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Religion, Women, Sex: How Religion Can Repress Women and Sexuality

Feligions often treat women as inferior to men - women have been denied leadership roles, they are told to be submissive, and religious doctrines are used to control them both in society and the family. Religions also often treat sex and sexuality as if they were inherently evil. These two attitudes are closely connected in most religions.
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Gender Differences & Religion
It's long been noted that women tend to be more religious than men and that women often constitute a disproportionately large percentage of regular church-goers. There are a number of factors which all lead in to this. It's not a simply question of being 'more religious' but, rather, a collection of social, psychological, and perhaps even biological factors.

Nazi & Christian Conceptions of Women's Social Roles
Both religious and political conservatives tend to try to take women out of politics, business, and other public roles in order to limit them to the home, the family, and the church. It is their belief that women's roles are necessarily constrained by God and/or nature to taking care of the family and home life, leaving public life to men.

Sex & Eroticism: Using Sexual Imagery to Sell Everything
It's been said that 'sex sells' and most people are aware that sexual imagery is common in advertising, but people may not realize just how pervasive it really is. The reason for this is the fact that sex is not just used in overt and obvious ways. Sex is used to sell not just by providing images of scantily clad men and women, but also through more subtle messages which might pass by unnoticed.

If Pornography Harms, Why are Juries Subjected to It?
Over the decades government prosecutors at many levels have initiated criminal cases against so-called "obscenity." A common argument advanced for criminalizing obscene material is the idea that it harms those who use it and the rest of society in the process. If that's so, then why subject juries to this material? Aren't jury members harmed by this exposure during the trials?

Fear at the Root of Fundamentalism? Fear of Women, Knowledge
Many critics have noticed that fundamentalist religion spends a lot of time reacting out of apparent fear. Rather than simply and confidently laying out a positive program of beliefs, too often fundamentalism is more concerned with raising an alarm over alleged dangers lying in wait all around us. If fundamentalism is indeed based on fear, what might this tell us?

Certainty, Sexuality, and Gender Roles in Fundamentalism
Although fundamentalist political and social systems typically treat women as inferiors, according them fewer rights and privileges as compared to men, there are still many women who not only defend fundamentalism but who in fact choose to enter such relationships. Assuming they aren't masochists or lack any self-confidence, why would any women do such a thing? What's going on here?

Christian Sex: An Act of Faith?
Conservative Christians often inveigh against "deviant" sexual practices %u2014 which appears to include just about everything not immediately connected to procreation. Granted, Protestantism doesn't have the same "sex is only for procreation" tradition as Catholicism, but that's been changing in America. Maybe these Christians just need a kick in the pants. Or something...

Punishing Women for Wearing Swimsuits
When we think of women being punished for not wearing clothing that covers enough of their skin, we usually think about Muslim nations - but the same can happen in America, too. For all that Americans act horrified at how Islam can treat women, Americans can also treat women as though there is something wrong with revealing skin in public.

Virginity Pledges Not Working?
The Christian Right has been making a big deal about so-called Virginity Pledges, where young people make a pledge to remain virgins until they marry. This fits in well with the Christian Right's emphasis on abstinence-only education: both place a premium on avoiding sex and neither really seem to work.

When a Woman Wears Pants
When one talks about religious restrictions on what women can wear, the usual assumption may be that one is talking about Islam - but the truth is that Christianity has strong traditions of this as well. In the early 20th century, Christians complained about women showing too much and tempting men, just like Muslims do today. Some continue to object to clothing like pants on women.

Rape & Incest: Undefinable Buzzwords in South Dakota
South Dakota's draconian law banning abortion doesn't carry the typical riders exempting cases of rape and abortion. According to Republican Joel Dykstra, there's a good reason for that: rape and incest are just buzzwords that can't be clearly defined. So if his wife or mother claimed to be raped, he might respond that 'rape' can't be defined and they have no case. Right?

Are Fathers in Charge of Daughters' Sexual Purity?
Religious conservatives are making a strong push to place fathers in charge of their daughters' sexuality and 'sexual purity.' It used to be the case, obviously, that men basically owned their children and controlled daughters' sexuality, but that changed as women gained the right to act as autonomous human beings. So, religious conservatives want to roll that back.

