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Voorkant Parrinder 'Sexual morality in the world religions' Geoffrey PARRINDER
Sexual morality in the world religions
Oxford: OneWorld, 1980/1, 1996; 276 blzn;
ISBN: 18 5168 1086

(1) Chapter 1 - Introduction

Begrippen als 'seks' en 'religie' zijn lastig te definiëren en de relatie tussen beide is nauwelijks onderzocht.

"Much of this work is exploratory, for relatively little has been written on such matters. In the Christian field, says Canon Bailey, 'no attempt has hitherto been made' to give a detailed account of the sexual tradition. On China, says Dr van Gulik, 'I found that there was practically no serious literature available, either in standard Chinese sources or in Western books and treatises on China.' Some religions are better documented than others on sexual matters, and there is bound to be some imbalance in a comparative study. Apology is made here for such defects, and the hope is expressed that this important subject will be opened up more fully and in detail on particular religions in the future."(3)

(5) Chapter 2 - Sacred sex in india

Eerst wordt het hindoeïsme besproken, waar opvattingen over de rol van seks variëren van volledige acceptatie tot totale verwerping ervan.

"Nowhere have the close relationships of religion and sex been displayed more clearly than in India and, with divine and human models of sexual activity, sacramental views of sex were abundantly illustrated. It is helpful, therefore, to begin this comparative study with the ancient religion of Hinduism, though it is a vast complex wherein attitudes towards sex range from full indulgence to ascetic denial."(5)

Maar verlangen / seks en ascetisme / zelfbeheersing zijn geen tegengestelden en komen vaak samen voor, zoals in Shiva-symbolen als linga / lingam en yoni.

"Shiva was both a god of sex and of Yogic asceticism, of virility and destruction, and the linga by which he was represented showed his sexuality concentrated by asceticism."(7)

"The combination in Shiva of phallicism and asceticism may be confusing to foreigners, though to many Hindus they are not just opposites but interchangeable identities. Asceticism (tapas) and desire (kama) were not wholly contradictory, but were both seen as forms of energy."(8)

Over Krishna, een andere god:

"When the girls, were bathing, Krishna stole their clothes and made them come naked to him to receive them, with hands above their heads. This story of full frontal nudity, still popular in verse and painting, was given mystical interpretations of the nakedness of the soul before God."(9)

"The loves of Krishna and Radha became major themes, with her sexual passion and adultery in leaving her husband indicating the priority which God required in loving devotion."(10)

"Four ideals or objectives of man were set out as basic concepts of Hindu life and conduct. These were: duty, gain, love, and salvation (dharma, artka, kama, moksha). In early texts they were usually the first three, since the Past involved renunciation of other activities, in a search for liberation from worldly concerns. Dharma, duty or virtue, underlay all the other ideals, for material gain needed to be controlled by virtue, and love or pleasure should not be in conflict with the rights of other people."(11)

"Asceticism was not for everybody and, for the householder, sex, like material gain, was not to be suppressed but rather regulated and developed, avoiding extremes of repression and licence."(11)

"Generally the popular tales give great importance to Kama: love, pleasure, or desire. Despite what was said earlier about Dharma, other passages in the epic speak of Kama as the foundation of Dharma and Artha, it is their essence and womb, and the innermost core of the world."(13)

"Rituals of sexual union can be traced back to the Vedas, though these were chiefly concerned with the worship of nature gods and details came later."(15)

"Marriage was regarded as a sacrifice in itself, and an unmarried man was called 'one without a sacrifice'. Priests as well as laymen were married, and where there was a vocation to celibacy it was generally reserved for ascetics and was not necessarily lifelong."(15)

"The custom of child marriage goes back to ancient times, though apologists claim that the laws were given only as guidance to suitable ages."(16)

Het idee was dat een man ongeveer drie keer zo oud moest zijn als degene die hij trouwde.

"Similarly the remarriage of a widow was forbidden from an early date, for she must always revere him."(17)

Niets zo erg voor een vrouw in India als het achterblijven als weduwe.

"In the Upanishads, alongside philosophical dialogues, there are descriptions of ritual sexual intercourse."(17)

"Sexual intercourse was not unrestricted. It should be practised privately and not in the open air, and only with the vulva since oral sex was forbidden. Intercourse should not be held with strange women, and especially not with those of baser caste, with exceptions again in Tantra. Both the epics and the Laws of Manu condemned intercourse with a teacher's wife as particularly shameful, though since the prohibitions detailed anointing her, helping her in the bath, shampooing her limbs, and arranging her hair, the dangers must have been great for young pupils, and prohibition implies temptation. The same Laws forbade rape, to be punished by severing two fingers, and Lesbianism which brought fines and beating to a girl, and head shaved or two fingers severed for a woman who polluted a girl and she had to ride through the town on a donkey. Male homosexuality seemed to receive less punishment, 'a twice-born man who commits an unnatural offence with a male shall bathe, dressed in his clothes', says one law, but another prescribed loss of his caste. Some medieval writers regarded 'underlove', male homosexuality, as quite common and not a perversion.
Incest was severely punished, including sexual intercourse with sisters by the same mother, wives of a friend or of a son. This was equivalent to violation of a Guru's bed, for which punishments varied. They could involve lying on a heated iron bed or embracing the red-hot image of a woman, or cutting off penis and testicles and walking with them in joined hands until the offender fell down dead. Or he could do penance in the forest for a year, or live on barley gruel for three months and perform penance."(20-21)

"A dualism developed, such as was found in other religions, between body and soul. There was no suggestion that sexual intercourse might have mystical meanings and actually help in attaining salvation, but on the contrary the suppression of sexual and all desires was seen as a condition for liberation."(21)

"The epics often declared that chastity is the highest virtue. Men should not listen to light talk about women or look at them unclothed, and if a man was inflamed with improper desire he should put himself into water to cool off. The chastity of women was even more important."(23)

[Zoals altijd werd dus de kuisheid van vrouwen belangrijker gevonden dan die van mannen. Mannen zijn zoals zo vaak de baas en zien zichzelf als superieur. De dubbele (seksuele) moraal voor mannen en vrouwen is eeuwen oud.]

