Religion and Sexuality: Challenging Conventional Wisdom

Research suggests that religious people report better sex lives and higher sexual satisfaction, challenging the belief that religion is sexually repressive.

Conventional wisdom often portrays religion as sexually repressive, with limitations on sexual expression seen as detrimental to a healthy sexual life. However, recent research challenges this notion, suggesting that religious individuals actually report better sex lives and higher levels of sexual satisfaction. This article explores the findings of various studies that shed light on the complex relationship between religion and sexuality, challenging the prevailing narrative and offering a fresh perspective on the topic.

Religious People Report Better Sex Lives:

The Baylor Religion Survey, a comprehensive study, reveals that religious people report better sex lives compared to their non-religious counterparts. This finding challenges the widely held belief that religious individuals are sexually repressed. Additionally, a study conducted in Britain found that religious British people reported more satisfying sex lives, further supporting the idea that religion and sexuality are not necessarily at odds.

Married Religious Couples and Sexual Satisfaction:

Another intriguing finding is that married religious couples have more frequent and better sex than other couples. The same holds true for married couples in the United States, according to a study published in the Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. The research suggests that increased commitment between partners and greater spousal time, which are often associated with religious beliefs and practices, contribute to higher levels of sexual satisfaction.

Religion’s Benefits for Marriages and Mental Health:

The benefits of religion extend beyond the realm of sexuality and into marriages and mental health. Numerous studies have shown that religious couples experience greater marital satisfaction, communication, and overall happiness. It is plausible that these positive effects spill over into a couple’s sex life, further challenging the assumption that religion hampers sexual satisfaction.

Challenging the Status Quo Conversation:

These findings challenge the prevailing conversation about sex in America. While the media often portrays sex as something exclusively enjoyed by young, unmarried individuals, the reality is that married people have more sex than their single counterparts. It is possible that some of the most sexually active campuses in the United States are religiously conservative schools with a higher proportion of married students.

Religion and Lived Sexuality:

Contrary to popular belief, traditional religions have often celebrated and worked within the realm of lived sexuality. For example, John Paul II’s Theology of the Body lectures celebrated marital sexuality, Jewish law’s Onah addressed the importance of satisfying a spouse’s sexual needs, and Islam’s Hadiths celebrated marital sexual passion. Even the Puritans, often associated with repressive attitudes towards sexuality, recognized the importance of sexual desire and satisfaction within marriage.


The notion that religion dampens sexuality in couples is not supported by the evidence. Research suggests that religion can enhance sexual satisfaction and contribute to a healthier sex life. The benefits of religion for marriages and mental health are well-documented, and it is plausible that these positive effects extend to a couple’s sexual relationship. By challenging the prevailing narrative, these findings invite a more nuanced understanding of the complex relationship between religion and sexuality.






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