What Do Modern Religions Have to Say About Sex?
Debra Haffner is a minister and sexologist who I know through the American Association of Sexuality Educators Counselors & Therapists. She’s also the author of some great books:
- From Diapers to Dating: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Children
- What Every 21st-Century Parent Needs to Know: Facing Today’s Challenges with Wisdom and Heart
- Beyond the Big Talk: Every Parent’s Guide to Raising Sexually Healthy Teens from Middle School to High School and Beyond.
Check her writing out. She’s fabulous.
In addition to all of that, Debra is also the Executive Director of The Religious Institute, a “multifaith organization dedicated to advocating for sexual health, education and justice in faith communities and society.” They just launched an amazing database that compiles the official positions of major U.S. religious denominations on sexuality-related issues.
Want to find out what the Mennonite Church has to say about sexuality, abortion, or male sexual violence towards women? It’s in there. What about the United Methodist Church’s stance on AIDS, sex trafficking, or sex education? It’s there, too. There are statements from 28 different denominations covering more than 20 different issues. You can search by tradition or by topic.
This is an amazing resource for students of sexuality or religion,sexual politics or current events. It’s a wonderful research tool for journalists, scholars and educators. It’ll also help clergy, seminarians and others who write, teach or develop policy. And if you’re exploring a new religious faith, you can check out the official stance on these issues, too.
At the moment, the site focuses on Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist traditions, although I’d love to see that expand. It’s also limited to US organizations, which may differ from their counterparts in other parts of the world. And of course, there are sometimes big differences between the official statement and what happens on the ground, but that’s the same in any organization.
I invite you to take a moment to check out the site. If you’re a member of a religious organization that’s listed, you might not know the details of its statements around sex and this is an easy way to find them. If there’s something missing that you’d like to see your tradition address, maybe you can get that ball rolling.