on sexual matters- particularly masturbation- a problem she’s struggled with in her early teens. But what she considers as masturbation differs from my view on the subject. She believes anything that makes her body “feel good” is considered masturbation and is therefore a sin.

I realize the church’s definition of masturbation follows this definition quite accurately; however my wife tends to take this to extremes. Actions as simple as buckling her seatbelt over her chest, using the restroom, how she sits in a chair or even scratching an itch makes her feel that she is masturbating. I’m not sure how to educate her on the matter- she sincerely believes these actions are sinful and it makes her very depressed. At her request, I scheduled interviews with our ward bishop. We go to the interview together. He has instructed her to review Alma 37. The bishop says my wife is doing great and she has nothing to worry about. The interview gives her a spiritual boost for a week or so and then she is back to feeling bad and wants to talk with him again.

The problem repeats itself. I am not sure what to do. My wife has an extremely high guilt conscience. She is a very compassionate and loving person but she lives her life afraid of making choices for herself in fear that it will bring about sinful temptations. Part of this is due to her childhood upbringing- her mother feels similarly on things and continues to have a huge influence on her daughter.

I’ve been very accepting and open, trying to guide her and make her feel better. She doesn’t quite trust my judgment and still turns to her mother for spiritual guidance- only making the situation worse. I do not know what to do to help her move past this “jailed” mentality and live outside the box.

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I suggest going to lds.org and finding quotes about how intimacy is important and good when married and then share them with her.

I also recommend having her read "And They Were Not Ashamed" by Laura M. Brotherson. She also has a website that might be helpful: StrengtheningMarriage.com

This may also be helpful: Clear This Belief That's Preventing Healthy Sexuality in Your Marriage - The Carol Blog

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https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth/sexual-purity?lang=eng

Never do anything that could lead to sexual transgression. Treat others with respect, not as objects used to satisfy lustful and selfish desires. Before marriage, do not participate in passionate kissing, lie on top of another person, or touch the private, sacred parts of another person’s body, with or without clothing. Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body. Pay attention to the promptings of the Spirit so that you can be clean and virtuous. The Spirit of the Lord will withdraw from one who is in sexual transgression.

Just because she knows the word 'masturbation' doesn't mean she understands the definition. The above IS the definition - creating arousal in your own body.

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I would be depressed, too, if I thought that ALL joy, pleasure, and relief in life was sin!!!

I'm almost in tears right now, and I'm not that sort who usually is.

Whatever happened to your poor sweet girl that would twist good and make it evil needs help.

I'm sorry, but your bishop is a well intentioned idiot*.

A strong second for getting in touch with LDS Family Services to find a counselor.

Please. Please, please, please.

Q

_________

* This is my catch phrase for otherwise intelligent, godly, awesome, amazing, et cetera or whatever, people... Who have absolutely no idea what they're talking about. It's no reflection or judgement on him as a person, but in this he is completely and totally wrong & unqualified to have made the determination he has. There are so many red flags in what you've posted as to outfit the GOP, & I only have ancillary psych training & education.

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These are all very helpful points. Thank you. My wife is a very sensitive person; depression runs on both sides of her family. I never really imagined how difficult it would be do deal with until after we were married. Most of my wife’s guilt laden conscience stems from this unusual desire to please her mother. My mother in law exerts this powerful influence on her daughter, enough to alter her feelings and thoughts to conform to her own.

For example, I took my wife and her family to see the movie “Frozen” a few months ago and my mother in law claimed it was an “evil” movie because of the dark magic (witchcraft) themes.

When we got married I had to destroy (not donate) a majority of all my DVDs because of violent or sexually charged themes (none were above PG-13). Seriously, I had to throw away Jurassic Park because of the bikini clad woman screensaver on Denis’ computer.

My wife’s masturbation “temptations” are her greatest struggle. She lives inside a circle with closing boundaries as if everything she does is a sin. She cries helplessly and will not use the restroom or take a shower by herself anymore.

I have been patient to address her needs while trying to teach her but the circle keeps closing.

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I'm going to join with those in this being a psychological, not a spiritual, situation that needs help from the appropriate experts.

Edited by Dravin

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These are all very helpful points. Thank you. My wife is a very sensitive person; depression runs on both sides of her family. I never really imagined how difficult it would be do deal with until after we were married. Most of my wife’s guilt laden conscience stems from this unusual desire to please her mother. My mother in law exerts this powerful influence on her daughter, enough to alter her feelings and thoughts to conform to her own.

For example, I took my wife and her family to see the movie “Frozen” a few months ago and my mother in law claimed it was an “evil” movie because of the dark magic (witchcraft) themes.

