Category: Philosophy Essay

Religion, as a spiritual and moral part of people’s lives, has always had a great influence on people’s way of thinking and acting. It is closely interwoven with a person’s worldview and his or her mindset. Religion has always had the power to convince the believers of certain views and assertions, and, undoubtedly, it had an influence on people’s attitudes towards the question of sexuality. The interconnections between the religious and the sexual issues can be seen throughout the history of different religions.

In Islam, considered being repressive from the Western point of view, sexuality is seen in a positive light. Sexual desire is not blamed for but encouraged. It is not considered to be a corruption of body as in some other religions, but is spiritually and socially beneficial, having positive functions of procreation, sexual satisfaction, which is necessary for intellectual activity, and an opportunity for men to try Paradise on earth. While Western Christianity reproached sex and sexual issues to be even discussed as something evil and vicious, the Muslims saw sexual instinct and aggression be necessary to relieve, but in the right direction and for good purposes of God’s will. Without this relief, the soul of a person can be destroyed; that is why it is important to free the natural instinct of the body and not suppress it as per Christianity. The Koran does not censure sexuality, equating it with sin, but encourages fantasies and orgasm. In Hinduism, attitude to sexuality has changed through the course of history. It was exposed to the influence of Muslims and the British impact on the Hindu during the colonization period. In the earliest Vedic period, sexuality was associated with the powers of creation. Males and females completed each other for the purpose of the proper functioning of humanity and the cosmos. Then was the period of metaphysical view on sexuality with a body being a sordid shell incarcerating sublime soul. These are the two main opposing concepts of sexuality represented in Hinduism throughout its history.

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The sexual and relationship issues have been discussed in religions since their very beginning, leaving the voluminous works, such as Mahabharata and Ramayana in Hinduism, and discussing the proper relations between a man and a woman in the Bible, the Koran, and the works of many religious historical figures. It is necessary to indicate Kama Sutra in Hinduism as a book not religious in the genre, but showing the Hindu aims in the ordering of life.

Almost every religion recognizes the complementary character of a man and a woman. Males and females in Hinduism are understood to be parts of one another. It was shown during the Puranic period when God was understood to be incomplete without his feminine aspect seen in Shakti. In Islam, it is God’s will for people to marry and multiply, and He created them in order to complement each other. The Muslims believe that He is pleasured to see men and women satisfying their sexual desires.

Different roles are prescribed to women in religion. Western society endows women with passive sexuality. For some period in the history women even were thought to play a minor role in procreation, being only a carrier and a provisional shelter for a child, while a man was considered to play the main role, inseminating a female. Muslim society is characterized by the contradiction of explicit and implicit theories of a woman’s sexuality. The explicit theory agrees with the Western opinion of a woman being passive. The man is considered to be a conqueror or a hunter. In the implicit theory, women are believed to have aggressive active sexuality, being Satan in the flesh. The majority of the Muslims adhere to the implicit theory and endow women with active sexuality, hiding them in veils in order not to distract men from their spiritual activities, praying to God. Women are considered to be aggressive, and the veil can keep them under control.

It is interesting how sexual plays were also subject to religious review. According to Freud, the