Jump to content

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Georgetown

Wait, isn't most religion cool with asexuality?

Recommended Posts

Georgetown

I always have been under the impression that most dislike of asexuality comes from one of three places:

1. Sex-liberated types (who are generally secular)

2. Gender-role enforcers (who can be religious but can also be secular)

3. Unfriendly sections of the LGBT community that see asexuality as something that undermines them

The religious dislike of homosexuality more or less stems from certain scriptural verses. From the Old Testament perspective, the verses against homosexuality are explicit like Leviticus 18:22, and from the New Testament perspective, the verses are ambiguous like the latter section of Romans 1. (FYI, by the way, if the New Testament is interpreted properly, it is not opposed to homosexuality; see Romans 13:8-10 and Romans 7:1-6---morality is simply loving thy neighbor as thyself, and negative discussions of homosexuality in the New Testament are either knowingly referring to outdated Old Testament law or are in reference to norms but not necessarily ethics).

Anyway, the point is that there are a lot of religious sects that view homosexuality as something that opposes their beliefs. This explains why they dislike homosexuality. For asexuality, however, most religions either don't say anything one way or the other, or they even say that asexuality is arguably better. To give the Christian perspective, in 1 Corinthians 7, the New Testament has Paul more or less say that pursuing celibacy/asexuality is outright better than getting married because it allows one to care less about the things of this world and more about God. As an asexual liberal no-hell-believing psuedo-universalist Protestant, Paul is one of my heroes ;) .

So, I just want to confirm, most religion is cool with asexuality, right? Most religious people would see being asexual as a way for a person to be even more holy and detached from carnal things? Perhaps even as just a cool way for them to more easily follow repressive sexual restrictions? Has anyone had any experiences to suggest otherwise?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Great WTF

I have gotten more hate regarding my asexuality from religious individuals than anywhere else. The "be fruitful and multiply" verse gets thrown at me a lot. So does "sex is a gift between a husband and wife". My partner's older brother and grandmother attend a church whose leaders have outright condemned asexuality as a crime against God because marriage and children are supposedly the highest purpose of any woman's life.

Many religious institutions cling to the idea of traditional marriage and gender roles. Women are expected to have sex whether they like it or not and men are expected to want sex and thus get married to have it. Either party eschewing those roles will generally be assumed to be gay, involved in something immoral, or trying to avoid what is believed to be their God-given duty to add to the next generation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruqiah

I've posted in two other places on this topic but I will post here as well. The Bible does not condemn asexuality, and I want to make clear that asexuality and homosexuality are completely different. While the Bible does condemn homosexuality, is says nothing about abstaining or not having a desire for sex. In fact, it looks down upon those who act in their lust. But it says nothing about not having that lust in the first place. I'm glad you brought up Paul, because he does have writings that support celibacy (keep in mind that asexuality and celibacy are not the same thing). He seems to support people abstaining fro sex but the Bible does not address any lack of desire for it. The Catholic church has a teaching that believes that some people are called to singleness, and while I am not Catholic, I do agree with them on this point. I'd also say that being asexual makes us easier to act in accordance with the Bible's teaching about sex, we are less tempted by that particular sin lol.

The only religious disapproval you will find will be from people who associate asexuality with homosexuality and don't know what it is. I'd probably go as far s to say they might not understand that some asexuals just can't feel lust, or don't want sex. I've mentioned it to a few religious folk I know and they seemed surprised that not wanting sex actually exists. I've heard of Christians existing that believe that sex only exists for making children, but the Bible does not support their claim. Sex is supposed to be a gift from God, something beautiful. As someone said elsewhere on this forum, being asexual allows us to reject this gift and enjoy a new one. And since Paul supports abstaining from sex, I wonder how those "procreate or die" fanatics managed to gloss over that bit. I'd challenge them to look at Paul's writings, if it were me. Or if they are Catholics, mention the priests and nuns. They aren't making children and they hold high position in the church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
TooOldForThis