"Modesty was insisted upon, and both bathing and sleeping naked were forbidden, with exceptions in the stories of Krishna. It is strange that, despite the delight of lndian literature in sensual charm, the nude rarely appeared in Indian painting, and many statues with their full portrayal of the rounded female body yet suggest that it is clothed in a fine garment fastened at the wrists and ankles."(23)

"In heroic times the epics depicted women desiring sexual union as avidly as men, and sometimes they might be even more erotic."(23)

"Women were honoured on the one hand, and on the other they could be accused of falsehood, trickery, unchastity, and being the essence of evil. Women were treated as chattels when girls were given as gifts, daughters sacrificed to save the father, wives or daughters offered to satisfy the lusts of guests."(24)

"A woman was protected by her father in childhood, her husband in youth, and her sons in old age, but she was 'never fit for independence'. Women should be guarded against evil inclinations, and employed in household, religious, and commercial duties. They should be kept from alcohol, sleeping at unseasonable hours, rambling abroad, and other men's houses. Many faults are attributed to them, in texts clearly compiled by men."(24)

"The woman's hope was to bear children, since the mother was the centre of the family. She was both the physical and spiritual teacher of her children, and many texts say that 'the mother is the highest guru', 'she stands above ten fathers', and 'there is no higher Dharma than truth and no guru to equal the mother'. Maternal love was a constant epic theme, and children both revered and loved their mother. It followed that when children left home, or the husband died, a woman's lot was hard and it was said that 'widowhood is the greatest sorrow'."(24)

"The veiling and seclusion of women were particular Islamic customs, and will be considered under that religion. But the Muhammadan invasions of India, from the eleventh century intensified restrictions upon women that were already present by Brahminical laws and customs.
In Hindu society it was the man, father or husband, who had complete disposal of the woman, daughter or wife. To this day many men, especially Brahmins, are waited on hand and foot by their wives."(25)

"In the epics and classical Indian texts extra-marital sex, for men, was accepted as part of life. There were high-class courtesans for male needs, and they were expected to be educated in sixty-four arts and sciences and were the equivalent of Greek hetairae or Japanese geishas. The courtesans were women of high education, whose teachers should be paid by the state, and their accomplishments included dancing, singing, acting, sewing, flower-arranging, and other useful and domestic arts. The cultured courtesans (ganikas) were distinguished from low-class and promiscuous prostitutes (kalutas)."(26)

"Houses of joy"(26)
"... women that live by their beauty"(26)

[Mooie uitdrukkingen vind ik dat. Ze zijn ook positief.]

"On the other hand, revealing tensions of Indian life and teaching, the epics also contained attacks on ordinary prostitution."(26)

"The deva-dasis, 'god's servants', were high-class prostitutes attached to the service of deities in Hindu temples. This practice went back to ancient times and developed until the end of the last century. Girls were given to temples in childhood as a gift to the god, perhaps in the hope of getting a son or some other benefit. They were said to be married to the deity, often Krishna or Shiva, and in a formal wedding ceremony they might be ritually deflowered by a priest or rich patron, or made to sit on a stone linga. The girls were trained in erotic arts and made available to temple visitors, for a price. Because their duties included dancing and singing, the dance was often regarded as immoral until modern reforms tried to purify it.
Temple harlotry in India became notorious, and pilgrims sometimes complained that they were hindered in worship by the seductions of the temple girls. Large temples, especially in south India, often seemed like brothels to outside observers, with hundreds of prostitutes who were taxed by the local states. Perhaps from this example of taxation, lay prostitution was exploited as a source of private and public income.
Temple prostitution was closed by the British, with the help of Hindu reformers, along with the suppression of widow-burning. Earlier, under Muslim rule, professional courtesans who were not attached to Hindu temples specialized in erotic dances and were very popular. These were the 'nautch girls' of India and southern Asia, a name that was derived from the Hindi nach, meaning 'to dance'. In the present century efforts have been made to free dances from erotic associations, and the classical styles have been revived, by male dancers and also by women. Many temples have preserved traditional dances, often only performed by men with the female parts being taken by boys, and the performers wearing masks to symboiize the gods or their attendants."(27)

[Allerlei vormen van verpreutsing dus en altijd door mensen van buiten.]

Er bestonden allerlei sekshandleidingen.

"The most justly celebrated Indian erotic work, from which many later writers borrowed, was the Kama Sutra, 'Love Text'. (...) The Kama Sutra was composed for the benefit of the world, while the author was studying religion and engaged in the contemplation of the deity."(28-29)

"The influence of the Kama Sutra and similar works upon sculpture, painting, and literature was of great social importance, before the puritanism of recent times sought to cover all sex from public view or discussion."(30)

"All these manuals of sex taught that care, time and detail were necessary for sexual relationships in general and intercourse in particular. It may be understood that the hurried copulations of Europeans in India caused them to be called 'dung-hill cocks', for the physical was isolated from the personal and spiritual."(31)

"Sex and religion inspired much Indian painting, especially miniature paintings of the fourteenth to nineteenth centuries. The Gita Govinda was illustrated in Punjabi and Kangra pictures, depicting in graceful manner the walks, embraces, absence, longing, kisses, and union of the divine pair. Occasionally Krishna and Radha were shown in full sexual intercourse, usually with Radha on top, but for the painters it was the lovers themselves rather than the sexual act which was the chief concern."(32-33)

"The name Tantra was given to the teachings of certain Hindu and Buddhist sects which worshipped divinities or beings especially concerned with sexual energy, and ecstatic cults were inspired by visions of cosmic sexuality."(35)

"In recent centuries there have been several reactions against the eroticism of ancient India, particularly its sculptures and lingas. The Mughal rulers were Muslims and usually iconoclastic. The fanatical Aurangzeb is said to have destroyed over two hundred temples in one year in one province, and how many were devastated during his fifty years reign is unknown. Not only overtly sexual statues were damaged but simple nudes, such as the stone figures of Jain saints at Gwalior which had their heads and penes knocked off. The heads have now been restored, but in terra cotta.
Muslim puritanism was followed by European. The Abbé Dubois, who wandered about south India from 1792 to 1823 left many vivid descriptions, but stressed what he regarded as the evil side of Hinduism."(38-39)

"The influence of Victorian England was powerful upon educated and reforming Hindus, who adopted the puritanism of their rulers and sometimes became even more rigorous and world-denying. Gandhi's puritan fervour led him to advocate a severe chastity, which deprived his wife of sexual intercourse for years, though the Mahatma is said to have tested his own restraint by sleeping with young girls."(39)

(41) Chapter 3 - Buddhist renunciation

"He [Gautama Boeddha - GdG] decided to follow the Middle Way, between the extremes of sensuality and asceticism, and this is formally the Buddhist position, rejecting the self-torture of extreme Indian ascetics."(43)

De benadering was er een van het onbelangrijk vinden / het verzaken van de wereld.

