# Sex and Your Religious Beliefs

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Other than the almost universal taboo against incest, does your religion/belief system limit what goes on between you and your lover? Does it limit who you can have sex with? What kind of sexual practices are the most encouraged?

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A willing partner, and no harming them (no STDs, unwanted pregnancies, child abuse, or cheating on a spouse/lover that has been promised monogamy).

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I am not sure. Part of me thinks that any recreational sex (i.e.not for the explicit purpose of procreation) is morally wrong. On the other hand, sex can be an expression of love, and surely that is a good thing, so I am more inclined to say that sex is wrong if it is not an expression of love.

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I am not sure. Part of me thinks that any recreational sex (i.e.not for the explicit purpose of procreation) is morally wrong. On the other hand, sex can be an expression of love, and surely that is a good thing, so I am more inclined to say that sex is wrong if it is not an expression of love.

Does this come from Paul's explanation in Romans, or some other reason? (Or some combination?)

For all practical purposes, I know those would be the guidelines I'd end up sticking to, but I don't know if I'd say "morally wrong." I don't see what about the act of sex is actually immoral, unless of course there are issues with consent, but for some reason I'd follow the guideline anyway.

Perhaps just a "residue" of morals taught in society? I'm not sure.

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I am not sure. Part of me thinks that any recreational sex (i.e.not for the explicit purpose of procreation) is morally wrong. On the other hand, sex can be an expression of love, and surely that is a good thing, so I am more inclined to say that sex is wrong if it is not an expression of love.

Do you think that masturbation is wrong?

Whenever I have sex, there's always an element of tenderness towards a fellow human being there; but cracking one off is pure satiation of my sex drive.

Or is it only actual sex you're a bit iffy on?

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I am not sure. Part of me thinks that any recreational sex (i.e.not for the explicit purpose of procreation) is morally wrong. On the other hand, sex can be an expression of love, and surely that is a good thing, so I am more inclined to say that sex is wrong if it is not an expression of love.

Why should recreational sex be considered wrong? It is found throughout nature.

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We know for a fact, scientifically, that the same mechanisms in our brain that make us feel pleasure is also active (very) during sex. We're not just guessing it's pleasurable, the body is built to produce a pleasurable feeling while practicing sex. It's not a psychological pleasure, it's hormonal pleasure - physical - that we can explain scientifically and have evidence for.

While I could understand why, 2000 years ago, the customs and society would encourage sex with a single person after marriage, I could never get why if someone believes God designed us physically, would god be opposed to sex for pleasure. Our body is designed for it. Makes no sense to me.

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Why should recreational sex be considered wrong? It is found throughout nature.

toastywombel my friend, don`t get me wrong, I also find no reason why should recreational sex be wrong at all, but in reference that it is found throughout nature, I must say that for most species they have sex only for procreation purposes, being the human being as with some other primates, the few exceptions, where sex is practiced for pleasure or domminance reasons. Of course most of the males are always eager for it, but females have procreation cycles or mating seasons, in which only for a few moments they will accept to have sex, mediated by hormonal activity.

We know for a fact, scientifically, that the same mechanisms in our brain that make us feel pleasure is also active (very) during sex. We're not just guessing it's pleasurable, the body is built to produce a pleasurable feeling while practicing sex. It's not a psychological pleasure, it's hormonal pleasure - physical - that we can explain scientifically and have evidence for.

Mostly true mooeypoo my friend, but there always exists during sex a psychological factor. For instance, in the matter treated in the other topic in ethics, Rape, is in fact sex, but since it is done by force it will not necessarily produce any pleasure at all, where the psychi of the attacked woman, will block any hormonal activity that can help to produce pleasure.

While I could understand why, 2000 years ago, the customs and society would encourage sex with a single person after marriage, I could never get why if someone believes God designed us physically, would god be opposed to sex for pleasure. Our body is designed for it. Makes no sense to me.

It is not necessarily Gods will, to be opposed to sex, but for most of his followers, sex for pleasure, is associated with the original sin, commited by Adam and Eve in the Paradise, where they ate the forbidden fruit, even though that God told them not to, reason why they were expelled from there.

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Do you think that masturbation is wrong?

Yes - masturbation would be immoral too. There is absolutely no point to it other than self-pleasure.

Why should recreational sex be considered wrong? It is found throughout nature.

That is the Appeal to Nature Fallacy. Being found in nature has no bearing on right or wrong.

While I could understand why, 2000 years ago, the customs and society would encourage sex with a single person after marriage, I could never get why if someone believes God designed us physically, would god be opposed to sex for pleasure. Our body is designed for it. Makes no sense to me.

Why is feeling pleasure good? We were not placed on this Earth to enjoy ourselves, or have fun, or pleasure. Should we just spend all our days in a drug induced stupor? Should we have orgies in the street? There has to be some self imposed discipline, and (without divine guidance) it is subjective as to where to draw that line.

Even worse, pleasurable things have a tendency to draw you in and make you want them more - this is clearly true with drugs, but is also true with sex.

Edited by Severian
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The feeling of love, giving of love and being loved too, is also pleasurable. And its also gods will.

Is that wrong too ?

Edited by Rickdog
Completing idea and orthography
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The feeling of love, and being loved too, is also pleasureable. And also gods will.

Is that wrong too ?

My statement was:

(action is pleasurable) $\nRightarrow$ (action is right)

One cannot infer from that statement that:

(action is pleasurable) $\Rightarrow$ (action is wrong)

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Why is feeling pleasure good?

Well, sort of by definition, pleasure is good (Provided it doesn't interfere with the pleasure or well being of others.)

We were not placed on this Earth to enjoy ourselves, or have fun

How sad to feel this way. I'm here chiefly to have fun and to live for the benefit of others; The universe is my amusement park. One should look at it more often, it's a great place.

Should we just spend all our days in a drug induced stupor? Should we have orgies in the street?

On occasion, yes.

It would be a bit like college I suppose, and would surely be better than being in a media/doctrine induced stupor and having wars in the street.

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Mostly true mooeypoo my friend, but there always exists during sex a psychological factor. For instance, in the matter treated in the other topic in ethics, Rape, is in fact sex, but since it is done by force it will not necessarily produce any pleasure at all, where the psychi of the attacked woman, will block any hormonal activity that can help to produce pleasure.

There are cases where the assaulted woman will have an orgasm during the rape, which contributes to the psychological harm afterwards. ("But I enjoyed it!" sort of thing.)

Also, as Martin Seligman and others say, pleasure is not the key to life-long happiness, and it wears off very quickly. People who have lots of pleasure are not necessarily happier and more satisfied with their lives. Mere physical pleasure should not be a guiding principle. (Though I suppose it should happen every once in a while.)

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Well, sort of by definition, pleasure is good (Provided it doesn't interfere with the pleasure or well being of others.)

Pleasure is often (but not always) a sign of good things. Pleasure in and of itself however is meaningless. The quintessential example of that is the drug addict in a drug induced stupor. Some pleasures are cheap and meaningless, even harmful.

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There are cases where the assaulted woman will have an orgasm during the rape, which contributes to the psychological harm afterwards. ("But I enjoyed it!" sort of thing.)

Believe it or not, that also happens with children in cases of child abuse. It will start from a relatively older age (around puberty) but that is part of the psychological aspects that are taken advantage of by the molester ("you know you like it", etc).

Our bodies are wired to produce pleasure from contact -- quite specific contact -- in our reproductive organs.

~moo

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Pleasure is often (but not always) a sign of good things. Pleasure in and of itself however is meaningless. The quintessential example of that is the drug addict in a drug induced stupor. Some pleasures are cheap and meaningless, even harmful.

I think that's a wrong example, Mr Skeptic.

First, "addiction" can come with anything, and suggests an uncontrolled "use". There's also chocolate addiction, computer addiction, etc etc. It's a mechanism that comes as the extreme -- so this mechanism takes advantage of the *natural* process.

Just like there are diseases 'tricking' our bodies to *think* that growing excess cells is a good thing (causes cancer and other very bad conditions), addictions 'trick' the body to think the abuse of a substance is good for it.

That doesn't mean that sex is bad. Or that chocolate is bad. Or that sex isn't meant for pleasure, or that chocolate isn't meant for pleasure. It just means that if you abuse it (no control, etc) it's not good for you. Just like anything else you may abuse.

~moo

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The Nazarene church I attended when young was extremely severe in terms of pleasure. Though too young to remember anything said about sex specifically, they didn't approve of singing or dancing that wasn't praising God. I remember asking my Sunday school teacher once if I could dance at a middle school sock hop if I did it while thanking God for the opportunity. The rant he gave me lead me to later leave that church, but not before I went to the dance, and had a reasonably good time.

I did retain a sense of fairness and humane treatment. I won't do anything sexually that might cause any undue pain (even if a lover requests it - mild spanking is about all I'm OK with, and even then it tends to be absurd). For me, bringing pleasure is what sex is all about, even when you're trying to have a child. We have the capacity for many emotions and sensations, and I don't think any god would deny us any of them. If God created us then I think it's responsible to use everything He gave us to make yourself the best person you can be. I can't imagine being a good person while denying myself sexual pleasures.

