Sexuality and Religion

Zenda71

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Greetings all.

I am wondering whether there's been a discussion about sexuality and religious belief on this board. Sexuality is such an integral part of being human and is something that we all -- monastic and layperson alike -- have to deal with in one way or another.

So, the question I put to everyone is: to what extent do your religious beliefs influence your sexuality or sexual life, be it active or celibate?

I'm going to think about this a little before I post ...

With metta,
Zenda
 

Blue

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I think sexuality in general, and personally, has little to do, if anything, with one's spiritual responses.

This is not to deny that there may be a perceived spiritual ingredient in sexual relationships by a particular individual.
 

Mus Zibii

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Some people pursue celibacy, and some have celibacy thrust upon them. LOL I'm a horny little monkey, but my faith definitely has the last word in every sexual situation. Virtually every sexual encounter I've had, my spirituality cuts it short by reminding me of the shortcomings of the flesh. Spiritual sexuality seems to works best clothed. Oddly enough, the most 'religious' sexual coupling I had was with a married woman. So I broke a commandment but the relationship was of total conviction. And the acts themselves were done completely in hope of procreation!
 

iBrian

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Zenda71 said:
to what extent do your religious beliefs influence your sexuality or sexual life, be it active or celibate?
Perhaps it would be an interesting idea to replace the words "religious beliefs" for "guilt and conscience"...
 

Mus Zibii

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For a long time I thought masturbation was bad. I don't know if that was a result of religious belief or just some undefined fear. I was actually about sixteen before I stopped trying to 'quit'.
 

Sisetekh

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Not too much. Aside from not cheating on people (which I wouldn't have done for personal reasons, anyway), it really doesn't control my sexuality.
 

iBrian

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In terms of spiritual belief...

Sexuality is a basic physical drive, that involves the physical and psychological pleasing of the self. It is therefore, by some interpertations, a form of selfishness. As for of the spiritual process of development and growth may involve shrieving the self of selfish drives, celibacy can often become a necessary part of that growth process. It is like detaching the self from attachments to allow greater focus on the immaterial.

However, after such a process, there comes the acceptance of self: a human being, with physical and emotional drives. These are a necessary part of the human experience. The point then is to embrace them in a way that is not destructive to the self and selfless principles.

2c.
 

Chela

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Strict rules of sexual conduct resound themselves in every religion.

The only question is, how do we properly understand them?

Why did Buddha ask of perfect chastity towards his diciples?

However, if sexuality is taboo, then why is Hermes painted with an erect member?

Why was Jesus so strict in saying that, to even think of adultery, is adultery of the mind, and in fact that they are the same fornication?

But if we are not to think of sex, why are the ancient Vedic lands rich in the symbolism of the Phallus-Cteis?

Why are the sacred oaths of the old scriptures taken upon one hand on the thigh? Why is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords written upon the thigh of the White Rider, whose name is only known as the Word of God?

The Holy Spirit as the Dove is the Divine Sexuality, this is unmistakable. It is stated explicity that those who sin against the Father and the Son are forgiven, but those who sin against the Holy Spirit are not forgiven. Why is this?

Have we understood the mystery of the Wedding Parable?

Do we know, really, what the Alchemical Wedding is?

Have we thought about why Lancelot (Phallus) searches for the Holy Grail (Uterus)?

Have we contemplated the Arcane of the Bridal Chamber in our readings of the Gospel of Philip? Have we reached its conclusion?

Fear not the flesh nor love it. If you fear it, it will gain mastery over you. If you love it, it will swallow and paralyze you. – Gospel of Philip

Sexuality is the very essence of Creation, because nothing is created without sex.

Birth is a sexual problem. Obviously then, to be born again is also a sexual problem.

Jesus said to them, "When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male not be male nor the female female; and when you fashion eyes in the place of an eye, and a hand in place of a hand, and a foot in place of a foot, and a likeness in place of a likeness; then will you enter [the Kingdom]." - The Gospel of Thomas

Elohim is a word that, textually speaking, means Gods and Goddesses, however, it also implys the Divine Androgynous Nature of God: to be neither man nor woman, but to be One.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. – John 3:3-7

Jesus said, "The Pharisees and the scribes have taken the keys of Knowledge and hidden them. They themselves have not entered, nor have they allowed to enter those who wish to. You, however, be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves." – The Gospel of Thomas, saying 39

Behold the mystery of the Waters of Genesis; understand the Voice of Many Waters; contemplate the images of naked Men and Women dancing in the Waters of the Fountain of Youth.

Be as wise as the Serpent of Moses, do not be fooled by the Tempting Serpent. Be as a child of God, and love (Reconcilation, Holy Spirit, dove) without desire.