"Buddhism was primarily for monks, and it was said that the monk was the only true Buddhist. There were lay followers from an early date, men and women, but there was no doubt of monkish and male superiority ..."(44)

"Like King Brihadratha in his world-disgust, in the Maitri Upanishad, the Buddhist monk was taught to contemplate the body 'encased in skin and full of various impurities: nails, skin, teeth . . . stomach, excrement, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, tears.' He should reflect on it like a cattle-butcher who, having slaughtered a cow, might sit displaying its carcase at the crossroads; or he might contemplate a body in various stages of decomposition in a cemetery. The aim was to bring detachment, beyond pleasure or pain of the body and its cravings."(44)

[Niet bepaald gericht op het genieten van het lichaam, nietwaar? Wat ontzettend negatief.]

"There were several reasons for the danger of women to monks. Sexual relations would bring attachment that would distract the monk not only from his vow of chastity, but from the search for liberation. Moreover, children might be born and family life would bring further ties. Monks therefore denounced sexual intercourse as 'bestial', and looked on women with fear and contempt.(...)
Sex was feared because it could be a rival to that calm and joy which the monk sought by his way of self-denial."(45)

Natuurlijk was het niet zo simpel om seksuele verlangens te vermijden en heilige boeken gaven dan ook allerlei regels die discipline moesten brengen.

"Many other stories were told of the fascination and repression of sexual desires in Buddhist monks, but the constant orthodox theme was that sexual indulgence was both against the Buddhist law and undermined spiritual power.(...)
Especially in southern Asia Buddhist monks have kept the rules of celibacy to this day, in those lands where monasteries are still allowed to exist."(47)

"In some northern Buddhist countries the opinion slowly grew that sexual life was not incompatible with that of a monk, especially outside community monasteries. From about A.D. 500 there were married monks in Kashmir, and with the rise of Tantra the numbers of married monks in- creased there and elsewhere in northern Buddhism."(48)

"Early Buddhism was male-dominated, but with the incorporation of Tantra at both popular and philosophical levels the feminine element became very important.(...)
Buddhists, like Hindus, distinguished 'right-hand' from 'left-hand' Tantra. Hindu right-handers devoted their attention to the male principle and left-handers to the female. In Buddhism it was the left-hand form that was particularly concerned with sex.(...)
Left-handers declared that 'the passions are the same as nirvana' and they should not be suppressed. Tantrists adopted magic spells (mantras), ritual gestures (mudras), and dances which were 'singing with the body'. Magical circles (mandalas) were used as aids to con centration, and great numbers of terrifying deities and demons were added to the pantheon of gracious Buddhas and gods."(50)

"Left-handed Tantra worshipped female and male deities in the embraces of union, and the Buddha himself was said to be united in continuous sexual activity, for he revealed the truth that 'Buddhahood abides in the yoni'. Buddhist art, like Hindu, often expressed this divine union in sexual imagery. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, 'beings of enlightenment', were painted and sculpted in the act of coition.(...)
Tantric adepts were supposed to attain salvation by copying this divine pairing with female partners, and there were antinomian relationships with another's wife, a virgin, sister, daughter, mother, or even supposed demonesses."(51)

"Vajrayana seems to have become extinct in India by the twelfth century, as Buddhism declined before reviving Hinduism. But its teachings had been taken to Tibet where they merged with indigenous cults, and from Tibet they spread to Mongolia and to China where Kubla Khan and the Mongol rulers who succeeded him in China were devotees of Tibetan forms of Buddhism. Kubla Khan surrounded him- self with Tantric experts who invested him as World Monarch according to Tantric ceremonies. Chinese Confucian scholars gave horrifying accounts of sexual orgies, and even bloody sacrifices of women among the Mongols, but they were certainly prejudiced against them and probably ignorant of their beliefs and rituals. The relation of Buddhism and Tantra to Chinese Taoism and Japanese Shinto will be discussed later."(52-53)

"The mutual duties of husband and wife are sketched in one of the main bodies of Buddhist scripture. A husband should minister to his wife in five ways: respect, courtesy, fidelity, giving her adornments, and allowing her authority in the household. A wife should minister to and love her husband in five ways: by doing her duties well, by being hospitable to relatives of them both, by fidelity, watching over his good, and industry in all her business.(...)
Polygamy must have been found chiefly among the rich and powerful, but it was approved.(...)
Although Buddhism cut across caste divisions and gave more freedom to women, yet traditional male dominance remained. Woman was the inferior and possession of man and, as one authority said, she was 'never fit for independence'."(55)

"Other courtesans appeared in Buddhist story, sometimes living in groups and at times very wealthy. Their occupation was never openly condemned, it was listed at the end of names of other professions and was regarded as low rather than blameworthy. In Buddhist and general Indian thcught a prostitute was working out her karma, like all other ranks in society. She must have been reborn to that low condition by some offence in a previous life, but she need not remain there, and by virtuous practice she could rise to a higher state in the next life."(57)

"Western studies of Buddhism in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries often represented it as an ethic rather than a religion, with no god or soul, and with a simple humanistic morality for intellectuals. Such an exposition was unable to explain how Buddhism had become the religion of half Asia. Temples were written off as superstitious joss-houses, and Tantra was unspeakable. Only in recent years has the wide range of Buddhist religion, and its attitudes on sex, been recognized."(57)

(59) Chapter 4 - Other Indian traditions

Er bestaan veel overlappingen en variaties en stromingen in Hindoeïsme en Boeddhisme.


