writing about sex

I'm done with shame and fear

I want to share something with you — something I’ve been doing for the past couple of months. I’ve been writing about sex under the pen name of Marie Lynne. I will continue to keep the two identities separate, yet I’ve decided to promote this work openly.

Why I’m Writing About Sexuality

I grew up in the Evangelical church that touted the importance of sexual purity. I heard wildly contradictory messages. “Good girls don’t, but boys will be boys.” I need to walk like a lady and dress modestly. To be pleasing and not ask for too much. I needed to know my place.

Yet, the world of my childhood was dangerous. Many of the boys and men were sexual predators. I was repeatedly sexually assaulted, ranging from being verbally accosted to violently raped.

By my late teens, I struggled to trust men, whether my pastor, doctor, teacher, or friend’s father. There had been too many attacks for me to assume any degree of safety.

As adult, I found it difficult to shift from sexually fearful to adventuresome. Dates pushed for too much physical contact. Even my first husband, who dearly loved me, moved too fast. We often ended up in sexual territory that left me feeling conflicted.

Looking back, I wished I had said something, but I lacked the know-how. By that point, I was too ashamed or triggered to protect myself well.

To say I was a broken sexual mess is an understatement. But worse than that, I no longer believed I had agency over my body. The repeated physical violations had left me passive. Self-advocacy seemed a useless effort; I had accepted a state of powerlessness.

Finding the Audacity to Explore My Sexuality

For years, my marriage’s sexual life limped along. It wasn’t until my late forties I took back my battered sexuality.

The change started with a flash of insight. In an epiphany, I understood that the paralyzing shame I had had since childhood wasn’t mine. It rightly belonged to the people who had failed to protect me — my parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, and youth leaders. This revelation set me free from shame’s grip.

Just as I’d discovered the courage to explore my sexuality, my husband died. Since I believed that an active sexual life only existed within the confines of marriage, so too, my opportunity to reclaim my lost sexual freedom. At least temporarily.

I was devastated.

I remarried again, only to discover my new husband was a sexual mess. Another childhood abuse survivor, he used sex as a coping mechanism. For two years, I hoped the marriage was salvageable but ended up re-traumatized for the effort. His wild acting out left me exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, undesired sexual videos and images, and unwanted sexual practices. By the end of the relationship, the remaining sliver of my trust in men was shattered.

But I was determined not to leave my sexual identity in pieces.

My Sexuality Identify Defines Me

I’m single again. Many Christian circles would say there’s no point in me discussing sex. In their minds, this topic is a non-issue until or if I remarry.

For a while, I believed that too.

Yet, my identity is complex and includes my sexuality. I am female — a post-menopausal woman who has hormonal ebbs and flows. I have breasts, a clitoris, a vagina, and a uterus. My body continues to be sexual, even having possible nocturnal orgasms.

I engage with the world from a feminine perspective. People interact with me, a mature woman. And I am single as opposed to married, which means men are aware I’m potentially sexually available.

The subtext of my gender and sexuality is inescapability.

My Desire to be Sexually Whole

Whether I am ever married again, I yearn to embrace and embody my feminine sexuality. I want to explore, understand, and reclaim what excites, challenges, and frightens me. I want to be a whole.

That statement may sound like a rebellious teenager’s proclamation.

No, I am not about to throw myself headlong into a hedonistic lifestyle — just the opposite.

I want to understand my sexual self from a healthy perspective. One that honors and respects me. From a place of sexual integrity. I want to speak up for what is desirable and comfortable for me. To only engage in activities that align with my values.

Nearly two months ago, I took an enormous risk. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, yet I felt a compulsion to blog about sex and sexuality. Since I hadn’t fully articulated my intention, I wrote under a pen name.

God and Sex

At first, I was scared and insecure. I worried about the repercussions if I explored issues that conflicted with my core Christian beliefs.

I soon realized this concern was rooted in the church’s mixed messages since God is the author of sex, and the Bible is filled with beautiful examples of sexual intimacy. God is not opposed to my sexual nature; he created it. He wants me healthy and whole.

