The Chaos That Ensues When Religion and Sex Collide

Joshua Kelly, like so many of us, has a problem with religion — especially organized religion. He has written a series of essays on the subject for his excellent new book Oh, Your god!: The Evil Idea That is Religion (Dangerous Little Books, 2013):

In the excerpt below, Kelly (who blogs at An Unbelieving Voice) discusses religious attitudes toward sex (Keep reading afterwards for your chance to win a copy of the book!):

The dispensation against sex that religion has always kept is of ultimate anathema to me. (This is, of course, excluding the Song of Songs in the Old Testament — which reads very much like romantic erotic poetry. Biblical porn, if there ever was such a thing.) Not just to the action, which holds no more or less moral relativity than anything else, but the devices and circumstances by how it is enacted. Physically, the discrimination begins at birth with the popular practice of male circumcision and the tribal (but still entirely too prevalent) deed of female circumcision; it is then followed in adolescence by continuous verbal and physical admonitions against sexual acts or education — that masturbation is immoral, that condoms are a pathway to hell, that sexual attraction toward a member of your same gender is recompensed with eternal suffering. All through critical development, children in fundamental religious families are constantly imprinting negativity to the idea of sex and everything involving it — years before they even get the chance to attempt it for themselves (unless it’s forced upon them by older members of religious authority).

In a fundamental principle of religion, sex is confined to the marriage bed — and divorce is spiritual treachery. This means a fledgling adult has one chance at a compatible sexual partner if they are to remain pure in the eyes of god — one person, with whom no previous practice is permitted before the exchange of vows, to gamble physical satisfaction with. And if, for whatever reason, this compatibility doesn’t exist: one is bound to this person for eternity, unable to escape the spiritual and pseudo-romantic prison which has been set up for them. Keep in mind that the freedom to indulge in this matrimonious civil sentence is infinitely more obtainable for women than it was in times past, for which marriages were predetermined and enforced violently — indeed, for many poor girls in the Middle East, such a custom is still thriving. And one who breaks these supposedly holy bonds will answer to god much quicker than expected, as the punishment doled out by the angry hands of surrounding men is usually death in one grotesque fashion or another, such as the man who beat his pregnant wife quite literally to death in Egypt after learning she had not voted for the Muslim Brotherhood representative in June, 2012.

Further than decrying upon sex, limiting its availability, punishing its variety, and butchering its manifestation, religion also supremely monopolizes sex as a spiritual and transcendent act, revoking all other connotations of recreation or human idealism. Pagan societies used ritual sex for act of fertility blessing or conception and monotheisms put terrible stress of the necessity of procreation. To steal a wonderfully human and basic machination and add significance to it is perfectly acceptable — and we’ve done it with every process that our species has been intelligent enough to deliver. But to eliminate entire pieces of the purpose, for love or even for pure fun simply because it doesn’t fall within the exceedingly subjective bounds of one person’s spirituality is an infiltration of liberty. In every vast stage of the sexual process in humanity, religion has tainted, maimed, or warped it into something taboo, unwelcome, and feared.

Finally, the faithful intrude dearly upon the results of sexuality, as though their hand in the limitation of the action of it wasn’t quite offensive enough. Every biological occurrence that has been the result of sex, for good or ill, now has some religious label upon it in order to justify inept dogma: AIDS was the curse of god upon homosexuals, or a fetus is a soul-given organism which god says cannot be aborted, no matter the circumstance — and then all children that do have the luck to be born after this multitude of restrictions and margins must immediately be circumcised, christened, baptized… and the process begins again. Nor can we turn away from the sordid horrors of sex being using as punishment, such as shari’a which permits the literal gang rape of an Islamic woman to repudiate the crimes committed by her brother.

Sex in its many varied forms may be a mysterious subject for some, and the unknown can be daunting and met with retaliation. But it is also unique to the biological process, and noticeably precedes the first religious thought or action that ever occurred on this planet. The plethora of manifestations that sex now indulges in with our species is unique to us, another one of the brilliant varieties that we have had the genius to create. I find that no matter the consensual carnal form, it is integral to the human condition and therefore cannot be decried against any more than having blonde hair or lacking gills — it is a piece of what it is to be human. Religion, with its continuous and all-sacrificing reach for the divine, has therefore rejected it with utmost fervor, ultimately to the detriment of all who follow it.

