Shelly is a 44-year-old, cisgender woman who describes herself as white, lesbian, living with her girlfriend and monogamous. She grew up in the Mormon church, got married and had seven children as she was expected to do. Then several years ago she started questioning her faith and left the church. She then realized that she’s also a lesbian, which is an extreme no-no in the Mormon church.

Major themes in this episode include the interplay of Mormonism and lesbianism, and recovering from guilt and shame from rejecting childhood teachings.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT (CLICK TO OPEN)

LEAH: Hi, I’m Leah Carey and this is Good Girls Talk About Sex. This is a place to share conversations with all sorts of women about their experience of sexuality. Before we get started, I want to tell you this. These are unfiltered conversations between adult women talking about sex. If anything about the previous sentence offends you, turn back now! And if you’re looking for a trigger warning, you’re not going to get it from me. I believe that you are stronger than the trauma you have experienced. I have faith in your ability to deal with the things that upset you. Sound good? Let’s start the show!

[MUSIC]

LEAH: In today’s episode, we’ll meet Shelly, a 44 year old cisgender woman who describes herself as white, lesbian, living with her girlfriend and monogamous.

Shelly grew up in the Mormon Church, got married as she was expected to do and had seven kids. Several years ago, she started questioning her faith and left the church. Once she was gone, she realized she’s a lesbian. She and her partner Mary now have a podcast now called Latter Day Lesbian and I’ll include that in the Show Notes.

There’s lots more to this story and Shelly tells us all about it in this fascinating episode. I’m so please to introduce Shelly!

Shelly I’m so excited to talk to you today. One of the things that I’ve been getting really interested in is how are religious background, or the religion that you were raised in, can affect our experience of sex and sexuality as we grow up. And I know that you have a particularly interesting story in this because you have the podcast Latter Day Lesbian, which before we even get started, give people just like a quick synopsis of what your podcast is.

SHELLY: Sure. My podcast is my girlfriend and I do it together and it’s my story of being born and raised Mormon, getting married young because that’s what you do, having 7 kids because you’re sort of birthing your way into heaven, then leaving the Church. I had sort of a faith crisis and left the religion. I recognized my sexuality as being a lesbian, came out to my husband, got divorced, and now I just sort of figuring out my life at 44 years old. So that’s the nutshell of it. It’s very raw, very vulnerable but we laugh a lot too. So people so far are enjoying it.

LEAH: Well, I’m enjoying it and that’s why exactly I reached out to you to have this conversation. So I highly recommend it. So like you know we’re going to be talking about sex on this show, so the first thing that I want to learn about from you is what does Mormonism teach about sex? What did you learn as a young girl from your family and your religion about sex and sexuality?

SHELLY: Wow. So Mormonism teaches in the way that I interpreted the teachings and the way typically they are interpreted is that your job as a girl is to maintain your virginity, your chastity up until you’re married and if you make any sort of sexual mistake, that’s a huge, huge sin. And you have to be forgiven of that.

And you’re taught things in Sunday school like if you have had sex before marriage, you’re a licked cupcake. Who wants a licked cupcake? Or the one that I remember is like you’re an apple with a bite on it missing. What man would want that? And that was always the focus.

I don’t’ know if anyone out here knows about the Elizabeth Smart case. She was the girl who was kidnapped in Utah by some weird guy and he kind of made her his wife and she was young, I think she was 14, 15. And she remembered the talk that she was given in when she was a young woman in the church saying that if you are sexually immoral before marriage, you are like chewed up gum and so when she was raped by this man, she kept thinking, “Well, I’m chewed up gum now. Who’s going to want me?”

And it’s such a damaging thing to teach young girls. You’re also taught that your bodies, if you show too much of your bodies, if you show your shoulders or anything up past your knee, that you are porn, You’re actually pornography for men and if they end up masturbating or having sexual thoughts, it’s your fault because you showed your skin.

LEAH: Wow, oh my goodness.

SHELLY: Yeah. Crazy.

LEAH: So and where does just sort of what we non-religious community would think of as sort of normal teenage exploration, kissing and a little bit of feeling up like where does that fall? Is that also considered totally forbidden?

