Or to pursue sexual well being in the context of

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or to pursue sexual well-being in the context of their particular faith. In part because of this failure to approach sexuality in a positive, supportive way, many people stereotype religious groups as being either sexually progressive or conservative (Luker, 2006). As you will read, the truth is far more complex and interesting than these stereotypes suggest (Machacek & Wilcox, 2003). Think about your own experience. How do you react if there is a difference between your own sexual culture and what your religious upbringing says? Whether the issue is masturbation, premarital sex, or something else, religious training may contradict how people actually behave in society (Regnerus, 2007). How do you negotiate the contradictions between such religious and cultural or societal meanings or sexual relationships? Without challenging your own religious beliefs, let's consider how the world's largest faith communities have influenced sexuality. Later, we'll discuss spirituality and sexual behavior in the United States. DID YOU KNOW In 2010, the world's total population was approximately 6.5 billion people. Figure 2.3 shows how people describe their religious affiliation.
Figure 2.3 How people worldwide describe their religious affiliation.
Page 54 While spirituality is the inner sense of an individual, organized religionmeans sharing practices of worship with others and belonging to a faith-based group, both of which create shared social experiences (Durkheim, 1915). Belonging to a church can provide some people with a social community of economic,

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