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Do atheists or religious people have better sex lives – or chimpanzees?

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Darrel Ray thinks that atheists have better sex lives, citing his study to prove it:

But devoutly religious people rated their sex lives far lower than atheists. They also admitted to strong feelings of guilt afterwards.

Strict religions such as Mormons ranked highest on the scale of sexual guilt. Their average score was 8.19 out of 10. They were followed closely behind by Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist, and Baptist.

Catholics rated their levels of sexual guilt at 6.34 while Lutherans came slightly lower at 5.88 . In contrast, atheists and agnostics ranked at 4.71 and 4.81 respectively.

It’s quite true that devoutly religious people feel bad if they do something they think is bad. Some sources are more unsettled by people who aren’t like that.

Ray is best known as the discoverer of the God virus.

On the other hand, Ronald Bailey advises “Religious Believers Have a Better Sex Life, Says Heritage Foundation Report. But What About Good Will Toward Men?” Reason Online (December 20, 2006). He’s not sure what to make of it. One thought: Many religious people have fun feeling guilty.

All this reminds us of something anthropologist Jonathan Marks pointed out in What it means to be 98% chimpanzee: One critcal question is, what does make you happy? Referring to an ape rights activist, he notes,

Some of these supporters of the ape-rights movementy don‘t even seem to know much about apes; one essay in their flagship document actually begins, “Chimpanzees make love rather like humans do…. ”

Of course, it’s not clear that chimpanzees “make love”at all. But, more important, the average copulatory bout in chimpanzees last between ten and fifteen seconds and involves a female whose genitalia are swollen and purple (a prominent visual display of fertility, unique among apes to the chimpanzees) and often a succession of males who are otherwise generally not very interested in sex; and no tactile exploration or erogeny at all. In ten to fifteen seconds, after all, you can’t expect much. Doesn’t sound the least bit like lovemaking in humans, at least the way most of us have been fortunate enough to experience it, and it quite possibly says more about the author than it does about chimpanzees. (p. 188)

For those whose bag that isn’t, sex is a perennial mystery.

File with: Fat atheists and Kettle accused by Pot

One Reply to “Do atheists or religious people have better sex lives – or chimpanzees?

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Were the chimps religious or atheist?

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