SHELLY: Kissing is okay. Holding hands is fine but anything more than that. Sort of touching they actually called that heavy petting and you have to go talk to a bishop and tell him what you’ve done. Obviously masturbation is a huge no-no. You have to go to your bishop. It’s kind of like going to confession if you’re Catholic I guess.

But as a teenager, when you go talk to a bishop, they interview you every year about your morality. And they ask you, “Do you abide by the law of chastity?” So it’s teenage girl or boy in a room with an older man and he’s asking questions. And if you say, “Ahh, I’m not sure about the law of chastity. I’m not sure

if I’m keeping it or breaking it. I don’t know like what is that?” Then they will ask you questions like, “Do you masturbate?” And if you say, “I don’t know what that is.” And they will tell you or if you’re a boy or a girl or whatever and you say, “Yes. I’ve had sex. I need to repent to that.” Typically there’s this line of questioning along after which is, “How many times? With who? We want names. Did you have an orgasm? Did you like it? Who started it?” So very invasive and very embarrassing, shameful guilt is what my experience was sexually growing up Mormon.

LEAH: Wow. And once they go through that sort of invasive questioning, what kind of repercussions are there if you have done something?

SHELLY: Well, if you’re a boy, sometimes they will not allow you to serve a mission which if you don’t serve a Mormon mission when you’re a boy, you’re basically ostracized from the community because everyone knows that you didn’t go because of sexual sin because that’s the one thing that will keep you from going.

You are also told you are not allowed to take the sacrament which again, if you’re going to church and you’re sitting there with your family and they’re passing the sacrament tray down and you kind of just keep passing it everyone looks like, “Oh,” It’s kind of like wearing a scarlet letter. It’s very bad. It’s very embarrassing.

You have to keep going in and talking to the bishop over and over again until you can overcome your problems. With boys in their teen years, that’s typically masturbation because that’s boys like they have this drive. They get shamed so much they think they will think they are somehow addicted to masturbation and they need to be prayed and be cured of it. Anything, watching porn, anything sexual that would be a normal teenage sort of experimentation is taught as evil and filthy and will keep you out of God’s kingdom. It’s a great way to grow up.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: It sounds really fun.

SHELLY: Yeah. Yeah. I’m so glad I’m not in it. Oh my God.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So then once you grow up and you choose a mate and get married, you’re supposed to all of a sudden flip a switch and know exactly how to please your man? Is that how it goes?

SHELLY: That’s exactly how it goes. And it’s ridiculous because you don’t talk about sex when you’re Mormon. You don’t talk about wit with your family, typically. They don’t talk about it in church. You’re just taught no, no, no don’t touch, avoid those feelings, avoid getting aroused, avoid, avoid, avoid. And then the second you’re married, all of a sudden you’re just supposed to have rampant sex, start making

babies. And the problem that I had and a lot of people have is I was not a virgin when I got married. I had a wild streak. I went through the whole repentance process, the guilt, the shame, everything. It was horrible. And my husband was a virgin. He didn’t do anything wrong before he got married. And so he was ashamed that I wasn’t a virgin.

He wanted to make sure that nobody knew that I wasn’t a virgin when we got married. To the point where when we did get married, he said, “I don’t want you talking to any of your old friends who knew about your past.” It was like, “This is your life now. Your life now is my wife, you are clean and pure and we go forward.”

And because he was a virgin, it already started us off in this imbalance. In my mind, I was dirty and gross and just lucky that someone of his caliber would accept me, want to marry me. And so it’s very uneven and any time we suffer with any sort of sexual malfunction, I was always blamed. If I was too tired and didn’t want to have sex or anything, if he couldn’t get it up, it was my fault because I wasn’t a virgin. Great way to start a marriage, by the way.

LEAH: Seriously. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So you’ve mentioned that you were not a virgin when you got married. Can you talk about those early sexual experiences and how they came about for you?

