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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Sex & Your Religion/Spirituality (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Sex & Your Religion/Spirituality
Heather
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Once upon a time we did this, but it's been a while, and it's been a topic that's come up for people here a lot.

I think everyone might have a lot to learn from one another (and ourselves) if those of us who have a religion or spiritual tradition or practice just share what the teachings, guides, ideas about sex in that religion/faith/spirituality are.

You don't have to talk about if you follow them, but you certainly can, and can also discuss any struggles you may have with that if you like.

Mine's pretty laid-back (save that it is very broad, so one has to do some work in the interpreting), especially since Zen Buddhism, which is has been spiritual practice for many years now, is not an organized religion, even though it is a sizeable practice and tradition which shares core values.

Basically, in Zen, it's simply all about doing all one can to assure that any kind of sex is not doing yourself or anyone else any harm: that it's consensual, nonexploitive, not manipulative and also about mutuality and equity. Zen doesn't address or include (or exclude) marriage, so that's a non-issue, and it also doesn't distinguish between heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual sex or partnerships. The aim is just to have sexual relationships be conducted with care and love. One common precept (core teaching) with sex is simply not to misuse it. As well, because a lot of Buddhism is about connecting to our bodies, rather than disconnecting, those attitudes tend to inform how we have and view sex as well, when it comes to not using sex as escapism, but as a means for connectivity.

(Unlike laypeople, Zen monks and nuns are usually celibate.)

Contraception is totally accepted, and Zen belief on abortion tends to vary.

As well, one aspect of Buddhism is that Buddhists work to do what we can to be sure we aren't leading our lives by nothing but desires, because doing so can cause us or others suffering, so it's all about balance. It's also worth mentioning that Zen is atheistic, so the person we have to be accountable to is simply ourselves and anyone we're involved with.


All of this stuff has usually been pretty easy for me since it's in alignment with my general sexual ethics, too.

Note: As with any other topic here, please do be respectful of our diversity and others' beliefs both in any replies, and in stating your own.

[ 12-22-2008, 03:14 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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

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eryn_smiles
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Hey Heather,

Merry Christmas and nice topic [Smile] .

I'm also a Buddhist (of the Theravada tradition). My spiritual beliefs are something that I make an effort to consider during my day-to-day life.

I find it heartening that in general, we do not tend to distinguish between heterosexual activity and homosexual activity. But of course there are different views and the Dalai Lama (the leader of Tibetan Buddhism) has said in past interviews that homosexual acts are a bit unnatural and that gay sex is generally considered to be a form of sexual misconduct.

You talked about not leading our lives by desire. And sometimes I have trouble with what I take this to mean. I feel that I have a lot of desire and lust in me, particularly towards women. But I can't really fulfill those desires right now and maybe not ever so I become unhappy. The cause of my suffering is craving and desire. And maybe if I work on reducing them instead of fighting with my mother about my right to those desires, maybe I'll be happier?

To be frank, I've never heard a Buddhist commentary in support of abortion. If you have a reference, I would like to read it. I have heard monks describe it as clearly fitting under the first precept of not to harm living beings. At a sermon, it shook me a little to hear that a doctor who performed abortions or even referred for abortions would create much bad karma and be reborn in a bad place. Again, there are different interpretations and it is interesting to consider how much more harm can be wraught out of continuing an unwanted pregnancy.

I do think our religion has a lot to offer when it comes to being in relationships and behaving with mindfulness. Also thinking about metta or unconditional love has helped me to get on better with people and avoid having many strong conflicts.

On an unrelated note, I see that during a Christmas message, the Pope likened homosexuality (=the destruction of mankind) to the destruction of the rainforests. He noted that the tropical forests must be protected, but so must mankind. The Vatican also recently opposed a proposed UN declaration calling for an end to the practice of criminalising and punishing people for their sexual orientation. (Honestly it terrifies me that in some countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, homosexuality remains punishable by death). Is anyone Catholic here? What do you think about the Pope's comments?