The Tree of Good and Evil is Sexuality itself.

It is from water and fire that the soul and the spirit came into being. It is from water and fire and light that the son of the bridal chamber (came into being). The fire is the chrism, the light is the fire. I am not referring to that fire which has no form, but to the other fire whose form is white, which is bright and beautiful, and which gives beauty. . . .If the woman had not separated from the man, she should not die with the man. His separation became the beginning of death. Because of this, Christ came to repair the separation, which was from the beginning, and again unite the two, and to give life to those who died as a result of the separation, and unite them. But the woman is united to her husband in the bridal chamber. Indeed, those who have united in the bridal chamber will no longer be separated. Thus Eve separated from Adam because it was not in the bridal chamber that she united with him. - Gospel of Philip

Religion without the correct understanding of sexuality is useless as a impotent stud.
 

Vajradhara

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Namaste all,


as an aside, the Buddhist prohibitions on sexual activity are restricted to the monastics.

the laiety have the 5 Precepts, one of which is to refrain from "sexual misconduct." though there is no special prohibition like the monastics have.

also.. the word before the Virtues that Buddhists are supposed to develop is usually translated into English as "Perfect". the Sanskrit term is "Samyak" and it really is meant to indicate Complete, for instance, Samyak Sambodi.
 

Erynn

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Many Pagan paths have no particular restrictions on sexual activity beyond that it should be between mutually consenting adults, and give pleasure to the participants. Wicca, one of the Pagan paths, has these words in the Charge of the Goddess -- a liturgical text: "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals."

For some Wiccan and other Pagan groups, an act of intercourse is part of the ritual of elevation to the High Priest/esshood (usually referred to as The Great Rite, which is a part of the elevation ritual), and in some cases it is used in ritual to physically symbolize union of their chosen deities. Certainly this is often sensationalized in the media, but it is treated with great reverence by the participants.

Some Pagan paths practice forms of sexual magic or healing. Others pursue sexuality as an ecstatic discipline. Sexual energy, whether between individuals or solo, can be used to focus and give power to a spell or prayer being worked. This might be focused through sexual congress of varying types, masturbation, or through the disciplines (if you'll forgive the phrasing) of BDSM practices such as bondage or flogging. These practices can be immensely powerful not just magically but spiritually when approached with the proper mindset.

Within most Pagan paths, handfastings or weddings may be performed between people of the same or the opposite genders, or between groups of people. I've participated as a ritualist or guest at handfastings for same sex couples and for triads as well as for the more common heterosexual couples.

Generally speaking, Pagan paths tend to be high choice paths, and people may deal with their sexualities in any way that does not harm or force others. Individuals may choose to pursue celibacy to focus their energies inward, or they may choose to be polyamorous and have many lovers as a part of the expression of their everyday spirituality. Sex and eroticism is seen as a natural part of every life, and its healthy expression is encouraged.

I feel that my spirituality and sexuality are inextricably linked, as my spirituality is linked to every other aspect of my life. Not to explore it and develop it would be neglecting my body and my soul.
 

sag2008

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:eek:forgive my very bluntness or even taking this the wrong way iam 36 and to this day did not know that a priest had a penis and used to go to the bathroom uhg
 

Bruce Michael

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Greetings all.

I am wondering whether there's been a discussion about sexuality and religious belief on this board. Sexuality is such an integral part of being human and is something that we all -- monastic and layperson alike -- have to deal with in one way or another.

So, the question I put to everyone is: to what extent do your religious beliefs influence your sexuality or sexual life, be it active or celibate?

I'm going to think about this a little before I post ...

With metta,
Zenda

I did start a thread on the subject:
http://www.comparative-religion.com/forum/the-generative-forces-7380.html
 

Muslimwoman

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Hi All

Gosh lots of new faces I haven't spoken to before, now I know where everyone is hiding. :)

For me my faith controls much of my sexuality. Would I be a rampant hussy without my faith? Perhaps in my younger days.

I think that Brian has a point, that much is to do with guilt but should we not feel guilty when we sin? I certainly do.

Since converting to Islam I have found much more peace in that aspect of my life. I am so comfortable with the idea that only my husband will ever see me naked and I him (other than a doctor if necessary of course). I like that my body is now my own and I do not share it, even visually, with strangers.

I often ask myself why G-d made us such sexual creatures if He wants us to remain with one partner. For me the answer seems to be care, it is not just about making babies or having fun, it is all the other things that go into making up a relationship and I believe this is the lesson G-d is trying to teach us, to truly care for someone other than ourselves.

