Is religion hurting our sex lives?

Tough question, eh? As the days of secularism are dawning, more research is being done to look at the relationship between unhealthy sexuality (something I often refer to as sex negativity) and religious belief. In light of the research, there is compelling evidence to suggest that when religion is in the picture, our sex lives are more likely to be unenjoyable and/or unhealthy. Let’s take a look.

The guiltiest religions
A study done last year on the relationship between religion and sexual guilt was able to stratify religions according to how guilty its members feel after having sex. An important part of this research was that between all of the religious participants and nonreligious participants, they found that everybody had the same amount of sex. What varied was how much guilt they felt afterward.

FELT THE MOST GUILT: Mormon (8.2/10)
Jehovah’s Witness
Seventh Day Adventist
Catholic (6.3/10)
FELT THE LEAST GUILT: Atheist (4.7/10)

Those who had left their religion experienced a significant improvement in their sexual relationships. As the chart shows, even those who do not use a god to govern their lives (agnostics/atheists) still feel a degree of guilt, perhaps indicating that we are all subject to the oppressive values and sex negativity of influential religions. Religious belief effects us all, even if we don’t want it to.

Religious upbringing
Research also suggests that nonreligious households more often yield happy, healthy, sex positive child rearing. This is not surprising; the fact of the matter is that the religious right in America is typically anti gay marriage, anti woman’s choice, anti masturbation, anti safe sex/birth control, and anti sex health education. An example of each is provided in the links.

Let’s look at the data:

Shamed or ridiculed for masturbating
In a religious household: 22% | In a nonreligious household: 5%

Strong guilt over a specific sexual desire
In a religious household: 80% | In a nonreligious household: 26%

Source of sex education
In a religious household: more likely to be from porn
In a nonreligious household: more likely to be from parents

Researcher Darrel Ray commented:

“Our data shows that people feel very guilty about their sexual behaviour when they are religious, but that does not stop them: it just makes them feel bad. Of course, they have to return to their religion to get forgiveness. It’s like the church gives you the disease, then offers you a fake cure.”

Here’s a controversial thought: perhaps its time for us to start being more critical of what organized religion actually does for us–both inside the bedroom and out.

12 Tips For Singles on Valentine’s Day [Cynic's Guide]

I’ve received several dozen emails in which you are whining about being alone on Valentine’s Day. Even though I already slammed this holiday a few weeks ago, you guys are practically *begging* me to do it again. ;)

Cynic’s Survival Guide

1. Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to acknowledge how fucking annoying PDA is when you’re feeling forever alone.
2. Laugh at all the people who spend a bunch of money on useless novelties to show they “love” someone. Clearly weed/booze is the way to go.
3. Use shared alone time to rekindle your bromance with your roommate.
4. Ponder why “happy couples” need a designated day to celebrate their relationship.
5. Remember: nothing says “romance” like an official holiday for mass fucking.
6. DON’T check up on your ex’s Facebook status. Just imagine they’re miserable too. Or happy. Whatever gets you off.
7. Speaking of which—definitely get off.
8. Enjoy the fact that you can have the same chocolates half off tomorrow.
9. Turn so-called “Single’s Awareness Day” from its negative connotation to positive. Embrace the joys of being able to kiss/cyber/makegooglyeyes/fuck at will.
10. Avoid romance movies/novels/television specials…unless they end in death or destruction–preferably both.
11. If you’re pity-partying over not getting any, remember most of us aren’t getting any either :|
12. There’s always mom.

Lol. Valentine’s Day.

I went to Safeway last night and was confronted with a huge, bright red Valentine’s display near the entry way. Cards, stuffed animals, balloons, chocolates, and a whole host of other useless red items obstructed my path.

Every year I experience the same emotions during Valentines.

First: “WTF is all this red? EYES HURTING.”
Second: “Wow, if this isn’t a pile of useless overly-priced shit, I don’t know what is!”
Third (usually around Feb 15th, when the shelves are depleted): “Oh. People actually buy this stuff.”

And then I think fondly of Mr. Wootsy, the stuffed bear my partner gave me when I was 16 that is now god knows where.

Valentine’s Day, like a bunch of other american holidays, seems like the most blatant corporate scam to get you to buy useless crap that I’ve ever seen. Yet…it works! Genius. For me, buying me some expensive chocolates that will buy me an extra 5 hours at the gym and a mass-produced teddy bear isn’t as cute as it was when I was younger. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to celebrate love and sex, but why is it celebrated using such artificial means? How does this $20 plushie that you bought 5 minutes before coming over say anything about our relationship to each other? Yeah, I know, I sound like a cynical heartless bitch….but I promise I’m not ;)

What I mean is: if I’m going to be a forced cultural participant, show me you care every day of the year, not just the one where stores happen to have a number of obnoxious red displays. If you want Valentine’s Day to be extra special for the hell of it, then bring on a long day together of comfortable chatter and amazing sex. And hey, for people who are into “gifts”, why shouldn’t we get something we can BOTH enjoy? Oh baby. I see Valentine’s Day as merely a light-hearted excuse (not an exclusivity) to spend time together, to celebrate our connection, and make each other feel amazing in meaningful, lasting ways.

Gender and The Rugrats

I’ve always been a fan of Klasky and Csupo’s “Rugrats“. I recently subscribed to Netflix and have been going through old episodes. To my surprise, I have reaped much more enjoyment from this than initially anticipated, as I quickly caught on to a brilliant subtext undetected by my 8-year-old eye.

One of my favorite (and…well, relevant) of these statements came to life in the relationship of Betty and Howie DeVille, an aggressively gender-bending couple.

In the show, Betty, Howie’s wife, is often portrayed playing traditionally masculine roles in the relationship, while Howie resembles something closer to the expectations of females. Using the swap as leverage, the Rugrats writers make various–and seemingly inconsistent–statements about gender, our expression of it, and its role in our relationships. That Betty is commonly thought to be a lesbian is a nice example of the [problematic] conflation between gender expression and sexual orientation.

Do you have a favorite character that pushes the limits? Maybe I’ll write about them next. Spill it below.