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What do (Ex)Mormons and Porn Stars Have in Common?

And what do you have in common with both of us?

In today’s podcast I discuss about the book Secret Ceremonies: A Mormon Woman’s Intimate Diary of Marriage and Beyond by Deborah Laake.

I was surprised that I could relate so deeply to her struggles, her journey from married religious Mormon to single excommunicated journalist. From doing EVERYTHING she was SUPPOSED to do, to living life on her own terms. Well when I put it that way, it makes perfect sense.

I think anyone who really wants to explore their sexuality could relate in some way – we don’t get a lot of education or support for delving too deeply into that part of our selves and our relationships. If you want ANYTHING that’s out of the norm (and one could argue that having a fulfilling relationship IS out of the norm considering how many people get divorced, and how many who don’t are miserable…) – you’re going to have to learn the difference between YOUR voice and the voices of other people you carry around in your head. That’s not easy.

But the end result (so I’ve seen so far anyway) is a lot more fun. Some things are worth the struggle. Perhaps reading about Deborah’s experience can help you in some way, like it has me.

Plus, its pretty interesting shit.

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Edited: March 17th, 2014

From Nun to Sex Therapist – Interview With Dr. Fran Fisher

Dr. Fran of became a nun at age 18, left the convent and later became a sex therapist in her 40s.

Dr. Fran shares her fascinating story and her book In the Name of God, Why? Ex-Catholic Nuns Speak Out About Sexual Repression, Abuse & Ultimate Liberation. We discuss the impact of religion on sexuality and how she and other ex-nuns let go of their shame to learn to enjoy their bodies and newfound sex lives. If a former nun can scream “I love oral sex!” — whatever your sexual challenge, there’s hope for you yet.

Dr. Fran offers sex therapy to individuals and couples, both in person and via Skype.

On a mobile device? Click here to listen.

Subscribe in iTunes!

Edited: November 26th, 2012

How Does Religion Affect Fetish Sex & Sexuality?

I got an interesting question in my email about religion and kinky fetish sex


Just wondered if you are an atheist, agnostic? Or religious?

I’m just curious for curiosity’s sake. While stumbling upon your stuff. If religious beliefs affects girls to be more open or closed about sex, especially very kinky stuff… or if its relevant at all. Some say being religious, or having had a religious upbringing can make the “sin/taboo” part of it seem more explosive. At the same time, I guess girls that are more intelligent see through the religious stuff as a way of sexual control, and just experiment more. I guess people like Sasha Grey are kind of like that.

Do you have any thoughts on this?

I was raised culturally (not religiously) Jewish, so I never got the “sex = hell” message as a child, though I did get plenty of guilt :)  I was very involved in the Jewish community in college but have since found other paths.

Currently, I’d say I’m flirting with spirituality, growing out of agnosticism.  I feel any sex between two consenting adults has the potential to be a spiritual experience.  If we’re both present, enjoying our bodies, and respecting one another (even if the act appears disrespectful) – to me, its one of the ultimate spiritual experiences.  Our bodies were made to experience pleasure, and as long as you’re not hurting anyone, its THE gift of having a physical body.  Along with a good meal :)

I don’t see religion, per se, as anti-sex.  At the core, most religions are teaching the same values – its the dogma and religious leaders telling us how to live our lives that scares people about sexuality.  As we moved from more agrarian egalitarian societies to private land-owning patriarchal cultures, women’s sexuality has particularly been controlled through religion to ensure land ownership is properly transferred from father to son.  The book Sex at Dawn has a great discussion on this.

There’s also a huge cultural influence of eugenics – the ‘science’ of creating the ‘perfect’ human that was used to legitimize the Holocaust.  This was developed in the 1800s by Sir Francis Galton, cousin of Darwin, espousing the belief that only certain types of people are ‘fit’ to breed.  After the Holocaust, eugenic scientists went underground but their influence lives on today through population reduction programs and other means.  This is an extreme form of sexual control, and paired with the religious sin perspective common in the US – it creates a very powerful sex-negative environment.

“Kinky” fetish sexuality really depends on the culture.  What’s freaky in one place is normal in another.  In the US, people are worried about showing a nipple on TV, but in Europe entire families go to nude beaches.  The power and allure of taboo is quite powerful though, and not just related to sex – I’ve read that alcohol consumption increased during prohibition.  If we lived in a more sexually open society, the incidence of kinky sex might decrease for some – if its not taboo, people may no longer be aroused by it.  But conversely, if more people are aware and feel okay to engage in kinky sex – it could also increase — or perhaps the two sides might even out.

Edited: April 14th, 2012