Salaam
 
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I'm trying to work my way through the tangled layers of my programming to find my natural sexuality. It's really, really hard. The religion-based moralism was the easiest thing to work through. The social-commercial stuff is really, really a mess. Everything about western culture tells you that you MUST embrace this bizarre concept of sexuality that's used to sell us absolutely everything. The more I look at it the more I feel like I'm being led around like a bull with a ring in its nose. I hate that.

Chris
 

Muslimwoman

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I'm trying to work my way through the tangled layers of my programming to find my natural sexuality. It's really, really hard. The religion-based moralism was the easiest thing to work through. The social-commercial stuff is really, really a mess. Everything about western culture tells you that you MUST embrace this bizarre concept of sexuality that's used to sell us absolutely everything. The more I look at it the more I feel like I'm being led around like a bull with a ring in its nose. I hate that.

Chris

Unfortunately Chris the ring is not in your nose. Just look at the billions spent on advertising in the west. Women must be skinny, tanned and wrinkle free - that way they can drape themselves over cars so men will rush out and buy a car but ask a man that looks at the ad and he can't tell you what colour the car is but he can describe the bikini down to the stitching pattern. The very sad thing is that it works. They sell us a dream of a perfect life, if you have this car then you can also get a girl like this.

I believe that is why they banned advertising for cigarettes, if it didn't work and draw in smokers then there would be no need to ban it. We are sold a fantasy lifestyle and being complete numpties we fall for it. I too have a drawer full of the products that will make my hair shine, my skin flawless and my wobbly bits just melt away - yeah right.
 
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The funny thing is that it's what you don't see that sells the whole thing. If everyone was to strip down and go naked the illusion would disappear. So a key component in perpetuating this psuedo-sexuality is having a modicum of repression, otherwise there's nothing to fetishize. In that sense moralism feeds decadence and vice-versa. Weird how that works.

Chris
 

Muslimwoman

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Well that is an interesting point and very true in some ways. I always say that we Muslim ladies are actually creating the very desires in men that we are trying to avoid, by the way we dress. Imagination is often more attractive than reality.

I see your point that if we all ran around naked there would be nothing to objectify........... or would there? Look at some of the small tribes that do run around virtually naked, does it repress their sexual desires? Nope. So I think they demonstrate that sexuality is a much deeper emotion/desire than simply what we see and want.
 

KarimK

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Spontaneously, I'd say the word that links "sexuality" and "religion" for me is : "guilt". Until I turned twelve, thirteen or so, and stopped believing, I used to have the worst guilt trips ever. I'm not saying religion always make us feel guilty about sex, but my particular religious education did.

I always say that we Muslim ladies are actually creating the very desires in men that we are trying to avoid, by the way we dress. Imagination is often more attractive than reality.
definitely. It's funny the way the hijab actually enhances the erotic aura of a woman like that. it's all the charm of a mysterious jewel one wants to uncover.

So a key component in perpetuating this psuedo-sexuality is having a modicum of repression, otherwise there's nothing to fetishize.
so true... just look at any porno movie : the woman always has to have something on her to remind the viewer she's not simply naked in a natural, acceptable way, but naked in a way that is "wrong" :)rolleyes:)(i.e : the woman usually wears high heels, or a collar, or anything so that she's not completely naked)

Erynn, what are handfastings?
 

Tao_Equus

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Sally, this is an old revived thread and the earlier posts are by people I never see now.

But since it has been re-started I'll throw in a few words.

I was this afternoon scanning some back issues of my filthy collection of magazines, I really must dust more often, looking for an article on gravity when I chanced across an article on sexuality. It was in the 17th January 2004 issue of New Scientist and is titled "Why Darwin was wrong about sex" (tried to get a link to it on the NS site but site seems to be down). The article is about the work of an evolutionary ecologist called Joan Roughgarden (no shaving jokes please), who postulates that same-sex relationships are the glue that keep many animal and bird societies together. Now it seems Ms Roughgarden was prior to 1998 actually a Mr Roughgarden. (I said no shaving jokes!!) She works at Stanford in California, a name that would give extra credit to anything she publishes. In the short article she self-references her own 'beliefs' without any substantive corroboration no less than 37 times. All she is doing is one almighty self-justification for her own lifestyle choices and calling it science.

Religion likewise forces people to search for and find justification for their chosen ideas on sex. Sex is many things and subject to many influences from personal emotional to societal/cultural bias to reproduction. Most of all it is a very very powerful part of our selves and one that causes deep confusions. I'd say it has nothing to do with religion and should be enjoyed whenever you feel inclined without guilt. But that it always works best with someone you love.

Tao
 
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