If you’d like to win a copy of the book, leave a comment about what you think religion gets right and wrong when it comes to sex. Be sure to put the hashtag #SexGod at the end of your comment and I’ll contact one random winner next week!

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • Kevin R. Cross

    What has religion got right about sex? Very little. The only religious work I’ve come across that was anything less than viciously prudish or outright agahast at the subject is the Tao te Ching, which advises that people be allowed to find their proper balance between each other, without authority being allowed to interfere. #SexGod

  • Ubi Dubium

    Can’t think of anything off hand that religion gets right about sex. Other than that it makes babies, I think they’ve got that part figured out.


    • skinnercitycyclist

      “Other than that it makes babies, I think they’ve got that part figured out.”

      Except they think they got “Bebbee Jesus” without sex of any kind. So i am thinking they are hazy even on THAT detail.

    • advancedatheist

      Meanwhile, atheists have generally stopped having babies. You just can’t ignore the correlations between growing secularization and declining fertility in country after country.

      • Pofarmer

        I think if you look, you’ll find that it probably correlates more with wealth than religion.

      • Cyanmoon1

        Hey, I did my part- popped out a two-fer. That’s probably it for me, though, much as I’d love to raise my own little Army Of The Godless

      • GubbaBumpkin

        You just can’t ignore the correlations between growing secularization and declining fertility in country after country.

        You’re joking, right? Humans are very good at ignoring correlations.

      • Glasofruix

        Well, some people tend to plan that kind of thing, and oh, they know how to use contraception, so getting knocked up repeatedly after 16 is pretty rare.

      • smrnda

        This would only be an issue if per-worker productivity were fixed – that we always need large families to work the fields and such. Given huge advances in producing the things humans need to survive, a declining population can easily supply enough, even for the elderly. We’re not really limited by resources but by who controls their allocation.

      • Spuddie

        Stopped? No. Not having litters at a time, yes.

        A more telling correlation for fertility is with increasing lifespan, increasing access to education for the entire population and increasing professional opportunities for women and declining fertility.

        High birthrates are usually associated with widespread poverty and ignorance. Every sperm is sacred when you are not expecting too many people to live into adulthood or want to demographically overwhelm an opposing population.

      • Matt D

        And how many Atheists adopt children, rather than having them?

        • randomfactor

          I always say we don’t need to BREED, we CONVERT.

      • JET

        Not stopped. Just not having more than they can afford to raise and educate. And certainly not popping them out because God said so or because birth control is a sin.

      • Dorfl

        The idea that more secular countries have lower birth rates is pretty much the prototypical factoid: It gets repeated all the time. It sounds reasonable. It just isn’t actually true.

        Ireland is the only country in Europe that manages to combine high religiosity with high fertility. The other most religious countries are also among the countries with the lowest birth rates.

    • JET

      Unless you’re Mormon. In that case, you must have sex AND God must implant you with one of his spirit babies which are floating around somewhere in the vicinity of Kolob as a result of HIS having had sex with one of his many wives. Or something like that…

      • Ubi Dubium

        But how is god going to find room for a spirit baby after a Thetan has already moved in? Xenu works in mysterious ways…

        • randomfactor

          And if I remember correctly, the thetan moves in BEFORE sex.

  • GubbaBumpkin

    Virgin giving birth? No big deal. Could happen.

    Mammalian virgin giving birth – to a male child – not believable.


    • Without Malice

      You it that nail on the head. Christian teaching says that Jesus received all his humanity from his mother, and since women only carry genes for producing another female it would be impossible for Jesus to be male without a human father. Tell this to Christians though and all you get is “nothing is impossible for God”. It’s enough to make your head spin.

  • Savoy47

    Most religions before Christianity celebrated sex. The Christians decided to be anti sex just to set themselves apart from Pagans. Just like conservatives that are against anything proposed by a liberal. Even if a liberal suggests an idea that the conservatives once embraced, the conservatives will turn against it.

    Anti sex religions can and do talk the talk but are unable to walk the walk. If you bet against Mother Nature you very rarely will win.


