Secularism and Sex Survey Update

by Jason Stotts

Some of you may recall that I posted a call for my readers to go and participate in the “Sex and Secularism Survey” that Dr. Darrel Ray (of The God Virus fame) put out in January.  The results of the survey are now available on his website (you have to register for the site to download the results).  I recommend taking a look at the results as there is some fascinating stuff there.  From the paper:

Purpose of the Study: For thousands of years, religion has involved itself in sex and sexuality. Guilt plays a major role in religion and sex. This paper tests hypotheses related to the impact of religion and religious guilt on sexual behavior. Over 14,500 people participated in an internet-based survey with over 9500 finishing the survey during two weeks in January 2011. Six hypotheses are considered: 1. Religions’ use of sexual guilt is measurably greater in conservative religions and less in liberal ones. 2. People feel the sexual guilt taught by their religion but sexual behavior shows no difference from those with less guilt. 3. Religiously conservative parents will be less effective at teaching their children about sex than more secular parents. 4. Children raised in highly religious homes will receive poorer sexual education. 5. Leaving religion has a positive impact on sexual satisfaction. 6. Religion has continuing negative consequences on individuals after they leave.

Results: Strong evidence for five of the six hypotheses were found. Respondents reported higher levels of sexual satisfaction after leaving religion, depending on how conservative their religious upbringing. There was little if any reported difference in the onset of a variety of sexual behaviors between religious and non-religiously raised children. Religiously conservative parents were perceived to be less effective at teaching sex education to the respondents. The children of religious homes perceived their sexual education to be inferior. Once people left religion, over 50% saw an improvement in their sex life, 29.6% saw no change, and 2.2% thought it was worse. Finally, few people reported continuing problems after leaving religion. It appears that the effects of religion are more easily eliminated than predicted.

Apparently Dr. Ray is going to be turning this into a new book and I’ll definitely be interested in reading it when it comes out.  I applaud him for taking a closer look at religion’s impact on sexuality and I hope that this data may influence people away from religion.


Big Brother Warning: If you click on the Amazon link and purchase The God Virus, then I will be monetarily compensated.  So, help me out and if you’re going to buy it, use the link.

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