Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

Living Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Sex and Religion

  • David A. Leeming
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27771-9_634-4

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

(John Donne, Holy Sonnet 15)

Sexual and religious experiences have in common characteristics conveyed by such words as desire, mystery, ritual, passion, ecstasy, and union. Ideally we go to religious services and “to bed” because our bodies and our psyches desire something beyond ourselves. There is a sense of awe and mystery associated with both activities and certain rituals that contribute to passion and, when things go well, to ecstasy in both. The fact that, for some, such an analogy will smack of sacrilege or even heresy only indicates the depth of the split between these two natural human activities. If we have a deeply ingrained horror of mixing sex and religion, this has not always been so.

To begin as far back as we have records of religious experience, we would have to look to the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) period to such sites as the great painted caves...


Religious Experience Female Circumcision Animal Food Source Abrahamic Religion Mother Goddess 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ConnecticutStorrsUSA