For 20 years of my life I grew up in a fundamentalist non-denominational Christian family.
I obediently attended church twice a day on Sunday. I prayed unceasingly, sang worship songs, gave money, and listened to the preachers. I witnessed the scandals. I heard the gossiping. I went to many mid-week bible studies, gave out religious pamphlets once a year and read the entire bible back to front three times over. Hell, I even learned a tiny bit of ancient Greek to help me translate the original biblical text better.
This article is a testament to a lot of what I’ve learned about Christianity and sex. If I were to truly reveal everything I’ve learned about this major world religion, I’d probably write an entire book – or three.
You may be wondering why I’m only shining the spotlight on Christianity. After all, don’t other religions create sexually repressed and twisted people? The answer is yes. Religions like Islam, Judaism and even Hinduism do indeed distort sexuality. But due to time and length restrictions, I can only focus on Christianity for now. Also, I don’t have as much experience with other religions as I do with Christianity. So I think it’s best for me to start with what I’ve had first-hand experience with.
Put simply, Christian sex indoctrination is one of the greatest scourges of the planet.
It’s time to examine how Christian perceptions of sex influence us.
Christianity and its corruption of sex has tormented, plagued and afflicted millions upon millions of people throughout the ages. We will explore these dangerous forms of indoctrination in this article.
Before I begin, I want to say that not all followers of Christ conform to organized Christianity. Many admirers of Christ have healthy perceptions of sex and sexuality – although these represent a minority. Like many others, I believe that Christ was a wise and enlightened man and I respect the lessons he taught. However, I don’t subscribe to the Bible.
How Christian Beliefs Infiltrate Our Perceptions of Sex
Even if you weren’t raised in a Christian household, you were still raised in a religious culture. This religious culture was heavily influenced by at least one of the major world religions.
If you were raised in the West, for example, Christianity was almost guaranteed to enter your life at some point. From the way sex was spoken about in school to the laws passed today, sexual perceptions, choices and beliefs were made for you since birth.
According to how fierce the religious climate you lived in was, you would have learned that God hears all lustful thoughts. You would have been taught that sex before marriage is immoral and punishable with hellfire. That masturbation is dirty. Homosexuality (“sodomy”) is a perversion. Abortion is murder.
Since a young age, Christianity infects us with illness and gives us the imaginary “cure.” Because we’re unable to think critically as children, we easily accept what we’re taught. Being taught that there is an immortal, unconditionally loving God in the sky makes us feel safe and secure. Children love this. (As a child I remember how nice it felt to be protected.) But then as we get older we’re taught that this God has special rules for us. Finally, in our teenage years we’re taught that God loves us, but he’ll send us to hell if we disobey him. This place is described as being a “blazing furnace” where there will be “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:42).
As our bodies begin to go through changes in adolescence, we’re taught to feel condemned by our own sex drive. We’re told that we must abstain from masturbation because Jesus is always watching us. We’re warned not to engage in pre-marital sex, and cautioned of the shame and horror that will befall us if we do.
As young adults, we’re taught that God’s word (the Bible), is the absolute truth. Because we were conditioned since birth to associate God with wisdom, protection, and the bringer of salvation, we begin studying the bible obediently. I remember how much of a relief it was to have life all figured out. It was so nice to read “God’s Word” whenever I was stranded in a moral dilemma or a confusing situation. I didn’t even have to think for myself! I could just quote scripture and be backed by the “fact” that it was spoken directly from God. Soon my every thought, opinion and belief was filtered by the Bible. This is a very effective method of brainwashing that many other Christians experience every single day.
As adults, we develop something I call the inner “religious police.” Our inner religious police ensure that we stay obedient (enslaved) to the dogmas and creeds of Christianity. Their job is to constantly filter our thoughts and feelings through the use of shame and guilt. Anything judged as not being “biblical” is locked out of the conscious mind and repressed into the Shadow Self. For example, a Christian man who has sexual thoughts about a woman is instantly arrested by his inner religious police. His inner religious police condemn the thought as “sinful” and infect him with guilt, shame, and the fear of punishment from God. This ensures that he continues to stay faithful to the laws of God.
To remain as a righteous “soldier” of Christ, men and woman alike memorize a number of Bible verses to keep sin away. Here are some examples:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30)
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous.” (Hebrews 13:4)
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.” (Ephesians 5:3-5)
As we can see, such Biblical verses promote sexual avoidance, aversion, and terror. If certain kinds of sexual behavior can land you straight in Satan’s lap, you better be careful!