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
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quote:
To be frank, I've never heard a Buddhist commentary in support of abortion. If you have a reference, I would like to read it.
I'll email you some things. Primarily, this comes from feminist and women's analysis of some aspects of most types of Buddhism simply not having been inclusive of women before; not being mindful about how life differs for women. However, much like with Zen differing from other types of Buddhism on homosexuality (though even the Dalai Lama has been engaging in a lot of thought of that over the years, and has been slowly adapting his words and stance), this seems to be another area where we see differences between Zen and, say, Therevada or Tibetan Buddhism.

I have some thoughts on your thoughts about your desire for love of women and and your mother -- which boil down to perhaps things not being quite that simple, since it strikes me as you then just trying to bend to her own desires, or your desire for a lack of conflict -- but that's a pretty big discussion that I worry would up-end this one, so perhaps we should talk about that elsewhere? [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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

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ragazza di verde.
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This is perfect, because I have been searching for about two months on the Buddhist view on sex.

Last year I suddenly became interested in the Buddhist way of life, and so far I have fallen in love with the wholeness of life that Buddhism seems to grab.

With my new questioning about spiritual meanings behind sex and the underlying reasoning for sex other than pleasure, I thought that finding a Buddhist view on sex would be the perfect thing. So, I have been looking for a book on the Buddhist reasons for sex (what it does for us, why we do it, etc.) would be a great read. If you know of any titles about sex interwined with this religion, i'd love to hear them.

Anyways. I was really glad to read this. So thanks.

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CJT
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I thought of this thread when I read about a report that is being released today by the Religious Institute on Sexual Morality, Justice, and Healing. They did a study with a whole bunch of seminaries to see how seminaries are preparing clergy (of various demonimations) to deal with sexuality issues.

The answer? Not so awesomely!

Only 1 of the 36 seminaries studied requires a course in general sexuality in order to graduate, and only 2 of them require a course in LGBT issues at all.

If you're interested in reading the report, it's available here: http://www.religiousinstitute.org/SeminaryReport.html

The Religious Institute is also a great resource if you are interested in the intersection of sexuality and spirituality and religion. They offer a lot of great information!

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CJ

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Heather
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ragazza: I don't know of any books that talk about nothing but sexuality and Zen Buddhism, but that doesn't surprise me because a) it's not an organized religion and b) it's just not that complicated.

I also would be surprised to see a book about Zen Buddhist "reasons" for sex, simply because that'd kind of be like a book on reasons for having any kind of relationship or contact with anyone. On the whole, most schools of Buddhism just don't view sex in the way many other religions do in the sense that it needs to be rationalized, or justified in any way. The functions of the body are sacred in Buddhism, one no more than the other, and that includes sex. As well, eveluating things like sex in Zen often boils down to some pretty simple questions, like "Can it offer us happiness? Does it -- or how I am doing it -- do that or does it create suffering?" and "Is sex part of cultivating self-awareness?"

But this piece online is fairly decent: http://www.buddhanet.net/winton_s.htm

I like this a lot, too: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2003/06/Practicing-With-Sexuality.aspx

Just always be aware that not only do schools of Buddhism differ (some in big ways: for instance, Therevada and Zen are really different in a lot of ways), but that in many schools, again, Buddhism isn't like, say Catholicism or Judaism: we don't have one text, nor is it often approached as something unchangeable through time.

I'd say that if you have more questions, basic readings of whatever school of Buddhism as a whole you are interested in should cover them, or, you could find a sangha and certainly ask those questions of a teacher there.

CJ: awesome link!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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

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Idir
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This made me think of that good friend of mine who's afraid that her boyfriend, who just came back from a trip to Thailand, will become less sensual in their relationship because he converted to Buddhism. But I have to admit that my knowledge of non-Abrahamic faiths isn't very broad.

Personally, I don't have believe in a supreme force and I'm not a fan of organized religion, either. Why?
My mom is a "liberal Muslim", my (step-)dad is a deist (like Thomas Edison, yay!) and my biological dad is atheist. That should be the cause. But my atheism doesn't mean that I'll run amok and have sex with everything and everyone.
I still have a slightly old-fashioned but secularized set of rules of conduct for myself influenced by my people's culture, but I don't judge other people based on their behavior, and I tolerate pretty much all lifestyles which doesn't harm anyone/anything, and I think this makes me a more-or-less good person, even though "good" is a pretty subjective adjective.

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bluejumprope
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This thread reminded me of a prayer related to sexuality that was meaningful to me several years ago. (I feel the need it to preface it by saying I find all the God stuff disturbing): A Coming Out Prayer

But, it's also deeply comforting and affirming for me. I think it's also the rhythm of it which I like. I'm only culturally Jewish, and that prayer reminds me of the things I love about Judaism.

I don't really identify with any spiritual group, but certain spiritual ideas have been healing for me sexually. Larger perspectives that encourage things like breathing, self-acceptance, creative and intuitive exploration, awareness of my body and honoring of individuals as whole and divine, resonate for me and are helpful.

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without tenderness, we are in hell. -Adrienne Rich

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JamsessionVT
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I've struggled a little bit with religion and spirituality, mostly because my family is somewhat of a "cafeteria Catholic" family; we don't attend church regularly, won't don't pray in the sense that devout Catholics do, and we don't follow scripture. But, my mom refuses to celebrate Christmas or Easter, etc, unless we do it in a religious sense, which has always irritated me. We have attended a Christmas mass for a few years now, and I go along because I do it for my mother, but I don't agree with her reasoning for it.

I, too, got into Buddhism for a little while, and I still feel strongly about many of the ideals. I really irked my mom when I told her I wasn't sure I believed in the Christian story of God and Christ, just because a lot of it is based in a religion that I do not identify as a part of.

As for the sexual aspect of it, I don't like the idea that someone is judging me for the choices I make sexually, which is part of the issue I take with many organized religions. Buddhism is much easier for me to work with because there is no frowning upon certain behaviors. I don't want to be accountable to anyone but myself (Heather, I think you mentioned this) and who I'm with, and I find it hard to cope with being accountable to a higher power. If what I'm doing makes me happy, and it not taking advantage of anyone or causing harm, I don't see a need to go further with it.

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Narwhal
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Hmmm, interesting topic. I'm Muslim, and we do have some pretty strong rules regarding sex, the main thing being that it's not ok outside of marriage.

One thing I'm uncomfortable with in a lot of discussions about sex in Muslim circles is that those discussions tend to be very male-centered. In scripture and prophetic teaching, women are equally important, and a woman's sexuality is just as important as a man's, so I have been really frustrated at times when I come across male-centered or borderline misogynistic commentaries related to sexuality. [Mad]

For instance, a typical response to a question about whether masturbation is ok would include reference to the idea that a married man never needs to masturbate because he has a wife--completely ignoring the fact that the woman may not even want sex at a given time, or the fact that women might want to masturbate, so only addressing male sexuality leaves out a big part of the equation. So basically ignoring the fact that a woman is an autonomous person.

Also, things like birth control tend not to be discussed very openly; I haven't come across any credible evidence that birth control isn't ok in Islam, although a lot of modern scholars are very careful to state that it should only be used if there's a good reason, like a woman being in college and not yet ready for children...there is precedent in the writings of medieval scholars to say that it's all right to use birth control for any reason at all. One thing I've noticed generally, in fact, is that often modern scholars are more conservative than some of their medieval counterparts [Razz]

I think that one of the reasons these things aren't discussed so openly is that sex in general is seen as a really, really private matter. And I'd agree that the details of any given relationship are private, but when we're talking about things that everyone needs to know...well, there just has to be some openness.

I would say, though, that there's a shift toward discussions of sexuality being a little more balanced, mostly, I think, because quite a few Muslim women have become pretty outspoken about wanting to be addressed and treated as equals.

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Heather
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(I just have to say that I am so loving this thread. What a freaking fantastic cultural education this is turning into. Thanks for sharing, everyone!)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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

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CJT
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Narwahl, have you ever seen this link about sexuality in Islam? http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/GESUND/ARCHIV/kotb2.htm

It's pretty interesting and also touches on some of the same issues you mentioned.

I think that with any religion (or cultural interpretations of religion) that it's interesting to see how people will interpret the pertinent texts to reflect their own values.

Last semester I took a grad class about sexuality and religion and spirituality and it was just so fascinating to go to the texts themselves and, for the most part, see how LITTLE was actually said about sexuality, even when people will pull out these passages and texts and claim that they say EVERYTHING about how we should be acting or what we should be doing (or should NOT be doing).

