Recent posts

The Question Of Gay Marriage In Different Religions

In following recent gay marriage debates in the U.S., I’ve noticed that a lot of the arguments against legalizing gay marriage are religious. They may or may not be explicitly framed that way – some people quote the Bible in their arguments, while others refer to “traditional marriage,” an implicitly Christian construct – but the religious content remains. My issue with taking a religious stand against gay marriage here in the U.S. is that our government is explicitly founded upon the separation of church and state. In my understanding, the application of this delineation is largely carried out through civil rights. So while one religion may discourage its members from same-sex marriage, that shouldn’t affect believers of another religion (or none at all) from being able to pursue same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →

When Abstinence-Only Sex Education Is Against Your Religion

This Patheos blog post by Sunweaver discusses an uncommon dilemma: we’re very accustomed to people objecting to sex education because they say it’s against their religion, but what about people who object to abstinence-only sex education citing the same reason? She points out that “to use fear and shame to intimidate children into avoiding sex until marriage is to vilify something I see as sacred.” Further, she cites studies of abstinence-only education demonstrating that it is based upon religious belief, leading to this problem: “Abstinence-only is a religious teaching and it isn’t my religion they’re teaching.” We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but this is yet one more reason to embrace a fact-based approach to sex education. In an ideal world, at least, it’d be harder to alienate people with facts, but especially with sex, it can be (unfortunately) difficult to disentangle fact from belief. Continue Reading →

When It Comes To Sex Or Religion, Intent Doesn’t Excuse Bad Behavior

In a recent conversation, a friend mentioned that she was upset about about a pattern she noticed. She described how when Christians tried to convert her, her attempts to describe how hurtful it was were met with their disbelief – after all, everyone involved had good intentions! This set off bells in my head. Because when it comes to discussions of aspects of rape culture like street harassment or those supposedly-innocuous-but-possibly-threatening flirtation attempts that get labeled as “creepy,” intention is often invoked as a cure-all. “But he didn’t mean to be creepy!” Continue Reading →

Our Whole Lives – Sexual Language Lessons for 8th Graders

One of my joyful duties as a sex educator is to help teach the Our Whole Lives (OWL) curriculum at the Unitarian Universalist congregation that I attend. The OWL curriculum provides a chance for eighth graders to examine their ideas and attitudes about sex and relationships, practice friendship and dating skills, and learn facts about pregnancy, contraception, and STIs that will help them stay safer when they do become sexually active, if they haven’t already. A favorite session of mine occurs early in the curriculum, where we talk with the youth about the different types of language one could use when talking about different sexual acts and body parts. And since OWL is an activity-based curriculum, we can’t just talk about it, we also need to do an activity. The facilitators read aloud some words for sex acts and body parts and the youth write down all the synonyms they have heard for that word. Continue Reading →

Queering Jewish Traditions

Though I’ve become far less spiritual in the past several years, my Jewish cultural identity is still a huge part of my life. I treasure all of the holidays- for the food, the family, and the inevitable craziness that comes with all of the above. However, I have struggled to find my place in the Jewish community as a queer individual. My family and the Jewish community I surround myself with are extremely supportive of me, but the “laws” don’t always agree. In fact, the synagogue that I attended all throughout my childhood (I even had my bat mitzvah there) does not perform same-sex marriage. Continue Reading →

A Biblical Perspective On Abortion

Abortion is a tricky issue, resonating with people on multiple levels (personal, religious, political, among others) and I feel that I should state that in this post I’m not trying to convince someone to think differently here, or come over to my view (which is pro-choice if only because I’m hesitant about people without wombs making decisions for people with wombs, and because I believe that abortion needs to be safely available as part of the effort to provide social equity and begin to fix the socio-economic-educational problems that lead to unwanted babies in the first place). However, I recently discovered that the Bible does not necessarily unilaterally condemn abortion, so I thought I would share some of that information here in case others find it as thought-provoking as I did. I followed a link (I forget from whom) to the site of a Christian blogger who provides close readings of Biblical passages. The first post, What the Bible Says About Abortion, discusses a passage in Numbers wherein God tells Moses that if a husband suspects his wife is pregnant with another man’s baby, they can perform a ritual that will cause the woman to abort. Whoa… Continue Reading →

Cultural Relativism Vs. Sexual Assault

Many scholars and feminists these days are also cultural relativists, believing that a culture’s customs or beliefs that might look strange to an outsider should only be judged by that culture’s own standards. It’s the fancy academic version of “walk a mile in another’s shoes before you judge that person”: try to understand how things are from the inside of a culture rather then condemning from the outside. But where does one draw the line between “that’s cool, it’s their own unique cultural thing” and “holy crap, that’s sexual assault”? Continue Reading →

Religious Women Use Birth Control Too

A recent study finds that contraceptive use is normal among religious women in the U.S., even Catholics. The statistics show that most women in the contemporary U.S., regardless of religion, make use of some form of birth control at some point in their lives. It’s worth considering this information when assessing issues such as federally-funded access to birth control, as well as stereotypes about religious folks as homogeneously anti-choice. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Reassessing Buddhism And Sexuality

We hear a lot about the consequences of repressed sexuality in Christianity, but what about other religions? Recent events within the American Buddhist community have caused many to reevaluate what sexuality means to teachers and students of Buddhism. Some followers believe that spiritual teachers should never have sex with their students, while others write in defense of promiscuity. There are few easy answers in these debates, but it is thought-provoking to see how various paradigms grapple with significant questions regarding sexuality. (Thanks for the links, Andrea!)

Learn about MSP posts as they happen by following us on Twitter @mysexprofessor or make friends with us on Facebook. Continue Reading →

Sex Round-Up Because I Have Too Many Open Tabs…

…and when I have too many open tabs, that means there are things I keep meaning to share with you, such as:

- A CNN article about how Christians might rethink sex [CNN]
- Photos from No Make-Up Week [RabbitWrite]
- When child images shock [Salon]
- Art of the Tease, an article about burlesque in Bloomington, Indiana [H-T; subscription required]
- An HPV flow chart [Salon]
- Wedding ideas and previously worn dresses [OnceWed]
- I love our ever-expanding collection of genitals in the wild photos here on MSP Continue Reading →