Thinking Sex and American Religions

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Religion Compass


Critical theories of sexuality provide key insights into American religious beliefs and practices. This article proposes six axioms by which scholars might approach thinking sex and American religions: that thinking sex is of broad academic significance; that critical sex theory differs in key ways from gender theory; that sexuality is historically constructed; that certain kinds of sex provide access to religious approbation and social privilege; that consideration of sex includes religious conservatives; and that America religious studies scholars must also confront the oversignification of sex. Each axiom is paired with examples of American religious scholarship that instantiate the proposed premise. Americans often assume that religion should dictate how to think (and do) sex – and that only certain kinds of sex are (or should be) permissible in ‘‘good old American’’ religions. Thus, scholars of American religions should be thinking sex.


© 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd