While reading through some questions in the religious section, I came across Peter Smith saying [http://www.askphilosophers.org/question/2250/], "What is it with the obsession of (much) contemporary organized religions with matters of sexuality? It really is pretty bizarre. And for sure, if some of the energy wasted on pruriently fussing about who gets to do what with whom and where were spent campaigning on issues of social justice, say, then the world would be a better place. But I digress ...". Can any philosophers, including Peter Smith, tell me if my reasoning is valid regarding this (or come up with their own reasoning as to why an organized religion would have such rules): There are several reasons why organized religions could be "obsessed" about matters of sexuality, about "who gets to do what with whom and where" etc. 1. Disease: STD's are horrible, and the AIDs crisis in Africa is a good example as to why an organized religion might stress sexual relations with only one partner to whom you are married (you can also come at this by saying the Church should support the use of condoms, but note that it is largely only one church that is denying the use of condoms in Africa). 2. The imperative and teaching that you ought to stick with one partner in life, and not commit adultery or have multitudes of sexual partners helps one psychologically in relationships. For example, if one knows that one's wife/husband has slept with 100 other people in their life, one may experience some doubts about oneself and about one's partner, whether they are valid or not, they still occur. The constant harping of the church on staying loyal to one's spouse is hard to understand at times, but I'll leave that to the professionals to dissect, as clearly to be sexually free and unburdened by the "obsession" of the church is far better. 3. It promotes relational stability. A Jewish professor of mine said that his marriage was greatly helped by the great sex he and his wife shared, which was enhanced by their religious beliefs. Every sabbath they not only made time for God, prayer and family, but for each other romantically. If you are having your desires and needs fulfilled outside of the marriage or relationship, this only hurts it. So in these senses it seems religions have good reason to be involved or "obsessed" for the well-being of their people.
I would agree with anyone who showed how some rules could be oppressive to a gender or sexual orientation, as I am writing this as a gay man. But on the whole, to be dismissive of such rules or teachings seems unthoughtful.
Read another response by Charles Taliaferro, Peter Smith