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The damaging effects of shame-based sexual education

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2017 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 838 times Debate No: 105803
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (14)
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Taken from Atheist Republic
Sarah* and her husband both always believed that God was not ok with premarital sex. They grew up in the "purity culture" and believed that sexual pleasure would naturally be a part of a godly marriage if they waited. Sarah believed anything more than kissing would make her a slut. She had never even heard of masturbation until college, and even then, it took her 5 years to achieve orgasm on her own. She is now in her 30's, and to this day, has never had an orgasm by anyone other than herself.

Lucy* was the ideal Christian. For most of her adolescent and adult life, she suppressed most of her sexual urges. No dating. No fantasizing. No touching. She was pretty much asexual and clueless. Then she fell in love. She and the young man fully intended to marry and they did the things that most young lovebirds do - held hands, put their arms around each other. But Lucy felt arousal and with the arousal came guilt. She either had to stop what was causing the feelings or shut down. She has needed ongoing therapy to get over the shame and guilt associated with arousal and it is clear to hear that had she married that young man, they would have had a completely dysfunctional sex life. She did everything she was told, she followed the rules and now has faced years of sexual dysfunction born out of deep rooted shame, fear and guilt.

Sam* grew up hearing about the dangers of pornography and masturbation. If boys look at naked pictures of women or see videos of people having sex, they will obviously masturbate and then they will never again be able to have a normal sex life. He also was warned about lust. A lustful thought is any thought about a woman's body or any sexual thought about any woman other than your wife and if you think about other women while masturbating, you're committing multiple sins. These messages so crippled him that every time he would get a tingle of arousal after glancing at a woman, he would berate himself and ask God for forgiveness. The built up guilt and shame followed him into marriage. He still looked at porn and masturbated, and he still got turned on by other women, but he was constantly ashamed. This shame created a growing rift between him and his wife. He experienced sexual dysfunction but was unable to talk about it for lack of a working vocabulary. He is now free from the foundational religious beliefs but continues to fight against the feelings of shame that are tied to his own sexuality.

*actual stories, names changed for anonymity.

Sex, sexual orientation, gender identity: these are all very personal elements of an individual's life; yet they continue to garner a massive amount of public opinion and legislation, especially in the religious world; which, is completely mind-boggling, and fantastically entertaining.

We're not talking about outlawing bestiality or child pornography here. We as a society have come to the (completely justified) consensus that those things are wrong and should be legislated. Nope. The kinds of things religious leaders get REALLY riled up about are sexual positions between mutually consenting adults, at what point a person "should" have sex (typically, not until after marriage), what gender your sexual partner is, and the scariest one of them all *cue ominous music*...MASTURBATION! *gasp.

In fact, masturbation is apparently so heinous, conservative evangelicals, Mormons, and many other devout religious groups go so far as to create public service announcement campaigns and religious education curricula to make sure their followers' hands stay busy flipping through the Bible or clasped in fervent prayer.

Anti-masturbation campaigns are generally aimed at men, but lately, word has gotten out that women are in on the fun sin, too. Alright ladies, which one of you spilled the beans? Thanks a lot! We were doing just fine hiding under the covers, vibrators in hand, quietly pleasuring ourselves and now you went and ruined it for all of us!

Exhibit A: The Mormon powers-that-be take masturbation so seriously, they're going to war's a war against self-pleasure! In a video released by Brigham Young University, it's suggested that when people report their masturbating and porn-watching friends to religious authorities within the Mormon hierarchy, they are to be commended in the same way a soldier should be honored for dragging a wounded comrade off the battlefield. No joke.

Exhibit B: Have you seen the error of your ways? Have you taken the bold step to stop masturbating forever? Proclaim it to the world with this...T-shirt! The Passion for Christ Movement (P4CM) sells an "Ex-Masturbator" t-shirt; to help take God's message against self-pleasure to friends and strangers everywhere. *Speechless*

Exhibit C: If God's disappointment isn't enough to motivate you to avoid masturbation, perhaps the threat of being pretty much like a gay person will. Seattle mega-church pastor, Mark Driscoll - a buff, tattooed, swearing guy who yells a lot, and frequently talks about sex - has an ebook available; that claims jacking off is basically the same as "the sin of homosexuality" if a woman isn't in the room. Well then. Now you know.

Exhibit D: And then there are the Jehovah's Witnesses who released a sign language video (and yes, the sign for masturbation is as awesome as we all want it to be) warning that Jehovah is disgusted by masturbation, making it an evil act. This video was apparently worthy of an R Kelly and 50 Cent redub. Unfortunately, the original is no longer available online but the redub. is better anyway.

Holy Book texts discussing sex and sexual orientation, and these examples of modern religious fervor interfering in the sex lives of individuals are hilarious, unless you've gone through sexual maturation in the midst of that world. The shame and guilt permeating all things sex-related in conservative religion is horrifyingly oppressive, and often has long-lasting negative consequences even for the people who break free of religion later in life.

