Donate Now
  New Poll  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Questioning/Challenging Cultural Beliefs About Sex & Bodies

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Questioning/Challenging Cultural Beliefs About Sex & Bodies
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We often get users coming in with questions based in misinformation or not-quite-factual information you've gotten from your culture or community.

I'm talking about things like questions about hymens and virginity, gender roles, the impact of a person's sexual history (or them even having one at all) or what that apparently means about them, or masturbation within relationships.

It can feel hard, even disloyal in some ways, to question cultural, religious or community beliefs, especially with such loaded subjects. It can make someone who felt like an insider feel like an outsider or interloper, and once you have the facts, if you share them in places or groups where beliefs are not factual -- but they are treated like they are -- you can deal with some serious pushback.

I really admire anyone who questions: anything. Questioning is healthy and important. Correcting, pushing back against or choosing not to include destructive or false beliefs about these things is the kind of stuff that creates positive change, for everyone, and it also makes it far more likely for a person to have healthy relationships with others and their own sexuality.

If you are in the process of doing this or have already, how can we best support you? What challenges or rough stuff have you faced, and what's been empowering or otherwise great about this process for you?

If you're scared to do this, what are you most afraid of? What do you think you need to feel more able to question, push back or correct?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
acb
Activist
Member # 108645

Icon 1 posted      Profile for acb     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I know this is tricky because Scarleteen tries to keep things secular but I'd really appreciate an article about people with a faith talking about how they reconcile their sexuality with their faith, if they've had some difficulty doing that.
Posts: 49 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We've got one of those, actually, written by a user, which I think is great!

It's here: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/in_your_own_words/its_between_god_and_me

(I think one of the tricky things with this is that a) for sure, as a staff we have to be mindful about talking much about our own belief systems in this regard so we all still feel accessible to our users, but also b) because my sense is that for those of us who would write about this...well, we probably couldn't.

Mostly because there's likely nothing to reconcile, because we're usually not choosing to enter or stay in belief systems where our sexualities or sexual lives -- or even people we advocate for -- are in conflict with them. For example, I'm Zen Buddhist. Many of my colleagues in the field are a different breed of atheist than Zen, Jewish (not Orthodox), or Unitarian, as other examples of faiths where more times than not, so long as people are just being thoughtful, kind and keeping it consensual, there aren't any major conflicts to reconcile when it comes to sex.

In other words, you're not going to find a whole lot of sex educators entering or choosing to stay in belief systems that don't support us and others in our consensual, wanted sexual lives, since for us, that's usually a HUGE part of our lives and who we are as people. Systems where that's a conflict are just not going to tend to be places we are supported in just per what we do for a living, let alone anything else.

If you -- or others -- don't know about it, you also might find some of what you're looking for over here, which is a fantastic organization, headed by a colleague of mine I have the deepest respect for: http://www.religiousinstitute.org/

[ 07-07-2014, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
OhImpecuniousOne
Activist
Member # 110155

Icon 1 posted      Profile for OhImpecuniousOne     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I kind of went through that process, but I also don't think I could write about it very meaningfully, because I no longer really think of the conflicting religious stuff as valid. I was raised Christian (Methodist/URC, though I suspect that means little, and honestly even I don't know much about the denominations apart from a quote from a parody religious dictionary; "Methodists, n: see meetings [...] Meetings, n: see Methodists"): there's a lot of diversity of belief there. When I was about 16 and started to identify as bi, I was all very conflicted, and got nowhere with the debates in my head and eventually decided that I was bi, and if god didn't want me to be bi then he wouldn't have made me bi, and therefore Religion Must Be Wrong.

And I basically did the same thing with sexual morality, over a longer time frame. The bits of Christianity which ring true to me are the ones which fit with the moral principles of Christianity: things like compassion, self-sacrifice, non-maleficence (sorry, medic girlfriend), and kindness. I sifted through the sexual rules and found that while some of them could have been tied into those kinds of values in the era of women as property, no social safety net, no contraception, and no sexual healthcare - when an unmarried, divorced or widowed mother and her child would likely live in crippling poverty, the only way to prevent the spread of STIs was monogamy etc. - the vast majority of them do not support those values any more. They exist in a vacuum and serve no ethical purpose. So I ditched them.

This was my way of reconciling my religion with my sexuality, but I'm not sure it's a method that many religious folks are open to. [Big Grin] It's more difficult for me, on top of that, because I'm no longer religious - for reasons mainly not related to sexuality, I still agree with fundamental Christian morality, but want nothing to do with the doctrine or organisation. So religion and I didn't stay reconciled for long.

[ 07-07-2014, 05:26 PM: Message edited by: OhImpecuniousOne ]

Posts: 116 | From: UK | Registered: Apr 2014  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

  New Poll   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3