I have run into prejudice against asexuality from religious (Christian, specifically) people, but I certainly don't think Christianity itself says anything against asexuality. Rather, I think the prejudice stems either from a misunderstanding of asexuality, as Ruqiah said, or from some personal issue with the concept which has nothing to do with religion; in the latter case, religion just serves as a placeholder, an excuse of sorts for the prejudice. As far as I'm aware, no religion is actually opposed to asexuality on principle (though I'm not a theologian, and so can't say anything for certain).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Lydian

Most of the more sexually liberal people I know are more-so for the do whatever makes you happy and if no sex is what you want that's cool. Some people of course think that they're doing you a favour by trying to push you into sex because its SO WONDERFUL but I haven't had to deal with it much except from adults telling me "Oh, I'm so sorry!" when I tell them I'm asexual. Rude much?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Kauko

And since Paul supports abstaining from sex, I wonder how those "procreate or die" fanatics managed to gloss over that bit. I'd challenge them to look at Paul's writings, if it were me.

No doubt the same way many/most Christians constantly gloss over what they don't like because it doesn't agree with the actual ideologies they hold dear.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tarfeather

A religion is a people thing. It's defined by what the people in it define it as, not by some legalese. So if a lot of, say Christians, are prejudiced against asexuality, then this will also become part of the religion, regardless of whether the bible has anything to say about it. I mean, even if the bible said "homosexuality is fine" or "asexuality is fine", you don't really believe anyone would care? They'd just find a different translation or interpretation to stick with the beliefs they have.

And since Paul supports abstaining from sex, I wonder how those "procreate or die" fanatics managed to gloss over that bit. I'd challenge them to look at Paul's writings, if it were me.

It takes a special skill. Literally. Like, the people who study bible stuff are specifically taught how to twist reality. My mother once did, she basically got disillusioned with the church when she was given an assignment to derive X from the bible(X being a defining statement of the type of church she was in), but it was logically impossible to derive X from the bible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
amourdevin

I feel that I need to speak up here to say that most Christians and Catholics don't actually read the Bible much, or closely. Their views and assumptions are largely colored by the sect of Christianity they are a part of and what they hear when they go to church not what is actually written in the book. A whole other can of worms is the translation of the Bible and the selection by the Catholic church of what books to include and exclude, but that isn't something I think I want to get into. = )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

I have gotten more hate regarding my asexuality from religious individuals than anywhere else. The "be fruitful and multiply" verse gets thrown at me a lot. So does "sex is a gift between a husband and wife". My partner's older brother and grandmother attend a church whose leaders have outright condemned asexuality as a crime against God because marriage and children are supposedly the highest purpose of any woman's life.

Many religious institutions cling to the idea of traditional marriage and gender roles. Women are expected to have sex whether they like it or not and men are expected to want sex and thus get married to have it. Either party eschewing those roles will generally be assumed to be gay, involved in something immoral, or trying to avoid what is believed to be their God-given duty to add to the next generation.

The verse about when you get married your body becomes property of your spouse to do with what they will to fulfill their desires doesn't get thrown at you? I figured that one would be high on the list of things religious people spout at asexuals.

The religious people I personally know are cool with it. But, the most religious person I know is my grandmother and she absolutely hates sex. And my mom always found it boring and became celibate pretty early in life (40s) because she got so tired of having to suffer through it. So, not like me saying I have no desire for sex was anything new for them to hear, I just had a label for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Great WTF

I have gotten more hate regarding my asexuality from religious individuals than anywhere else. The "be fruitful and multiply" verse gets thrown at me a lot. So does "sex is a gift between a husband and wife". My partner's older brother and grandmother attend a church whose leaders have outright condemned asexuality as a crime against God because marriage and children are supposedly the highest purpose of any woman's life.

