Religion and Sex
Just as every major religion has tenets that deal with complex personal and social issues, so too do all major religions take a position on the concepts of sexuality and sex. Judaism views sex as the holiest of acts one can do; it literally gives man the opportunity to imitate his creator. Sexual relations are not permitted outside of a heterosexual marriage, and there are prohibitions in place regarding sexual relations while a woman is menstruating. Adultery, polyamory, and incest are also viewed as sinful acts. The teachings of Islam view marriage in the same spiritual fashion as Judaism; however, Muslim women are only permitted to marry Muslim men, though Muslim men can marry women of other Abrahamic faiths, provided they are devout. Premarital sex is considered sinful, as are homosexual relations. Islam shares with Judaism the restriction on sexual relations with women who are menstruating.
The wide variety of Christian sects have an equally varied position on sex and sexuality. Traditional Biblical interpretations are very similar to that of the Jewish faith, incorporating views of homosexuality, adultery, and incest as sins. However, many branches of the faith have altered their tenets to be more welcoming to members of the homosexual community and those who engage in premarital sexual relations. The Mormon faith believes that marriage is between a man and a woman, and that sexual relations should follow the same guidelines; homosexual actions, regardless of whether they take place within the context of a marriage, are a sin. There were historical practices of polygamy within the Mormon Church, but they have long been dropped as a church tenet.
Buddhists believe that a person should not seek out sensual pleasures; the most devout of practitioners abstain entirely from sexual relations. In the teachings of Hinduism, earthly pleasures can only be sought once one has achieved the Grihastha stage of development, wherein they are part of a family or household – the western equivalent of the restriction on sexual activity until marriage. Pagan religions believe fertility to be a central part of their spiritual practices and encourage healthy sexual activities with no restrictions on relations, genders, or sexual practices, provided they are between consenting adults.