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Why is feeling pleasure good?

My argument, wasn't that it's "good", it was that it's NATURAL.

It's a purpose of our bodies, quite clearly, to enjoy sex. Just like it's the purpose of the fingers to grab items, the purpose of our eyes to filter light and pass the signals to our brains, etc etc.

I do think feeling pleasure is good, but that is a different argument. Feeling pleasure is natural, and since we are discussing it in light of religion, I am not sure I understand how anything our body is hardwired to do can be against what a deity wants, if the claim is that the deity created us.

We were not placed on this Earth to enjoy ourselves, or have fun, or pleasure.

How do you know? What objective measure are you using to judge what we were placed on Earth for and what not?

Should we just spend all our days in a drug induced stupor? Should we have orgies in the street? There has to be some self imposed discipline, and (without divine guidance) it is subjective as to where to draw that line.

Again, read my argument in the above post regarding addictions. It's not a good analogy, you're comparing a proper use to the extreme use.

Overusing sex might be bad (we can argue that), but that doesn't mean that having sex occasionally for pleasure is bad.

Even worse, pleasurable things have a tendency to draw you in and make you want them more - this is clearly true with drugs, but is also true with sex.

Yes, that's why you were born with self control. Actually, you weren't born with self control (neither was I, neither was anyone else), you learned it. And assuming you are a healthy member of society, you should have it. As long as it doesn't do harm to your bodies or others', what objective measure is there to say it is bad?

Sweet foods can be very bad for you, but you need to eat a lot of it to do harm to your body (not sure if it will harm others, unless, perhaps, your family when you die of obesity if you eat too much fatty foods). But sweet foods can also be good for your body in low doses, occasionally. In fact, there are some researches showing that sugar produces pleasure in the brain, just liike sex (not as strongly, but the same type).

So, we can switch your statement like this: We're not put on this Earth to eat sweet foods (how do you know?). Even worse, sweet foods can draw you in and make you want them more...

Do you see the problem? In order for this statement to be consistent, you need to avoid *everything* that might cause you pleasure, because it also might draw you into abusing it or addiction.

It does not follow.

~moo

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I can't imagine being a good person while denying myself sexual pleasures.

Does that mean that you couldn't be a good person if you were denied sexual pleasures?

My argument, wasn't that it's "good", it was that it's NATURAL.

I am confused. I thought you were trying to support the notion of having pleasure? As I am sure you aware, supporting an action because it is natural is a naturalistic fallacy again.

How do you know? What objective measure are you using to judge what we were placed on Earth for and what not?

I was expressing my opinion. I never said that you couldn't have pleasure. I never even said that I couldn't have pleasure - but seeking pleasure is not a prime motivator for me.

It's not a good analogy, you're comparing a proper use to the extreme use.

And how do you judge "extreme"?

As long as it doesn't do harm to your bodies or others', what objective measure is there to say it is bad?

There is none. It is all a matter of personal standards. I personally don't really care what you think is good or bad (no offence) and I will not criticise you for sinning or committing immoral acts (though I might for committing illegal ones). I believe that we should live our lives by certain standards, and I believe that these standards are not learned or reasoned, but are innate within us.

The example of raping a coma patient was quite enlightening I think, since it is an act which harms no-one (if no physical harm is done) but which we all (apart from maybe Mr Skeptic) agree is wrong.

So, we can switch your statement like this: We're not put on this Earth to eat sweet foods (how do you know?). Even worse, sweet foods can draw you in and make you want them more...

I agree. I don't eat sweet foods.

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Does that mean that you couldn't be a good person if you were denied sexual pleasures?
In terms of my spiritual beliefs, if I denied myself sexual pleasures, I would be cutting myself off from a part of my social and physical being that I was obviously meant to enjoy, which might lead to my being less than a good person. As long as I'm a moderately sexual person, one who causes no harm in my sexual actions, there is nothing in my belief system that would cause God to be angry with me.
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In terms of my spiritual beliefs, if I denied myself sexual pleasures, I would be cutting myself off from a part of my social and physical being that I was obviously meant to enjoy, which might lead to my being less than a good person. As long as I'm a moderately sexual person, one who causes no harm in my sexual actions, there is nothing in my belief system that would cause God to be angry with me.

That is an interesting point of view. Many people can't have sex, for physical or social or circumstantial reasons. I wouldn't have thought that they could use that as an excuse for being a bad person.

