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 pleasure you get or don't get from sex, and what you can do about it.
©2012 Dr. Darrel Ray (P)2013 Dr. Darrel Ray
Courageous, intelligent, and poignant.
Even though there's no real "characters" as this is an expose, all of the patients Darrel draws off are all poignant, moving and equally worthy of attention.
His relaxed and calm readings and clear and lucid explanation of terms and concepts. He's extremely friendly and warm and sounds like the most fun professor to sit with.
Dr. Darrel Ray's examination of patriarchal psychology in Chapter 16 and 17. His examination of how guilt plays directly into the minds and boys and girls at a young age and his clear breakdown of the sexual shame and indoctrination pounded into children was shocking and powerful, especially since as a former Pentecostal Christian-turned-atheist myself, made me tear up because it immediately made me recall how my sexual thought and urges were made to be shamed constantly. His examination of the role slavery and brutality played into shaming black slaves into Christianity was also deeply moving.
This book is truly a must-have. Believers and nonbelievers alike will learn things they'd never though were possible. We truly have no idea just how deep down the rabbit hole awful religious programming has dragged us into. Darrel Ray's research is incomparable and truly enlightening. You will never again think the same way about your body, your biology, your society, and religion after reading and listening to this book from beginning to end. I'm determined to share this with everyone I know.
I am a busy mom of 3, accountant, business owner, and audible lover. To think I can listen to nonfiction at the office & while driving, jogging or on the go, expanding ones mind is a pleasure!
I think everyone will find themselves in this book, no matter what your background. Religion in society has a cultural affect on everyone. This book helps you to see that your desires are natural, acceptable, and removes the guilt that straps so many lives from the ultimate pleasure that sex should bring.
I had left religion right before I purchased this book, but I don't think that is a necessity. Anyone who reads a book that bluntly speaks of sexuality needs an open mind.
Darrel Ray will make you laugh and bring you to an understanding of your feelings. And since, as a society, so few find sex an acceptable topic of deep discussion, I think this book is a life saver. I saw myself in this book in so many ways, and now am enjoying the best sex ever, whether with my spouse or alone, because I am free to do so. That is a result of this book! Buy it, read and reread it, tell people you know, honestly, life is too short and this part of it is too important.
The author also has a book, The God Virus, and it is equally impressive. All the way around, if you shy away from any aspect of your sexuality, are afraid to be who you really are, and don't feel comfortable in your skin, this book will take you to a better place.
Here at last is the book I wish I'd had when I was about 20, and my sexuality was colliding forcefully and messily with my family's devout Catholicism. (It's not hard to guess which won THAT battle.)
Dr. Darrel Ray, a clinical psychologist with years of research and practical experience behind him, finally addresses the elephant in the room: How religions create profound guilt and shame in people and hamper joyful sexual expression.
He makes it clear that religious sexual restrictions have nothing to do with whether individuals are good or bad, right or wrong (although many sincere religious people fervently believe this). Sexual prohibitions serve to maintain and propagate the religions themselves. Religion creates the problem - by pronouncing all but a narrow range of sexual expression as "sinful" - then presents the solution: Go to church more, pray, read your Bible, ask God's forgiveness. And if you have been "sexually immoral" in the past, work extra hard to pass the guilt and shame on to your children, who will also turn to the church for solace.
Dr. Ray shows how even non-religious people accept religious notions of sexual propriety, often without realizing or questioning it. One example: Marriage should entail lifelong monogamy. He asks important and provocative questions: Without a belief in a God who judges you in the afterlife, what reason is there to follow religious sexual rules? Do our unquestioned assumptions about sex harm our ability to form loving, honest relationships? Can we ethically express our desires and create more joy in our lives while shedding religious notions?
Religions try to impose a one-size-fits-all model of sexuality on adherents: Abstinence before (heterosexual) marriage and perfect fidelity afterwards. By citing the rates of premarital sex and adultery among religious people, and unintended pregnancy and STD rates in the most devout areas, Dr. Ray undeniably shows religious sexual models aren't working. He also reveals how these expectations harm rather than help people, as they struggle with guilt, shame and depression over perfectly normal urges.
Dr. Ray's book is provocative, engaging and fun to read, although repetitive at times. I have reservations about recommending the audio version. Dr. Ray is an entertaining speaker but was not the best narrator for his own book, which is marred by frequent mispronunciations and awkward phrasing. However, the ideas in the book are so important, I can't give it less than 5 stars. I'm planning to read the Kindle edition soon while taking notes, as it contained so many facts and viewpoints I want to think more carefully about.
