First of all, congratulations on your upcoming marriage! What a wonderful time in your life.
There is a lot to cover in your comments so I’ll try and hit on the main points that stand out to me:
- Anxiety – Anxiety – Anxiety: Way too much of it. It raises some red flags for me regarding the possibility of your falling in the spectrum of obsessive compulsive disorder. More specifically scrupulosity: obsessions and compulsions within religious themes. You mention having been treated for both depression and anxiety before – both these disorders will enhance feelings of guilt and doubt of self worth. I would recommend further psychological evaluation and treatment to help assess whether or not anxiety is playing too large a role in your life.
- Along this same line, you seem to be very hard on yourself. For example, you report having viewed “textual pornography” when it seems to me all you did was look up some definitions of sexual positions and/or language out of normal teen curiosity. This is not something I would put in the “pornography” department.
- Arousal in of itself is not a sin. Arousal is a normal biological response that physiologically and psychologically healthy humans experience under a variety of circumstances. For example in dreams, when encountering an attractive person, when kissing, when viewing erotic material, etc. How we behave when aroused is what has the potential to be moral and healthy or sinful. From what you report of your sexual exploration, it does not sound to me like you are breaking the law of chastity. You are staying clothed, you are not touching genitalia and/or breasts, there is no penetration – this sounds pretty chaste to me.
- Hallelujah you are able to feel arousal for your future husband! What a wonderful gift! Be so grateful for this natural response your body is having. You will have many years ahead to enjoy these feelings and explorations together. My main concern would be that this inappropriate guilt regarding arousal will continue once you are married. If so, it could potentially ruin your ability to give over to the wonderful abandon necessary to enjoy touch, exploration, orgasm, etc. Inappropriate guilt will be the enemy you can bond together to fight off.
- I’m not in the business of telling people they should or should not go to their bishop. This is a highly personal decision. You can go talk to your bishop about whatever you want. I will go as far to say the things you report don’t fall under “confession” material in my opinion. If getting your bishop’s opinion on the matter would help assuage your guilt then maybe it would be a good idea. My only concern with clients who have OCD traits is they tend to present things to their bishops in a worse light than the behavior warrants. Confessing to a bishop can also become part of compulsive behavior. The best combination I have found for clients with scrupulosity is to have both a professional counselor and a bishop aware of the issues and in contact with one another as to the presenting problems.
- Your relationship with God: I’m concerned with the question “Does the Lord still love me?” Maybe it’s my perspective as a parent – but as a parent I would never want my child to doubt my love for them. I would never want them looking at me with constant fear of my disapproval. So my question to you would be: Is your religion working for you or against you? What God are you worshiping? Is He one who edifies you and helps you feel empowered and able to move forward in ways where you progress and find joy – even through your weaknesses and sins? Or are you worshiping One who leaves you feeling less than, belittled, and/or overwhelmed – never able to meet a set standard? Where are you in your understanding of the gift of the atonement? In your understanding of your self worth? Just saying, but it may be time to convert to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 🙂
- The only thing I’m picking up on that isn’t “normal” is the amount of anxiety and self-doubt you are experiencing at a time when you should be basking in the joy of your engagement. Otherwise, it sounds like you are two “normal” lovebirds preparing for the biggest adventure of your lives.
I wish you the very best in that journey. I am encouraged by your desire to be worthy to go to the temple together. These common goals, values and desires can serve as wonderful foundations to your future relationship. Use the law of chastity for your benefit – as the Lord intended.
And P.S. Get a book on female anatomy, get a mirror and find out where your clitoris is. Its one purpose in life is to give you pleasure. A perfect anatomical design if you ask me. Enjoy! 🙂
A note I will include for those who have married in or out of the temple with issues of not having kept the law of chastity as they understood it : I am concerned when these feelings of guilt, shame, secrecy, etc. stand to destroy the marriage. These circumstances are covered completely by the atonement. Please be willing to forgive yourselves and your spouse. Don’t allow mistakes of passion and love (so easy to fall into) to destroy what you both so desperately want, desire and deserve. The author of this hopelessness is not God. Please get help to overcome these negative feelings if you are in such a situation. It is not worth going through a life together with this kind of pain. It is not what the Lord wants for either of you.