The topic I have chosen is the influence of culture and religion in human sexuality. Religion has been around for hundreds of years Society’s views on sexuality, marriage and rituals are influenced by everything from religion to culture Religion has been the greatest influence on sexual behavior in the United States and other countries. Most world religions have moral codes that say what is right and wrong. Also it says in which sexuality can be expressed Religious doctrine often shy away from change, and some religions like Catholicism have changed very little despite the changes that are going on in our world today.
On the other hand, Culture provides the sculpting of people’s social behaviors, they also contribute to their feeling of community, and helps individuals form their identity. In this essay I will inform the reader about different religious views and practices and how it can affect people. Also I will show different cultural views, taboos and practices they do. Religion can dictate the way marriage is viewed. We are told how to act and what is and isn’t taboo. “In Christianity, marriage is the first institution created by God.
Through the prophets, God emphasized three principles which are marriage is sacred, God hates divorce, and marriage is designed to produce children of good character”(). Marriage is one way that religions could place parameters around sexuality by defining marriage as a religious sacrament. This can eliminate all free sexual relationships, and can also legitimize marriage. This can become a problem with marriages that have open relatniships and chose to explore options such as sexual activity with other people while being married or having multiple spouses.
In different cultures marriage is viewed and done differently. In some religions their are rituals like arranged marriages. Some of these religions that follow this are Hinduism and Islam. In Hinduism marriage is an obligatory duty. “A Hindu marriage generally is arranged by the parents of both children for a number of different reasons. Social class determines some arranged marriages. Financial benefit determines other arranged marriages in Hinduism. In the modern form of Hinduism. followers believe in arranged marriages, but with the consent of the bride and groom as well as the elders. (Mitchell Brock; ehow contributor). Another culture that follows arrange marriage are “The people of the taboo, or Wodaabe, they are a tribe in Niger known for their beauty and rich cultural ceremonies. Traditionally, a person’s first marriage is arranged by their parents while they’re infants, and they must be married to cousins of the same lineage. At the annual Gerewol festival, Wodaabe men dress in elaborate costumes and makeup and then stand in a line in front of women to show off their beautiful teeth, faces, and features.
Women pick new husbands from the men they are most impressed by, and if the new couple leaves without their current husband knowing, they become socially recognized. As opposed to the formal first marriage, this form of union is called a love marriage. “(Cory Barclay; most shocking). Arranged marriage has its positive and negatives. Some negatives that are associated with this is that sometimes instead of women going to college, they are expected to have children and tend to their husbands needs. She will also have to give other life goals and options.
This dose not means she can’t go eventually but, it might be much more difficult to. Another issue is the pressure the bride can have from family members to say yes and sometimes she has no choice. Divorce is rare within arranged marriages. This can be difficult if she wants to leave the marriage if their is abuse or other negative impacts. Family members might not want to admit in making the mistake in choosing the wrong spouse. The positive the culture believes is that it’s been part of their tradition. It allows security for the couple since their parents are making the decision.
Arranged marriage also prevents kids from making bad decisions on which they choose to spend their life with. Church can be responsible for a great deal of the sexual negativity in our culture. Each religion has its own views of sex and how it should be practiced. But I believe that religious views shouldn’t make you feel bad about going through with your decision. In allot of religious households and schools, they are taught to not engage in sexual activity till marriage. Some religions view sex as an act between a man and a woman that should only be performed within marriage.
Other types of religions view certain kinds of sex as sinful. Also sex should only be for the purpose of procreation. Many religions emphasize control over someone’s sex drive and sexual desire. . In some countries, cultural taboos on sexuality have made it very difficult to create adequate policies and programmers to deal with youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. Some Religious attitudes towards homosexuality vary among religions. Religions like Islam, Judaism, and some denominations of Christianity traditionally forbid sexual relations between the same sexes.
They back up their views by passages in the Quran, the New Testament and the Old Testament. This can cause issues with member of these religions. Sometimes they might feel scared to express themselves not feeling equal or wanted by their church or family. However today some denominations are accepting of homosexuality, such as Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, and the Metropolitan Community Church. Also some provinces allow for the ordination and inclusion of gay and lesbian clerics, and affirmation of same-sex unions. Some cultural practices are different then what is normal.
In some North American indigenous tribes people can be two-spirited. This means that they are viewed and believed to have two different spirits within them. This could mean they could very well be male and female. They would dress in both women and men’s clothing and would take on roles in society such as hunters, warriors, nurses, story tellers, and ect. Also they could have relationships with people of any sex. They view this has hetero gender relationships. In Ancient Greece same sex relationships between men were considered the highest for of love.
Their are many forms of evidence such as vases, statues, lyrical poetry, inscriptions and much more. In these types of relationships older men would initiate the relationships. Most of the time they were with younger boys. In this relationship is shows furthering themselves in intelligence rather then just physical. Most of the time the older men would be mentors and they could from an emotional bond. He would teach him skills to further his place in the society. Later the younger boy would marry women but would initiate a relationship with another adolescent.
However women were viewed by their husbands as domestic and child bearers. The men would go away with the young lovers while the women rose, and took care of the household. Examples of these types of relationships can be found in Greek myths such as the story of Apollo and Hyacinthus. In my next discussion I will talk about some different cultures views and processes of becoming a man. In Papua, New Guinea in the Sambians tribe to become a man the tribe would remove you from all females at the age of seven. For ten years they would live with other males.
During this time the skin is pierced to remove any contaminates from women. They are also required to ingest semen of their elders witch is a symbol of growth and strength. Another tribe in Australia called The Mardudjara the way they would induct boys to man hood would be by circumcision followed by makes ingesting their own foreskin. They would also cut the penis and would let the blood drip over a fire in order to purify it. In some cultures they do meetings of young men and women different then what we are used to. This can be viewed as Taboo.
For instance in India the Deer Horn Muria tribe in Central India’s region, they practice a ritual called Ghotul. This is where teenage men and women can meet and they learn songs, lore, and dances. At night they engage in sexual romps. The girls drink natural liquor as an herbal contraceptive to avoid pregnancy. If it dose not work and she becomes pregnant the village will adopt the baby. Certain cultures can have a negative view or practices when it comes to sex. For example a community off the coast of Ireland called Inis Beag was a sexually inexperienced community.
In the 1960s, anthropologists visited this community and found information. Members of this community knew nothing about sex. Their it was considered a sin except in the case post marital reproduction. In this community the kids were never allowed to see people naked and were sponged bathed young only their face, legs, and neck were washed. Most girls were never discussed about sex and did not know what to do when they first got their menstrual cycle. Nudity was not allowed so even their clothes were not removed during intercourse. And it was considered a sin to enjoy it.
In these cultures and religions children are forced to learn these practices and learn what is expected of them. In ways they are not freed to express themselves like we are able to. Religion can also play a huge role in deciding who they want to be and who they are. In conclusion, Religion and culture can influence how marriage rituals are performed and also how they are viewed by society. Sexual behaviors are different all over the world weather it be apart of your religion or the practices by your culture. What may be different to us might be normal to another society. This in the end sculpts how we are as a person.