Een zeer ascetische benadering.

"The major schism in Jainism came over the rule of nudity, when those in the colder north of India allowed the wearing of white clothes and were called Shvetambaras, 'white-clad', whereas the more extreme always went naked and were called Digambaras, 'space-clad'. Today, however, most monks of both sects wear robes, at least in public. A contemporary religious movement, the Ajivikas, forbade the wearing even of a loincloth. But Jains still say that nudity is essential to reaching nirvana, which few if any attain nowadays."(61)

"The extreme asceticism of the Jains was probably the cause of their small numbers, today less than three millions out of some six hundred million Indians at the latest census. Even the Buddhist Middle Way, which flourished widely in India for over a thousand years, was virtually wiped out by in- vading Islamic attacks on monasteries and monuments, and even more by renascent Hinduism which swept across India with the passionate appeal of Shiva and Vishnu with his Avatars. The Jains survived, in small numbers, perhaps because there was less dependence on the monastic orders than in Buddhism, and also because of some powerful lay supporters."(65)


"Sikhism, then, became a virile and this-worldly religion, in contrast to much Indian renunciation. The Khalsa was a brotherhood, but open to all classes and both sexes. Rather than abandon home and the world, the Sikh community affirmed that the normal world was its battleground, where its rights were to be defended, by force if necessary. Small wonder that the Sikhs were prominent in the Indian army, favoured by the imperial British, and expert in industry, agriculture, and trade. Their aggressiveness in public demonstrations has provoked protests from Hindus."(68)


"The Indian Parsis are an even smaller community, some 120,000, but they follow the ancient religion founded by Zoroaster in Persia, hence their name."(70)

"Although it had firm beliefs in life after death, Zoroastrianism was strongly this-worldly and it had no ascetic world-renunciation."(70)

"Zoroastrianism therefore rejected celibacy, the monastic life, mendicancy, fasting, and mortification of the flesh."(71)

"Chastity is an important Parsi virtue, and husband and wife vowed fidelity and devotion to God and to each other. Adultery was a great evil, opposition to the good spirit, and preventing the progress of the world."(71)

"Parsis condemned courtesans as dangerous to both nature and society, their look would dry up the waters, take the bloom from trees and greenness from the earth, and diminish courage, strength, and truth in the righteous. Such women were said to deserve death more than snakes, she-wolves, or brooding frogs."(72)

'Tribal religions'

"In marriage many tribal peoples expect fidelity, though priests have a higher standard to maintain than lay people because of the dangerous sacredness of their office. There are taboos on sexual intercourse during menstruation, and priests who break the ban may die. Menstruating women are generally barred from cooking, fetching water, dancing, or sacrificing if they are priestesses. But it is possible that some of these taboos are fairly recent innovations from Hindu influences. Sexual intercourse may be forbidden when there is an earthquake, perhaps because it is believed to be caused when the earth god goes to his wife.
There are taboos on incest everywhere, notably on intercourse with anyone who is related by blood, and it has been thought wrong to marry someone from the same village, so that rules of exogamy apply. Homosexuality and bestiality are religious taboos, which are expected to bring immediate punishment from gods or ancestors."(74)

"Formerly many tribal peoples went about naked or only half- clothed, but now state governments have organized campaigns to clothe them. When Bhil girls in Rajasthan were photographed bare to the waist, the local government issued them with thousands of white saris [mijn nadruk]. Since white is the colour of mourning in India, the result was that these beautiful girls came to look like Hindu widows."(76)

[Waarom wilden die overheden dat?]

"Fuss has been made about tribal people shaking hands, since hand-clasping is a Hindu symbol of marriage, and to touch a member of the opposite sex has been declared degrading to India's high standards of female purity. Verrier Elwin commented that some reformers have devoted their lives to robbing tribal peoples of what little pleasure they have. Turning them into vegetarians has deprived them of essential elements of diet, imposing prohibition has both robbed them of needed tonics and deprived marriages and festivals of their former gaiety, and funerals of some sort of comfort. By insisting on clothing it has been suggested that nudity is indecent, casting a shadow on the delights of love, and taking colour and freedom from life, which is just as bad as other forms of exploitation."(76)

(77) Chapter 5 - Chinese yin and yang

Een cultuur die tussen 1100 en 221 vChr. veranderde van matriarchaal naar patriarchaal. Rood stond voor seksuele kracht / vrouw en wit voor de dood / man. Het confucianisme werd de tegenstroom van het taoisme. Het Mahayana boeddhisme verspreidde zich in de eerste eeuw nChr over China.

"This early matriarchal rule was reversed by the Chou dynasty, which ruled from about 1100 to 221 B.c., and the patriarchal system then imposed was reinforced by the teachings of the Confucians, which emphasized the strength and superiority of man who was the leader and head of the family. Yet powerful counter-currents remained, especially in Taoism, with concepts of the Great Mother, and the potent female who in sexual intercourse fed man's limited life-force from her inexhaustible supply."(78)

"The origins of the characters for Yin and Yang is not known, but they were interpreted as 'the dark side' and 'the sunny side' of a hill, and from that there developed the indication of vital energies: dark and light, weak and strong, female and male. The female was therefore dark, black, deep, and receptive; and the male was bright, high, celestial, and penetrating. Yet they were complementary rather than opposing, since all Yin had some Yang in it, and all Yang some Yin."(79)

"Yin and Yang have been compared to the Dark and Light of Zoroastrianism, and the dualism of evil and good that arose therefrom. But Yin and Yang were not opposed, they were interdependent, like woman and man. The aim was not the triumph of one over the other, but a perfect balance of the two principles."(79)

"Popular Taoism was the religion of the masses in China, and its symbolism appeared in mythology, art, medicine, magic, and sex."(82)

"From the highest to the lowest levels of Chinese society followers of Tao sought to cultivate sexual energy and unite Yin and Yang. In sexual play these powers were aroused and in orgasm they were released from the body and passed into the partner of the other sex, male into female and female into male. Such mutual exchange of Yin and Yang essences was thought to produce perfect harmony, and sexual intercourse, instead of declining with age, was believed to increase vigour and bring long life."(84)