Many religious institutions cling to the idea of traditional marriage and gender roles. Women are expected to have sex whether they like it or not and men are expected to want sex and thus get married to have it. Either party eschewing those roles will generally be assumed to be gay, involved in something immoral, or trying to avoid what is believed to be their God-given duty to add to the next generation.

The verse about when you get married your body becomes property of your spouse to do with what they will to fulfill their desires doesn't get thrown at you? I figured that one would be high on the list of things religious people spout at asexuals.

Yeah, I get that one, too, but I get that one for most things related to a woman displaying independence in her marriage so I guess I just glossed over it.

My current favorite is the Mormon elder who told me that my asexuality is evidence of the devil working in my life because "People who live in and love God are given the desire for sex in order to have many children to give to the service of God." That I do not want sex or children is proof that I'm, apparently, under demonic influence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Cheerful

In Matthew 19:12, Jesus mentions eunuchs in the context of whether it is good to marry. He says, There are eunuchs who were born that way, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by othersand there are those who choose to live like eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it.

Jesus identifies three types of eunuchs here: natural eunuchs (born that way), forced eunuchs (made eunuchs by others), and voluntary eunuchs (those who choose).

Natural eunuchs include those who are born with a physical defect, but they also comprise those who are born with no real desire for marriage or sex. Forced eunuchs are those who have been castrated for whatever reason. Voluntary eunuchs are those who, in order to better serve the Lord in some capacity, choose to forego marriage. God calls some people to remain single (and therefore celibate). Paul speaks of those who serve the Lord in their unmarried state in 1 Corinthians 7:79.

- Cut and pasted from a site I've just forgotten the name of. :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
MermaidRomani

Considering a lot of those texts were written in a time where women were treated as just property/rocks to be passed on from one man to the next? (and on a subconscious level: a way to keep track of who was the daddy of who), I'm not entirely a fan of how their society/culture functioned when it came to "romance" and the sexual deprivation of how things were (basically shunning women who had sex before marriage but for guys? totally ok). The religious texts were used as a way for men to control women and their sexuality, while not holding themselves to the same standards. Why is it ok for a man to take more than one wife, but a woman can't take more than one husband? Examples go on and on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Zapstileon

I think I meet most prejudice and hate from right-wing Conservatives, rather than specifically religious individuals. Anyone conservative, whether secular or otherwise, is bound to oppress anything new and different. I don't think religions in themselves oppress asexuals, but religions very often, and very happily, oppress new and alien ideas. Not all, of course, which is why I'd say the biggest problem comes from right-wing Conservatives, and generally Conservative people.

Often, the problem isn't what the books say, but what the tradition is. Traditionally, people marry, have sex, and produce offspring. So asexuality is alien and therefore not traditional. Conservatives often don't much like it when people leave tradition behind, I have noticed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest

I think there is problem with non-heterosexual people in almost all religions. I look at this from Catholic perspective. Polish church is more conservative than Western European or American one. Our priests are rather against aces, same with conservatists. Many of them use to think they are other 'freaks' or 'deviants'. I think only Unitarians are somehow open on aces.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Woodworker1968

And since Paul supports abstaining from sex, I wonder how those "procreate or die" fanatics managed to gloss over that bit. I'd challenge them to look at Paul's writings, if it were me.

No doubt the same way many/most Christians constantly gloss over what they don't like because it doesn't agree with the actual ideologies they hold dear.

Tru dat! Some sects seem like little more than enclaves for sameness and intolerance. But don't ever call them out on it, because they'll always find a zillion ways to tell you they're never wrong and everyone else is never right.

It begs the question of whether or not it's time the major religions did some serious updating... I mean, nowadays we know about things like microbes and genetics, eating pork won't give you trichinosis unless it's already infected, left handed people aren't programmed to be evil, a one world dictator would probably not be a good thing, etc etc... but that's another topic for another forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThorHera

i think that ppl read into it - to fit their own agendas (same thing w/abortions).

