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)
Seventh Day Adventist
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.
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
“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.