I am an unmarried woman, sorely tempted in the flesh and I have fallen many times in the past. Last year†I fell yet again and had sexual contact with a man whom I have since left.†
Every time this happens I am petrified, from a medical perspective, and request all kinds of tests and examinations, and the last time was no exception. By God's grace alone I received a clean bill of health, but I have constant nagging thoughts about carrying some disease or condition to the point where I feel like all is not well in my body.
Today, I examined my vagina in a way I have never done and I feel guilty for this. I didn't masturbate as such, but I wanted to look for physical evidence or signs that could explain the itch or pain' I have felt from time to time.†
I know I need healing from this sin and that only God can provide this, but right now I feel torn, guilty and confused, stuck in trying to understand if I have done yet another wrong thing. I am Catholic, and I love my faith, but I'm afraid to go to confession because I've confessed this sin innumerable times.††Please help me.†Have †I sinned again? Even if I have, please could you give me some advice to move away from legalism toward God's love?
An examination for physical problems is not a sin, even if in the process of that examination sexual responses might occur. The purpose is not for lust, which would be a sin (Romans 13:13-14).
Vaginal itching or pain is typically an indication of a yeast infection. You normally cannot determine this merely by a visual inspection. A culture is needed to identify which of the several types of yeasts might be causing the problem. Since yeast is present in the environment, you can get it without sex. You should see a doctor about getting that checked.
What is more of a problem is that you continue to give into sexual sins, even though you know it is against God's Law and that you fear the diseases that often come from promiscuous sex. It appears you are trying to change your behavior without changing your attitude toward sin. "Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (I Corinthians 6:9-10).
You got a clean bill of health because you were lucky, not because God protected you in your sin. A lack of noticeable consequences does not mean God approves of what a sinner has done.
"But to the wicked God says: "What right have you to declare My statutes, or take My covenant in your mouth, seeing you hate instruction and cast My words behind you? When you saw a thief, you consented with him, and have been a partaker with adulterers. You give your mouth to evil, and your tongue frames deceit. You sit and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I kept silent; you thought that I was altogether like you; but I will rebuke you, and set them in order before your eyes.
"Now consider this, you who forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver: Whoever offers praise glorifies Me; and to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God"" (Psalms 50:16-23).
Your problem isn't legalism. "Legalism is defined as "strict, literal or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code" (Webster's Dictionary). Simply put, a legalist follows the rules" [Legalism: The Un-Sin]. You haven't been obey God, not strictly following His law. If anything, you need to get some legalism into your life or you'll be like the Israelites of old. "For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief" (Hebrews 3:16-19). When you don't obey God, it means you don't really believe God, especially when He said that sinful things are wrong.
Instead of taking pride in following a denomination, I hope you will consider following Christ in purity and simplicity. We Are Simply Christians Without Being Members of Any Denomination, You Can be Too!