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CJT
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There are also some great films about sexuality and various religions, if anyone is interested. I have particular interest in how LGBT issues are handled within various traditions, and some great films to check out include:

Trembling Before G*D (about Hasidic and Orthodox Jews who identify as gay or lesbian)
http://www.filmsthatchangetheworld.com/site/about

A Jihad for Love (about gay Muslims, and how Muslim and Islamic people and nations struggle with sexual orientation issues) http://www.ajihadforlove.com/home.html

For the Bible Tells Me So (about gay&lesbian Christians and how the Bible has been used to justify and endorse hatred)
http://www.forthebibletellsmeso.org/indexa.htm

Has anyone seen any of these? I'd love to hear your thoughts...

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Idir
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quote:
Originally posted by Narwhal:
(...) in fact, is that often modern scholars are more conservative than some of their medieval counterparts [Razz]

Yay! I'm not the only one with this opinion.
Like, hello? Islamic Golden Age, anyone? The vast majority of modern North African and Middle Eastern "scholars" are a shame to humanity.
And they get totally irrational when they start talking about LGBT-issues. I mean, excuse me, but I don't like being told that I am supposed to be buried alive; thrown from a tall building; burned; lynched; hanged; stoned; or otherwise executed.
I don't really like the thought of anyone or anything dying for any reason, actually.


(And on a totally unrelated note: excuse my cultural ignorance, but is there a special reason why "G-d" is always written this way in Judaism? I've been dying to ask [Confused] )

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ragazza di verde.
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thanks Heather! :]

I'll definently take a look at those linksss.

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CJT
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Idir, you asked,

quote:

(And on a totally unrelated note: excuse my cultural ignorance, but is there a special reason why "G-d" is always written this way in Judaism? I've been dying to ask...)

Many Jews will write G-d because it's believed that there was a commandment issued that discussed not erasing or defacing the Name of G-d. It's not so much that you can't write it, but some observant Jews don't write it because, once it's written, someone could erase it, or deface it, or otherwise disrespect it.

Depending on who you ask, though, some observant Jews will also say that they write it in such a way because it's a sign of respect and the whole idea of not taking G-d's name in vain. However, from my understanding of it, that's not the underlying reason behind the practice.

Certainly not everyone who identifies as Jewish uses that notation. And anyone else can feel free to jump in if they have anything to add about that! [Smile]

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eryn_smiles
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Also to Narwhal,

What do you think about Irshad Manji, who is a very outspoken feminist Muslim and is also lesbian?

(I find her quite brave and amazing although I don't know alot about your religion.)

http://www.irshadmanji.com/

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Idir
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Oh! Irshad is awesome.
You should totally read her book, Narwhal!
Personally, I'm atheist, but I still loved her "The Problem With Islam Today".
If you can read Arabic, you can download a free copy from her website, if not, you should get one from your library, it's really worth it.

But trust me, you'll spend more time looking up the fancy words she uses on her book from your dictionary than actually reading the book [Smile]

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bluefreak44
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Narwhal, I think my beliefs about sex are probably most similar to yours. I'm a pretty conservative Christian. Pentecostal to be more precised (although liberal by Pentecostal standards).

We also believe that sex is to be reserved for marriage. My husband and I were virgins when we got married.

I, too, though, note issues sometimes with how Christianity as a whole handles sexuality. Not to nitpick, but the most conflict I have is with some of the ideas in Catholicism. I have some Catholic friends who think pretty much anything but "procreative" sex (PIV) is a sin. That may be all fine and dandy for a husband, since the act is considered "consummated" when he orgasms. But what if his wife doesn't through PIV sex? Until recently, honestly, I was in that boat (and just trying a different position, for no particular reason at the spur of the moment, is what finally changed that). Her orgasm isn't needed to create life, so who cares, right?

And there's the birth control thing. I've been on it as long as I've been married. I come from an area where the norm is to have kids rather irresponsibly at a young age. We're trying to avoid that. We've been married several years, I just graduate college recently and got a full-time job and we're still hoping to wait a few years. In my hometown I almost get looks like there something wrong with me (physiologically) because I've been married "so long" and we still haven't had kids.

Fortunately, I'm noticing a trend among fellow young Christians to be more willing to talk about sexuality. Of course details of our own sex lives aren't discussed, but at least questions can be asked and different perspectives presented in casual setting.

Finally, there's also the idea that some Christians have now gotten that mean are sexual beasts and that a wife must fulfill her husband's needs to so he doesn't turn to porn or another woman. Women just want love, right? I may have saved it for marriage, but I definitely have desires of my own. My sexuality isn't just an outlet for my husband, nor is my body a receptacle. If a man doesn't respect me enough to control himself if I'm not in the mood, he's not worth my time. Keep in mind that the above-mentioned idea is among men who think porn is wrong, but acceptable if a wife isn't always ready. Fortunately my husband isn't like that. I think it's important that, conservative OR liberal, both partners have similar ideas on sexuality and what's acceptable.

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Liia
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Finally, an interesting discussion. [Smile]
I am a Catholic girl that went to a Catholic school. We learnt that:
- We should not have sex before marrage.
- All forms of contraception should not be used.
- Abortion is wrong in all cases.

Firstly my opinion of these is this; If having sex with someone feels right and you know they respect you and you respect them and love comes nto the equation then why wait? ait is the individuals choice and I have no problem with people that do believe that this is the way they want to live. We are all different.

If contraception was not used the the population would be much larger, more STI's would be spread and there would be more pregant teenagers that would be slated. (Not that I have a problem with this, well done for taking control of the situation).

Also personally I do go along with the Catholic ideal on the third point as I believe that if I got pregnant then it woud be my problem and the baby growing inside me has a right to life. I would never have an abortion. I know people argue about rape cases and stuff but the baby would still be art of me, I would have to think about that if it happened to me. I would also have an abortion straight away so the baby will not develop further.

Thanks.
Liia.
x

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Narwhal
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I haven't read Irshad Manji's book...I saw her in a television interview a couple of years ago and what really put me off was that she seemed to be saying there were parts of Islam, and parts of the scripture, that just aren't relevant today and need to be changed or abandoned. I was pretty uncomfortable with that; I think that quite a lot of Muslims either already believe, or can be readily convinced, that some (many?) of the practices we see today aren't right, but we need to reform those practices, and the attitudes that enable them, in ways that are consistent with the basics of our religion.

That being said...I think I will check out her book. I don't read Arabic very well, so I'll have to get my hands on the English version, but Eryn and Idir, you've convinced me it would be worth a read. Even if I find I disagree or am uncomfortable with some of what she's said, I do believe in the power of constructive dialogue.

quote:
My sexuality isn't just an outlet for my husband, nor is my body a receptacle. If a man doesn't respect me enough to control himself if I'm not in the mood, he's not worth my time.
Yeah, I've come across some similar ideas, too. There is this idea out there among Muslims that a married man has a right to sex whenever he wants it, and that his wife has no right to say "no" or "not now." Paradoxically, the fact that women have an equal right to sexual enjoyment is well-established in Islamic jurisprudence. That being the case, it follows that neither partner should have more rights in the bedroom than the other, but you certainly never hear anyone saying that a man can't say no to sex! It's also established that a man doesn't have the right to have sex in a manner that's harmful to his wife, (and vice versa, of course) and obviously forcing it upon her when she's not in the mood falls into this category.
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Typical Young and Dumb Teenager?
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Well, like Liia, I'm Catholic (and so are my mom and stepdad), but my biological father is an Atheist. Since I was three, I've spent 85% of the year with my mom and 15% with my dad. So, I've gotten to hear a little bit of both sides, I suppose, but I've been to different churches- Baptist, Methodist, and Pentecostal. I've realized that I don't think I've found the right religion for me, because I don't believe a lot of things that Catholic church teaches, but I guess I'm not going to believe everything in any religion.

With that in mind, contraception, abortion, and premarital sex always seemed to be the big problems in the religion's eyes..

Personally, I don't see the problem with contraception. The church says that "it gives children the thought that it is okay to have sex," but let's be honest, they are doing it anyway! Why not protect them?

Abortion is an edgy subject, because I've never fully understood WHEN life starts. For as long as I can remember, people have drilled that life starts at conception, but does it? I would hate to live my life knowing I killed a child, or anyone really. So, because of that, I don't think I could go through with an abortion. However, I think other people have the right to choose because it's their life and they are going to have to live with whatever comes along with that decision. However, I am against partial birth abortion. I just find that at that point, the fetus is a child. And, in my eyes, abortion is NOT birth control- that's another reason I believe contraception is a good thing! But when I think about people getting pregnant because of being irresponsible and just getting abortion because they don't want a child, it kind of makes me mad. With sex comes responsibilty.

As for sex before marriage.. I'm 15, and I'm not a virgin. My boyfriend of a year and a half is 17, and he wasn't a virgin BEFORE we even started talking. Do I think it's wrong? Yes and no. Because of what I've always been taught, sometimes I do feel bad and ask God for forgiveness, but other times, I don't really feel that way. I mean, what's so wrong about it? I've realized that it really is overrated, and while it's special, it doesn't always have to be. I guess that leaves me hoping that it isn't, but if it is, I guess I'll have to pay the consequences for later.

I'm young. I want to live, to experience, and I don't want to be old and gray and think back and say "I wish I would have done that..".
... when it comes to anything.

[ 02-09-2009, 07:26 PM: Message edited by: Typical Young and Dumb Teenager? ]

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Young and Dumb.
"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." - Keith Urban

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Heather
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(Just a quickie? There actually IS no such thing as "partial-birth abortion." That's a term invented by the right, and doesn't describe an actual elective abortion procedure which has ever existed. What that is loosely related to -- and has resulted in limiting -- are abortions in the third-trimester which are/were NOT elective, but suggested by doctors for women whose fetuses are already stillborn -- you might perhaps imagine that a full labor for a child which is already dead would be very emotionally painful -- or when giving birth will likely result in death or serious illness for both mother and child.

I also just want to remind everyone to watch their language here. Terms like "murder" are really judgmental and don't leave a lot of room for freedom of varied perspectives.)

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Typical Young and Dumb Teenager?
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Hmm.. I guess the term really is used loosely. But that is what I meant- about the third trimester abortion. I guess I really never thought about the women who are carrying a stillborn child(ren), though. And sorry for the word usage. No judgement intended- already edited. [Smile]

[ 02-09-2009, 07:30 PM: Message edited by: Typical Young and Dumb Teenager? ]

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Young and Dumb.
"Life is a balance of holding on and letting go." - Keith Urban

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Idir
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quote:
Originally posted by Narwhal:
(...)
That being said...I think I will check out her book. I don't read Arabic very well, so I'll have to get my hands on the English version, but Eryn and Idir, you've convinced me it would be worth a read. Even if I find I disagree or am uncomfortable with some of what she's said, I do believe in the power of constructive dialogue.

(...) Paradoxically, the fact that women have an equal right to sexual enjoyment is well-established in Islamic jurisprudence.

Amen. For some reason, people tend to think that Islam oppresses women in some way, but hey, the Hadith has more references on how to please one's wife than the Kama Sutra, so I guess that the problem today is simply from a purely cultural background.

And of course I have no idea what interview you were referring to, but well, isn't it that nowadays, whether you're a Jew, Muslim, Christian, or Hindu that people do selective choosing. I mean, it's not like all suras are applicable nowadays, we have to treat it in accordance with the time.
Of course we shouldn't rip it out of it's original context, but still.

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I know there is an over the rainbow for me.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I am personally an atheist, but I don't really say such (when asked my religion I say none). I believe in no god. My mother is catholic and I'm not sure what my father is, one of the Christian religions though (he is not at all religious). Both of my parents (my mother especially) were raised quite religiously, so they decided that it would be best not to raise us religiously at all. We still celebrate Christmas, but we celebrate Santa Claus and stockings and a Christmas tree (with a Santa or and angel at the top). We also celebrate easter although now that my sister and I are past the hunting for eggs age (though we still do) it's more of a big dinner.

I am really happy as an atheist. I find religion to be a means of control and I really don't like that idea. I also don't think the idea of a God is believable. I respect that this is not how everyone feels and I am sorry if I have offended anyone. (Feel free to remove the last paragraph)

Many religions are against homosexuality, so my bisexuality would certainly be a problem.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Heather
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Just a tip: we can always talk about how we are or identify without talking about how we don't.

