Churches Should Butt Out of Parishioners’ Sex Lives

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Gustav Vigeland sculpture, Vigeland Park in Oslo, Norway.

After reading the articles and comments regarding Bethel here on aNewsCafé.com, I’m encouraged by the level of compassionate integrity the majority of responders have demonstrated.  It gives me hope for our community and our world.

As a clinical sexologist and passionate humanist, I have many concerns about Bethel and other church-based conversion therapy programs. I’m speaking from my field of study and expertise, which is based on the formal scientific study of human sexual behavior, which has contributed comprehensive data on human sexuality since the 19th century.

In fact, homosexuality was “de-pathologized”, along with masturbation, in 1897 by Dr. Havelock Ellis.

I hope sharing my thoughts here will fuel a desire to learn more from experts in the field of human sexual behavior, and to be more discerning about whom you allow to influence your entire sense of self.

I will start by planting some brain seeds for self-examination regarding views on human sexuality and sexual orientation.

1.  When did you discover your first awareness of a sexual preference?  When did you come out?  How were you received?  Were you led to believe you were healthy or ill because of your preference?

2.  Is your sexual gender preference a conscious choice, a changeable lifestyle, or just a part of who you are as a whole being?

3.  Where did you learn that it’s your business who anyone else chooses to have sex with, to love, marry, or make a family with?

4.  How exactly do other people’s sexual choices affect your own life?

Please understand that human (and most animal) sexual orientation is a continuum from strongly homosexual to strongly heterosexual; it’s not as simple as an either-or.

Also remember that humans (and some animals like the Bonobos) have sex for pleasure far more often than they do for procreation. This opens up the field for sexual exploration and it’s becoming increasingly more common for people to have intimate relationships with both genders at various times in their lives. Switching from one to another is not proof of being cured of homosexuality (which is not a diagnosis in the first place), it’s simply a sign of a new relationship or sexual partner.

Normal” expression of sexual desire and behavior runs from end to end along that continuum. This isn’t new information, which is revealed through erotic art history.

Cultural beliefs, which are learned, influence our bias and can result in self-doubt, confusion, shame or judgment. If free from such bias, humans would explore sexuality based on one’s own personal design and have no need to have someone pray their straight or gay away. They would simply be … a sexual being enjoying healthy sexual relationships.

The inherent tendency to create labels or judgments comes from a need for reassurance that we hold a desired position of superiority in the world. It’s the ego’s game, always comparing us to them, or the past tense of ourselves. These judgments give us a false sense of placement in the world. They lead us to believe that because we are different, we are somehow better or worse than the next person. This is simply not true. The level of melanin, wealth, religious affiliation or our politics don’t define us or our human quality. And neither does the person(s) we choose to be sexual with.

What will define us, is how we treat those our ego has classified as inferior. Will we love and accept them as we love and accept others? Does accepting them as equals somehow undermine our perceived self-value? If they are worthy of our love, are they really inferior to us? The root of our judgments and need to label others is fear of not being good enough. Acknowledging this is the first step towards becoming accepting of ourselves and others just as we are. Judgments cloud our view and cause harm to our personal happiness.

The conversion therapy programs grew out of these judgments and labels and are stubbornly stuck in ignorance. The need to label and fix homosexuality would dissipate if we filled the glaring lack of comprehensive human sexuality education, and removed the financial motivation for enlisting people into programs. This is one place that ignorance isn’t bliss; it’s harmful and dangerous.

We know better and we can do better. These programs have repeatedly been deemed unsafe by medical and mental health professional throughout the country. It appears this has become an obsession for those with powerful platforms and the need to control the sexuality of others. It’s a disturbing distraction away from so many pressing issues needing attention today. The fact is, we are all here because of sex and our precious Earth is over-populated and suffering.

It’s time to rethink our priorities. We have millions of people addicted to drugs living in the streets, devastating mental health decline of the males in our country, women still being raped and assaulted as a way of life, our oceans being so polluted that our sea life is rapidly disappearing, and so on. We have far more important things to worry about than whom is having sex with whom.

It’s time to ask churches to devote their time, prayer and resources for these and other truly life-as-we-know-it-on-earth threatening issues, and not poking their unqualified noses into the private sex lives of their parishioners.

This is just one more item on the long list of cruelties used to abuse a group of people who are vulnerable and confused because of the preaching, not their sexuality.

#ConversionTherapyIsAbuse #AbuseIsAbuse #TimesUp

If you do have concerns about your sexuality, please find a qualified health professional that has studied this field of health care extensively and understands the full gamut of human sexuality as well as the art of negotiating consensual intimate relationships. Their job is to offer unbiased guidance and honest, up-to-date education to help people live their idea of the finest intimate life – no matter who they are interested in, or consensually being sexual with.

Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce
Dr. Nancy Sutton Pierce’s eclectic background places her expertise in a league of its own. The compilation of her career as an RN, health educator, intimacy author, radio talk show host, and yoga therapist all fuel her passion as an International speaker and clinical sexologist. Earning her Doctorate degree in human sexuality has broadened her reach around the globe teaching Conscious Living Sexuality™. When not traveling the globe inspiring others, Dr. Nancy enjoys her home life with the love of her life for more than 30 years. They’ve raised three children and now bask in what she refers to as “the dessert of parenting” -- being grandparents. Website. Contact Dr. Nancy
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