"The Yin essence was supposed to be in the vaginal juices which the man absorbed, but a further element was added by coitus reservatus, coition without ejaculation, so that the Yang would be supplemented by the Yin. If this was done with several partners, prolonging coitus as much as possible without orgasm, then the Yang would be augmented and strengthened."(85)

"Some of the sexual techniques of the Taoists were greatly opposed by Confucians and Buddhists. Taoism considered continence to be against the rhythm of nature, and celibacy to lead to neurosis, whereas the Buddhists advocated monas- tic celibacy. Further, Taoists taught not only coitus reservatus by mental discipline, but by physical methods. Ejaculation was prevented by pressing the seminal duct with the fingers, thus diverting the fluid into the bladder. But Taoist theory, like Indian Yogic and Tantric, held that the semen (ching) would 'flow upwards' along the spinal column to 'nourish the brain' and the entire system, the male Yang essence having been intensified by contact with the female Yin."(85)

"Reprehensible Taoist practices, in the eyes of other religions, were public ceremonies of sexual intercourse which flourished in the early Christian centuries and resembled Indian left-handed Tantra. After a liturgical dance the two chief celebrants might copulate in the presence of the congregation, or members would do the same in chambers along the sides of the temple courtyard. Sexual intercourse was sacralized, and the human union harmonized with that of the universe, with careful attention to the seasons, the weather, the phases of the moon, and the astrological situation."(86)

"Confucius said little about women and nothing of physical sexual relationships [mijn nadruk]. In one verse he remarked: 'Women and people of low birth are very hard to deal with. If you are friendly with them, they get out of hand, and if you keep your distance, they resent it.' The followers of Confucius developed this attitude to ensure the lower place of women; their foremost duty was to obey their husband and his parents, to look after the house, and to bear healthy male children. Procreation was primary, and enjoyment of sex secondary; the ideal woman was 'she who is within', concentrating on household tasks. Chastity was essential for the woman, but not for the man.(...)
The Confucians advocated the separation of the sexes, in order to maintain the purity of family life."(91)

[Typisch ...]

"Confucians, like Taoists, and they were often the same persons, thought that sexual intercourse was good, necessary for all men and women, and essential to the continuation of the race.(...)
According to Confucian ideas, a man's interest in his wife as a human being ceased when she left his bed. Since women were not supposed to share their husband's intellectual interests, or interfere in their outside activities, little was done for the education of girls. Most women were illiterate, even in upper-class families where they were only taught sewing and weaving. Only courtesans and singing girls learnt to read and write as part of their training."(92)

"Until the T'ang dynasty Chinese women exposed their throats and bosoms, and girls often danced with naked breasts. But from the Sung dynasty, from the tenth century, the high collar became the distinctive feature of women's dress that it remained till modern times, and communist boilersuits perpetuate this covering."(95)

"Buddhists found that the Chinese were interested in magical spells and charms, such as were already used in Taoism, and they translated Indian works which included these and teachings about sex. Moreover women had a leading sole in Indian sex books, often being the instructors in sexual mysteries, so that Buddhism enhanced the position of women, and joined in this with Taoism generally against the Confucian subordination of women."(95)

"Women, in particular, were attracted by Buddhism. Its creed of universal compassion implied the equality of all beings and answered the spiritual needs of women."(96)

"Taoist sexual practices were no doubt influenced by Indian Tantrism, but it is possible that Indian texts in their turn were affected by Chinese teachings. Buddhist Tantrism arrived in China relatively late, about the eighth century ..."(97)

"Since the Chinese believed that a man's semen was his most precious possession, and every emission would diminish his vital force unless compensated by acquiring an equivalent amount of Yin essence from a woman, it followed that certain sexual variants were reprehended. Male masturbation was forbidden, for it implied a complete loss of vital essence, and it was only condoned when a man was away for long from female company and the 'devitalized semen' might clog his system. Even involuntary emissions in sleep were viewed with concern, and might be thought to be induced by evil female succubi stealing the man's vital powers."(98)

"Female masturbation, however, was viewed with tolerance, since the Yin supply of woman is unlimited. The texts mention dildos used for self-satisfaction by women, and pictures show them, but warning was given against excessive use which might damage 'the lining of the womb'."(99)

"Female homosexuality was common and tolerated, and considered bound to prevail in women's quarters. Women could satisfy each other naturally or with artificial means, such as double dildos, or 'exertion bells' or 'tinkling balls' used for masturbation. The Chinese said that such artificial sexual aids were foreign: 'Burmese bells', 'Tartar pastures', 'barbarian soldiers', just as Europeans spoke of 'French letters' and 'lettres anglaises'."(99)

"Incest was rare, and to be punished according to the penal code as an 'inhuman crime' deserving death in a severe form, though some early imperial officials had incestuous relations with their sisters and other female relatives."(100)

(110) Chapter 6 - Japan's floating world

"It was not surprising that the idea of the Tao should have been introduced, along with other Chinese ideas in the flood of influences that followed the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. The Kojiki and Nihongi [oude mythen - GdG] began with the primeval unity, which was followed by the separation of Heaven and Earth. Male and female then appeared, the In and Yo. Since these terms resemble the Chinese Yin and Yang it is natural to assume literary Chinese influence, though they were associated with the myths which are more native to Japan and also treat of male and female powers.(110)

"Like China, Japan was affected by a variety of Buddhist teachings and practices. Among those that affected sex, even marginally, the cult of tea which was introduced in the thirteenth century came to be regarded as an effective way of training young women in the etiquette of the hearth. Similarly, the strange connection between peaceful Buddhism and male warlike practices developed in the adoption of Zen Buddhism by Japanese warrior Samurai."(111)

"The position of women was often seen as depressed. The term 'woman' was applied to a slow and stupid man, and the word 'noisy' repeated three times the Chinese character which represented woman. From adolescence a wall was raised between boys and girls, and even in marriage a woman had little formal status in the home. Neo-Confucianism may be blamed for some of the male dominance, but much seems to have been native Japanese, and due both to the greater physical strength of the male and the traditions of feudalism. Even today Japanese women often complain that they have no voice in the education of their children and their choice of partners, though strong-minded women perhaps do make themselves heard."(116-117)