The Attraction of Patriarchy for Women
Traditional religions tend to be very patriarchal, giving men most if not all social, political, and familial power while relegating women to second-class status at best. The attraction of so much power for men isn't that hard to imagine, but why are so many women attracted to such a situation? Why do women voluntarily enter it, stay with it, and even defend it?

Tucker Carlson: Strippers Shouldn't Be Treated Like Normal Women
Tucker Carlson was famously insulted by Jon Stewart during the latter's appearance on Crossfire. Well, Crossfire has been eliminated, forcing Carlson to find new work MSNBC and Stewart is still on Comedy Central, as funny as ever. Carlson, though, remains as big of a.... well, let's just say that Jon Stewart's observation remains as true today as it ever was.

Wives Need to Learn to Submit
American women are getting too uppity, paying more attention to cultural norms instead of what God wants. And what does God want for them? God makes it clear in the Bible that wives are to submit to their husbands - no ifs, ands, or buts. Husbands have the responsibility to lead their families. If wives do not submit, they are being ungodly and disobeying God - like what Eve did in Eden.

Fundamentalism and Sexual Intolerance
One of the hallmarks of fundamentalists, whatever their religion, is the insistence on sexual purity. This insistence can take a variety of forms, but it can usually be seen in restrictions on just what sort of sexual activity others are permitted to engage in - you see, it's not so much about sexual purity for themselves but sexual purity for others that concerns fundamentalists.

Definition of Marriage in 1886
Opponents of same-sex marriage like to argue that a marriage between two members of the same sex is a contradiction in terms because it does not fulfill the traditional requirements of marriage. This argument is a-historical because it ignores the ways in which the "essentials" of marriage have changed along with culture over the years - and in recent history.

Women in the Vatican (Book Notes: The Pontiff in Winter)
The Catholic Church tries to argue that its refusal to allow women into the priesthood is not a sign of misogyny - women have many other opportunities to serve in the church and use their skills, right? We can tell a lot about the real attitudes of Catholic prelates towards women by observing how they treat women in their employ.

Men Defined as Not Women (Book Notes: Ungodly Women)
There is a stark contrast in modern society between the attributes ascribed to women and those ascribed to men. Women are generally regarded as weak, emotional, and inferior. Men are regarded as strong, stoic, logical, and superior. Isn't this awfully convenient?

Status of Women in Christianity & Islam (Book Notes: No God but God)
A common criticism of Islam is its treatment of women; at the same time, though, Christianity does not have a very good track record with its treatment of women, either. The reasons do not appear to be the same in both religions, though...

Dancing as a Sin: Christianity in America (Book Notes: Ungodly Women)
Fundamentalist and evangelical Christians today see themselves as battling a wide variety of sins: abortion, pornography, homosexuality, and so forth. Their counterparts of a century ago also battled a wide variety of sins - and one of the most serious, which in their eyes led to many other sins, was the nasty behavior of dancing.

Women as the Keepers of Virtue, Men as the Victims
One of the most interesting - or perhaps disturbing - things about male attitudes towards women in Islam is the assumption that women must bear the responsibility for men's virtue as well as their own. Women must not only keep themselves pure, but they must not act to cause men to have impure thoughts - that's why women must remain so covered. Christians had similar attitudes not long ago.

Women in Saudi Arabia: Conflicting Opinions
The most striking thing which most visitors to Saudi Arabia notice is the way women are treated: their lower social status, fewer rights, restrictive dress, and efforts to separate women. One might imagine that changing these things would be a priority for reformers, but that isn't the case. On the contrary, most women have so internalized the teachings that they are inferior that they accept it.

Phyllis Schlafly: Spousal Rape Shouldn't Be Treated Like 'Real' Rape
Something which many people may not realize is that, not too long ago, there was no legal or even social category of 'spousal rape.' When a woman married a man, she essentially consented to sex whenever he wanted it - and if he forced her, it wasn't 'real' rape like it might be if they weren't married. This has been changing recently, but some conservatives haven't gotten the memo.

