O level Notes : FRS - Religious Beliefs, Sexuality And Behaviour Change
Sexuality is defined as the way that an individual perceives him or herself as a sexual being as expressed through sexual attitudes and desires. It includes gender identity that is the core sense that one is a female or male and comes with its roles on how one should behave.
RELIGIOUS BELIEFS, SEXUALITY AND BEHAVIOUR CHANGE
Definition of sexuality
Sexuality is defined as the way that an individual perceives him or herself as a sexual being as expressed through sexual attitudes and desires. It includes gender identity that is the core sense that one is a female or male and comes with its roles on how one should behave. Sexuality is a key aspect of being human and a core component of gender relations and individual identity that is experienced in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviours, practices, roles and relationships. It also includes sexual orientation that is heterosexual.
Religious beliefs and sexuality
Beliefs and attitudes about sexuality are not in-born things, but they are acquired as a person grows and matures. Sexuality involves the way that a person views himself or herself as a sexual being through sexual preferences and actions. Religion plays a large role in shaping attitudes about sexuality as some religions prescribe acceptable sexual behaviour. Traditionally, female sexuality has been narrowly defined either in only biological terms or in response to male sexuality.
Indigenous religion values unhu and as such some form of sexuality accepted in the Western world are not accepted. It is an anathema for one to engage in lesbianism and homosexuality. As such, it is a taboo to be identified with the kind of sexuality that is not African. On the contrary heterosexual is the only acceptable form of sexuality. Indigenous religion believes that lesbianism and homosexuality are against the spirit of unhu or ubuntu and it angers ancestors and this can result in calamities such as drought, pestilence and famine. Judaism and Christianity connect female sexuality with sin. This emanates from the biblical teaching which traces that sin began with women and it resulted in the death penalty by God. Genesis 3 blamed Eve and gave her full responsibility for the introduction of sin into the world. This has affected the way female sexuality is perceived in Judaism and Christianity. It is clear that sexuality has been profoundly affected by the religion particularly female sexuality.
Furthermore, bisexual, asexual, lesbianism and homosexuality are all condemned by Christianity, Judaism and Islam. Religions condemn these forms of sexuality. This is because these forms of sexuality are against procreation and continuance of the human race. Sex is a sacred duty and is for marriage. Procreation is the sole purpose of sex. Premarital sex is forbidden. A young woman is to maintain her virginity for marriage. This is the reason why virginity tests are practised to maintain social norms regarding premarital sex. Sex only occurs in marriage. A young woman’s virginity is an economically and socially valuable asset. It is accompanied by a token in form of a cow known as mombe yechimanda. If a woman was not found a virgin it brought shame to the family. The husband’s family could even negotiate for a decrease on the bride price for she would have proved not to be a chastity wife. The girl would lose respect. Hence Indigenous religion plays a special role of reducing non-marital sex behaviours.