Sunday, February 16, 2014

Religion, Sex, Guilt and Porn!

My good friend Kaede Matsushima is one of the most sexual women I know.
She is also one of the most amazing and intelligent women I know. 

The very notion that the mother of Jesus is a perpetual virgin is a type of sexual perversion. It caters to a dangerous purity myth which, like the virgin sacrifices of old, objectifies the woman as a sexual object to be had, owned, or manipulated by gods and men while denying her her very own sexual identity. 

That's pretty damn perverse, if you ask me.

The point I'm trying to make is this, the impure thought here isn't the notion that a woman may like sex and therefore not be a virgin (because there's nothing wrong with that), but rather that because she is a sexually active woman who likes sex she isn't valued by her religion or society (and clearly there is a lot wrong with this).

If you're a thinking person, you can clearly see that the purity myth, i.e. the virgin fetish, is itself a kind of sexual perversion. It distorts how men ought to view women, in this case demoting women to the status of sexual objects to be owned (e.g. incubators for their husbands), and it places the value and worth of the woman, both spiritually and otherwise, on her so-called "sexual purity." After all, God forbid that a righteous man should fall in love with a woman who isn't a virgin. That would be ... sacrilegious!

It seems religion never got the memo from Cole Porter; after all, even educated fleas do it! 

The sad thing is, however, both men and women under the yoke of religious thought suffer from this outmoded view of sexuality. I've researched extensively dangers of the purity myth, in stark contrast to the benefits of pornography, which you can read more about here.

Which brings me to our next topic, piety and porn. 

Recently there were a couple of fascinating articles that popped up in my news feed that I thought were rather telling. In a recent study on piety and porn, researchers found that although religious people viewed the same amount of pornography as other demographics, they were more likely to feel addicted to porn and have a lingering sense of shame for having watched it. Researchers investigated and found that a series of negative feelings including emotional distress, depression, and deep-seeded guilt were far more prevalent in religious viewers of porn than non-religious viewers.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated study conducted in the U.S., researchers discovered that the largest contributors to amateur pornography didn't come from the liberal coastal cities, as one might expect, but rather came from predominantly religious communities of the Bible Belt. In addition to this, over 56% of the uploads were by women.

I find this fascinating, because it is quite revealing at how religion manipulates people to feel shame and guilt for being otherwise normal human beings. When religious people have human urges, the tendency isn't to celebrate this part of our humanity, but to recoil from it, to think it a sickness, and to decry behaviors associated with it such as having sex and watching porn.

But then, if the religious are so guilt ridden over the very notion of sex, why should they be the most sexually promiscuous and be the largest contributors to amateur pornography?

The answer, I think, is obvious. Sexual suppression breeds sexual frustration. The more sexually frustrated you are the more extreme your behavior will likely become.

It's the same with binge drinking, junk food fixes, or anything else you force yourself to abstain from but your body continually craves. As with the aforementioned things, when you fall off the bandwagon you don't just fall off the bandwagon, so to speak. The whole wagon train goes over the cliff, and you feel a great sense of shame, because odds are you didn't just take a sip of wine. Odds are you got fall-flat-on-your-face stupid drunk. Odds are you didn't just eat one piece of chocolate cake, odds are you ate the whole goddamn cake! The idea is that because you failed to abstain entirely, you should be ashamed for your failure.

Religion treats sex a lot like binge drinking or junk food fixes. You're supposed to abstain from sex, but if you can't, well, in these cases these sex-starved religious people don't just fall off the bandwagon. They don't just go out for a one-night-stand and consider themselves contented. No. They go out and have unsafe sex (usually due to poor sex education programs), go make porn, and only God knows what else.

The funny thing is, however, it's the religion itself which is causing the problem here. Religion distorts the idea of sex in the minds of its followers, and makes something which should be celebrated into a temptation that is seen as taboo and is frequently warned against. And like any temptation, whether it is the proverbial hand in the cookie jar, or else sex, we often find ourselves wanting what we are denied the most. 

Worse, perhaps, is the fact that the greatest sexual perversion there is is thinking the act of sex itself to (somehow) be perverse. It's a lot like a person who requires food for sustenance feeling horribly ashamed every time they need to eat. "Oh, I'm such a glutton! This time I'll try and starve myself!" The idea is absurd, not to mention dangerous. Such a negative outlook on food and eating, for example, can lead to serious illnesses like anorexia nervosa

But religion would have you think this way about sex; mainly that you should starve yourself of all sexual appetite and desires, but in actuality it only makes you suffer a type of sexual anorexia. 

Here's the deal though, one can never have too much sex! Sex is a good thing. In fact, medical studies have shown that sex is one of the best forms of exercise. Moreover, having sex on a regular basis provides numerous health benefits to the body, including but not limited to:

  • 1. Sex boosts your body's immune system.
  • 2. Sex increases your libido.
  • 3. Sex can improve bladder control.
  • 4. Sex can lower blood pressure.
  • 5. Sex burns a lot of calories.
  • 6. Sex lowers the risk of heart attack.
  • 7. Increases your tolerance threshold of pain.
  • 8. Reduces chances of prostate cancer.
  • 9. Improves sleep.
  • 10. Eases and lessens stress.

Out of these ten benefits to a regular regiment of sexual activity, which ones do you find we ought to be ashamed of? None. So, the question becomes, why should any one feel guilty or ashamed for what is essentially a good thing?

The fact is, like monogamy, religious views about sex are mainly antiquated. One of the reasons I became atheist, and became a lot happier as a consequence, was because I no longer was made to feel ashamed of liking or even wanting sex. I could embrace that part of me, accept myself fully, in addition to accepting others as sexual beings with sexual urges and needs. In the end, the problem of sex being viewed as a "sin" is simply a problem religion creates for itself. I'm here to tell you, from experience, there is absolutely no reason to be ashamed of having sex or wanting sex.

If more religious people could learn to accept themselves as sexual people with sexual urges and desires, and that these urges and desires are normal, then I am sure they would find much more contentment in their sexual relationships and lives. 

**UPDATE**

A Duke University woman who does porn writes an open letter to defend herself against the hypocrisy of bigoted bullies, slut-shamers, and narrow minded genophobes. I highly recommend it for anyone with an open mind and who accepts sex as a natural part of being human. 

http://m.xojane.com/sex/duke-university-freshman-porn-star





Advocatus Atheist

Advocatus Atheist