SHELLY: Yeah. So when I was 14 went to Mexico with some friends, might have been 15, I just went to a party and I was already rebelling. My home life is miserable. I hated being at home. So we went out partying at Mexico and I got drunk at age 15 and a couple of guys from my high school said they’d give me a ride home and I said sure so we’re going home and me and one guy started making out and I’m so drunk, I can’t even think straight and we ended up having sex.

LEAH: Was it consensual?

SHELLY: I didn’t say yes. I didn’t say no. And I understand consent. I definitely totally get it. I’m not making light of that but when I go back to that guy and say, “You raped me.” I think consent was there was a different understanding back in the 80s, early 90s. And so I wouldn’t make a big deal of it although it wasn’t okay.

It’s never okay to have sex with a drunk girl. And I’ve gotten to go back and forth in my head, “Was I raped? Did I say yes? Did I say no? Was I acting like I wanted it?” Not that any of that matters like I get that. But after it happened it was like, “Well, I’m no longer a virgin anymore so I don’t have that going on for me. I might as well just have sex.” And I had daddy issues. I wanted men to like me. I wanted to be accepted and as a teenage girl, that was trying to find love and sex with other guys.

LEAH: And did you experiment with girls or women at all?

SHELLY: I didn’t. It’s interesting because looking back there was so many signs that I was guy. And I’ve actually talked to a couple of the girls that we sort of were crushing on each other but didn’t say anything. Because when you’re Mormon, it’s not a thing like especially back then, I didn’t even know what that was. I didn’t even know what gay was. But the teachings were that it’s something that’s made up, people lust sort of decide they’re gay because they want to be evil and wicked when it’s not actually really a thing so I couldn’t really process the feelings that I was having.

But looking back, oh God, there’s just so many, so many signs. No experimentation with girls but the closest thing was I stayed the night at my friend’s house and she’s one of the ones I talk to now and we kind of laugh at the situation and like, “Oh my Gosh, how did we not know we were gay?”

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: She’s out of the closet now too. So I was staying at her house and we were laying in her bed just talking and she put her foot kind of like on my calf and sort of like caressing it, not in a sexual way just kind of like how girls play with each other’s hair or whatever. And when I felt that on my leg, it was like my heart just started racing and I got flushed and it’s this feeling of I just want to feel like this for the rest of my life. I never want this high to go away. And that would have been a sign.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: I think. Had I been taught that there were things like being gay, being straight, being transgender. There are options but I wasn’t given options growing up.

LEAH: Yeah. You know I grew up in a home that was very accepting of gay and lesbian people. I mean my parents had lots of friends and they were around all the time so that was just never a thing. But I was very confused by the fact that sometimes I liked girls and sometimes I liked boys because that was not an option. You were supposed to be able to check one box or the other. And I couldn’t do that and that was really upsetting and painful for a long time.

SHELLY: Yeah, you were probably thinking, “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I choose?”

LEAH: Exactly. Yeah, there’s something wrong with me. Was there a point in which you discovered

masturbation? Either inside the church or once you left?

SHELLY: It was once I left, yeah. I didn’t even masturbate when I was young just because it just seemed weird and it seemed somehow to be more sinful than sex. I don’t know it’s just how I felt about it. I don’t feel that way now.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: But after my husband and I left the church, I think we kind of had a discussion about it and I said, “I don’t see anything wrong with it.” And he said, “Okay.” And we were not having a lot of sex there at the end of our marriage.

We were fighting all the time and he would want sex and I would just go and say, “Just go masturbate. Geez.” And he would say, “Well, I have a problem with that like it’s just ingrained in me that I can’t do it so I can’t. I can’t.” And he would try and he couldn’t because it was so taught to him how evil and sinful it was but I had no problem.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: I figured it out. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: And what did you learn? I imagine that that was a time when you learned about your body maybe for the first time if you weren’t having enjoyment during heterosexual sex, was masturbation a way that you began to really learn how your body works?

SHELLY: So heterosexual sex, I purely physically enjoyed it. I could have an orgasm but there was always this sense of being pressured to have sex. I didn’t really want to and afterward feeling a little bit like a whore because I was giving sex and not wanting to. So masturbation for me became a way better choice than heterosexual sex because I could still have the orgasms, multiple orgasms and didn’t have to be emotionally involved with somebody I wasn’t emotionally connected to. So learning about my body, yeah I think so. I think so, yeah.

