Religion and Sexuality

Among the diverse functions of religion—the provision of certainty, meaning, social support, self-actualization, health, and emotional strength—the regulation of sexuality has been a historical priority for the Judeo-Christian tradition. Previous literature on religion and sexual behavior has focused on narrow and often atheoretical definitions of religiosity, including religious affiliation, religious participation, or well-established forms of religiousness (e.g., intrinsic religiosity). We (Farmer, Trapnell, & Meston, 2009; Ahrold, Farmer, Trapnell, & Meston, 2011) examined relationships between five distinct measures of religiosity (religious denomination, intrinsic religiosity, paranormal religiosity, spirituality, fundamentalism) and measures of sexual behavior and attitudes in a college sample of over 1500 men and women. Our findings showed that individual differences in religiosity domains were better predictors of sexual attitudes and fantasy than religious group and that these associations are moderated by gender.

Recommended paper:

Ahrold, TK, Farmer, M, Trapnell, PD & Meston, CM (2011). The relationship among sexual attitudes, sexual fantasy, and religiosity. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 619-630. PDF (257 KB)