Religious Views of Sodomy
A look at how world religions view non-procreative sexual acts.
Christianity - General
Christianity teaches that sexual union between husband and wife is primarily for procreation, though sexual pleasure is important as well. The bible prohibits homosexual sex and sodomy, though it is mostly silent on heterosexual sodomy. Conservative Christians teach that sodomy is wrong and that any homosexual acts are deviant. As biblical scholar
Ben Witherington writes
, " Not all forms of sexual sharing, even between consenting adults, can be affirmed as either good or "normal", however "natural" certain desires may seem." Many Christian denominations, however, have more liberal stances toward homosexuality, allowing gay clergy and ordaining gay marriage.
Mormons believe sex is sacred and is primarily a procreative act. Former Latter-Day Saints President Spencer W. Kimball has written: "The union of the sexes, husband and wife (and only husband and wife), was for the principal purpose of bringing children into the world. Sexual experiences were never intended by the Lord to be a mere plaything or merely to satisfy passions and lusts." He continues, "There are some people who have said that behind the bedroom doors anything goes. That is not true and the Lord would not condone it."
More on Mormonism and sexuality
Buddhists generally believe that all sexual desire is something to overcome, like other forms of attachment. Buddhists do not believe that humans have an obligation to procreate, and celibacy is seen by many Buddhist traditions as a step on the path to enlightenment. Buddhist teaching doesn't normally distinguish between what type of sex is appropriate and what is not, though some believe Buddhism prohibits oral and anal sex. The Buddha did not teach about homosexuality or homosexual behavior. Although the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhism leader, has made statements against homosexual relationships and has said that lesbian and gay sex is "sexual misconduct," many Buddhists interpret Buddhism as more accepting of homosexuality than other religions.
Hinduism does not have specific laws about sodomy, but the tradition does teach that sex is primarily for procreation. According to
, "Hinduism neither condones nor condemns birth control, sterilization, masturbation, homosexuality, petting, polygamy or pornography."
Traditional Islam prohibits sodomy, both between heterosexual couples and members of the same sex. As one hadith explains, "Allah (SWT) will not look at the man who commits sodomy with a man or a woman" (Sahih Al-Tirmithi). Muslims who interpret the Qur'an and hadith strictly believe Islam condemns homosexuality and considers it a deviant act.