    • Pseudonym

      That’s something of a rewriting of history. In most eras, Christianity celebrated sex, too. Even among the Puritans, it’s the one thing they weren’t “puritan” about.

      Uptightness about sex is actually a fairly modern development, concurrent with the rise of the middle class.

      But I agree with the point you were making. Even though the claim about sexual repression being “a fundamental principle of religion” is factually incorrect, anti-sex religions do exist and are fundamentally doomed.

      • Pseudonym

        Oh, while I think of it: did anyone else note the extreme US-centrism of the piece, despite the pretence of trying to get at something “fundamental” about all religion?

        The claim that circumcision is “popular” is a case in point. There are, to a first approximation, only three groups of people in the world who practice circumcision of males: Jews, Muslims and Americans.

        • Anna

          In most eras, Christianity celebrated sex, too. Even among the Puritans, it’s the one thing they weren’t “puritan” about.

          I’m not aware of any era in which masturbation, premarital sex, or gay and lesbian sex were celebrated. I don’t consider that “celebrating” sexuality. It’s (sometimes grudgingly) accepting one very specific, narrow form of sex.

          Are the moderate Christian churches any better about this, to be quite honest? How many mainstream Protestant denominations tell people that masturbation is perfectly normal and healthy? How many tell couples that they should have sex and live together before getting married?

          • Pseudonym

            I’m not aware of any era in which masturbation, premarital sex, or gay and lesbian sex were celebrated.

            Much like the Bible, Christianity was silent on the topic of masturbation for most of its history. Only a couple of theologians ever mentioned it.

            Premarital sex was very much “celebrated” (for some definition of “celebrated”) in the Christian world up until a couple of hundred years ago, as long as you weren’t an aristocrat. In Britain, it was the Marriage Act of 1753 changed this.

            You’re right about gay and lesbian sex, but to be fair, this has been true in most culture before the late 19th century. You would hardly, for example, call the Ancient Greek attitude to sex between two adult men as “sex-positive”. And we certainly don’t want to go back to the days of the pre-Christian Teutons who buried gay men alive.

            How many mainstream Protestant denominations tell people that masturbation is perfectly normal and healthy?

            Most don’t talk about it, to be perfectly honest, but the typical advice offered (if asked) is that it’s only a problem if it’s a problem.

            How many tell couples that they should have sex and live together before getting married?

            Few-to-none will tell couples that they should. On the other hand, the majority of couples married in mainstream churches already are cohabiting. I’m yet to see anyone told that this is a bad thing.

            The thing you have to remember is that the liberal end of Christianity simply isn’t that concerned with sex at all. There are more important things to talk about.

            • Anna

              Perhaps you could point to actual statements made by theologians or religious leaders which affirmed that unmarried sexuality was to be celebrated? It strikes me as odd to say that the Christian church has never had a problem with single men and women having sex with each other. When and where was it considered not sinful for them to have sex?

              On the other hand, the majority of couples married in mainstream churches already are cohabiting. I’m yet to see anyone told that this is a bad thing.

              Right, they simply ignore it. They ignore what their parishioners are doing. But they have not come out and made statements saying that having sex and living together is not sinful, have they? Where are the Methodists, the Lutherans, the Presbyterians, and the Episcopalians on this matter? Their official positions are just the opposite of what you are trying to claim.

              Here’s a sampling of their established views:

              The Episcopal Church only approves “of sex between men and women who are married. In 1979, the U.S. church’s governing body voted down a resolution to approve other sexual activity.”

              Pastors of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod undertook a survey on premarital sex amongst their congregations in 2010. “These Lutheran pastors reported that over 57 percent of the couples they now marry are living together prior to the wedding, and that the rate of cohabitation in their congregations is increasing.” Despite this trend, the Synod believes that “Regardless of the reasons given for living together, cohabitation is simply wrong for Christians.”

              The Lutheran Church of Australia believes that sexual activity belongs within the marriage relationship only and that the practice of pre-marital sex is in “violation of the will of God.”


              And here are the United Methodists, one of the more liberal mainstream denominations in the United States:

              Does The United Methodist Church believe that premarital sex is OK? The official statement on Human Sexuality states: “Although all persons are sexual beings whether or not they are married, sexual relations are affirmed only with the covenant of monogamous, heterosexual marriage.”


