ok, so i came to this discussion late (and i haven't read all the posts), but i betchya a good deal of us are alone and lonely, and unwillingly celibate. so, we've killed the myth of god, and there's one more that i think needs killing... that's monogamy. i don't think as a species we are (most species aren't), and as its turns out, its a by product of religion! now, i know most people are gonna jump on me, especially the ladies, but two things: 1) i don't mean that sex has to be emotionless, and you should just go out and screw everything and everybody, and 2) below is some info i found (on the web, if anybody knows more about it please verify/refute) on the history of monogamy.
ok, #2 first: its a link to a web page by dr. israel lim, which talks about patriarchy and monogamy, and while i don't believe in the patriarchy or religious content, i wonder if the history and reasoning are correct. they seem to be. here's the link: HISTORY OF MONOGAMY. again, please verify or refute if he's a crackpot.
and for #1: i don't think you need to wait for a monogamous committed relationship for sexual fulfillment. i think you can find somebody who is attractive to you and suited to you, and you shouldn't wait for commitment to give eachother pleasure. again, i'm not saying go jump into bed with anybody and everybody, but even somebody you've just met can have a connection. i think what's more important is mutual respect, and the desire to make eachother feel good. why should we be alone and unloved? unless you're really going for some jerk, instead of somebody who is thoughtful, loving and spiritual (not in a religious way, but human connection way), i think you'd have a good time, and who knows, it might grow into something more significant.
at this point in our lives, aren't we done with playing games?
And the hormonal accompaniment to the orgasms is nice. Masturbation may be a nice stress-release and take care of the physical need, but there's an additional buzzy head-rush that comes from the cuddling and conversation, after the orgasms.
I guess, like you said, sex just for exercise is little better than masturbation, but if you've got any kind of connection with someone and enjoy being with him/her, talking about random things while in the afterglow, that makes it worth the effort. I don't hold out for The One (and anyway, Keannu Reeves doesn't do anything for me, sexually) but definitely someone whom I like and enjoy being with for the sake of being with her.
So, rejoining the convo months later... I'm sure TN has atheist groups, even in the most Bible-y parts. I recommend doing various Google searches and checking out meetup.com... You may just be surprised!
Also, yeah, I do know this one guy who's Catholic, but only really pours on the Catholicism when he thinks it will get the girl he's after into his bed quicker.