When Sex is a Religious Experience

Andrew Belonsky :: Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 5:20 pm

Religion has a way of rearing its head in the most unwelcome of places, like the bedroom. Turn down the sheet, and there’s Jesus, Moses or whomever, staring you in the face. So what happens when religion pops up when you do? Should it come between you and your intercourse?

My friends and I were having lovely brunch recently, and the conversation turned toward sex: who’s having it, who isn’t, why we love it and how to get more. During this conversation, one of my friends, let’s call her Mary, insisted that she would never date someone who goes to church. I scoffed a bit, and she clarified, “Okay, maybe church for weddings and funerals, but certainly not a Catholic.” She then made some reference to Catholicism’s on-going sex scandals.

Mary’s devout rejection comes as no surprise: Catholics often get the short end of the stick when it comes to sex. So do some other spiritual camps. Regardless of my friend’s religious specificity, Mary’s remark stuck with me, and made me wonder how important religion should be when it comes to knocking boots.

There are a few sides to this particular coin. The more pious among us often like to marry within our sect, while others, like Mary, reject it outright, and still others truly don’t give a damn. It seems to me that this latter position’s the one to try.

First and foremost, that heathen down the hall may be a rocket in bed, so don’t discount it outright. Second, spirituality’s often fluid: people may become more or less religious as their lives change. Shoot, Lord knows I’ve lain down a prayer or two when times get tough, yet still take that name in vain more often than not.

The biggest flaw of purely secular or orthodox sex, however, is that it perpetuates religious ostracization. If spirituality can’t be injected into the most human of acts, screwing, then our increasingly divided world doesn’t stand a chance. We can’t go on living as unrelated tribes, can we? How long until can such a society last? Sadly, long enough: religiously segregated sex lives have gone on for centuries, and show no sign of letting up. That’s too bad, because not”knowing” someone of a different religion really limits your options.

Image via Flavin’s Corner.