              From my perspective, it makes no sense to claim that these groups are celebrating unmarried sexuality. Ignoring their parishioners’ “misdeeds” is a far cry from affirmation and acceptance.

    • climb

      Christians are not anti sex, they are anti sex outside of or before marriage for women, which actually has its roots in patriarchy. Now a days we have paternity tests to prove who a father is, before the last part of this century though, this was not possible. So how else could a patriarchal system work? If you make a crime punishable by death to have sex before marriage, or outside of your marriage then you have the ability to create a patriarchal society without having to constantly question male parentage.

  • Paul (not the apostle)

    When religion messes with your sex… don’t dick around just say fuckem

  • Epinephrine

    I’m not sure that religion in general gets much right about sex. Typically it gets a lot wrong – that rape is ok, that sex before “marriage” is sinful, etc. #SexGod

  • C Peterson

    Sex is so intrinsic to being human that a church that is able to control sexuality is very powerful, indeed.

  • advancedatheist

    If atheists know so much more about sex than religious people, why can’t atheists like Elevator Guy pick up godless women at atheist conferences?

    • Sandrilene

      Both atheists and religious people are capable of harassing women. Religous people are more likely to blame the victim with their doctrine of modesty.

    • Matt D

      For the same reason you can’t you understand a single example does not represent the whole of Atheism.

      • RobMcCune

        One thing to note about is that he fixates on certain things. He builds his opinions on single context free instances because he’s an obsessive crank.

  • Cyanmoon1

    Here’s one thing the bible definitely gets right: If an angry gay mob threatens to beat your door down to rape the angels you’re hosting, you should give the mob your virgin daughters instead. I think this is good advice as long as you first verify that none of the mob are actually bisexual. #SexGod

  • Guest

    I guess its basics of anatomy and species proliferation is adequate. Its not like we are ducks or dragonflies. Humans are not that anatomically complicated. I take back the species proliferation statement, its darwinian thinking in an era where we should resist innate darwinian tendencies to govern our actions. #SexGod

  • FormerComposer

    If God is anything like what religions say, to have created a species with such powerful sexual urges and curiousity while simultaneously discouraging any satisfaction or exploration has to go down as one of The Larger Fails of All Eternity (or maybe evidence of repressed cognitive dissonance.)

  • Nkat

    Embellishing, its basics of anatomy and species proliferation is adequate. Its not like we are ducks or dragonflies. Humans are not that anatomically complicated. I take back the species proliferation statement, its darwinian thinking in an era where we should resist innate darwinian tendencies to govern our actions. #SexGod

  • Junction_Boy

    My former religion (the southern baptist sect of christianity) gets absolutely nothing right about sex or human sexuality. #SexGod

  • Hugh Kramer

    The worst way religion affects sex (and everything else) is by claiming authority is behind all their various rules and pronouncements. At the very minimum, this sets such rules in concrete and stifles change based on better learning and experience. #SexGod

  • ToonForever

    What does religion get right about sex? Not very much, IMO, unless we refer, as the author does above, to the Song of Solomon, which has some very nice sexual imagery.
    What it gets wrong is that it couches sex in terms of ownership and transactional purity. It’s male-centric. Virginity is a quality aspect of the girl who is for sale. If she engages in pre-marital sex, she has “dishonored” her family – really simply ruined her transactional value and opportunity for her family’s financial gain.
    And that doesn’t even get into the individual sexuality aspect of the few that are homosexual, or whose gender-identity is indefinite. Such were simplistically seen as abominations, mutants of a sort, and needed eradication. Sick, savage stuff.

  • Beth

    My personal experience was one of cognitive dissonance and verbal abuse. I had premarital sex but I went to church every Sunday, taught Sunday School for the little kids, played in the bell choir, helped with church fund-raisers, and talked to sky daddy about every little problem under the sun. It was a little part of my faith that I didn’t want to think about. And I found that all of my friends were doing the same. Two of them got pregnant just out of high school, but they were still church goers, still believed that they were forgiven and didn’t need to think about how their holy book said their kids couldn’t enter heaven.
    While at home my parents called me ‘slut’ and ‘whore’ they didn’t talk about how I was conceived before they were married. I was often told that pregnancy before marriage would ruin my life. My mom found a vibrator and made me throw it out (I was 19 at the time) but not before I got a long talk about God and Jesus and mastribation. I was still a believer at the time, I just didn’t want to think about it.
    To their credit, between the verbal insults (that I whipped right back BTW) my mom made sure I was on the pill and made me buy condoms. So even though they should have stoned me (or some stupid biblical bull shit) they still educated me on how NOT to have kids or STIs.
    The best thing that came out of this? I know how to talk to my kids, even though they are little I am very careful not to give them the wrong ideas about sexuality.