Aside from the myopic cisgendered heteronormative bias perpetuated in all conservative religious expressions, the pervasive problems of shame-based sexual teaching are vast.

Conservative religious expressions idolize virginity, especially in women. North American Evangelical Christian youth groups hold purity conferences and encourage teens to sign "purity pacts", swearing they will not engage in any sex acts until after marriage. Girls often get "purity rings" from their dads as visible signs that they are "married to Jesus" until their wedding night, at which point, their husbands essentially get to play the man-god figure in their lives.

Girls are told (using these exact words) that having sex before marriage makes you "damaged goods"; , "like drinking a cup of spit"; "a used piece of chewing gum": the more it gets chewed, the worse it tastes until eventually, you have to just throw it away. Girls are also held responsible for the sexual purity of the boys around them. They are admonished repeatedly to use caution when choosing what to wear so they don't "tempt their brothers" into the sin of lust.

Boys aren't off the hook either. The focus for boys is on their "visually stimulated" arousal, and they are shamed into avoiding any thoughts about sex with a massive focus on the dangers of pornography of any kind.

It is drilled into pre-teens and teens, that they aren't allowed to be sexual beings, have sexual thoughts or do anything sexual until after they're married - at which time, they are expected to be sexual powerhouses. The women in particular are supposed to be amazing at pleasing their husbands because if they're not, their husbands will probably have an affair and it will be their fault.

A recent study found; that while religious people engage in the same types of sexually-related behaviors (having sex, viewing/reading porn, masturbating) and have sex as often as nonreligious people, the deep-rooted guilt and shame present in the religious group prevents them from enjoying it as much. The more devout the the religious people were, the less happy they were with their sex lives whereas people who "lost their faith", reported a far more satisfying sex life as a nonbeliever.

Shame and guilt are not good foundations on which to build personal ethics about one's sexuality and it is becoming increasingly obvious that religious institutions are hurting young people with their teachings. Even if people aren't explicitly told they are "damaged goods" if they have sex before marriage or that masturbation is a sin or that you aren't allowed to think sexually about anyone until you're married, those messages are there in the subtext and the shame and guilt seep in.

If you were religious at some point, did you struggle with this issue? Did you feel guilty of your own natural desires? How did your early sexual education in a religious setting affect your relationships later?

Prove that religion and god and the bible should be in anyway followed as far as what its sexual intentions are.

dsjpk5 will not be allowed to vote in the voting process.


Could you clarify the point of the debate? The debate is titled: The damaging effects of shame-based sexual education. Then at the bottom of your post say that I have to prove that religion, God, and the Bible should be followed based on the sexual intentions? And I am supposed to do this for every single religion and God? I guarantee that not every religion has a shame based education system, so if that is the main thing you want me to defend, then I am not going to defend every single religion. Hell, I don't even know how many religions there are in the world. Please clarify what you want me to do here.

Debate Round No. 1


Could you not sign up for something you don't understand? See that's the problem with christians is they can't read nor comprehend. If you don't recognize and or are unable to depict what I am saying, then it is truly impossible for you to in any way to distinguish as well as interpret what your bible says. But then again your god would never use text, the worst form of communication possible.


All I see in your post are individual stories from people with bad experiences. Here are some stories to the contrary which I found googling around in about 5 minutes.

It looks like you have fallen prey to the age old fallacy of confirmation bias. You have picked through the web to find the most extreme examples which proove your point.

Also, here is a study to run counter to the one you posted. (NOTE: This study only demonstrates that it is beneficial to delay sex in a relationship. I am only including it here because it shows that waiting does have benefits.)

Do you see how easy it is to pick and choose sources which support your case while ignoring those which do not? Now, I am still in need of clarification on what I am defending, and this did look like a fun debate. But these "Shame-based education" systems are not what some religions teach. They are responses to the teachings, not the teachings themselves. For instance, the Christian worldview teaches that lust is a sin, but it is a specific church which migtht incorporate these "shame-based systems"

This is what confuses me though:

Prove that religion and god and the bible should be in anyway followed as far as what its sexual intentions are.

If we are not talking about a specific religion, then I will be proving that every single view of sexuality brought up by every single religion is valid. And since religions differ on their views of sexuality, then you are potentially asking me to prove potentially thousands of religions. Have I got that right?

I do not mean to waste your time or debate, but I am just unclear on what I am supposed to do. You seem to be asking me to do two different things.
Debate Round No. 2


""All I see in your post are individual stories from people with bad experiences." That"s why you are a christian who can"t think, reason, rationalize, use common sense, nor use logic, nor read, nor comprehend which is what the christian religion is and what is based upon and founded upon. So I"m ending out fruitful debate. With that one sentence of yours it proves to me and unto others that in no possible way did you read that entire article, but only the first 3 paragraphs, if that and then you jump to your erroneous, stupid pathetic, truly ignorant, tangent, arrogant combustible conclusions. And you expect me to read the trash in which you spread in which case I read your first link, in which case you go right ahead and tell me and everybody else what is wrong with it and why it is just another piece of meat and truly fake and fraudulent just---like---you AND YOUR religion? See, in a debate what I hope for is intelligence and those that have an edumacation. Wow you most certainly have showed that you like nearly in all the rest of my debates, that christians like you SERIOUSLY lack both. Bye.


