Textual religion I can’t say anything about, but in practised reformist Islam in urban upper class Pakistan demonized sex to such an extent to children and teens that when the time comes to actually have sex, even after marriage, people have already developed an internalized horror of things sensual and sexual. In the Islam my family practices, sex is to be used only to tie one’s spouse to one’s side and in order to procreate.
Layla, Female, 19
It plays a very significant role, and is seen as both good and bad, depending on the situation ( eg. Premarital supposed to = bad). But a mother giving birth to her child = beautiful. It heightens the power of God as it is like a miracle.
Ambreen, Female, 28
i think in each religion they mention it (as far as my knowledge is concerned) i think sex is very important.... i remember reading somewhere foreplay was mentioned in a hadith... infact there are certain schools of thought that say a wife can ask for divorce if she's not sexually satisfied....
Mariam, Female, 26
Oh god… (groans) I don’t think that sex plays any role in religion…I think religion plays a big role in people's sex lives. In religious guidelines…. Sex is something….functional….especially our religion…Islam…so its really sidelined…. Religious people cannot have any notions about sex….simply because they’re not permitted by religion to have such notions about sex…apart from its very functional …and reasonably enjoyable nature….but reasonably enjoyable for the more emancipated religious people. For the less emanciapated it’s simply functional…that’s why it has a huge bearing on people's sex lives….if u take that (functionality) out of the equation …people would be much happier with their sex life.
Fatima, Female, 25
Sex plays one major role in religion – PROCREATION. But you know, different religions different thoughts…it doesn’t have to be nasty like people make it in our culture.
Also, religion came down pre-contraceptives…pre-birth control, pre-safe sex…so when they tell you not to be sodomizing each other it makes sense. But – that was a time when we couldn't have these plastic things that do wonders. If you take sodomy in the old sense… then yeah… that would mean oral sex too – but you see religion came down when everyone was promiscuous, it didn't come down when everyone was behaving themselves. People started behaving because religion came. So at times like that I’m sure everyone was pretty skanky… so would you want to put your mouth to that skank?
Zobia, Female, 22
Many established, institutionalised religions such as Christianity and Islam try to restrict sexual activity to reproduction, if anything at all. Other religions like Hinduism embrace sex, whereas Buddhism promotes abstinence and monks aren’t meant to make any physical contact with women whatsoever. Leading religions however, (i.e. Islam, Christianity) encourage a minimal interest in sex…mostly implying that it is an impious or unclean act…totally ruling out any spiritual qualities that can be attributed to sex.
Saira, Female, 22
Rabia Female, 23
Sex is an integral part of marriage, and marriage of my religion. Thus it is an important one. There are numerous mentions of intimacy in the Quran and Hadith (which I can provide if you would like) which indicate their significance.
Sam, Female, 28
ahh..sex and religion haha. well i should say that to my knowledge, Islam does pay importance to sex, (in marriage of course). Apparently you get 'sawab' for having sex with your partner. And islam certainly is accommodating towards it. I know they say four wives concept was not just to satisfy men’s needs but also to provide women support etc, but c'mon...how many men do we know who'd have the urge to marry 3 more times for charitable purposes ONLY? you take the sex out and i wouldn't expect many muslim men will indulge in polygamy much!
Sex in religion…Its become quite a controversy, I think, and there are a lot of misconceptions with regard to sex. So much of the idea of original sin has seeped into our culture, along with its guilt with regard to sex, and the idea that it’s disgusting or shameful. We forget that there are whole verses devoted to sex in the Quran and that several hadith have detailed how to please your partner. I think Islam in particular is quite practical about sex – it doesn’t make a fuss about it, but it doesn’t ignore it entirely either. It recognizes sex as an important part of life, and as with other important areas of life, it gives us advice on how to go about it in a civilized manner. It’s only us that have created such a wall of mystery and shame around the topic. Silly of us, really.
Mahreen, Female, 26
I think some religions see sex as a means to oppress women, to “keep them in their place”. A lot of the double standards I see are promoted by religious figures. But that’s my view.
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Ah, thats a healthy and diverse set of opinions...
What the men say, next time :)