New Review

Sex & God

How Religion Distorts Sexuality
Darrel Ray, Ed.D
IPC Press
Pub Date: Jan 10 2012
cover42219-smallWhy are all the major religions consumed with sex? What makes sex so important, whether Buddhism or Islam, Christianity or Mormonism? What is the impact of religion on human sexuality? This book explores this and more. It ventures into territory that has never been examined. You will be surprised at how much religion has influenced your sexuality, who you marry, the pleasure you get or don’t get from sex, and what you can do about it.

Asking ‘Why?’ has always been my curse. I’m incurably curious. I’m also terribly shy; it makes asking actual, real people why they like what they like, do what they do, is really difficult. I’m absolutely certain they’ll tell me to piss off. That’s why I like reading psychology books and biographies, I think. When I saw this book available for review on Net Galley I thought it would make a nice complement to ‘Fifty Years in Polygamy’, a book which I recently reviewed.

It was certainly interesting and the personal stories the author repeats to use as evidence add colour. Darrel Ray makes some very sensible points, especially regarding jealousy. As an insight in to the psychology of religions and their interest in the sex lives of believers, at least as it applies in the US, this book is a good place to start. If it helps in the argument for increased secular sex education in American schools then it’ll have done some good.

Unfortunately there are some problems which made me cringe as I read; there was nothing new in this book. Of course the beliefs and culture of our society affects how we view sex and sexuality. The author makes a lot of speculative comments, his prejudices often affect his ‘science’ for instance in his attitude towards women and religion, his citations are usually of secondary or tertiary evidence or he makes unsupported assertions. I would have liked to see more (non-internet) citations – papers, conference notes, experimental data etc.

It’s alright I suppose.



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