Why We Need to View Sexuality from a Secular Point of View

AGWDM darrel rayI’ve always believed that anyone seeking therapy or answers for sexual or relationship problems should seek advice and answers from a secular point of view.

Religion is often the basis of why so many people have so many hang-ups about sex and relationships and religious leaders have no psychological training or knowledge about sex as it applies to human beings. Plus, religious beliefs on sex and sexuality go back over 2,000 years ago and have nothing to do with what we know and how we live today. Going to see a pastor, minister or rabbi (at least most of them) about a sex or relationship problem is like taking in your laptop to get fixed by a guy who makes abacuses.

As Dr. Darrel Ray puts it: “How can you advise someone on their sex life when you don’t know what they’re being taught and what their belief structures are?”

I first learned about Dr. Ray when Lisa of Sweet Woman, Dirty Mind did a chapter-by-chapter review of his book, Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. I couldn’t help but to say, “Yes! This!” more than a couple of dozen times. Like Lisa, I’m a recovering Catholic. I had to overcome a lot of the same things she was taught – or not taught – about sexuality and relationships when I was growing up and even well into my 20’s. I had to buy the book. When I discovered that Dr. Ray hosted a podcast, Secular Sexuality, I just got all over it.

AGWDM secular sexuality 250 bannerI spent several hours over this past weekend listening to the podcasts. I listened to Dr. Ray speak with some notable people like Dr. David Ley about the myths of sex addiction 17 different ways and sideways, especially in the way religious people skew normal sexual thoughts and behaviors into guilt that must be absolved by the church, of course. I listened to him talk with people like a woman named Amber and others like her who talked about growing up fundamentalist and how she was taught nothing about sexuality, mainly because women weren’t supposed to be sexual. Dr. Ray talks with a guy named Ari, a former Hasidic Jew, about the archaic rules and rituals of sex that still apply today. He talks to people who are dancers, gay and polyamorous about the stigma, judgment and even ostracization they’ve had to overcome to be well-adjusted people, sexually and otherwise.

He even talked with Lisa from Sweet Woman, Dirty Mind about her transition from Catholicism to atheism and from monogamy to having a kinky, open relationship with her husband.

Talk about mind blown! They’re all frank, open, personal and explicit conversations. Every. Single. Conversation.

Religion is so pervasive in the United States, especially in our politics. We have half of the people in our country who identify as conservative. Even if they don’t go to church on a regular basis, they blindly fall in line with the religious mores of things like not having sex before or outside of marriage (even though just about everyone does), “good girls don’t”, and marriage is only between one man and one woman. In one way or another, most people have had some kind of religious conditioning from very early years that interferes with relationships, sexuality and our minds. Even if people are comfortable with their sexuality, there’s still the pushback and judgment that comes from parents, families, friends and business and community standards that a lot of sexually evolved people or people with non-traditional sexual orientations have to deal with.

“Nobody’s talking about this shit, and we should,” Dr. Ray says.

I can’t recommend giving Secular Sexuality a listen enough. Listen to it while you’re working on your laptop. Download the weekly podcasts and listen to them on your commute to or from work.

Until the next podcast, I plan on digging into Dr. Ray’s other book, The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture.

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About Bobbie Morgan (1247 Articles)
Bobbie Morgan is the beditor-in-chief of A Good Woman's Dirty Mind. When she's not blogging or having the best sex ever, she's putting out writing and social media services for adult businesses. Use the contact link to reach her by email.

6 Comments on Why We Need to View Sexuality from a Secular Point of View

  1. I’ve bookmarked the site to go back and listen later. :)

    I grew up in a decidedly non-religious home, and the hang-ups about sex and sexuality still existed. It simply wasn’t something we discussed – even though everyone was reading smutty books. (Weird.) That being said, I decided to try religion in my teens and even the small dose I received in two years screwed me up for several years. I was afraid of my own sexuality. Thought I was going to hell for not being a virgin and believed I shouldn’t have sex outside of marriage. If I’d come to those conclusions on my own, with no real outside influence, okay. But instead I felt dirty and bad for feeling sexual. I’m back to being decidedly non-religious and I prefer it that way, for many reasons.

    • I’ve never been a religious person. Even though I was raised Catholic (not devout, but for the sake of appearances), I questioned everything from the time I was in kindergarten and was taught about original sin. The crap and messages I heard from my parents, family members and adult friends of the family were another thing. All of those messages and conditioning set in before I my sexuality emerged from puberty onward. It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I learned to accept, understand and embrace my sexuality.

      I recommend listening Dr. Ray’s podcast with Lisa of Sweet Woman, Dirty Mind first. If you’re not familiar with her or her blog, I know you’ll like her and what she writes about! All of the other podcasts are delicious discussions. Dr. Ray is so cool and engaging. I hope I get a chance to talk with him soon!

  2. I always thought that religion’s take on sex was formed on the basis of jealousy. Religions want you to love them more than everything else and they know that if you’re enjoying your love life too much then you’ll love your partner more than your priest and that just won’t do. Seems some modern sports coaches preach the same mantra, but ask James Hunt about the breakfast of champions.
    LadyAE and I have been watching a fascinating TV serious recently. “The ascent of women” which is looking back at the constraints put on women over the last few thousand years and it looks like almost all religions have viewed women who like sex as being inherently evil! Since it’s presumably men that have written these rules I was left with the questions
    what sort of man could hate women who like sex?
    Don’t they like it?
    Who do they to have sex with?
    Are they totally mad?
    or am I missing something.
    Why would I want to hate and fear someone who wants to love me and enjoy me?
    I became an atheist at about the age of 7 or 8 as soon as I could start to think for myself, although I’ve met lots of very good people who happen to be religious. Not everyone is judgmental. But it does seem an awfully small step from “I believe this is right” to “I believe what you do is wrong”. SO often organised religion is about power and what greater power can you exert over people than to control their most human instincts.

    • Yes, organized religion is all about power from the local parish all the way into federal governments.

      You bring up a very important point — “Why would I want to hate and fear someone who wants to love me and enjoy me?” I wonder about that often. The two biggest reasons why marriages and long-term break down is often over money and sex. So why sabotage sex? Add to that the concept of men believing that there are only two kinds of women — the kinds of women you take to bed (and keep secret from their friends and family) and the kinds of women you marry. When some men stray from their marriages, the women they seek out aren’t just the kinds of women who will do things their wives won’t. Often, men can’t bring themselves to ask their wives to do the things they want to do. Crazy, isn’t it?

  3. Recently (2015) attended a wedding officiated by a ‘small heartland town’ clergyman. Stunned that the ceremony still focused almost entirely on the marriage of the Chruch to Christ and literally 85-90% was not about the couple or THEIR love. All about obligation, devotion, service to the church and obeying husband and and and. It was very hard to tolerate but, as it was not my wedding I held slient and celebrated the occasion after actual ceremony. Not all “bad” for sure as some words and traditions are familiar and ‘feel right’ but … oh my. The indoctrination remains overpowering in many places in this country right up to today.

    Thanks for the site tip. I will visit and learn …

  4. I guess it all comes down to what this couples’ marriage means to them. I don’t have a problem with people having religious beliefs. That’s a personal matter. But I do have a problem with people questioning my moral compass and when they try to cram their religious beliefs down my throat.

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