In other words, how about saying, if you have had experiences with other religions, that you feel best outside any organized religion? Rather than talking about what is or is not believable in general, how about simply saying (which you did) that you don't believe in God?

Framing your statements that way makes them about you, rather than about others, so you don't have to worry about offending anyone or making them feel judged for who THEY are and what feels right for them. See what I mean?

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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

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Completely. I really don't want to offend anyone.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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daria319
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It seems like I'm the odd one here with the word I identify under, but not the terms that go with it. It seems like many of you enjoy the same ideas that comfort me. (Isn't it wonderful when diversity just makes us see how alike we all really are?)

I'm 24. I recently got married, and I'm Wiccan. No, not any of the strict types you can easily find in books, but the eclectic type -- a sort of Taoist variant, if you will.

In my experience, Wiccan views on contraception and abortion will vary from person to person, as some may interpret our Rede "An' it harm none, do what ye will" differently than others.

Personally, I do not view a developing human organism, at the point of legal, elective abortion, as a consciousness. This kind of doesn't even necessitate an evaluation of the Rede.

However, one of my personal rules, is to not harm MYSELF. Pregnancy, at this point, would be medically and financially inadvisable (I'm unhealthy, uninsured, and unemployed!), which seems to be a pretty cut-and-dry "harm" -- more than enough justification for birth control and insuring quick access to abortion facilities, should a failure occur.

Sexuality, on the other hand, seems universally protected within most variants of Wicca. There are no caveats regarding sex, so long as it is consensual. There aren't restrictions regarding gender, adopting more of a continuum approach rather than a binary view.

I find that comforting -- some within my particular sect prefer to identify as "above and beyond all the gender [stuff]" (profanity removed)

My family (the one I was raised in), did the whole 'Christmas' thing, with non-religious ornaments on the tree, celebrated 'Easter' with very commercial objects, etc. My husband and I tend to hold two celebrations for 'major' holidays -- Halloween, which is also the lunar 'new year's eve', is a big one. We entertain trick-or-treaters, but hold a toast at midnight with our closest friends(a tradition of starting the year with the loved ones you want to spend it with).

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Just a note I really love the concept of Wiccans! I read a book once where one of the main characters was a Wiccan and I have been in love with the idea ever since. It just seems so cool to me.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Alexial_L
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I am Christian. I believe that sex is something very special that comes from God. It's not just a connection on the physical level, but most importantly, a connection of spirits or two souls... it's the main reason why I think when the act is done under the 'wrong' circumstances (rape, molestation etc), it leaves a deep and painful scarring that could possibly stay with someone for the rest of their life.

I was just wondering if anyone has a different view on this?

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kitkatbits
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quote:
Originally posted by Alexial_L:
I am Christian. I believe that sex is something very special that comes from God. It's not just a connection on the physical level, but most importantly, a connection of spirits or two souls... it's the main reason why I think when the act is done under the 'wrong' circumstances (rape, molestation etc), it leaves a deep and painful scarring that could possibly stay with someone for the rest of their life.

I was just wondering if anyone has a different view on this?

My (similar to you) view on this is that if I want to have some form of sex (kissing and so on), I should think long and hard about it - as to if I love the other person enough.

I feel that your view is phrased in a judgemental way, more specifically how you said "the act" and what constitutes "wrong circumstances".

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Heather
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Perhaps the way to rectify that, Alexial and kitkabits, is to make sure we're addressing only sex here, in other words, sex that is sex for BOTH people, not just one, that is consensual?

Rape or molestation isn't sex for the victim, after all: only for the perpetrator, and I'd argue it isn't sex at all (especially as a survivor).

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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

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kitkatbits
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I agree with you Heather
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ilovemusic1
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I'm a Christian, and I just read a nasty article about "lies teenagers tell themselves about sex." I thought it was really rude, and it pretty much said that if you want to be a Christian, you can never think about anything sexual, can't have sex until you're married, can't masturbate, etc.

The bible says homosexuality is wrong, but it's in the same chapter of the old testament as the rule that you can't eat pork, which is a rule that the majority of Christians don't follow.

Christianity can be pretty strict about sexual anything, but the majority of the things I've read about were in the old testament and not the new testament. Christianity is built off of the birth of Jesus, and I feel like the new testament is more the laws I should follow as a Christian.

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