I was on The Thinking Atheist last night. We really got into things like how to talk to your children about sex and the bogus notion of sex or porn addiction. If you or someone you know, believes in sex addiction, listen here. It is only a figment of the Christian imagination and their sex crazed guilt.

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Comment by Joan Denoo on February 22, 2014 at 3:31pm

Darrel Ray offers about the most satisfactory process I can think of to create and maintain a healthy relationship. 

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 22, 2014 at 3:30pm

We badly need a belief system that values sexuality in all it's various forms. Marriage only is inadequate, especially with such long lives and so many interruptions to normal functioning. I am thinking in terms of coming to realization of being homosexual, bisexual, transgender, or whatever mix that exists. They all provide natural responses to individual needs, and they have no sin or dislike attached to them. 

I am also thinking of those marriage that are interrupted by physical or mental health issues. ow can one make vows for a lifetime, when lives last for so long, there are changes in circumstances, and some marriage just were never meant to be? 

The full-of-wonder reality, we are social creatures with sex drives and they healthy. When we use sex to exploit, manipulate, or to satisfy oneself without regard for the other, it becomes dirty and disgusting. 

The sweet and gentle nature that passes between two individuals who have a deep care for another is just about the most sublime relationship I can think of. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 22, 2014 at 2:56pm

Thanks, Joan, for pointing out some positive aspects of Orthodox Jewish teachings. "When sexual desire is satisfied between a husband and wife at the proper time, out of mutual love and desire, sex is a mitzvah", connoting not only a commandment but also a good deed done joyously.

On the liberal side of the spectrum of Judaism, I was glad to see Rabbi Rona Shapiro's suggestion for celebrating a person's first sexual experience: the idea that someone's first time should be worthy of the traditional "shehecheyanu" expression of appreciation of reaching a milestone, anniversary, or joyous moment. (Traditionally, that blessing thanks God "who has kept us alive, sustained us, and helped us to reach this time"; some Jewish humanists use nontheistic versions.) With this idea, young people might feel more empowered about their choices, not being pressured to have sex but waiting until they're in the right relationship at the right time.

(That website also contains rituals for coming out, and for acknowledging gender transition/affirmation.)

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 22, 2014 at 1:27pm

When I first read Albert Ellis and his therapeutic approach, based on rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT), I was shocked and embarrassed. It wasn't until I had to face some harsh reality and make some tough decisions that I realized his methods provided a responsible and caring way to think through my problems. 

The same is true for Darrell Ray's books,  “The God Virus-How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture” and“Sex and God-How Religion Distorts Sexuality”.

I looked at very many different ways to rebuild my belief and value system. Ellis and Ray made the most sense to me, I made fundamental changes and my life has becomes healthier, happier and far more productive than when using the old bromides of religious dogma. 

"REBT is an action-oriented psychotherapy that teaches individuals to identify, challenge, and replace their self-defeating thoughts and beliefs with healthier thoughts that promote emotional well-being and goal achievement."

~ Albert Ellis

“We acquire both the language and religious concepts from our immediate culture – at the same time. A child cannot discriminate between useful survival information and the emotional and psychological manipulations of religion. Once infected, these ideas are deeply embedded and almost impossible to change.” 
― Darrel RaySex & God: How Religion Distorts Sexuality

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 22, 2014 at 12:58pm

"Like hunger, thirst or other basic instincts, sexual desire must be controlled and channeled, satisfied at the proper time, place and manner. But when sexual desire is satisfied between a husband and wife at the proper time, out of mutual love and desire, sex is a mitzvah."


"Sex is the woman's right, not the man's. A man has a duty to give his wife sex regularly and to ensure that sex is pleasurable for her. He is also obligated to watch for signs that his wife wants sex, and to offer it to her without her asking for it. The woman's right to sexual intercourse is referred to as onah, and it is one of a wife's three basic rights (the others are food and clothing), which a husband may not reduce."


"Although sex is the woman's right, she does not have absolute discretion to withhold it from her husband. A woman may not withhold sex from her husband as a form of punishment, and if she does, the husband may divorce her without paying the substantial divorce settlement provided for in the ketubah.

"Although some sources take a more narrow view, the general view of halakhah is that any sexual act that does not involve sh'chatat zerah (destruction of seed, that is, ejaculation outside the vagina) is permissible. As one passage in the Talmud states, "a man may do whatever he pleases with his wife." (Nedarim 20b) In fact, there are passages in the Talmud that encourage foreplay to arouse the woman. (Nedarim 20a). Any stories you may have heard about Jewish sex occurring through a hole in a sheet are purely an urban legend."

Kosher Sex

How interesting! In my family's traditions, that come out of Puritan culture, sexuality is not like that at all. Woman must submit, there is no such thing as rape in marriage, man has dominion and has the right to use whatever means to gain his ends. 

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 21, 2014 at 4:46pm

I'll (again) quote a friend's old but still relevant thoughtful rant about the V-Chip, talking to your kids about sex and drugs, and parenting in general:

If your child came to you and said, "Why would a man suck on another man's penis?" how would you react? I'll tell you now, forcing shame and horror on your child will do nothing for your relationship ... Further on ... they won't ask ... they will have to depend on what others tell them who may not have their best interests at heart. That's why girls hear, "You can't get pregnant the first few times you have sex. So if you really loved me, you will let me screw your brains out, and not ask me to wear a condom." Or the familiar, "Just one drink won't kill you. Come on, don't be a dweeb." I also have heard this gem, "I am waiting until my kid is x years old before I tell him about sex and drugs." Ooo-hoh-hoh-ho, drug dealers and other child predators love you for saying that!

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 21, 2014 at 4:36pm

Religions are certainly not all alike, too! It was interesting to read in the "Sex and Secularism" study that Unitarians and Jews shared atheists' and agnostics' relative lack of guilt about sex.

(I'm guessing more liberal Jews than Orthodox Jews were in the sample! Orthodox teachings are pretty controlling, only within an opposite-gender marriage, be fruitful and multiply, every sperm is sacred... though they do get right that sex is primarily about joyful bonding between the couple, and a husband is expected to satisfy his wife.)

Comment by Darrel Ray on February 21, 2014 at 4:13pm

Grinning Cat, there probably isn't a transcript but I deal with all those issues in my book, Sex and God. Thanks for listening and I hope you will let others know about the program. We need to call BS on the many sexual myths that religionists foist on our culture.

Comment by Grinning Cat on February 21, 2014 at 3:36pm

I listened to the mp3 in the car. A great show! The honest discussion of many mainstream denominations using the control tactics of cults -- like being pressured to rat out fellow "sinners" -- was especially valuable. Thanks also for literally calling bullshit on sex addiction, and talking about how depression or relationship problems could be an issue behind the scenes.

Is there a transcript available, for those who never listen to discussion on the radio and can't stand long spoken-word audio?

Comment by Joan Denoo on February 21, 2014 at 2:21pm

Outstanding! Darrel deals with guilt, shame, depression, anxiety as dysfunction that often begins with beliefs learned in families and religious communities. To change to healthy, functional behaviors, change beliefs. He advocates looking honestly at the belief and the effects it produces, ask if the belief is valid, question, and explore. Just reasonable, thoughtful, responsible ways to develop a healthy belief system based on facts, not myths. 



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