When we got married I had to destroy (not donate) a majority of all my DVDs because of violent or sexually charged themes (none were above PG-13). Seriously, I had to throw away Jurassic Park because of the bikini clad woman screensaver on Denis’ computer.

My wife’s masturbation “temptations” are her greatest struggle. She lives inside a circle with closing boundaries as if everything she does is a sin. She cries helplessly and will not use the restroom or take a shower by herself anymore.

I have been patient to address her needs while trying to teach her but the circle keeps closing.

Well I can say you are stronger then I, me personally, I'd have never done any such thing.

(under that logic I'd have to throw away my dolls since they are anatomically correct)

literally loose most everything I own or love... not a good way to start of a relationship. But I have never had a proper relationship so what do I know:lol:

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LOL. I was told there would be sacrifices in marriage. It’s been good. Working through issues proves to make marriage worthwhile and meaningful- two separate minds and hearts combine to form one goal. Good thing watching movies is not one of my big concerns!

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Please seek professional help.

Amateur help, as well-intentioned as they may be, has the potential of making things worse. Your wife's condition is beyond amateur psychological solutions.

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LOL. I was told there would be sacrifices in marriage. It’s been good. Working through issues proves to make marriage worthwhile and meaningful- two separate minds and hearts combine to form one goal. Good thing watching movies is not one of my big concerns!

my dolls will follow me into my coffin upon my death, there are some sacrifices-of course, as there are with anything you get involved into that has more then one person, but there are some bridges I refuse to cross.

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Mobius, since you mention that depression is an issue in her family also, I am even more convinced that therapy--with an LDS therapist--is essential. I stress LDS Therapist, because even though I love my therapist (who is not LDS), I don't think your wife would be able to accept counsel from someone who isn't LDS--and non-LDS therapists have a very different view of sexuality. ;)

It might be helpful to read Elder Holland's conference talk A Broken Vessel again--he mentions in there that there is no shame in going to therapy, just as there would be no shame in seeing your doctor about high blood pressure.

I don't know what is behind your wife's difficulties, but as someone who is in therapy myself I can tell you that 99% of people don't know what to say that will help. Therapy has been a huge blessing for me--and by extension my family. :)

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Of course, my comment is going to be limited to what you wrote. Your wife's issues doesn't seem to be related at all with sex or masturbation, there are underlined matters that she needs to talk about with a professional and deal with in her own time. I sense there is a lot of fear and insecurity that she is just releasing through these topics, it is not that uncommon.

She needs a good and caring therapist because there is probably a lot of things buried deep inside that need release.

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Sorry, this problem is way beyond what a few answers on a website. Your wife desperately needs a therapist.

Hopefully an LDS one through LDS Social services (see your Bishop to find if there is one in your area).

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Yeah I agree with she needs to see a therapist I would say a non LDS one at first then an LDS one to join what she has learnt in therapy with her faith. I have seen simular thought processes in people that have been abused sexually as children so it may be somethign you want to approach with her or not, I don't know how helpful that would eb right now. But your wife needs help sooner rather than later.

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Yeah I agree with she needs to see a therapist I would say a non LDS one at first then an LDS one to join what she has learnt in therapy with her faith. I have seen simular thought processes in people that have been abused sexually as children so it may be somethign you want to approach with her or not, I don't know how helpful that would eb right now. But your wife needs help sooner rather than later.

My concern about a non-LDS therapist, is that he/she would say, "What's wrong with masturbation?" And the OP's wife would just think the therapist didn't understand and would quit therapy before they could accomplish anything.

My therapist is non-LDS and I actually prefer it that way....I was an LDS therapist for a couple sessions and I was quite turned off when she suggested that I pray about some issue. I was not paying her for Sunday School answers. (Besides I was dealing with a ton of shame at the time and praying about it was really not the right answer at that time.) She and I were just not a good match for other reasons as well.

But I think the OP's wife would feel better about an LDS therapist, at least at first. :)

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Having lived with scrupulosity for years myself (though different moral/religious concerns), it sounds exactly like what's at play here (from reading your post). It's a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, though centred on religious beliefs and largely manifested in obsessive guilt, so obsessive that you simply can't enjoy life anymore.

Compulsive trips to the bishop's office, with small periods of alleviated guilt, which soon return, prompting another visit? All sounds WAY too familiar to me. So do the perpetual feelings of guilt. I'm not a qualified psychologist, so this doesn't count as a diagnosis, but speaking as one that has been through the same, scheduling an appointment with one qualified to help her work through these issues should be a HUGE priority right now.

Scrupulosity is horrible.

Here's a basic fact sheet:

http://www.ocfoundation.org/uploadedFiles/MainContent/Find_Help/IOCDF_Scrupulosity_fact_sheet.pdf

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