"Shinto has emphasized life-giving ceremonies, with blessings at the birth of babies and at regular intervals. For centuries the Japanese have taken their children to the shrines at the ages of three, five, and seven, on the fifteenth day of the eleventh month, to thank the gods for health and pray for continuing protection. At the New Year families take several days holiday to visit the shrines and ancestral homes, where food and drink are taken and arrows are bought at the shrines as virile symbols of the future. Japanese Buddhism, on the other hand, has appropriated practically all the funerals, in a negative complement to life-seeking Shinto."(118)

"In ancient Japan menstruation and childbirth were regarded as polluting and both menstruating and pregnant women were required to live in a hut apart from the main building and eat their food separately from others. Boys and girls traditionally had been allowed to mingle until five or six years of age, but after that the girls withdrew to their own company and from ten years on were forbidden to play with the opposite sex. It was less restrictive in the country where young men and women worked together, and in modern times they mingle at least on the way to school and in social occasions. Schoolgirls seem to speak much more freely to visitors, asking questions, standing with them, and having group photographs taken, while the boys listen silently to preserve their status. Clandestine affairs between young people were probably easier in the past before electricity made them difficult to hide, since the light is often left on all night."(119-120)

"The strains of modern life are illustrated in novels, such as The Makioka Sisters, where the obstacle was the second sister who had to be married before the third could wed. Many attempts were made by go-betweens, prospective bridegrooms inspected, and their background investigated by detectives, but the sister remained shy and difficult, getting older until she had to accept an inferior husband to one she might have had. Meanwhile, in the stresses of life in Osaka city, the younger sister had an affair and a child, and the tensions of old and new and east and west are skilfully drawn."(120)

"In the late seventeenth century the term ukiyo, 'floating world', was used in Japan of the pleasant but changeable state of society. It had been given earlier to the 'sorrowful world' of Buddhist descriptions of dust and grief. The new word arose from a pun between sorrowful and floating, and it depicted the unstable society which had succeeded the medieval world. Ukiyo was used of brothels and places of licensed amusement which were prominent in urban society. The word was also applied to many products of culture, including ukiyo-e, the woodblock prints which are the most famous artistic products of the period."(121)

"This floating world was a reaction from the formality of home life. Japanese women were married for family reasons, and it was impressed upon them that their task was to wait on their husbands and bear them children. Long education made them repressed and submissive, and the men's home lives were restricted by tradition, so that they looked for entertaining female company, with elegance and humour that were missing in the wife. The gay quarters provided an escape from reality, at the expense of the women there and at home. Only the upper classes could afford mistresses and concubines, but middle-class men sought outlets with geishas or prostitutes.
A geisha was an 'art person', a dancing girl, and strictly a professional dancer and singer. The word was often loosely used, however, either of a high-class courtesan or a low-class prostitute. A visit to a geisha house gave entertainment, but not the right to automatic sexual intercourse. For that, a man would have to sign a contract in which the geisha would become his mistress for a time. At geisha houses nevertheless the dances, songs, gestures, and repartee were traditionally suggestive, expressing things that a wife would not say, giving relief from the 'circle of duty' into the 'circle of human feelings'."(124-125)

"Geishas have their own special gods, particularly the rice god Inari, symbolized by the fox, who is enshrined in geisha houses and brothels. They go to the temples in gay kimonos on the first and fifteenth of every month, to pay their respects, After praying, they sit on the platform talking and smoking before walking back home. Geishas are rarely married, and if poor people sell their daughters as geishas to some distant town the girls rarely return home."(125)

(134) Chapter 7 - Traditional Africa

"Yet a major difficulty of studying African ideas and practices is the absence of texts from the past, for since the art of writing had hardly penetrated the tropical and southern parts of the continent before modern times, there are no old sex manuals, books of teaching, or classic novels, to illustrate sexual ideas from inside Africa. One source of knowledge is in art, wood carving and stone sculpture, though the interpretation is not always easy; but its contribution to understanding sexual attitudes is helpful.(...)
In Africa, anthropologists have made many studies of modern customs, and some of these may go back to ancient roots. But even anthropologists do not always discuss sex in detail, or not in relation to religion, and some of the most sympathetic tend to be reserved on the subject."(128)

"Nakedness, partial or total, was not shameful in traditional tropical Africa, and it was more sensible in such a climate than the heavy clothes that were often later adopted. Even a few years ago many girls and women were bare to the waist for much of the day, and only education and modern respectability has clothed most of them. Among some tribes, like the Somba of northern Dahomey, the women went completely naked ..."(144)

De invloed van de missionarissen en het latere kolonialisme in combinatie met het christendom maakte dat naaktheid en allerlei seksuele praktijken die normaal waren werden tegengewerkt en verboden.

"If Africans had their taboos, Europeans in Africa had other taboos or complexes. Where nudity was the common practice they often saw degradation or immorality, or tried to avoid being tempted by it, and some of them sought to clothe the tropical maidens in poor imitations of their own female dresses."(146-147)

"It would be easy to lament the past, as if everything had been perfect then, and to overlook the sufferings caused by clitoridectomy, infant mortality, polygamy, and customs from which people, and especially women, suffered. Similarly it would be foolish to ignore the achievements of the new religions in educational and social advance, individual choice in marriage, and real partnership and love of some married couples. Nevertheless there have been large areas where the clash of old and new has led mainly to destruction rather than creation, and this is particularly true of sex and sex education. There have been a few, but very few, attempts to transform and adapt the old initiation procedures, but they have often been abandoned with no substitute made for them."(147-148)

(158) Chapter 8 - Islamic customs

Nu volgen de drie grote semitische monotheïstische godsdiensten. Eerst de Islam.

