Uh oh. Sex. As America’s “war on sex” once again heats up as the country slides toward another presidential election, a new Sex and Secularism study conducted by Kansas University undergraduate Amanda Brown and Dr. Darrel W. Ray is bound to raise some hackles among the religiously faithful. Controversy abounds.
After surveying over 14,500 secularists about their sex lives the study’s key findings were as follows:
- Sex improves dramatically after leaving religion.
- Sexual guilt has little staying power after leaving religion.
- Those raised most religious show no difference from those raised least religious in their sexual behavior.
- Those raised most religious experience far more guilt but have just as much sex.
- Religious parents are far worse at educating their children on matters of sex.
- Religious guilt differs in measurable amounts according to denomination.
The authors admit the study was not perfect. It was conducted online, with respondents self-reporting their responses to questions posed, and all of the participants self-identified as currently secular, which could imply a certain motivation on their part to paint a rosy picture of post-religion sexual bliss. The authors feel the sheer number of respondents goes a long way to make up for its methodological weaknesses, and the authors freely admit the purpose of the study was to test six specific hypotheses that can be found on the link bottom of this piece.
Five of the six hypotheses were supported by the study’s conclusions and here are all six:
- Religions’ use of sexual guilt is measurably greater in conservative religions and less in liberal ones.
- People feel the sexual guilt taught by their religion but sexual behavior shows no difference from those with less guilt.
- Religiously conservative parents will be less effective at teaching their children about sex than more secular parents.
- Children raised in highly religious homes will receive poorer sexual education.
- Leaving religion has a positive impact on sexual satisfaction.
- Religion has continuing negative consequences on individuals after they leave.
The study’s authors state:
“Most religions preach strongly against pornography so it is reasonable to think that porn use would be less among the more religious. This survey found that porn use is quite high in all groups and is a key source of sex education for religious teens. The most religious teens said they got their sex education from porn 33% of the time, the less religious 25.2% of the time. The survey found that 90% of men were using pornography by age 21 with no significant difference between those most and least religious. For women, over 50% were using porn by age 21 and 70% at age 30, with little difference between most and least religious.”
Despite the porn use, the survey found that 50.2% of more religious teens got their sex education from personal experience versus 42.2% of less religious teens.
Dr. Ray’s religion and critical pedigree will no doubt fuel the inevitable condemnation of the study by those most threatened by its findings, but in fact its timing could not be better. Possibly the consideration of religious guilt as a possible mitigating factor for so-called sex and porn addiction also will be furthered by the findings of this research.
Click HERE to download the full study.
The official statement and press release can be found HERE.
Written by Sy Kraft