  • mikmik

    Religion isn’t just involved with the physical act. It has inserted itself down to the very basic beginnings of the followers thoughts. The insidious damage caused by feeling guilty over privately finding someone attractive has to mess with our basic method of thinking. If you find someone attractive – that is a sin! What I don’t think they realize is that by judging someone’s manner, or dress, as tempting in order to condemn them, they have already coveted. Dead giveaway, you blasphemous hypocrites!

  • smrnda

    A huge problem with religion is that it views the value of sex or its morality not as something that depends on the desires and consequences to the people involved, but as something that is either pleasing to a god or not, regardless of its effect on people. This is why religious people often can’t figure out how consent works – dealing with consent is too hard for them because it requires empathy, compassion and awareness and can’t be reduced to a set of rules you obey because a god will punish you if you don’t.

    Religions also seem to be against the idea that sex for fun can be okay, but they tend to be fairly anti-fun to begin with so its no surprise.

  • katiehippie

    If we are supposedly made in God’s image, God is one horny person. ;)

  • JT Rager

    I feel that for the time it was somewhat reasonable (for a misogynistic tribal culture, that is, I don’t support the mentality). If women were property, then it makes sense she could only be with a man. I suppose they could be genuinely good rules, though, since they didn’t have the birth control and protection back then that we do now. Monogamy reduces STDs etc. Yes, I know they had primitive forms of contraceptives back then. Now our forms are not primitive and they work. At most, we can give the holy books a thanks for trying, and then chuck their rules out.

  • YesDavisIsMyFirstName


  • gandalfe

    “Most moral philosophers consciously or unconsciously assume the essential correctness of our cultural sexual code — family, monogamy, continence, the postulate of privacy, … restriction of intercourse to the marriage bed, etcetera. Having stipulated our cultural code as a whole, they fiddle with details – even such piffle as solemnly discussing whether or not the female breast is an “obscene” sight! But mostly they debate how the human animal can be induced or forced to obey this code, blandly ignoring the high probability that the heartaches and tragedies they see all around them originate in the code itself rather than the failure to abide by the code.” – Robert Heinlein

    #SexGod (Isn’t it nice? Sugar and spice. Luring disco dollies to a life of vice…)

  • John O’Brien

    Thank you for this. Religion stunt human sexuality horrendously! #SexGod

  • Buckley

    I Love all aspects of Sex, Religion does not. #SexGod


    To hear some fundies tell it, back in the day when everything in this country was perfect, people never engaged in sex outside marriage, and only grudgingly inside when they felt compelled to procreate. Their children, of course, never even thought about it at all.

    • Miss_Beara

      Ahhh yes, the wonderful wonderful past. When men were men and women stayed home with 10 children, cleaning house and cooking dinner, all with a smile on her face. When sex was the wives duty and she politely accepted. Nobody argued. People never even considered sex outside of marriage. Everyone was godly, pure and happy.

      Wait, that was never true. Oops.

      • closetatheist

        I once came across an incredible book that was a compilation of several studies of the sexual lives of Americans in the 1940′s. I regret not purchasing it but i’ll never forget some of the stats: over 50% admitted to not being virgins when they married, many having lied about their virginity to their spouses, and something around 30% of married people admitted to affairs….Ah, yes, the virtuous past that never was.

        • Miss_Beara

          That sounds really interesting! Do you remember what it was called?

  • Josiah J Mannion

    What does religion get right about sex? …. Well, religion, understood in context as a sort of memetic phenomenon, does in fact realize deeply that sex is a powerful thing, and therefore does its utmost to hijack that power in the service of perpetuating the meme.

    The list of what it gets wrong is… well, a book. Many books.