"Polygamy, we have seen, was common in India, China, and Africa, but in Islam it had this limited scriptural justification. However, in modern times some Muslim apologists have claimed that, while polygamy was permitted in olden days, and under special circumstances, yet it is impossible to act fairly or 'with equity' towards several women, and men should therefore marry one only. Thus the Qur'an is quoted in favour of monogamy."(156)

"Marriage in the Qur'an, as among many peoples, was for the procreation of children and was recommended for everyone in the right conditions."(156)

"Marriage was lawful for a Muslim with a Jewish or Christian woman, but it was not right for a Muslim woman to marry a man of another faith. Marriage with pagans was strictly prohibited until they were converted."(157)

"Intercourse during menstruation was strictly forbidden ..."(157)

"There were strictly prohibited degrees of marriage, to blood relations on the mother's and the father's side. In pre- Islamic days men could marry their father's wife and also two sisters together, but both were forbidden to Muslims."(157)

"Marriage and the family were reorganized by Muhammad to give priority to paternity and patrilineal descent, and earlier Arab bars to marriage within blood-relationship on the mother's side were extended to the father's as well. Some of the Arabs before Islam had followed a system of kinship which regulated marriage and descent through the mother. There were also forms of polyandry, in which a woman had several husbands and the physical fatherhood was neglected. The permission for a Muslim to have four wives may have been intended to limit a woman to one husband at a time, as well as to ensure the marriage of surplus women after male deaths in battle. Under this Islamic system the physical paternity of the child would always be known. Polyandric women were to become monandric under Islam with the consent of their families ..."(158)

"In modern times some Islamic states that attempt to follow strict orthodoxy continue to apply the Traditions, for example stoning for adultery and cutting off hands for stealing. Yet such regulations are not in the Qur'an, as western newspapers often say, but in Traditions which are many and varied and of differing authenticity. How lmportant the Traditions are, and whether they should be followed today, are questions much disputed in Islamic countries. There have been modern calls for 'Back to the Qur'an', rather than to Traditions, and an Egyptian professor claimed that the small value of the Traditions is like a handful of gold in a heap of chaff. Yet in the past the Traditions, and legal interpretations of them by teachers of the community, have governed much of Islamic life, and on sexual matters they have had great influence."(165)

"In the early days of Islam women had more independence than later."(173)

(185) Chapter 9 - Hebrew affirmations

"The Bible had a strong patriarchal emphasis, from Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with their plurality of wives, and this helped male dominance. Legally women were in a position of inferiority and the wife was 'possessed' by her husband. In the development of the Law both sexes had religious responsibilities, though women were exempted from some requirements, such as the wearing of phylacteries,. Man was chiefly responsible for carrying out the precepts of the Torah, whereas woman had domestic obligations."(184)

"In sexual matters harsh penalties were decreed against those who deviated from the 'normal' man-woman relationship which should culminate in marriage. Practices that were considered to be against nature as designed by God, were commanded to be given stern condemnation and punishment."(186)

"Hebrew marriage was a religious duty, and one rabbi said that a man who does not marry is not fully a man. Judaism, like Islam, deprecated celibacy. Priests and rabbis should be married, and the High Priest was compelled to marry."(191)

(202) Chapter 10 - Christian diversity

"Every religion has some distinctive characteristics and Christianity is the only major religion which from the outset has seemed to insist upon monogamy [mijn nadruk]. Of course Christianity was a religion of reform, developing from Hebrew naturalism, but Buddhism was a reform of Hinduism yet it did not make a similar insistence upon monogamy. In theory monogamy should have offered the best opportunity for equal rights to husband and wife, and the highest regard for married love, but unhappily for many centuries such ideals were not the most cherished and only in modern times are their implications being more widely realized."(202)

"There were ascetic tendencies, notably among the Essenes, but anti-sex drives came from outside Judaism upon the young Christian churches. (...) From an early period various forms of asceticism affected the new religion: Jewish, Greek, Gnostic, Manichee, and perhaps Buddhist and Jain."(202)

"In Greece male homosexual practices were often idealized, and to some degree institutionalized, and they infiltrated later into Roman society. There were also many courtesans, hetairae, and lower grades of prostitutes. The pleasures of the flesh were accepted, though philosophers like Aristotle taught the importance of moderation, sophrosune, which indicated a mean between gross sensuality and asceticism, much broader than the Buddhist Middle Way.
Plato was partly responsible for the notion of a dualism of body and soul, an opposition between them which was quite unhebrew and came to have a devastating effect upon Christian views of marriage. Plato wrote of those who called the body the tomb of the soul, as if he was not quite sure about it, but elsewhere he said that the body was a hindrance to the soul, its pleasures were slavish, and it was a source of evil."(204)

"The rigour of later church prohibition of divorce (...) Yet while disregarding the literal application of the other ideal teachings of Jesus, the Church demanded literal obedience to the ideal against divorce. It has almost been regarded as the one unforgivable sin ..."(208)

"The subjection of women to their husbands was taught in various places: they were the weaker vessels, told to learn in silence, not to teach in church, to be modest in ornament, and reminded that Eve was the first to be deceived into transgression ..."(214)

"Sexual and marriage questions were not greatly debated in the early Church, but there was a world-renouncing attitude and Gnostic anti-sex feelings were shared by many of their opponents. Marriage was not condemned, for it was blessed by Christ and instituted by God, but it was regarded as inferior to virginity. Celibacy was the ideal for those who would be perfect, and clerical remarriage after the death of a spouse was forbidden."(219)

"Today the Roman Catholic church is the only religion in the world to insist upon universal and compulsory celibacy for all its clergy."(220)

"The general asceticism of the Church's teaching was taken to extremes in the development of monasticism, as a reaction against worldly corruption, whether in solitary eremitism or collective coenobitism."(221)

"Again and again theologians spoke of the dangers and inferior nature of sex, but Augustine, Bishop of Hippo in north Africa in the early fifth century, was one of the most influential and disastrous teachers on the subject. His personal history affected his teaching, for he had a mistress for fifteen years, yet became a Manichean believing in the evil of the flesh."(222)

"Augustine believed strongly in Original Sin and Predestination. The sin came from the Fall of Adam, as a result of which man suffered from a hereditary moral disease, and was also subject to the inherited legal liability for Adam's sin. The whole human race was one mass of sin, from which God had predestined some souls to receive his unmerited mercy, but others went to hell, including unbaptized babies. Original Sin was virtually equated with sexual emotion, so that every act of coitus was intrinsically evil, and therefore every child was conceived by the 'sin' of its parents."(222)