IF one reads the whole area (regarding who you can/cant have sex with), you may be able to see what I see that is written much more clear.

You shall not lie w/a male as with a female...... bla bla ... nor shall a woman give herself to a beast.

What the bible is stating is thus: a male cant have anal sex - you can be a homosexual (nothing wrong with that) - THIS section is talking about SEX - not orientation, ( The bible does NOT condemn: hand jobs and blows that I know of), but a male cannot have “intercourse” w/a male.

You will note, it says NOTHING about a female laying w/a female (homosexual). IT IS JUST the act of anal SEX that is “wrong” - which is what this whole part (leviticus 18:22) speaks of: WHO you can/cant have INTERCOURSE with.. Also note, that it does not state a woman that lays w/a woman (as intercourse is not really possible) - which is homosexual. YET, it is possible for a woman to lay w/an animal (bestiality), and THIS (intercourse) is forbidden.

This whole law section is basically who you can/cant have sex with (animals, relatives, same gender - anal). It does not say to abhor the homosexual. It is about sex, and HOW you have sex (anal, woman w/animal).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
therobin1

I don't understand why Christians would be opposed to asexuality, because it's actually addressed a lot in the bible and supported by Jesus. There are eunuchs mentioned in the bible, but whether they lack sexual attraction or not if left to peoples own interpretation. However asexuality is blatantly addressed, for example in Matthew 19:12, Jesus says that there are "eunuchs who have been so from birth (us lovely aces).. made by men (the ones who lost their genitals D:)... and who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom (so the celibates that experience sexual attraction but decide not to act on it).

As you said, Paul is pretty asexual-supportive, and in Corinthians 1:1-7 he hints at being asexual but it isn't a certain thing. It's suggested because he mentions that you should marry to avoid sexual immorality, but if you don't need to, then you share a gift he has.

...I can tell in this post that my bible studies are showing :P

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Georgetown

i think that ppl read into it - to fit their own agendas (same thing w/abortions).

IF one reads the whole area (regarding who you can/cant have sex with), you may be able to see what I see that is written much more clear.

You shall not lie w/a male as with a female...... bla bla ... nor shall a woman give herself to a beast.

What the bible is stating is thus: a male cant have anal sex - you can be a homosexual (nothing wrong with that) - THIS section is talking about SEX - not orientation, ( The bible does NOT condemn: hand jobs and blows that I know of), but a male cannot have “intercourse” w/a male.

You will note, it says NOTHING about a female laying w/a female (homosexual). IT IS JUST the act of anal SEX that is “wrong” - which is what this whole part (leviticus 18:22) speaks of: WHO you can/cant have INTERCOURSE with.. Also note, that it does not state a woman that lays w/a woman (as intercourse is not really possible) - which is homosexual. YET, it is possible for a woman to lay w/an animal (bestiality), and THIS (intercourse) is forbidden.

This whole law section is basically who you can/cant have sex with (animals, relatives, same gender - anal). It does not say to abhor the homosexual. It is about sex, and HOW you have sex (anal, woman w/animal).

Regardless of what the law says, though, Paul basically says in Romans that you don't have to follow it anymore.

And since Paul supports abstaining from sex, I wonder how those "procreate or die" fanatics managed to gloss over that bit. I'd challenge them to look at Paul's writings, if it were me.

No doubt the same way many/most Christians constantly gloss over what they don't like because it doesn't agree with the actual ideologies they hold dear.

Tru dat! Some sects seem like little more than enclaves for sameness and intolerance. But don't ever call them out on it, because they'll always find a zillion ways to tell you they're never wrong and everyone else is never right.

It begs the question of whether or not it's time the major religions did some serious updating... I mean, nowadays we know about things like microbes and genetics, eating pork won't give you trichinosis unless it's already infected, left handed people aren't programmed to be evil, a one world dictator would probably not be a good thing, etc etc... but that's another topic for another forum.