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That is an interesting point of view. Many people can't have sex, for physical or social or circumstantial reasons. I wouldn't have thought that they could use that as an excuse for being a bad person.
I would never excuse someone for being a bad person. They might have reasons for their behavior, including the inability to enjoy sexual release and tactile pleasure. I'm reasonably sure they could be a good person without these things, but their situation is no excuse for being a bad person.

I'm just not sure I could be as good a person as I consider myself now without the pleasures of sex. I think it might erode my positive outlook on life and people in general.

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Yes - masturbation would be immoral too. There is absolutely no point to it other than self-pleasure.

Actually, I find that I get quite grumpy and angry if I don't orgazm on a regular basis.

So, for self-pleasure but also to stop me from being grumpy.

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Why is feeling pleasure good? We were not placed on this Earth to enjoy ourselves, or have fun, or pleasure. Should we just spend all our days in a drug induced stupor? Should we have orgies in the street? There has to be some self imposed discipline, and (without divine guidance) it is subjective as to where to draw that line.

I would argue that biological agents seek pleasure and avoid pain in general, so part of my purpose is to enjoy life. Of course discipline is needed to avoid constantly seeking instant gratification. Delaying pleasure can lead to even greater pleasures down the road - for example sex. A slow hand can result in a more intense climax. As with all morality, it is subjective with different individual limits within boundaries suggested by society. People have different tolerances for pleasure seeking, so if you love living life on the edge, don't marry someone who wants to stay in and read all day.

Yes - masturbation would be immoral too. There is absolutely no point to it other than self-pleasure.

Masturbation is probably the single best thing I could suggest to anyone. With a partner it is even better. Suggesting the eating of salad to be immoral would make more sense. I would argue it is the moral thing to do - like exercise or reading.

Of course, to each his own. If you think masturbation is immoral, OK. If you think your opinion is superior to mine because of some mythology and you want it crammed into children's minds, I really don't like that at all. If you want to pass laws based on it, well I invite you to a quail hunt.... But seriously, what idiot would pass laws against sex between consenting adults?

Even worse, pleasurable things have a tendency to draw you in and make you want them more - this is clearly true with drugs, but is also true with sex.

True, some people can drink a glass or two of wine everyday with no problems. Some cannot or don't like it. Limits are needed, but each individual has their own healthy limits.

Mere physical pleasure should not be a guiding principle. (Though I suppose it should happen every once in a while.)

I don't agree with that, maybe its just semantics. Constantly seeking instant gratification can be a problem, but I want to have physical and emotional pleasure in my life and hope the same for everyone. One can get into a rut and simply keep looking into the future and never really live, never really enjoy the present. This is just as sad as being in a stupor, maybe more so, IMO

While I could understand why, 2000 years ago, the customs and society would encourage sex with a single person after marriage, I could never get why if someone believes God designed us physically, would god be opposed to sex for pleasure. Our body is designed for it. Makes no sense to me.

I think this probably stems from the natural inclination not to mate with your family members, especially parents. It could all be social, but I think there is a natural component. Then you have sexually repressed monks and nuns trying to convince themselves and society that going without is the gold standard.

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The example of raping a coma patient was quite enlightening I think, since it is an act which harms no-one (if no physical harm is done) but which we all (apart from maybe Mr Skeptic) agree is wrong.

I think raping anyone is wrong. If the coma patient has previously given implied consent to having sex (maybe she's your wife), then it might not be wrong, but would at best be extremely disturbing.

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Feeling pleasure is natural, and since we are discussing it in light of religion, I am not sure I understand how anything our body is hardwired to do can be against what a deity wants, if the claim is that the deity created us.

Well in Genesis God cursed the entire earth due to Adam's sin, and later before the flood said "And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. --Genesis 6:12" This seems to include animals, so I think that God got disgusted by his own natural creations as well. Elsewhere the Bible talks about how we are naturally inclined to sin.

Edited by Mr Skeptic
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I don't agree with that, maybe its just semantics. Constantly seeking instant gratification can be a problem, but I want to have physical and emotional pleasure in my life and hope the same for everyone. One can get into a rut and simply keep looking into the future and never really live, never really enjoy the present. This is just as sad as being in a stupor, maybe more so, IMO

True, but emotional pleasure does not come straight from doing pleasurable activities or the right concoction of drugs. "Happiness" comes not from direct physical pleasure but many other factors as well, and I believe Dr. Seligman (see my previous link) states that physical pleasure doesn't really play a role in how satisfied with their lives people say they are.

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