Psychologist Darrel Ray, who was raised in a conservative Christian household, conducted an online survey to determine the impact of religion on sexual satisfaction.
Ray set out to confirm whether his own experience- that his sex life vastly improved when he ditched religion- bore out among others. Ray, who authored the book The God Virus: How God Infects Our Lives and Culture, sought out 14,500 people who had once been religious or raised in a religious environment before becoming atheist or agnostic. What Ray discovered is that guilt seems to heavily influence sexual satisfaction in many specific subsets of Christianity.
The survey did not adhere to social science study guidelines, but Ray reported the results as follows:
Those who had been raised Mormon with their strict views about sex, showed the highest rating among those who had sexual guilt with an average score of 8.19 out of 10. Others with similar responses were Jehovah’s Witness, Pentecostal, Seventh Day Adventist and Baptist.
Catholics, on the other hand, rated their guilt at 6.34 and Lutherans came in at 5.88. Atheists and agnostics were the lowest in guilt at 4.71 and 4.81.
University of Texas at Austin associate professor Mark Regnerus dismissed the survey as biased and said Ray’s methods were “unscientific,” adding:
“It appears that it was a ‘fill it out if you want to’ kind of survey that is not random, not nationally representative, and relies entirely on self-selection,” he said. “In other words, they have data from people who felt like filling out a survey on atheism and sex. As a result, I am not surprised at their findings.”
Regnerus said the results were based on “hearsay or guesswork,” and opined:
“I don’t fault the author for running the survey he did, but it does display research methods which do not meet the standards of most published social science.”
Indeed, the results would have been a bit more interesting even just stacked against responses from religious folk who consider themselves sexually satisfied. Do you agree with Ray’s findings? Does religion or lack thereof significantly affect your view on sex?