Friday, August 12, 2011

Religion and Sex

Macha over at Life As a Reader takes a look at religions getting into your bedroom and policing people’s genitals.

I don't mean to say that a system of morality wouldn't of course say something about sexual responsibility, or that religions who profess themselves to be founded in an ethical philosophy shouldn't have anything to say on the subject, but I find it interesting that such incredible specificity of what is right and wrong sexually, where other matters of morality are left open to interpretation a great deal more.

Yes, this one area does seem to warrant much attention.

Macha strikes the heart of the matter with this, I think…

Why would a religion seek to control or have influence in this aspect of human experience? Because of its importance to each person. If you can control who gets to have sex and when, if you connect sexuality to salvation if you convince them that only you have the knowledge that makes their sexuality permissible, people will do anything to please you.

It is no coincidence that so many iron-fisted religious leaders turn out to be rapists and molesters.

It is extremely unusual, and for most people unnatural, to go through life without sex. There are people who have little or no interest or drive, and they should be allowed to live their lives that way (as opposed to being harassed into marrying or partnering.) But most people need sex for their well-being.

A significant percentage of the population does not fit into the heterosexual, monogamous, etc. box, and trying to is going against their most basic nature as people.

Wherever the population has the freedom of and from religion, it is fine with me if a religion has highly restrictive sex rules for followers. If an adult wants to subject themselves to that, that’s their choice.

But when it comes to children who do not have a choice, it can get to be abusive... being taught to be ashamed of their bodies, that enjoying the beauty of others is bad, that masturbation is wrong, that fantasies are wrong, that every sexual act must be for the purpose of making a baby within a monogamous marriage (older or otherwise infertile couples who are married followers get a pass as long as they act like they're going to make a baby, even though they can’t), that even kissing before marriage is wrong, that being LGBT is wrong, that being polyamorous is wrong, that mutual, consensual exploration between siblings close in age is grounds for banishment/prosecution/therapy/drugging/whipping... virtually nobody in the world is going to meet all of those restrictions.

And so, many followers in such repressive traditions are hoping that by not questioning the religious leaders, their "sins" will be excused.

There are some great churches and temples and everything else out there, of course, that are not like that, and if someone needs a weekly session at a church or temple of whatever, and they don’t fit into the small box, they should go to one of those accepting faith communities.
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