  • Miss_Beara

    Religion getting something right about sex? LOL. Religion and sexuality should never even be in the same sentence. The bible says this about sex, the bible says that about sex… just no. If you want to feel guilty about having natural thoughts and physical desires, then be my guest and follow what religion has to say about sex. Don’t expect everyone else to follow the twisted teachings of sex in what ever religion you follow. Telling impressionable pre teens, especially girls, that their worth is placed fully on their virginity and that they are used, worthless and God will send you to hell if you don’t keep it, is damaging and disgusting.


  • Jay

    The Christian religion nails sex. (And I pick up double-pun-points for that phrase.) In a democratic society, when a small subset of different-minded people begins to actively challenge your rule, there are limited means by which to fight against that group.

    While you’re numerically superior, all is well. They can bitch and moan, but you largely get your way.

    When your numerical superiority begins to fade, you are in big trouble. Unlike a true theocracy, you can’t just outlaw the fringe groups and smash them to bits. You have to deal with them and their viewpoints.

    But wait! A savior awaits! You can keep your numerical superiority with a couple of awesome and fully-supported-by-your-religion doctrines: 1) No contraceptives. 2) Limits on the ability of women to make their own reproductive choices. 3) A historically patriarchal organization which treats women as property

    In this, the Christian (and Muslim, to some extent) religion gets sex right. Not right from a humanist standpoint, but right from a survival standpoint. If the overly religious had a birthrate similar to atheists, religion would be in a lot more trouble than it already is.

  • ardegas

    With or without religion, sex is problematic. It would be nice to blame religion for all the problems associated with it, but that would be unrealistic. This Joshua Kelly guy sounds like another case of atheistic wishful thinking.

  • Mitch

    From personal experience, religions gets little to nothing right in terms of sex. While it can be done (and certainly is) in the context of married, heterosexual couples, that is not the only area. It is absurd to think that humans are obligated to take a part of who they are and allow it’s expression only in these situations. #SexGod

  • hotshoe

    The unholy Catholic church and the fundamentalist sects (mostly USAian) who forbid contraception are horrible and deadly. I can’t even write sensibly about them because the issue makes me too angry.

  • troll

    I don’t care what religion has to say about sex. #SexGod

  • CamasBlues

    Religion even poisons married sex (supposedly the only sex religious traditions support) because people raised in these faiths have serious problems being comfortable in their own skins, thinking about their needs and communicating them to their spouse. Even that becomes difficult to impossible for anti-sex religious people like Christianity. #SexGod

  • Nebuladancer

    “…This means a fledgling adult has one chance at a compatible sexual partner if they are to remain pure in the eyes of god — one person, with whom no previous practice is permitted before the exchange of vows, to gamble physical satisfaction with….”

    This is the horrifying part for many young people. When I was in high school and college, my christian friends were obsessed with finding their ONE-TRUE-MATE because this was the only one they could be sexual with. Those who generally agreed but held slightly looser views that allowed hand holding and even, god-forbid, kissing were criticised harshly. Those who had been truly sexually active whispered about it in shame, accepting their condemnation with fervent hope that there was still a ONE-TRUE-MATE for them out there. It was sickening, and I have no intention of ever doing this to my children. I can’t believe I ever bought this drivel.


  • Ryan Hite

    But it is human nature to be sexual. If we as a culture celebrated it, then I think the world would be at least a little more bearable. The major monotheistic giants are anti-human nature in general.

  • SJH

    I can’t speak for other religions but Mr. Kelly’s description of how religion’s view sex is completely opposite of how many Christians including the Catholic Church view sex. The more I read about the Church’s view on sexuality the more beautiful and fulfilling sex is. There is no more consistent, complete and beautiful philosophy on the subject. Based on the author’s statements, he either knows nothing about what the Church teaches about sex or chooses to ignore it. #SexGod

    • Jody

      Surely you jest?

      They deem homosexuality intrinsically disordered — when, by all the research available to us, its a perfectly natural… “non-disordered”… form of human interaction.

      Your measure of reality isn’t The Measure of Reality.

      • SJH

        “The Measure of Reality”? And what is that? Please don’t say science because that is composed of flawed people with political, ideological and religious agendas just as any other institution.

        • Jody

          Science is self correcting. It account for those agendas by weighing conclusions based on the quality of the new evidence submitted.

