Mind
Religion and sexual life: an analysis of the relationship between sexuality and religiosity in a sample of young adults

Religion and sexual life: an analysis of the relationship between sexuality and religiosity in a sample of young adults

A study recently published in the journal Sexuality & Culture investigated the correlation between religiosity, ethnicity, sex life and sexual identity in a sample of university students (Hall et al., 2020).

 

Advertising message There is no doubt that over the centuries religion has considerably influenced the conception of love and sex in Western culture and, more generally, in all those cultures that are steeped in religion to the bone (e.g. Njus & Bane 2009; Soloski et al. 2013;). Of course, not all religions are equal nor are all religious; in this study the authors focused on the analysis of religiosity (understood here as the feeling of faith towards a higher entity, of devotion) in correlation with ethnicity, the relationship towards sexuality and sexual identity in a sample of young adults enrolled in university (Hall et al., 2020).

As is well known, religiosity is often associated with tendentially conservative attitudes and some research has shown that these attitudes could also be influenced by ethnicity and cultural identity (Ahrold & Meston 2010); as regards the sexual sphere, religiosity seems to have a greater impact on women than on men; religious women, therefore, see their sex life more influenced by religious belief than the male counterpart (Owen et al., 2010). This, however, does not have the same weight for all ethnic groups: in fact, it seems that an intrinsic religiosity is associated with sexual conservatism more in young Asian women than in European, American (Ahrold & Meston 2010) and African American (e.g. Rostosky et al . 2003).

The present study (Hall et al., 2020), starting from the assumption that religiosity influences attitudes and beliefs regarding romanticism and sexuality, aims to take a step forward compared to the literature on the subject, examining values ​​and relational behaviors that potentially associate with being religious.

Advertising message The sample taken into analysis, made up of 6068 male and female university students, initially had to be defined as very religious, moderately religious, moderately religious, moderately non-religious and not at all religious following a 5-point Likert scale. He also had to specify his ethnicity, the current culture of belonging, sexual identity and his own vision regarding some areas of sexuality and romantic relationships (marriage, divorce, abortion, pre-marital cohabitation, friendship with benefit – or those friendships with frequent sexual intercourse which however are not recognized as romantic relationships-, the existence of “true love”, etc.) for a total of 100 questions.

The results showed students with a higher score in religiosity, were more likely to believe in the only “true love” and were more likely to remain married even in the case of a partner’s betrayal or feelings towards other people; moreover, a high level of religiosity was also associated with disapproval of homosexuality and friendship with benefit. Religious students also showed hesitation in premarital coexistence, towards abortion and towards the use of sites or applications (meetings, Tinder …) to meet a potential partner.

However, the data analyzes also suggested a significant difference between the various ethnicities regarding religiosity, suggesting that the associations between religiosity and the results just mentioned may be valid only in some cases (Hall et al., 2020).