LEAH: So how long ago did you leave the church?

SHELLY: Started leaving when I turned 40 and I’m 44 now. It took a year, a year and a half to just

completely be out.

LEAH: And where in there did lesbianism become an option for you?

SHELLY: Great question. So I think had I stayed in the church, I would have never really analyzed my feelings because I thought I knew, I was taught that being gay was wrong. It was a sin. And gay people were out to destroy the traditional family and the traditional family is what God has commanded. Even as an adult, still being in the Mormon Church, if someone who was gay, I would have both disgust and curiosity at the same time.

My reaction would be, “Oh they’re ruining their families or whatever.” But at the same time, I had this other reaction, I wanted to know more. I wanted to see how they look like. There was some sort of curiosity there so it was kind of this inner battle.

And then my husband and I finally left the church and I was meeting people that were not Mormon because if you’re Mormon, mostly your friends are Mormons because you have this tight knit group in the Church and that’s who you know. So you don’t really know a lot of gay people. And we left the church and I started making friends outside of Mormonism and there were gay people there and starting to realize they’re not these horrible sex driven maniacs.

They’re people and I kept processing this and finally came to the conclusion that I didn’t hate gay people. I actually love gay people and God, if there is a God, he doesn’t hate gay people. There’s nothing wrong with it and so it was crazy how as soon as I let it into my heart, there’s nothing wrong with being gay, instantly I began to find myself attracted to women like strong attractions. It’s almost like I’ve blocked these feelings by being bashed into my head my entire life that it was wrong.

And I had joined a cross fit gym with all these fit, hot chicks and I remember being at the gym and suddenly I found myself, I wasn’t really paying attention to the men with the shirts off. I mean I could appreciate a nice chest but I found myself I kept having to see these women and it was more than just wanting to see them physically, I wanted to be their best friends. I wanted to know everything about them. I wanted to be next to them. I wanted to text them all day. I just needed that fame, it became an obsession with me and then I realized, shit I think I’m gay because I want to spend time with these women and I don’t want to spend time with my husband.

There’s nothing about him or about maleness that I want to be around at that point. And I had a couple of friends, very close friends, and I found myself being so attracted to them that it was just all I wanted to was text them all day or be in their car or talk about life or hug them really close or tell them my deepest darkest secrets and hear theirs and I had nothing of that for my husband. Never did. So for me it was getting that hatred out of my heart for gay people that suddenly removed a barrier and my true self just burst out.

LEAH: So what was it like f or you the first time that you got to have sexual relations with a female? SHELLY: It was scary as shit, Leah.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: It’s funny because my girlfriend that I’m now married to, the one I do the podcast with, she was my first experience. Yes, so we met on match.com and the bio that I put up was like, “Oh, I’m getting divorced. I was born and raised in the cold. I think I’m gay. I don’t know what I’m doing. I’m freaking out. I’m probably going to erase this right away.” And I was like, “Fuck it.” And I posted it. And a couple of days later, Mary replied beautifully, she said, “Hey, it’s going to be all okay. I promise.” And that was

just this comfort and warmth that I needed that for me only could be provided by a woman. I don’t ever feel that for men.

And there was instantly this desire to get to know her better and so we stated talking on match and it quickly turned to text and she lived about 30 minutes away. And in a couple of weeks, she wanted to meet me. And I was scared shitless to meet her because I’d never been face to face with a woman who knows that I’m gay, ever, and a woman that I would be attracted to. At that point, I’d told my best friend and we were cool. It was fine. There was no weirdness there.

But to be face to face with a woman, her knowing that I might be interested, that terrified me because I didn’t know. I mean I’ve never been with a woman. I’ve been married for 21 years at that point. Hadn’t been with a man and no one since I was 22 when I got married and so I finally agreed to meet with her and I got to the bar early so I could drink so I could calm my nerves.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: So I downed a couple of beers and I sat there and I saw her walking up the street and my first reaction was, “Oh good. She’s not ugly.” Because you never know!

