Sex and Religion

Comments Off on Sex and Religion 25 September 2011

There is an amazing diversity of beliefs about human sexuality among the followers of organized religions. The following illustration compares the beliefs on sexuality of four religions: Roman Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam, and Judaism.


Many faith groups seem obsessed with sex and gender matters.

  • On matters related to human sexuality, Americans tend to be polarized between social and religious conservatives and liberals/progressives.
  • Followers of non-Christian religions differ little from Christians on matters of sexual orientation.
  • Conservatives from all religions tend to agree with each other: that only opposite-gender sexual behavior is moral, and then only between a man and a woman who are married to each other.
  • Religious liberals are also largely in agreement among themselves, and tend to value sexual behavior as acceptable if it is consensual, low risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) transmission, and perhaps within a committed relationship.
  • Those of no religious affiliation—Agnostics, Atheists, Free Thinkers, Humanists, NOTAs (None of the Above) etc.—tend to hold beliefs similar to those of religious liberals.
  • Almost all groups disapprove of sexual behavior that is non-consensual, manipulative, forced, or unsafe. However, there are some profoundly misogynistic religious traditions that require women to submit to being raped by their husband.

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