Lol. That updating about not being able to eat pork happened in the 1st century AD ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ruqiah

Maybe that person meant the Muslims, who still do not eat pork. Some Jews have diet restrictions, mainly in regard to how food is prepared. But Christian can eat pork lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
little fox

(There are a lot of responses here and I didn't take the time to read them all so sorry if I repeat what has already been said.)

I think there needs to be a distinction between celibacy and asexuality.
Celibacy is the decision to abstain from sexual interaction (and marriage) whereas asexuality is the lack of desire for those things
(the sexual side of things anyways). There is definitely a focus on celibacy in various religions with the idea that abstaining from
sex etc. will allow you to focus more on religion / faith /G-d. I think asexuality definitely makes celibacy easier but you don't have
to be asexual to be celibate.

To be honest, I think it depends a lot on the religion (and the community). I grew up in a community with a lot of churches
and I grew up going to church. I didn't even KNOW about asexuality until a couple of years ago.

From what I can understand (in my limited experience) the people who have an issue with asexuality seem to be people who
either don't properly understand it or I guess sexual people who don't understand why their partner doesn't want sex.
(I guess in both those cases, the emphasis is on the lack of understanding).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Serran

I have gotten more hate regarding my asexuality from religious individuals than anywhere else. The "be fruitful and multiply" verse gets thrown at me a lot. So does "sex is a gift between a husband and wife". My partner's older brother and grandmother attend a church whose leaders have outright condemned asexuality as a crime against God because marriage and children are supposedly the highest purpose of any woman's life.

Many religious institutions cling to the idea of traditional marriage and gender roles. Women are expected to have sex whether they like it or not and men are expected to want sex and thus get married to have it. Either party eschewing those roles will generally be assumed to be gay, involved in something immoral, or trying to avoid what is believed to be their God-given duty to add to the next generation.

The verse about when you get married your body becomes property of your spouse to do with what they will to fulfill their desires doesn't get thrown at you? I figured that one would be high on the list of things religious people spout at asexuals.

Yeah, I get that one, too, but I get that one for most things related to a woman displaying independence in her marriage so I guess I just glossed over it.

Huh. Shouldn't it be used against a man displaying independence too then? It does say the man belongs to his wife after all!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
amourdevin

Maybe that person meant the Muslims, who still do not eat pork. Some Jews have diet restrictions, mainly in regard to how food is prepared. But Christian can eat pork lol

That depends upon the sect of Christianity! I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist church which didn't allow eating pork (or other cloven-hooved, non-ruminant animals) or shellfish.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Syphon

My partner's older brother and grandmother attend a church whose leaders have outright condemned asexuality as a crime against God because marriage and children are supposedly the highest purpose of any woman's life.

I would have laughed, and then expressed extreme disgust that they believed the entire purpose of my existence was to be someone's sex toy and incubator.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Una Salus Victus

The religion part itself, yes its does seem to "supportive" (for the lack of a better word) of asexuality in general. The people practicing however is another story. Remember, a lot of those people are sexuals, so they do carry a lot of those things that goes along with that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Emerald

I want to point out 1 Corinthians 7. Paul more or less talks about celibacy and living a single life is ok and no blessings are taken away from you if you choose not to engage in sex.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2naonh3_cl2

Before I get into this response, I've identified as asexual for the last 15 years, and as a devout Catholic for the last 20. Needless to say, kind of a rough road.