First off this book takes a very strong stance right off the bat. Religion is bad for your sex life and your overall mental health. There are some obvious bias leanings. However, he does have evidence to support these statements although he offers little counter evidence to his arguments. He also paints a picture of almost all modern religions but only gives examples primarily, and almost exclusively, from the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
I will say I do not agree with all of his statements, but having come from a very religious home I found myself agreeing with most just based on my own personal experience.
I recommend this book to those out there who wonder about what effects being religious may have had on your sex life, especially if you are or were Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. However, do take everything with a grain of salt and weight it against your own experience. It hit home in many places for me, but everybody is different.
This should have been recorded more professionally. It sounds like Darrel Ray has his mic submerged in water while he is reading. Very unfortunate, because this is such a great book. A bit disappointing to say the least.
The tactics established religions use to control people and their sexuality and why are well described; but to name religion a disease, which infects like a virus is somehow exaggerated. The jewish-christian-moslem patriarchal "god" and its negative influence on people especially women are described in detail. I assume "god" equals an established church for Mr. Ray, which it does not do for me. Mr. Ray seems to neglect, we humans need spirituality as much as we need sexuality. The churches distort not only sexuality, but spirituality as well. Churches created a distorted concept of "god" in order to serve their political goals. The have more to do with power, property, control of people than with reconnecting to the creative power behind and within all things.
The tactics and strategies established churches employ to bind and control people are well explained. Examples of people suffering under the sexual dogma of churches are compelling.
He is reading.
To explore how and why the concept of "god" in the established churches was created and how and to what purpose it is used in comparison to non-established religions would be interesting.
Dr. Ray explains his points in detail. I enjoyed the range of topics and how well researched they were. The incorporation of his years of counseling (etc.) are a welcomed addition to the book.
I barely got an hour into this book before I had to just stop listening and delete it. I usually like when authors read their own books, even if they aren't very practiced at it, but not in this case. They should have gotten a professional voice actor; he's just terrible. His delivery is like a pouty, know-it-all teenager, and he's apparently recording in a bedroom instead of a studio.
The audio is all-around awful. I tried hard to get past it - this isn't the first bad audio book I've listened to from Audible - but totally failed. Thumbs down, boo.
Not if he reads it himself.
Harmon Meldrim, PhD, LCSW
A person who is not familiar with objective, unbiased expertise. This book is filled with the author's opinion that occasionally sites scientific support for his positions. For example he assumes the premise that religion is a disease. He refers to most organized religions as a virus, that is spread by institutions and parents. His bias brings into questions any possibly accurate statements that he makes. How strong is the impact of guilt on children who are told not to masturbate as this is sinful? Is it harmful for children to be warned by their parents to wait to have sex? These are important questions, but dealt with poorly by the author. An example of how the author makes a case for his opinion is when he posits that it is religion that causes ministers to be depressed. Take away the religion and the minister would have more guilt-free sex and no longer need anti-depressant medication. He supports this position by siting a single case. This type of support reminds me of tv info-mercials that prove their product will help you lose 50 lbs based on one person who has lost 50 pounds. Not good science. If Dr. Ray submitted this book for a grade I would give him a "C". The chapter on biology was the most unbiased and scientifically supported, but not really anything new or groundbreaking that I hadn't read before.
You could hear in his voice his disdain for religion, e.g. "The Jesus trap", where his inflection on the word Jesus presumes his negative bias.
There are many issues related to religion and sexuality that American society must address, especially in light of the anti LGBT bias of most religions, with the growing number of states legalizing same sex marriage. Let's have the discussion based on science. Atheism is as strong a dogmatic position as conservative religions. Setting our biases aside will help us consider how religion and sexuality interact positively and negatively.
"Weak to no research at all!"
Could not read a less research and more opinion based book that relies on racial slurs not based on any scientific research at all.
I would have the entire thing rewritten and find more scientific proof to back up the distorted logic provided by the author, in fact this book is irresponsible also the tile is not just about god communism is not related to god. This book is simply an attack on religion and has no enlightenment and knowledge value. It seems to be the atheist virus that is pervasive the hatred and atheistic fervour this book tries to convey is dangerous and seems to imply a superiority over religions and the research of islam is non-existent he seems to have made up facts about islam to suit his attack against religion.
IT is a ridiculous piece of writing that distorts all religions it is clear the author did little research in science and little research in religion. The author seems to try to belittle religion perhaps he was restricted in his personal sexuality because he was clearly raised as a catholic and the backlash is an attack and dislike of all religions without any research of his topic. lacks science and lacks religious knowledge.
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