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: The pictures on match, I don’t know what to expect. I’m so attracted to who she is I just don’t want her to be horribly disgusting. And I know that sounds horrible and right now, your listeners are probably turning this off because I sound judgmental.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: But I wanted her to look like her pictures, let me just put it that way. And I didn’t want anyone prissy because I couldn’t tell from her pictures if she was prissy, if she was butchy, I didn’t know and when I saw her walking up, it was perfect because she was very pretty but not high maintenance looking and she walked a little bit strong which I liked. And it’s weird because I didn’t know what I liked beforehand. I was just like I don’t know, I have no idea.

[MUSIC]

LEAH: I’m so thankful for the reviews that listeners are leaving at Apple Podcasts. For instance, Great Ball of Fire wrote, “Leah opens these women up in ways that is so frank and so real. These are the conversations that every woman wants to have or has had with her closest girlfriend. And now we get to hear them up close and personal. I can’t wait to hear others.”

Thank you, Great Ball of Fire. I can’t wait to bring you more. And that’s exactly how I feel each time there’s a new review at Apple Podcasts. It excites me to keep doing what I’m doing. So if you have a

moment, please drop a rating and review at Apple Podcasts so I know that you value these conversations.

The second half of this week’s episode is going to be a little different because due to unusual circumstances, we can’t broadcast the Quick Five segment, but I hope you’ll agree that Shelly is so engaging that it doesn’t matter what she’s talking about. I just want to listen. But the Q and A is still available for our Patreon supporters. This week’s rewards are at the 5 dollar a month level, the first few minutes of the Q and A. At the 7 dollar a month level, the rest of the Q and A about another 12 and a half minutes. And as always, at the 10 dollar a month, you get me, all of that plus a monthly ask me anything.

And as you know, for season 2, 10% of all Patreon donations I receive will go to ARC-Southeast, an organization that provides financial and logistical support to people seeking reproductive health services in Southeastern U.S. States where safe services are being legislated out of existence. To learn more and become a community supporter, visit patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex. And of course, word of mouth is the best advertising so please, don’t forget to tell your friends!

[MUSIC]

SHELLY: So she came in and she sat down and I didn’t know how to act. And so she ordered a beer and then she got up and she went to the restroom and while she’s in the restroom, I got my phone out and I texted her and I said, “Mary, I’m so nervous. Can you please stay in the bathroom for a while and just text me?”

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Oh, that’s awesome. I love it.

SHELLY: And she goes, “Uhh, sure.” And she gave me a couple of minutes to calm down and she came out, “Oh, we can talk.” I was so nervous.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: And so she sat back down and we talked. LEAH: I love that you asked for what you needed.

SHELLY: And that has been the basis of our relationship is we’ve been able to ask for anything and not feel stupid, not feel dismissed just, “I need this right now, I’m freaking out, can you just sit on the toilet for an extra five minutes. Can you please give me this?”

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: So sitting down with her. We were just chatting and it was flirty which I feel a little flushed thinking about flirting with my girlfriend. It’s only a year a half ago.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: And I remember she had put her knee against my knee and it was like jolts of energy and she put her hand, just kind of brushed my leg really quickly while telling a joke, rubbing my leg and it was like, “Oh my God. Oh my God, there’s a woman. There’s a woman. She’s sitting right next to me. It’s a girl. It’s female and she touched my leg. Oh my Gosh, this woman touched my leg. I liked it.”

I mean my brain was just going crazy like I’m a lesbian. I’m a lesbian, which was so exciting to finally be me. It felt so good. I had been hiding that my whole life. To finish up the story real quickly though because it ends again in a crazy fashion because I don’t know how to behave when I’m nervous, I told her I would walk her to her car which felt real good to me because even as being a straight woman, I felt that it sucked because I couldn’t open doors for other people and I wanted dot put my arm around.

I wanted to be sort of this chivalrous person. I don’t know. It was always in me and so when I told I wanted to walk her to her car, she said, “Yeah. That’ll be great.” And it felt so good to walk someone to their car. But as we were walking, I started getting nervous again thinking, “Oh my Gosh is she going to want to kiss me? I’m not ready. I don’t know what to do.”

