Religion Shutting Down Sexuality
Harmful messages about sexuality are too often transmitted by conservative religions of all stripes.
The Christian woman quoted below is talking about how much she shares with another Christian woman’s experience:
“I suppressed most of my sexual urges.” YES. Hell yes, I did. “I was more or less asexual.” YES. I didn’t have a sexual thought, didn’t have a sexual fantasy, didn’t have a sex drive. I’d suppressed these things out of existence.
Sorry to say that I, too, can relate.
Christians — and Jews
Not surprisingly, repression is threatening marriage — and conception — among Orthodox Jews, too.
The marital bed is a blessing filled with God’s light, say rabbis. Yet too often women feel disgust and pain instead of desire, and recoil from their husbands.
Occasionally, rabbis refer cringing wives to counselors, like Bat Sheva Marcus, who has put a lot of work into dealing with her own repressed sexuality.
As a young woman Dr. Marcus could not talk about sex or even say the word “breasts.” But while working on her masters degree she finally broke through her fear. Now she’s an Orthodox sex counselor who told the New York Times that the women she meets with “have zero — zero — connection to pleasure.”
One woman had not known where her clitoris was until after bearing her third child. Even then, her rabbi cautioned against clitoral stimulation, relenting only after learning that it was necessary for arousal.
— and Muslims
Fundamentalist Muslims are also — surprise, surprise — affected. Egyptian journalist, Mona Eltahawy, writes about her struggle to accept her body and sexuality in the face of the guilt and shame she absorbed. In her book, Headscarves and Hymens: Why The Middle East Needs A Sexual Revolution, she worries over a purity culture that leaves so many women disgusted by sex and remaining lifelong mental and emotional virgins. Yet oddly, they are also held responsible for the physically and emotionally painful rapes that they are all too often victimized by.
Even though the religious and nonreligious alike engage in the same sorts of activities: masturbation, oral sex, affairs, porn, the missionary position… the religious feel guiltier about it all and enjoy it less. So say Kansas University researchers, Darrel Ray and Amanda Brown, who surveyed more than 14,500 people.
The more conservative the observer, the more shame. Mormons ranked highest with a score of 8.19 out of 10. Close behind were Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals, Seventh Day Adventists, and Baptists. Who experienced the least shame? Atheists.
Strange that a (God-given?) gift of sexuality is so shrouded in shame.
Posted on April 11, 2016, in psychology, relationships, sex and sexuality, sexism, women and tagged psychology, religion, sex, sexism, sexual repression, sexuality, women. Bookmark the permalink. 29 Comments.