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Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality
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Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  187 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Why 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 pleasu ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 10th 2012 by IPC Press (first published January 1st 2012)
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I saw Dr. Ray give a lecture on the subject of sex and religion at a recent conference, and wasted no time in buying his book at the speakers table. He was a funny and engaging speaker. The same easy-going conversational style comes through in his book. Sex & God is as much a book of self understanding as it is a examination of the role of religion in shared sexual mores, in the sense that we are all products of the culture we are raised in, and so it is responsible for much of our identitie ...more
If you are someone who was raised with any sort of religious indoctrination, this is probably an invaluable book. It has a great deal of very topical information about how religion and sexual practices are intertwined. The only problem I had with the book, and I am the last person to defend religion, is that the author lays the problems with infidelity and sex education among other things at the at the feet of religion. While I am am certain that religion is to blame for much of it, I feel that ...more
This is the best book I have read to date dealing with this subject matter.
The author's experience training ministers, priests, and other religious officials combined with his work as a psychologist give him a unique point of reference to write a book that goes in depth in regards to the issues he has witnessed and assisted with.
As someone who has ambitions of one day becoming a sex and relationship therapist, I foresee this book being a staple recommendation. Imagine the world we could have i
Excellent book, and oh so very timely right now, with all the religious conservative crap going on here in the USA. The author covers a wide range of information covering how religion poisons sex, and yet the hypocrisy that religious people are having sex, because it's natural, and then feel guilty and dirty about it, which makes a gradually more vicious cycle as they repeat it.

An easy, fascinating read, covers the basic screwed up religions of Christianity, Islam, Judaism, as well as touches o
This is a great book and very helpful for those who grew up with religious programming. The writer, a counselor, has counseled extensively and spoken and researched this subject extensively, and his stance is that religion doesn't belong in sexuality. It is a very sex-positive book and humanistic and interesting. I suppose some people (perhaps the strictly religious) might have a problem with the stance. It is educational and thought-provoking and I recommended it for my family members.

I will pr
Emily Dietle
The news has been at capacity lately with attacks on issues of sexual freedom, and this book by psychologist Dr. Darrel Ray could not be more important to us all.

Sex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality. The bold title and cover image of this book will supply you with endless entertainment from the odd glances you will receive; I made several people uncomfortable at Hobby Airport last month.

Straight from the first page, this book flows naturally and Dr. Ray’s words come through as the voic
Stephen Starr
A fascinating book that blows the top off the sex control systems used by organised religion. The early chapters are perhaps a little predictable in their attack on religion, but the later chapters illustrate how religion and the agricultural societies they infect radically changed the healthier attitudes to sex and relationships held by hunter gatherer societies. I was surprised that there was no mention of the medieval church's strictures on marriage between related cousins, second cousins etc ...more
Rodrigo Bressane
An incrediblly broad view on how religion affects sexuality and the perception we have of sex, relationships, general human behavior and values. Even though a lot can be said on the subject, by the end of the book it feels like no topic had been left unattended by the author. It's a wonderful piece that will provoke a war of thoughts for those who are still living under the sexual dictatorship of religion. And for those who already left God's realm of control, the piece is a great surce of knowl ...more
Edythe Hamilton
“I have been a psychologist for over 35 year. Before I went into psychology, I thought I was destined to be a minister…I helped train ministers, chaplains and other church officials…I saw layer upon layer of complicity in sexual scandals and financial fraud…Not all displayed this behavior, but almost all participated in hiding or ignoring it…This experience led me to a deeper study of how religion works…What if we took religion out of sex?” Yes, some church officials are guilty of these charges, ...more
Read this book. If it seems appealing, just buy it. I want to throw some quotes down but I don't even know where to start. I will quote the heading and subheading for Chapter 24: Jealousy: The Anti-Love Potion, though, because I feel like it's the most universally needed:
"Sexual jealousy is an emotion that originates in ideas about sex and ownership.
'A jealous husband doesn't doubt his wife, but himself.' -Honore De Balzac
'Jealousy is nothing more than a fear of abandonment.' -Arab Proverb
some of this is light and fluffy, some however is very serious and important.. the chapter on sexual abuse is eye opening and worrying.have to say the cover pic was misleading , the topic is very serious. see the reviews by others on goodreads or amazon
Feb 26, 2013 Avery rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Avery by: Freethought Arizona
I wish I had found this book when I was much younger. I like to think I wouldn't have had to learn all my lessons the hard way to get to the wonderful place I am at today if I had read something like Dr. Ray's book when I was much younger.

Darrel Ray paid homage to visionaries like Dr. Albert Ellis and Robert A. Heinlein by putting their visions of people achieving healthy intimate relationships, openly and honestly negotiated without guilt, shame or jealousy, on a scientific basis with evidence
Ayame Sohma
Rewrite your Sexual Roadmap

As Darrel outlines early on, using a map from the American Colonial era would be useless in today's modern world. Skyscrapers, back alleys, gang territory etc. would be conspicuously absent. So too with religion and sex. In the latter case, however, the consequences are far more dire than not finding the Space Needle after a few hours of sojourning in Seattle.

Religious myths about sex covers a short chapter, and some more humour is present in the Mormon "teachings" for

This was a very interesting read. Being raised Mormon, I could definitely relate to the shame and guilt that was put on any sexual activity other monogamous, married, heterosexual sex. Before reading this book, I never really thought about why religion stigmatizes sex, but the theories proposed in this book make a lot of sense. I'm glad that I was able to leave, but I do fear for the thousands (millions if you believe church census records) who still subscribe to those theories. I wish they cou
I like Darrel Ray's easy-going style. It feels kind of like a conversation in many ways. That's a good thing, especially when your subject is sex and religion!

The first parts of the book go through history of our sexual evolution along with our closest cousins the chimps/bonobos and gorillas. He also goes through how religion has hijacked a lot cognitive processes and how those distort our sexuality.

He repeats a lot throughout the middle. He probably could have cut out a couple of chapters and p
Nathan Fast
It's difficult to do in a book like this, but I wish more care had been taken to avoid generalization. Specific religious beliefs should be tied to each distortion, and it would have been nice if there was more discussion on the rationalizations the religious use to minimize or (in certain cases) eliminate the distortion.
This is an awesome book! Another from Darrel Ray who has become one my favorite authors over the last couple of years! It's very straight forward & I learned a lot of about sex & sexuality in different cultures that I was not aware of & never would've thought that they were that way. Believer or non-believer you will definitely learn about how you were taught to view sex, how you currently view sex & how that will likely change after reading this book & you will therefore lea ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Huw marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Review by J. Anderson Thomson, Jr., M.D., University of Virginia, psychiatrist, author, Why We Believe In God(s): A Concise Guide to the Science of Faith
"Read this book. Whether you are a believer, doubter, or atheist, religion influences your sexuality. Darrel Ray removes our blinders. Never again will you view religion as benign in its effects. With patience, verve, and overwhelming evidence he makes the case that religion is an STD, a sexually tarnishing disease. Religion undermines our capac
Brian Stuy
I can positively promise that this book will change the way you look at sex in our culture, and the way we view sex in marriage, sex while single, and sex by ourselves. A fascinating read the combines religious teachings about sex with empirical studies showing that such teachings are almost always wrong, and in fact harmful. While the book has a "self-published" feel, its assertions and suggestions are well supported and truly fascinating. Whether you agree with what Ray writes is up to you, it ...more
Mikel Hensley
Got a few chapters left, so I can't write a full review yet. But I am finding this to be a really fascinating read. The discussion of the biological and psychological underpinnings of sexual preferences and styles is something I have never seen before. It makes much more sense than the "one-size-fits-all" sexual restriction of religion permeates our culture even beyond religious communities. I am looking forward to picking up this book again.
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
I will give this guy credit he knows his information. I don't agree with every single thing he said, but I am not an atheist.

The only religion he didn't criticize was neo-paganism, but Buddhism is considered pagan at it's most basic definition.

He also didn't consider the people who are moderate and even lapsed (but still identify with the culture or the religion), where sex is even encouraged and "everyone does it".
I agree with the thesis of this book, but I didn't think it was particularly well written. It seemed that lots of chapters were just attempts to find yet another way to point out that religious concepts of sex are messed up.

I think the book could have been half the length with nearly all the information left intact.
Easily the most interesting and thought provoking read on the subject thus far. A kind of Richard Dawkins-Meets-Robin Baker insight into human sexuality and its influence by religion.
Calvin Pierce
I highly recommend this book for anyone coming out of the church.
Cheryl Thompson
Great book.... Love the author!!!
Loved it.
Lucas Ward
Lucas Ward marked it as to-read
Mar 03, 2015
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“Religion has the capacity to silence critical thinking and create blindness in entire groups of people. It can infect the minds of followers so completely as to allow the most egregious sexual acts against children and others to go unchallenged for centuries.” 11 likes
“All religions have something to say about sex, and it rarely coincides with scientific knowledge of sex and sexuality.” 9 likes
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