She’s been a lesbian her whole life. She’s going to want to kiss me. I can’t handle it. And my mind was going crazy and then we got about three cars away from her car and I had this extreme anxiety breakdown, I just said, “Well, I’m going to get going” and I hauled ass like split super speed walk lust past by her car, turned right and went to the parking lot where my car was and text her and said, “I’m so sorry. I got really nervous.”

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: So I was not very cool at all.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: So how long did it take for you to get the courage up to actually kiss her?

SHELLY: yeah. So we went to a movie a couple days later and we held hands and she put her hand in my inner thigh and I was excited and also uncomfortable because in my mind like, “Oh my Gosh, what if there’s somebody in the theatre that knows me? I’m still very closeted.”

And then a few days later, I met her in a bar and in my mind I was just like, “Oh my God, I really like this girl. There’s something about her.” And we were sitting in the corner of this bar and we were drinking

and kind of leaning into each other and talking and then all of a sudden we were kissing and oh my God, Leah, kissing a woman is like I was born again. It was just all of my senses, just the way that she smelled like a woman and her lips were soft and she kissed me gently and there was no stubble or no scruff, no manly aggressive kissing. And in my mind, “Oh my God you’re kissing a woman, you’re kissing a woman.”

And it was all this excitement and it was like the first time thing and lightning bolts and my heart was just like I wanted to be so close to her. It was amazing. That first kiss was just, I’ve never had a kiss like that in my entire life. And I kissed a lot of boys in high school.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: And so what about when you moved beyond kissing and further into the bedroom?

SHELLY: Yeah, I was very scared. The first night where we went a little far was at her place, her condo. And we’re just making out on the couch and just groping at each other and sort of I don’t even know what the appropriate term is. I don’t know, anyways, I had an orgasm and I instantly felt guilty because of all that Mormon teaching came back to me. And it was this guilt of, “What are you doing? You need to be home with your husband.”

We had separated but there was the agreement that we could date other people so I wasn’t breaking any rule with him. But it was just this Mormon shit came crashing down on me again and I felt guilty and I felt shame and I felt like I needed to repent. And I laid there and I just started crying I felt so bad and she said, “Oh my Gosh. What’s wrong?” And I told her and she held me and she just said, “I’m so sorry.”

It was perfect because I could let these emotions out. I could tell her how I was feeling and she just said, “I’m sorry” and held me. It was perfect because she could have said, “That’s so stupid. Why do you even care? You’re not even Mormon anymore” or “If you feel like you want to go back to your husbands and kids, then go. Don’t waste my time.” There was just so much opportunity for her to say the wrong thing and she said the perfect thing and did the perfect thing.

So it was probably a couple times later when I stayed the whole night with her naked in the bed or whatever and there was sex to be had and it was just exciting and amazing and she was so patient with me because sure, I’m a woman, I understand woman parts but they’re all different.

LEAH: Oh, they are all so different. I didn’t know that. [LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: It’s funny I remember, it’s so stupid, we went on a vacation once and of course we were drinking and we were talking about how vaginas are all different and so we laid in bed with the lights on

in our phones and we just examined each others like it’s very clinical. “Oh that’s so interesting. Mine is like this. Do you like mine like this?”

It was something that I had never and would never have done with my husband. I didn’t even like looking at his penis. I didn’t like talking about genitalia. For some reason, with Mary, it was just let’s talk about it. Let’s take away all the scariness and it was awesome.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: That was really great. I found with Mary sex with her is phenomenal because I love her and we’re so connected and I finally got to feel that progression of being with someone, going on a date, you have such a good time, you come home, you love each other and then you show your love in the sexual passionate way in a way that brings you closer. I never had that. I never had that. And it’s like when we’re done having sex, we just hold each other and I’m just so grateful I can’t believe I get to have this. One thing that’s awesome about lesbian sex is you never really have to be done. There’s not like the man ejaculates, well it’s over. It’s just whether you want to go to sleep.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: It’s great. It’s great and for me lesbian sex and I’ve only had one lesbian sexual partner, but with her there’s nothing selfish about it. It’s all very giving and again, I hadn’t experienced that in my entire life with someone giving to me in a sexual manner. It was more of look, I need to have sex.