Women and Christianity: Forcing Women into Subbordinate Positions
Women have made great strides when it comes to achieving political and social equality in America, though at times this is difficult to perceive given how far short America has fallen from genuine equality. One of the areas where women still have the farthest to go is in America's churches: Christianity, as practiced in America, continues to treat women as inferior human beings.

Using Religious Scripts to Define Social Roles
Most people don't think about the social roles they play - they don't give much thought to the expectations they have to fulfill as man or woman, husband or wife, parent or child. They simply try to meet those expectations as best they can, following the example they see in others and the demands imposed upon them by social, political, and religious authorities.

Is Christianity Sex-Positive or Sex-Negative?
One of the charges leveled against Christianity is that, historically, it has created exceptionally negative attitudes about sex and sexuality, leading to unnecessary guilt, oppression, and depression. Some counter, however, that encouraging sex only in a 'godly' context is actually sex-positive. Do you agree?

Vox Day: Raping Unchaste Women Not So Bad?
"If a woman consents to extramarital sex, she is committing a moral offense which is equal to that committed by the man who engages in consensual sex with her, or by the man who, in the absence of such consent, rapes her. Christianity knows no hierarchy of sins."

Mormon Tactics Against Masturbation
Having trouble dealing with masturbation? Trying to stop but just can't figure out how? Have no fear! There is help for those of you afflicted with this terrible addiction - and the Mormon Church knows the way. Just follow a few simple steps and you'll be free in no time.

Religion vs. Sex
On the conflicts between religion and sexuality.

Liberated Christians
Find out what the bible really says - and means - about sex and nonmanogamous culture (at least according to these liberated Christians, that is).

Female Figures in Ancient Egypt
Images of women that illustrate the connections between sexuality, fertility, and religion.

Christian BDSM
"The purpose of this website is to explore the Biblical teachings of Dominance and submission between men and women in a marriage..."

And Adam Knew Eve
A dictionary of sex in the Bible, with all the sexy parts highlighted.

Women Taught to Submit to & Obey Husbands, Fathers, Men
According to Christian Nationalists, the role of the woman requires her to be subordinate, obedient, and helpful while the man's role requires him to take charge, lead, and make the tough decisions. Such ideas about how husbands and wives should relate were at one time uncontroversial, but today the rest of society has changed too much for such attitudes to be accepted uncritically anymore.

Christianity & Lust - How do Christians Emphasize Lust Over Other Tra…
In some places, it seems that the entire spectrum of moral behavior has been reduced to various aspects of sexual morality and concern with maintaining sexual purity. It's not unusual to see people condemning various forms of 'lust' while either ignoring other traditional sins in society and the congregation or even while engaging in those other...

Women as the Keepers of Virtue, Men as the Victims
One of the most interesting - or perhaps disturbing - things about male attitudes towards women in Islam is the assumption that women must bear the responsibility for men's virtue as well as their own. Women must not only keep themselves pure, but they must not act to cause men to have impure thoughts - that's why women must remain so covered....

God as the Sex Police: Using Sexual Purity to Divide Insiders from Outsiders
Evangelical Christians in America focus on sexual sins rather than poverty, hunger, or corruption. It's an easy way to feel superior to others and proclaiming sexual purity for yourself while accusing others of sexual impropriety divides people into insiders and outsiders.

Religious and Non-Religious Attitudes Towards Sexual Activity
People feel much more guilt over extramarital sex than over premarital sex. Non-religious people are nearly as likely to express guilt over adultery as religious believers, but few non-religious people express built over premarital sex.

Religious & Non-Religious Attitudes Towards Pornography
Religious believers in Britain are much more likely to feel guilt over pornography than are non-religious believers. The presence of so much sexually explicit material in society may be reducing the amount of guilt people feel, but some groups still seem to have a lot of guilt - especially Baptists and Muslims.

Religious Views Women Role Society
Traditionally, a woman's place has been inferior to that of the average man. Whatever is considered most valuable in society is placed under the direction of men; whatever is considered less valuable is given to women to care for - even when people ostensible know better.

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