Have you wanted to explore your sexuality but are having a difficult time due to beliefs within your religion? Are you experiencing an internal conflict built from your religious upbringing and the religious views of sexuality? Or perhaps you’re trying to reconcile keeping your faith while being true to your sexual identity?
If you felt connected with a question above, then I have an activity aimed at supporting you. This activity will help you explore your personal sexuality and how your spiritual environment has impacted your ability to connect with and understand yourself.
I encourage you to read through the entirety of the post before starting the activity as there are helpful directions throughout. For this activity, you will need a computer, journal and pen, or canvas and paint (painting can be a GREAT way to begin processing these vulnerable questions!). Set aside a practical amount of time, I recommend starting with 20-30 minutes. Adjust the time as needed if you need more or less time throughout the activity.
I strongly recommend finding a space where you will not be interrupted and where you feel comfortable.
With each question listed below, I encourage you to simply free type, write, or creatively express your immediate thoughts. There are no wrong answers or ideas. This is an expression of your experience and therefore it cannot be wrong. Take as much time as you need to feel complete in this activity.
Speak and Notice
Before taking time to answer the questions, I encourage you to ask the question aloud and then simply sit with yourself noticing how your body responds. Some notice very little in response while others notice a significant reaction. As stated before, there is no wrong or right reaction. Your reactions are simply data and information for you to notice.
- How has my sexuality been defined in my religion? Is it something to be feared? Glorified? Damned? Denied? Celebrated?
- Who are the people that have defined how I understand my sexual development? Do I trust these folks? Do I feel seen and heard by these folks?
- How do I define sexuality? Is my definition congruent with that of my religion’s? Is it different? Is it in conflict?
- How do I define my sexuality? Am I fearful of my sexuality? Is there space for my sexuality in my religion?
Now that you’ve taken time to sit with each question, you will start to freely express your response to each one. Once you begin responding to each question, take notice of your body’s physical response. Take a minute to notice the shifts in your body. Are you able to verbalize the shifts in your body? Is there an expansiveness where once there was pressure? Was there a pit in your stomach before? Is it loosening now? Are your shoulders dropping and relaxing? ANY response is a good response.
Listen and Pause
What kind of reaction do you notice in your body? Is it strong? Resistant? Something else? Please listen to what your body is saying and do not push it further than it wants to go. Connie Sobczak states, “you treat [your body] with respect by listening to its wisdom so you know what you need in order to thrive.” I am in complete agreement. Take the time to practice respect toward your body by taking a pause from the activity as needed.
If you find it difficult, overwhelming, or scary to pay attention to or notice your body, then that is perfectly okay! After taking a look at the questions and understanding the exercise, you might be telling yourself there’s no way I’m going to do this on my own.
Way to understand yourself! I implore you to listen to the part of you that knows that going through these questions alone is too much. What this tells me is you need the support of a safe, nonjudgmental, and compassionate person to support you in understanding the deep impact of your religious upbringing on your sexual development and identity.
This data may lead you to exploring the impact that the questions have had on your body.
When you are ready to begin exploring how your religion has impacted your own sexual development and sexual identity, I invite you to contact me for a consult. Together, we will explore the terrain, uncover the beauty, and support the parts needing healing. There is no greater privilege than to join someone on their own journey of healing through the context of sexuality and faith.