An Ex-Mormon on Cutting and Self-Abuse

An ex-Mormon on how shame about sex turned him to cutting:

“Masturbation isn’t self abuse, cutting your skin to deal with the feeling of abject depression because you aren’t strong enough to not masturbate is self abuse.

The first years of my marriage were fraught with extreme sexual issues between me and my wife. I wanted sex maybe 2 or 3 times a week, she wanted it maybe 2 times a year. I hated pressuring her into anything so for the first 4 or 5 years of our marriage we had sex maybe, at best really, once a month.

Year two of my sexual desert and I finally caved in and masturbated after a longer than normal absence of intimacy. I was overcome with extreme shame, grief, and stress. I went to church leaders, church counselors, etc, and they all said the same thing:

  1. Pray more
  2. Go to church regularly
  3. Really study your scriptures

If I could do this to the best of my ability I would be blessed and everything would be fine.

I did this for a whole year, to the letter and spirit of the law. Nothing made my situation better. Wife still hated sex, and I still masturbated on a occasion and felt incredibly bad about it. Then, on a midnight drive to calm my nerves I discovered cutting.

I pulled off onto a secluded road and parked my car. I was livid, anguished, deeply depressed. I got out of my car and starting screaming, yelling at god and everything about why I hadn’t been comforted yet. I walked over to a nearby tree and started punching it. The bark was sharp and instantly cut open the knuckles on my right hand. The pain was excruciating, blindingly painful, and made me nauseous. I fell to the ground and grabbed my hand. It was sticky with blood; a lot of blood. The bark of the tree had severely lacerated my skin, almost to the point of needing stitches.

A funny thing happened though, I actually felt good. The pain in my throbbing hand was intense and removed the pain of my mental state. The flowing blood was a testament to me, it meant I could overcome my struggles with pain. It was a realization that would plague me until even now.

After this experience I started cutting my skin with a knife anytime I felt the sexual tension or urge to masturbate. Here are some pictures to show you what I did…”

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