It took this recognition for me to get over the fear of writing about sex.

My Promise to be Honest

Please be aware that my articles, as Marie Lynne, are raw and explicit; they include graphic descriptions of sexual acts.

Not everyone will be comfortable with what I share, nor will I be the poster girl for Christian morals. Some topics I plan to tackle may feel edgy.

Christian shouldn’t be the last to talk about sex, but the first. I’m concerned that the church is leaving sex education to the porn industry.

Everywhere around us, it is evident that our world is in a sexual crisis; no one is safe. Human trafficking and the objectification of women and children are growing problems.

As I write about sex, I promise not to veer away from the truth, even when it portrays me in a negative light. I am a broken human being, trying to make my way in a confusing and often very chaotic world. I know I’m going to get it wrong.

I want to take our messy circumstance and learn something about me and what it means to relate intimately with others. But most importantly, I want to grow closer to God through these sexual experiences.

Kerry Kerr McAvoy, a psychologist, author and writer, is in cultivating healthy relationships, deconstructing narcissism, and understanding various other mental health-related issues. Her memoir, which explores the devastating impacts of deceit and betrayal, is due out next year.




2 thoughts on “Why I’m Telling You the Pseudonym I Use when Writing About Sex”

  1. My concern is that church collage and youth groups are leading thousands of young women (pure and chaste) to the slaughter (altar) only to find out later that they are married to sex addicts. Porn or sex addiction are listed as a reason for divorce in 50% of divorce decrees. And if they try to go to any Christian leader for advice they will be told the “Disney truth” that love conqueres all. Not the truth that they so desperately need = yes u are being bullied and psychologically and emotionally abused, get immediately to safety or you will get very sick.

    It is a travesty. A systemic sickness in the church. As ugly as slavery and whitewashed as a “non-issue”. Ladies will be told to love, give, understand, and pray more and that their husbands have mere faults just as they themselves have faults. Thank got for women standing up and saying it is abuse. I am not LDS but I believe that church is at least saying it is grounds for divorce. College girls are told to pray and wait for their husbands to come and collage boys are using porn for over 3 hours a day. Thank God u are writing about this. God bless you and heal you. May his face shine upon you and make you whole in every way.

    • I agree. I see the same kind of blindness in the church institutions I’ve been a part of as well. A blatant avoidance of the topic. It has been estimated up to 50% of pastoral leadership are battling porn usage and then those who aren’t most likely too feel uncomfortable or ill-prepared to handle such a complicated issue.

      Sexual addiction/porn addiction has layers of complexity. It’s like a many-headed serpent, which includes the addiction cycle, a convenient emotional coping mechanism, and intimacy issues. The mind/body/soul is a highly efficient organization. It will always take the path of least resistance for conservation. Porn/sex addict offers men (and a growing number of women) just that—-an easy way out. They avoid having to do the work of growing a relationship, dealing with conflict and painful emotions, and even learning how to invest in another human being.

      The truly scary part is that the youngest generations of men have been raised on porn as their primary sex education. Do you realize what that means? They have no idea what normal sexuality looks like. This was one of the reasons I’ve decided to write erotic stories that arise in a committed relationship. To show that there is a better way. It was a super scary thing. Way outside my comfort zone. I had to remind myself of the sex stories in the Bible—Tamar/Judah, David/Bethsheba, and the Song of Solomon. One of my early comments came from a man who wrote he was weeping in his lunch room. He said he wished he knew his wife felt that way about him. I was so moved.

      And you make a very good point that we are betraying our daughters on a another level (or the church is) in that we urge chastity while their future husbands are anything but. That these young men have consumed hundreds of women and don’t even understand the degree they’re objectifying/sexualízing the women around them thanks to porn’s influence. (My ex refers to women as “meat.” I kid you not. How absolutely disgusting. If someone referred to him similarly he’d have a thing or two to say about that.). I feel like I’m screaming the ship is sinking and wonder if anyone is listening. Thank you for reminding I’m not alone.


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