Articles on Relationships and Sex

A Positive Approach to Sex, Faith and Spirituality

There can be huge conflict in how people feel about their religion and culture and their feelings about sex and intimacy.  They may have been raised in a very strict culture of religion that might teach, for example, that sex before marriage is wrong, that sex is dirty, for conception only, that sex between two men or two women is wrong or group sex and  polyamory is wrong.  Also that certain sexual practices are forbidden, that it is right to perform female genital mutilation on young girls, routine circumcision on boys, that sex and prayer during menstruation is not permitted, masturbation and using contraception is not acceptable and many other teachings.  People can feel uncomfortable with these teachings although they may willingly follow and believe in other areas of their religion's philosophy and rituals.  It can be helpful to discuss these conflicts with a therapist to try and explore what feels right for them during intimacy and sex without alienating or compromising their sense of faith and culture.  Sometimes looking at their faith objectively with someone outside their faith with a more existential view point can aid them in exploring their feelings.  Spirituality can present in so many forms and being open to evolving a new way of being with your God, or your non belief in God can be inspiring.  Giving yourself permission to question your thinking and being open to welcoming a kindly attention to self can be refreshing and healing.  So much shame can come from going against family and religious teachings.  It is worth questioning the power that shame might be holding over you.   

It might be that if you are a person of faith you could reconnect with God and reframe your idea of his/her teachings on sex and intimacy in a way that is more comfortable for you. Could you work with your relationship with God so you can visualise God as more kindly, forgiving and accepting of your sexuality and approach to intimacy?  Can you be open to thinking of God and your relationship with him as evolving and creative?   Could you learn to believe in a God that wants to ensure the very best for you and what that might look like?  I welcome clients who want to work on their relationship including their relationship with faith and this can sometimes be done in co operation with religious leaders if that facilitates  the therapeutic process.