LEAH: Yeah. Are there still times now that you’ve been together for a while that the old programming shows up in your sexual relationship?

SHELLY: You know it’s interesting. My sex drive is stronger than Mary’s. She’s been older than I am and lesbian sex feels wonderful and new to me and sometimes I feel like I want to make sure I’m not the man that my husband was.

I don’t want to pressure her into having sex with me because I really just want to have sex. I’m very conscientious of that. We’re so vocal and that’s the thing, we talk about it, and my husband and I didn’t talk about sex. I think being raised Mormon, you just don’t talk about it and so we’ll discuss it. What do you like? What do you not like? What do you want to do? Are you tired?

It’s such a different experience. It’s just open and honest and enjoyable and loving and caring and unselfish. It’s just different but I had to get the Mormon thing out of my head. It took a while. It did. It took a few times of me staying over with her or her staying over with me and the whole sexual experience. It took a bit until I could get that guilt and shame out of me completely.

LEAH: I’m thinking about with my partner who I’ve been with just under a year at this point and the reason that I’m doing this is because I had terrible sexual experience. I hated sex. I wanted to love it but

I had a lot of old baggage that led me to hate it and made me feel like, “Oh this is what I’m supposed to do for my partner.”

And now, I’m with a partner having gone through this sexual journey and healing where he and I are both I only want to do this if you want to do it. I only want to do this if I know that you’re having pleasure and so there are plenty of times when I’ll be like, “I’m ready to go but you’re too tired so let’s not do this.” And he’ll be like, “Can I just hold you while you take care of yourself?” Or vice versa where I’ll hold him while he takes care of himself and that’s not something that ever occurred to me was even possible. It’s the beauty of being able to talk about what’s really important and to respect each other’s needs. It’s just an amazing thing.

SHELLY: You’re absolutely right because Mary and I would do the same. She’s like, “I’m a little tired but I can tell that you really are in the mood so yeah, take care of yourself.” And those have been some of the most incredible experiences is having her next me and holding me. That never would have happened in my marriage because you’re not allowed to masturbate but it’s just so many beautiful ways to express your love without it being actual intercourse and that wasn’t available to me until I left the church and found my actual sexuality.

LEAH: So how are you talking to your kids about sex?

SHELLY: Well, thankfully, we left the church because when we were still in church we were teaching

them with guilt and shame like little Mormon parents.

But now, so my oldest is 19, my next is 17. They both have girlfriends and so they’re sexually involved with their girlfriends. They’ve been sleeping together for a while and I’ve talked to both of them about consent and I mean that was out of the gate, consent. And I talked to them about being responsible about wearing condoms, birth control, all love that and really instilling in them that you don’t want o have a baby at this age. You don’t want a baby and you don’t want to catch a disease.

And I also explained to them how it feels to a girl to be used for sex and that a boy might not think they’re using them for sex and they might think the girl wants sex, then we’ll have sex but typically a girl in their age range is not just wanting to have random sex with boys. They want some kind of a relationship so don’t use girls for sex. We talk about that a lot.

And also the emotional side of sex that typically when you have a partner and you have sex there’s an emotional connection so don’t mess with that. Don’t hurt people over sex. Don’t expect to just be able to have sex with this girl, that girl, that girl and not either yourself have some emotional hang up there or causing those girls hang-ups. Don’t be selfish. With our daughter who is 15 now, we have told her you don’t want to mess with boys at this age.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: Not worth it. No one falls in love at 15. I don’t care how good looking he is. No sending nude selfies, because that’s kind of the generation right now, the whole nude Snapchat and I explain that I don’t care how much the boy says he likes, you, loves you, don’t give yourself to a boy. No boy can earn you sexually. No boy can love you enough to make you want to have sex if you don’t want to, just don’t do it, but then, also talking about birth control and things of that nature. The next kid is 12. I’m not worrying about that kid.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: But we talk about masturbation because I don’t want them to remember anything from Mormonism that would bring them guilt and shame about that. And the younger ones, the other day, I was driving in my car with the 5 year old and the 8 year old and the 5 year old said, “Mom, where do babies come from?” And I just kind of laughed because, “Oh God, here we go.” And then the 8 year old goes, “Everyone knows. They come from the woman’s vagina and it’s literally disgusting.”

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: Well, it’s not a vagina but okay and why is it disgusting? It’s like with the blood and then yeah, okay, I get it. It’s not that vaginas are disgusting. It’s that the whole birthing process is disgusting and I kind of agree. I mean I did it 7 times and it’s a little disgusting.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: That’s the extent of what he knows about sex. Yeah, babies come out of vaginas.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: That’s pretty cute.

[LAUGHTER]

LEAH: That is all of the questions that I have. Is there anything that we haven’t talked about that you would like to share?

SHELLY: It’s great to be myself and I would encourage all of the listeners, my listeners if any of you listen to my podcast, be yourself, and be proud of it and accept yourself. Life is short. I spent 21 years being in a marriage that was miserable and in case if you’re listening, I love you. I’m glad that you’re here. I would never go back to not having you. But 21 years of unhappiness and trying to force a relationship that’s never going to work is just such a waste of energy and time and emotion. So find your happiness, go after it.

LEAH: Lovely. And listen to Latter Day Lesbian.

SHELLY: Yes. That will make you happy. I promise. [LAUGHTER]

LEAH: Yeah. It’s really fun.

SHELLY: Thank you.

LEAH: Thank you. This has been such a joy, Shelly. I really appreciate your time. SHELLY: Sure. It’s been fun for me. I’ve never been asked those kinds of questions. LEAH: Yay! This is exactly why I do this.

[LAUGHTER]

SHELLY: I feel a little bit dirty but this is great, I talked about it! Random stranger asking me about my [43:21] like wow, okay!

LEAH: Awesome. [MUSIC]

LEAH: Thank you for joining me today on Good Girls Talk About Sex. If you have questions or comments about something you’ve heard or if you’d like to be a guest on the show, please email me at leah@goodgirlstalkaboutsex.com.

I was only able to step outside my good girl box when someone I respected told me it was possible to do it. If you’d like to step outside your good girl box, I’m here to tell you it’s possible and I can provide you with tools to name your desires and communicate them effectively to your partner or potential partners. If you’re interested in working with me, visit leahcarey.com/coaching.

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube at IamLeahCarey. You can find these links and any resources we’ve mentioned during the interview in the Show Notes. I’m Leah Carey and I look forward to talking with you again next week. Here’s to your better sex life!

[MUSIC]

Here are some of the great moments she shared with us:

  • 7:00 – As a teenager, having to “confess” all sexual activity and thoughts to an older male bishop
  • 12:00 – How consent is impacted when alcohol is involved
  • 14:00 – Shelly’s earliest experience of same-sex attraction
  • 17:30 – Opening to curiosity around lesbianism while letting go of the disgust she had been taught
  • 20:00 – The difference in intimacy shared between women and men
  • 28:00 – Shelly’s first gay experience
  • 39:00 – How Shelly talks to her seven children about sex now that they are out of the Mormon church

Due to unusual circumstances, this week’s Quick 5 is only available to our Patreon supporters. Thank you for your support!

The Patreon extras for this episode are:

  • At the $5/month level, the first few minutes of the Q&A
  • At the $7/month level, that conversation plus another 12.5 minutes of Q&A
  • At the $10/month level, all that plus a monthly Ask Me Anything!

To join the Patreon community visit https://www.patreon.com/goodgirlstalkaboutsex

If you like this show, please leave a rating and review at https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/good-girls-talk-about-sex/id1436501617?mt=2.

Want to be on the show? Visit www.leahcarey.com/guest and let me know that you’re interested. I’d love to talk with you!

To learn about Sexual Communication Coaching, visit www.leahcarey.com/coaching

Host – Leah Carey (Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, email)

Editor – Gretchen Kilby

Music by – Nazar Rybak