"Augustine's idea that the pleasure or 'lust' of sexual intercourse was sinful, the concupiscence of flesh against spirit, has had a most disastrous influence upon much of traditional Christian ethics."(223)

"In many other ways the life of the !aity as well as that of the clergy was regulated by sexual restrictions. From the second century, to the biblical prohibitions of adultery, fornication, and homosexuality, were added abortion and infanticide. In the eastern church Basil of Cesarea in the fourth century gave disciplinary rulings on sexual offences which included fornication, abortion, homosexuality, bestiality, rape, bigamy, second marriages, desertion, and incestuous or other forbidden unions. In the west, Theodore of Canterbury in the seventh century issued a Penitential for treatment of offenders against morality, which included male and female homosexuality, fornication, adultery, incest, bestiality, and male and female masturbation. Certain marital practices were also condemned: fellatio, coitus from behind, anal coitus, and coitus during menstruation. In the Middle Ages a connection was made between homosexuality and heresy (...)
Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century gave the fullest treatment of sexual diversions, in discussing the cardinal virtue of temperance and its contrary vice of lust. Everything had its proper end and sin was that which contravened the order of reason. The appointed end of sexual intercourse was procreation, and it was against reason when the right generation was rendered impossible as in contraception, incest, adultery, or rape. Kisses and caresses were innocent in themselves, but they became mortally sinful if their purpose was forbidden pleasure. Nocturnal 'pollution', as it was significantly called, was not sinful in itself but it might be caused by lustful thoughts or intemperate eating and drinking.
The most serious 'unnatural' lusts, for Aquinas, were masturbation, bestiality, homosexuality, and unusual modes of intercourse. Masturbation was the least evil but it was thought to be against reason and not helping procreation, and so more grievous than incest, adultery, rape, or simple fornication. The horror of male masturbation, which still appears in Roman Catholic manuals of sexual ethics as a 'grave moral disorder', was partly because of the 'misuse' or 'waste' of the precious semen, whereas female homo- sexuality and masturbation were ignored or dismissed as mere feminine lewdness."(224-225)

"Although the Reformers appealed to Scripture, they interpreted it in conservative ways, and not until modern times has the critical approach to both Scripture and Church tradition enabled Christians to make fresh interpretations of sexual relations. Puritanism and Victorianism are both now regarded as movements of sexual repression and prudery, but their roots go right back through the ages as far as the early Church. The dualistic opposition of flesh and spirit was maintained at the Reformation, despite other changes, and the place of woman was still subordinate to that of man."(230)

"Although clerical marriage came to be approved by Protestants, the attitude of theologians to marriage and sex in general still reflected belief in the dualism of flesh and spirit, with honours to the latter."(232)

"The Puritan and Victorian attitudes of repression of sex had a long ancestry, but they were also partly reactions to periods of what appeared to them to be licentiousness, or what today would be called permissiveness. Repression led to revolt, action led to reaction. This could be seen in Roman Catholicism where the licence of Renaissance Italy, notably under the Borgias, led to revulsion. The naked beauty shown in paintings and sculptures by artists patronized by the Papacy was too much for the Counter-Reformation. The Council of Trent condemned pictures that excited lustful feelings and Pope Paul IV had Michelangelo's nudes in the Sistine Chapel covered with draperies. In France the Jansenists, though critical of some views of the Counter- Reformation, were even more harsh in moral judgements."(235)

"But not until 1958 were sexual relations fully discussed and, despite some tortuous arguments, the traditional sexual teaching of the Church was broken at several points. The absolute primacy of procreation was rejected, the personal value of sexual intercourse was emphasized, and any notion of its evil was condemned. Most notably, contraception by methods 'admissible to the Christian conscience' was approved as a means of family planning."(236)

(242) Chapter 11 - Baha'i ideals

"According to Baha'i teachings, all forms of superstition and prejudice are condemned, and an unfettered search for truth demands co-operation with science, so that faith and knowledge form the basis of a progressive society. This requires rights and privileges for all peoples, the equality of the sexes, compulsory education, abolition of the extremes of wealth and poverty, work as worship, a universal auxiliary language and agencies for establishing universal peace."(242)

"Like many other religious and reforming movements, Baha'is are firm in moral attitudes. (...)
The importance of chastity both before and during marriage is stressed in many writings. There is no concept of original sin, on the one hand, or placing celibacy as the highest spiritual state, on the other. But chastity is seen as a proper preparation for marriage and maintaining it successfully."(243)

"Neither Baha'u'llah nor 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote anything on the subjects of contraception or abortion, and in the absence of scriptural teachings Baha'is have taken as guiding principles the sanctity of human life and the purpose of marriage being the formation of an environment for the procreation and education of children."(247)

"In the teachings of Baha'u'llah, homosexual and transsexual practices are not regarded as permissible."(248)

(252) Chapter 12 - Modern influences

Bijvoorbeeld onder invloed van nieuwe medische en psychologische kennis.

"This survey of some of the sexual attitudes and practices of major living religions hardly leads to agreed conclusions, and it may serve rather to mark differences. But in modern times all religions are subjected to new pressures which are sure to affect their understanding of sex. As most of these influences come from the West it is Christianity and Judaism which have been the most changed so far, but other religions will be touched by acceptance or even by rejection."(252)

"It is astonishing that nowadays the western world should often be regarded by much of the rest of mankind as both Christian and sexually loose and immoral. As we have seen, Christianity, like Buddhism, developed as an ascetic religion. In its regulations for clergy and monks, and the depreciation of sex in general, the Christian Church even surpassed Buddhism. But 'nous avons changé tout cela', even those of us who remain practising Christians."(260)

"That the Christian West is immoral is a common judgement, along with envy at its material progress, and the traditional asceticism of Christianity is ignored or seen as a lost battle of the missions."(261)

"The meeting of the great religious traditions of the world may bring help as well as challenge. It is sometimes asked what we can learn from other religions, and one factor is the understanding of sex. The ideal monogamy and love of Christianity, the world-affirmation of Judaism and Islam, the delight in sensual intercourse of classical Hinduism, the correlation of female and male in Chinese traditions, all these may contribute to new sexual ethics and tempered by each other they could mark a real advance."(261)

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