A lot of religious people mistake asexuality as interchangeable with celibacy/virginity/single life. Lack of education, I think. The former is something you're born with--right-handed, attached earlobes, cleft chin--the latter is a choice. The Catholic Church (sorry, I have the most information on that sect, less so in others) views the latter as something to be cherished (preferably until after marriage, or single life as a religious vocation) and the former as an anthema. Celibacy is cherished since it is withdrawing yourself from temptations of the flesh, and as such is bringing yourself closer to God through abstaining (similar to fasting in pretty much every religion, Catholicism included), and keeping the physical body "pure" with the soul until you become one body, one soul with another person of the opposite gender, through marriage. I'm trying very hard to lay off the sarcasm, but if there's one religion that could use some reinterpretation is the Catholics. Whatever. ANYWAY, asexuals are seen as under the same umbrella as pretty much every sexual aside from the heterosexuals. Why? Because it boils down to the one fact of procreation. If you're not procreating in the cage of monogomous matrimony, you don't make the cut. Sexual desire only is acceptable if it is with your marriage partner, who is of the opposite gender. ANYTHING else fall under the umbrella of "Thou shalt not commit adultery." :( Including, but not limited to: fantasies, masturbation, pornography, sex before marriage, etc., etc.

So, yeah, this would be why Catholics love celibacy, but not asexuality. :(

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
RK800

Really even if a religion says nothing of it there is bound to be someone out there who twists the tenets of it to 'prove' why it 'must be wrong'.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ke5025

I don't understand why Christians would be opposed to asexuality, because it's actually addressed a lot in the bible and supported by Jesus. There are eunuchs mentioned in the bible, but whether they lack sexual attraction or not if left to peoples own interpretation. However asexuality is blatantly addressed, for example in Matthew 19:12, Jesus says that there are "eunuchs who have been so from birth (us lovely aces).. made by men (the ones who lost their genitals D:)... and who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom (so the celibates that experience sexual attraction but decide not to act on it).

As you said, Paul is pretty asexual-supportive, and in Corinthians 1:1-7 he hints at being asexual but it isn't a certain thing. It's suggested because he mentions that you should marry to avoid sexual immorality, but if you don't need to, then you share a gift he has.

...I can tell in this post that my bible studies are showing :P

There are so many good posts and thoughts on here. It has certainly helped my understanding. This is something I wrote that might interest some people on here: https://servingandsharing.wordpress.com/2013/05/19/encouragement-to-singles/ Basically, Christianity would see asexuality as a gift. Now the issue is often that leaders and teachers are married men who don't really give it much thought!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Ry M

Maybe that person meant the Muslims, who still do not eat pork. Some Jews have diet restrictions, mainly in regard to how food is prepared. But Christian can eat pork lol

That depends upon the sect of Christianity! I grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist church which didn't allow eating pork (or other cloven-hooved, non-ruminant animals) or shellfish.

I'm Adventist too but I grew up following diet instructions similar to Jewish laws. But there would always be a can of fri-chik in the cupboard and haystacks for school lunches. :P Haha!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sally

i think that ppl read into it - to fit their own agendas (same thing w/abortions).

IF one reads the whole area (regarding who you can/cant have sex with), you may be able to see what I see that is written much more clear.

You shall not lie w/a male as with a female...... bla bla ... nor shall a woman give herself to a beast.

What the bible is stating is thus: a male cant have anal sex - you can be a homosexual (nothing wrong with that) - THIS section is talking about SEX - not orientation, ( The bible does NOT condemn: hand jobs and blows that I know of), but a male cannot have “intercourse” w/a male.

You will note, it says NOTHING about a female laying w/a female (homosexual). IT IS JUST the act of anal SEX that is “wrong” - which is what this whole part (leviticus 18:22) speaks of: WHO you can/cant have INTERCOURSE with.. Also note, that it does not state a woman that lays w/a woman (as intercourse is not really possible) - which is homosexual. YET, it is possible for a woman to lay w/an animal (bestiality), and THIS (intercourse) is forbidden.

This whole law section is basically who you can/cant have sex with (animals, relatives, same gender - anal). It does not say to abhor the homosexual. It is about sex, and HOW you have sex (anal, woman w/animal).

Leviticus says nothing about anal intercourse, and in fact it couldn't since men don't usually have anal intercourse with women. That section was written at a time when the tribes needed more members and thus needed children to be born. Christians use whatever sections of the Torah that they want and have discarded what they don't want.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...