But as we’ll soon see, being a Christian doesn’t correlate with being a more “moral” person. In fact, in many cases it actually does the opposite.
Christian Sex Myths
The following Christian sex myths are responsible for many of the problems we’ll explore next. Here is only a small sample of the many destructive ideas out there that Christianity supports:
- If you lust in your heart, you’ve committed adultery
- The sole purpose of sex is to make babies
- Jesus/God is watching while you masturbate
- Women who have slept with multiple people are whores
- Pre-marital sex is a ticket straight into hell
- You’re not allowed to be attracted to others when you’re married
- Homosexuality and lesbianism is abnormal and perverted
- Teaching children about sex will increase their chances of engaging in such acts
- Pornography is from the devil
- Teaching people about Jesus’ plan of salvation will prevent them from engaging in “unlawful” sex
- Women are temptresses and lead men astray (never the other way around)
- The only appropriate sex position is penis-vaginal “missionary” – anal, oral, and other types of sex are sinful
- Celebrating sex is dangerous
- Having lots of sex is inappropriate
- Women should always be subservient to men
Here are some statistics:
- 77% of Christian men aged 18-30 look at porn at least monthly … think about that statistic for a moment
- 36% of Christian men aged 18-30 view porn daily
- 32% believe they’re addicted to porn
- 77% of married Christian men look at porn monthly
- 35% of married Christian men have had affairs
- Divorce rates are highest in the southern Bible belt of America
- Evangelical and fundamentalist Christians have the highest divorce rates out of all Christian branches
Here are some other grisly facts:
- 93% of sex offenders describe themselves as “religious”
- In a survey of 6,000 pastors and the way they responded to Christian women experiencing domestic violence, 50% told the woman that they should be willing to tolerate it to avoid divorce. 26% told them to continue to “submit” to their husbands as the Bible commands (Ephesians 5:22). 25% told the women than it was their fault in the first place for not submitting to their husbands.
As for child abuse, the picture isn’t pretty. Examining medical, physical, psychological and sexual neglect in Christianity, Shaver, Bottoms, Goodman and Quin from the University of Chicago and California conclude,
Our study leads us to believe that there are more children actually being abused in the name of God than in the name of Satan.
Psychologist Darrel Ray agrees, saying:
One of the best predictors of child abuse and sexual abuse is the religiosity of the parents. The more religious the parents, the more likely they are to abuse their children.
How Christianity Creates Repressed and Unhappy People
Growing up in a fundamentalist Christian church, I saw a lot of things. But I never expected that one of the long-time members – let’s call him Andrew – would be convicted of child molestation and sent to prison. The church subsequently split apart (thankfully I was long gone). Apparently, the high and mighty head evangelist knew of this but had not said or done anything.
To me, this was a shock. I knew Andrew since birth. I really liked him. But now when I think back over the scandal, I’m not surprised. Examining my own deeply entrenched sexual repression and how much hell it has put me through, I know that it’s a dangerous thing.
The result of believing that there is an all-knowing, voyeuristic God who watches everything you do inevitably results in endless unhappiness. When your natural-born sex drive is the very thing that can land you straight in eternal damnation, you begin to resent yourself. Any deviation from missionary-style marital sex makes you shudder with fear.
Your inner religious police officer constantly lashes you with guilt and shame every time you have a “bad” thought or lustful desire. Then, the more you repress these feelings, the more they silently grow. Eventually, biology wins, and you give in to temptation and “defile” yourself.
The more deeply entrenched your Christian sex ideologies are, the more repressed you become. Eventually, as your smothered sex drive rears its head with vengeance, you become more and more perverted.
Religious sexual repression is easy to spot. You can glimpse it in the aggression, rage, judgmentalism, gossip, secret affairs, obsessive porn use, and smothered up abuse within the Christian communities.
How many times have we heard of priests molesting and raping children on the news? How many church elders have been caught having homosexual affairs? How many pastors have been revealed to be abusive towards their wife and children?
To me, it’s very clear that when our sexuality is not honored or channeled in the appropriate way, we become unhappy, congested, and at worst, abusive or perverted.
The more we are made to feel like evil, damaged and diseased people, the more we slink through the shadows secretly indulging our primal desires.
It’s about time that we learned to see the ways in which Christianity controls and limits our ability to enjoy sex.
It’s about time that we come to terms with our sexual inhibition, frustration, and embarrassment.
Sex is not something to be ashamed of.
Your sex drive doesn’t need to be shunned.
You don’t need to deny the fact that you’re a sexual being.
Sex is something to be celebrated.
It’s about time that we celebrate it.
We can do this through self-love.