          Religion? Not so much. And by “not so much”, I mean “not at all.”

          • SJH

            You are correct. However this does not happen overnight. Sometimes it might even take centuries. So you have to question science often even when it makes assessments that are contrary to reason such as stating that homosexuality is not disordered. Using reason it would follow that homosexual sex is dysfunctional by definition. To state that it is not should be highly questioned.
            Also, some issues are so very complex that science cannot and will not ever understand them fully. It can never adequately correct itself because it will never fully understand those things even those that have already come to pass.
            Religion is self-correcting as any other institution. That is why we have Protestantism. All of these are composed by man. To claim that the scientific community is somehow immune to the flaws of man is silly. I should ask you to prove your claim. I don’t think you could, scientifically.

            • Jody

              Now you are just being silly.

              Science investigated the claim that homosexuality is dysfunctional. Using evidence… numerous studies across numerous disciplines over many years… it found that such a claim spurious. Homosexuality is no more or less dysfunctional than heterosexuality.

              I’ll further note that the claim homosexuality was dysfunctional came from people who had their Imaginary Friend whisper it in their collective ear. Like the Earth being made in 6 days and women being secondary to men, such claims haven’t held up well.

        • mikmik

          “flawed people with political, ideological and religious agendas just like me”
          Fixed that for you. Ad hominum is a flawed argument known as a logical fallacy.
          It is used by people with agendas, people without logical, reasoned responses. It means that your arguments don’t rely on critical thinking, they rely on subjective criticism.
          If science is so flawed, you must not rely on it – that would only make sense. If you don’t trust science, you must personally eschew relying on it all the time. Does that not logically follow? Why would you rely on something on the one hand, yet proclaim the idiocy of doing so on the other?
          Seeing you are using the internet, and I’ll assume that in a medical emergency you would seek the treatment of a doctor, and also you live a life that is relatively completely the result of scientific understanding, I will assume that your behavior betrays your true belief, that science is reliable and tested to an extreme degree. You place your life in the hands of science almost utterly completely.
          Therefore your claim that science is unreliable based on your insinuation that it is primarily made up of dishonest and maligned individuals is shown merely to be a lie of convenience.
          Give me a break, already.

          • SJH

            There are not only two options here. Science is sometimes flawed just as religion and just as every other institution composed by man. You have to look at them all with skepticism and question things when questions are due.

    • climb

      First I would ask which church you speak of, since there are many denominations and they nearly always have a different view. Secondly, the overall view, which I think we could all agree MOST Christian churches subscribe too, is to not fornicate. Though I agree sex can be deeper and more fullfiling with a partner one is familiar with, this is only the case if the two are sexually compatible. Secondly, although exploring sexual tastes with one partner can deepen a relationship it leaves no room for PERSONAL sexual growth and discovery, which I feel is incredibly important to one’s personal sexual identity. Neither of these are possible without the ability to fornicate. Unless of course you want to play Russian roulette with your sex life by marrying someone without knowing if you are sexual compatible. It does not help the churches stance when the importance of purity
      before marriage is so heavily focused on women and not men. Case in
      point, the rising popularity of purity pledges in which a young women
      is dressed in white, walked down the aisle by her father( lets not even
      get into how creepy that is), and pledges to stay pure till
      marriage. If you can find proof of this ritual with the focus turned on
      young men that would truly be a miracle. Now many, not all, churches also subscribe to the belief that women should submit to their husbands, in all things, and some even go so far as to say that women should never refuse their husband in the bedroom, no matter what. I would like to know how you feel this is a beautiful philosophy? That a women, even if she is ill, in pain, or just (heaven forbid) not in the mood, she is to submit her body however unwillingly to her husband in the name of God. And don’t even get me started on the number of times the Bible not only condones but encourages rape. I’m sorry but I do not find that particularly beautiful or sexually fulfilling. Lastly, Mr. Kelly simply points out the areas in which Religion does serious injustice to sexual freedom, expression, and equality. All of which are not only backed up by their own doctrines but by social evidence as well.

      • Anna

        SJH is a fundamentalist Catholic, and fundamentalist Catholicism believes almost every form of human sexual expression is evil. There is only one approved way to complete a sexual act, and that’s for a man to ejaculate (unprotected) inside his wife’s vagina.

        For people who have not been indoctrinated into the religion, this level of control and obsession could not even remotely be described as “beautiful.” Sick and twisted is more like it, IMO.

    • Anna

      The more I read about the Church’s view on sexuality the more beautiful and fulfilling sex is. There is no more consistent, complete and beautiful philosophy on the subject.

      You may find the narrowness and restrictions “beautiful,” but obviously not everyone agrees with you. We find what the Catholic church teaches about human sexuality to be quite loathsome.

  • RobertoTheChi

    I can’t think of anything that religion gets right about sex. Unless you count shaming a person as being right (which I know you don’t, Hemant).


  • Atheos

    What religion has got right about sex? The Kama Sutra. What religion has gotten wrong about sex? Shame. #SexGod

  • Coolred38

    Religion gets right that most of us will experience sex at some point in our lives…after that the facts pretty much go down hill from there. #SexGod

  • Joe

    Darrel Ray says it best. It’s making you feel guilty for what you’ll do anyway, so that you go back to church for forgiveness. That’s what religion gets wrong. I’m not sure that religion gets anything right, except maybe Tantric Buddhism. #SexGod

  • Anthony

    It totally makes sense from a pre-scientific standpoint, to ban and regulate most sexual behavior. Imagine not knowing about theories of disease pathology and confronting the bewildering and debilitating array of “punishments” meted out for promiscuity – herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, to name a few.

    Religious doctrine perhaps gave the only plausible explanation to the suffering caused by these diseases – that it was punishment for “sin”. Hence purity, chastity, virginity monogamy etc. being espoused. Not sure why masturbation got thrown in there with them, except poor masturbatory hygiene could lead to some urinary infections, I suppose.

    Which speaks all the more to the anachronistic nature of religious teaching on sexual issues in light of scientific knowledge. Punishment for sin was perhaps the only explanation that made sense then, but now we know to use condoms if we’re going to be promiscuous and we have anti-biotics and other treatments for disease.


  • Scott Ells

    I am waiting for the second cumming. #sexgod

  • DigitalAngel3

    what religion gets wrong? As a lady and ex-fundamentalist, I know there is a movement going on where the wife MUST submit to everything including the bedroom. And if you don’t satisfy your man he WILL go looking for for someone who is willing to give him sex. This is so damaging on so many levels.

    what religion gets right about sex? I’m not too sure if they get anything right

  • John Perkins

    I don’t think I could say they got anything right #SexGod

  • Robster

    The goatherders that made the original borrowed nonsense up in the firstplace must’ve had a thing about sex. The joy, fun and passion must have been see as evil and wrong when the rest of these stone-age people’s existance was so fraught with drama and superstition. It was a method of control and still is today. Jees you’d recon after 200 years of religious silliness they’d find something else to wowser on about for christ’s sake. Get a friggin life.

  • Michaela Samuels

    I have often felt like Song of Solomon was the perfect back up for the church to deny their hatred of a healthy sexual relationship. I distinctly remember being told by my Sunday School teacher that that book was not intended for anyone to read outside of marriage.

    One thing they do get right? It’s powerful stuff and people use it as a tool.

    What they don’t get right? Fathers being the consenting party in place of their daughters (to name just one).


  • sware73

    What religion gets wrong about sex: I don’t know if the internet has enough space
    to cover this.


  • Jennie Erwin

    Most religions get poly love wrong. Equal, free, honest and open love is THE BEST. Screw monogamy.


    • mikmik

      Now, now, we don’t want to substitute one ideology for another. Love is up to the people involved. It is individual, and varied. Monogamy is one of many types that are all valid.
      It’s the attempt to impose one type on others that is wrong.

  • Sarmad Hatami

    I just think that the idea and the taboo around sexual practices arrive from the cultural aspects at the time. People, in the days where Christianity an Islam were formed, used to marry at a very young age (15 for some guys apparently). So I do not believe in disregarding any religions’ teachings, but in the world we live in today, marriage takes place around the age of 35, therefore, having sex only after marriage is seemingly impossible, both physically and psychologically.

    I think the believers in the many different faiths, should realize that the circumstances of living have changed since the major religions were formed at (around 2000 years ago).