Wow, I thought we were really making progress
Debate Round No. 3
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Debate Round No. 4
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Debate Round No. 5
14 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Throwback 3 years ago
I think he is sincere, and truly that stupid. I'd like to actually see in person someone of such accomplished idiocy. It's fascinating in a macabre sort of way.
Posted by dsjpk5 3 years ago
We don't fail at it. We just disagree with you. That's what those big issue numbers indicate (the degree with which someone agrees with you). That's why whenever YOU go to YOUR profile page, your score is 100% (because YOU agree with YOU). You can't be this obtuse. You must be trolling.
Posted by Bitch_Goddess 3 years ago
The rule is pretty irrelevant to the debate well as Pro's entire argument for round 1.
A better rule would be: Con must provide reason through means, whether it is religious or not, as to why consenting sexual actions (including masturbation) should be shamed.
Posted by backwardseden 3 years ago
@dsjpk5 - You naughty little poor boy piggy in a blanket ducking for cover that you desperately need shock therapy attention. Tsk tsk. There you go with your glass menagerie of winning ideals again. Your little boy scrotum soda bottom should be paddled with rubber balls for spreading shameful rumors. For the last time, and you know it, and your disguise is so opaque pale and greasy, the Big Issues show what you are as far as your character is concerned. You and Throwbarf fail miserably at it. And gosh golly gee gosh darned it all you just cannot stand to lose. Too bad. I'm so very glad I made your day better. Please do not post me again unless you have something intelligent to say. Ta ta.
Posted by dsjpk5 3 years ago
Throwback, I tried to explain the big issues disparity to him too, but he didn't seem to grasp the concept. He seems to think he's winning some kind of contest, or succeeding at some test.
Posted by dsjpk5 3 years ago
Raumulus, I've brought that up to him many times, but he just ignores how his resolutions don't match his rules.
Posted by FollowerofChrist1955 3 years ago
Your 56 years old for Pete"s sake, if YOUR dysfunctional, why you trying to make it sound like God had anything to do with that? Your profile shows your not earning the amount consistent with a health care professional, certainly NOT a psychologist, definitely not a Teacher, your actions show that much. Your bitter and it"s towards God and no other ..... WHY.

Why the interest in Christian sex lives! Obviously a ruse to blame on God? How do you hate someone you do not KNOW. That"s unhealthy. i KNOW God, and He"s done nothing to YOU. So why you on a personal vendetta. Tell us? Stop Focusing on HUMAN behavior and attempting to put them on God.

God controls those that are His, not those who are not. God doesn"t control the accidents you make, the mistakes you make, even when they cost Lives. These accidents are accidents, made by human error, that isn"t Gods fault either. People in grief naturally blame God for everything .... but the reality is .. it isn"t Gods fault at all. God will NOT take away the self-will of Men just to prevent death by accident, error or stupidity. You are given a lifetime to decide ON YOUR OWN. Turn your life over to God, and let God truly control or keepcontrol yourselves and pay your sin debt at lifes end.

The things that occur to me? god filtered. Everytime! Does that mean I cannot die? Of Course not, BUT I KNOW that no matter WHAT happens it is in Gods will for me, and I want that! You see for me? Dying is GOING to be WITH God. For you? Dying is to be in eternal suffering in Hell. HUGE DIFFERENCE! You HAVE reason to be afraid ... I do not. Nothing can do anything but kill my body .... YOU? You are against one who KILLS BOTH the Body AND the Soul.

It doesn"t have to be that way, but you choose it to be and are attempting to blame God for YOUR choices! That is what is unfair ... not God allowing Life to happen. Take your bitterness and go away, or face Them and come to God! Stop with excuses!
Posted by Raumulus 3 years ago
Prove that religion and god and the bible should be in anyway followed as far as what its sexual intentions are. "

I don't think this is the proper Con to your Pro..

Shouldn't it be that being taught to restrain sexual desire does not lead directly to sexual dysfunction?
Posted by Throwback 3 years ago
@dsjpk5, aren't they all? I've gotten beyond debating this legend in his own mind. By way of example, he continually harps on my 15% rating on the Big Issues, no matter how many times I try to explain it. That's a special kind of stupid. I'm frankly disappointed I agree with him on 15% of the issues. I'd be more comfortable with 0.
Posted by What50 3 years ago
To be fair your story are just anecdotal evidence, someone could point out the flaws, or prove that they are just isolated examples.
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