Human Sexuality Religious Panel

I was recently invited to attend an undergraduate human sexuality class as part of a religious panel where students would be able to ask representatives certain questions regarding sexuality.  I thought the questions the students came up with were well thought out and interesting.  They knew there would be representatives present from the following faiths: Judaism, Mormonism, Episcopalian, Non-denominational Christian and Catholic.

What are your thoughts about these questions?  Are you aware of our church’s stance on the questions asked?  Do you find your personal stances similar to or different from the stances the church takes?  The students who came up with these questions were largely in their late teens/early twenties.  Are these topics you include in your sexual education/conversation with your teen/adult children?

Human Sexuality Religious Panel Questions

Appropriateness of sexual behaviors before marriage:

  1. Is masturbation seen as wrong or sinful in your faith tradition? What about the use of pornography along with masturbation? What about pornography or strip clubs as a form of entertainment?
  2. Does your religion believe that pre-marital sex is wrong or sinful? If so, what constitutes sex? Is kissing before marriage okay? Heavy petting? Manual stimulation of the genitals? Oral sex? Anal sex? Where do you draw the line, and why is the line drawn there?
  3. Why is pre-marital sex considered wrong?
  4. Does the age of the people involved affect the appropriateness of pre-marital sex?
  5. Is it okay to have sexual thoughts or fantasies at a young age in your religion? (unclear what is meant by young age)
  6. (Applicable to those religions who perform baptisms) What sexual purity requirements are necessary to become baptized? Do people have to take abstinence oaths? What about those who have already had sex?
  7. How do you feel about sex education for young people?
  8. What about watching rated R movies or movies involving sexual content—is it okay to watch them? If so, at what age?

Appropriateness of sexual behaviors within marriage:

  1. Are open marriages or polygamous marriages recognized in your church? Why or why not?
  2. Is having a threesome or foursome okay if both partners consent to it?
  3. What if a person’s spouse has an accident or a medical condition rendering them incapable of having sex? If both spouse agree, would it be okay for the capable spouse to have a sexual relationship with someone else?
  4. Would your religious institution consider cybersex infidelity?
  5. How does your religion view pornography if used as a sex aid between two happily married people?
  6. Within your faith tradition, is forced sex within the confines of marriage okay? Does a wife give her body to her husband upon marriage and have sex with him whenever he wants regardless of her own desires?

Anatomical wonderings:

  1. How would your religion explain individuals who have chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities making them neither clearly male nor female? If a person is male with an XY chromosomal make up but his genitalia look feminine in appearance, would it be okay for him to engage in sex with a female? A male?
  2. What is the significance of circumcision (or not circumcising) in your religious tradition?
  3. Does your religion endorse sex change operations for transgendered individuals? How does your religion view transgendered people in the first place?

Sexual orientation:

  1. How does your religion view homosexuality? Would gay, lesbian, and bisexual people be restricted in their religious participation? Could they be leaders in your church?
  2. Does your church differentiate between a homosexual orientation and homosexual behavior? If a person has a homosexual orientation but remains celibate for his or her entire life, are they “off the hook?”
  3. Does your religion support gay/lesbian marriages? Civil unions?
  4. Do you think that laws regulating private sexual behavior (i.e. sodomy) are appropriate?

Gender issues:

  1. What does your religion see as the primary roles of men and women within the family?
  2. Does your religion allow women to lead entire congregations, or are they limited in what leadership roles they can assume?
  3. Does your religion endorse having separate standards for sexual purity for men and women? Is it more okay for a man to have sexual experiences outside of marriage than women?
  4. How does your religion view the use of contraception within marriage? Outside of marriage?
  5. What stance does your faith tradition take on the issue of abortion? What about the morning after pill?
  6. Why do most Mormon families send their boys off on missions?
  7. Are men who dress as women looked down on in your religion?

This and that:

  1. Does a woman have to be a virgin to become a nun? What if a man wants to become a priest but has had sex already? Why can’t Catholic [priests] marry?
  2. Does your religion have a minimum age for marriage? Why is it common in some faith traditions for people to get married at a much younger age than “average Americans?”
  3. Is it common for Mormon families to have a lot of kids? Why?
  4. When a woman is giving birth, is it okay for her to use pain medication?
  5. Is marrying someone within your own faith tradition a must?
  6. How does your religion view the hyper-sexuality of current American culture?
  7. At what point does your religion consider a fetish morally wrong?
  8. What is the purpose of sex from your faith tradition? Is its role solely to reproduce? Is it okay to have sex for reasons other than reproduction?
  9. How does your religion view artificial reproductive techniques, such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization?
  10. How does your religion view marriage after divorce?
  11. Have you seen an increase in the number of people having problems related to pornography or so called sex addiction?
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