We’ve got the transcript to Darrel Ray’s talk from SK5, entitled “The Shame of it All, or Why Do We Act Like Christians” by the most generous and awesome Kaoru Negisa. Enjoy!


Presenter: Ok, now we’re ready to start. I’m very happy to introduce Darrel Ray.



Darrel Ray: Thank you!  Gosh! A lot of people were loving me last night. People I don’t even know were loving me last night, and I had only one drink. Only one drink.Alright, let’s talk about something. First of all, what I’m going to do, this is the political season so I figure it’s ok to do an unplayed political announcement. So we’re going to start off—I want you to come back to our table sometime in the next hour or two and talk to us about Recovering from Religion. If you’ve not hear about us before,  talk to Sarah, talk to me, talk to Jerry DeWitt – I know he’s around here – and we’ve got several facilitators, Peggy’s here – raise your hand, Peggy – and we’ve got  real live people who’ve been working on Recovering from Religion for literally years. And we at Recovering from Religion are bringing thousands of people into the Freethought Movement. People who were at church last year are now coming to religions – coming to coming from religion groups.


But we want to educate you on what we’re all about. Not that you’ll ever run a meeting or are even interested in that, but you can tell other people about it and help us. We have meetings all around the United States, we’ve got meetings in four different countries, and we started the Secular Therapist Project. If you’re a psychologist, or you want to be a psychologist, or you know a good secular psychologist, I want you to contact me, ‘cause that’s what we’re looking for. I don’t have time to go into that anymore today, though. So go to our table, learn about RR, talk to Sarah, learn about how we’re helping the Clergy Project, we’re very involved in helping the clergy who are coming out– graduating with the Clergy Project or want to. And learn how to start a group in your community if that’s something you’re interested in. Also learn how to help us be stronger – and how you can help support us and I would love to get some donations. We’re now a 501(c)3. We’re a legitimate organization that can accept donations, tax deducatable. And you can find us at recoveringfromreligion.org


Hey, how many of you just saw the new Richard Dawkins documentary?


Oh, only two or three of you. Gosh, you guys got to get online. Don’t you guys ever go online? Go online, look up “Sex Dea—“, “Sex, God…”, “Sex, Death, and God”! I got the wrong title up there. “Sex, Death, and God, and the Meaning of Life”.  Dawkins has a new documentary out, it’s like three different hours, and—how many of you heard my talk last year on the sex survey?




Alright! Good.


I’m in Dawkins’s documentary! So you can see what I talked about. Of course, I only got three minutes, but it was a cool three minutes, being  in that documentary. And I will say that David Smalley has helped us get The God Virus out in audio book. It’ll come out in about a week. Where’s David? Thanks, David, wherever you are.


OK, so today I’m going to talk about shame. The shame of believing or “Why the Hell Do We Act Like Christians?” This photograph — I don’t know who took this photograph, but whoever you are please come tell me who you were if you were the person – this photograph was taken right here last year.


Oh, cool! I had no idea! I love you, I love you. Yea. [laughter] I had no idea somebody had taken that photograph, but it’s so perfectly framed [laughter from audience]


How many of you masturbate? I do! [cheers, whistles from audience] Alright! Good job, good job. Can you imagine asking that question in a Christian church? How about asking in a Catholic one or a Muslim mosque? No. Or a Mormon church? Do you think Mitt Romney actually masturbates? He was a bishop. Bishops have to tell twelve year old boys not to tamper with the factory. That’s the, you know, the euphemism that they use in the Mormon church for masturbation. I actually write about that in a chapter on “Don’t Tamper With the Factory” in Sex and God.


So what we know is that religionists live a lie. They live a lie of sexual shame. They’re ashamed that they have pre-marital sex when they know darn good and well that they weren’t supposed to. They’re ashamed that they masturbate, and they know they’re not supposed to. They’re ashamed that they use pornography. They’re ashamed that they’ve done sex acts that disgust them: they tried Doggy Style one time. They’re ashamed to tell the truth about their own sex life to their children. They live a big lie: they lie to themselves and to others about their sexual behavior.


It is almost by definition, if you are a Christian, you are lying about your sex life. They pretend that they don’t know what everyone else on the planet does. It’s like they can’t act like real human beings. They preach against the very behavior they do themselves, and we see a lot of that when the local minister gets caught in the bathroom with some guy sometimes or, you know, messing with a prostitute somewhere.


And they lie to their children about their behavior. How do we know all this? Well, we know it because they engage in all research going back to the—some clear back to the 1930s, most to the 1950s, shows that they engage in the same activities, sexual activities, that we secularists do. They start sex at the same time, they begin masturbating at the same time, and they give their children false information about the sex life—about the sex that they have or that other people are having.


And the evidence is that religionists have higher levels of sexually transmitted infections. If you just look at a map, a recent political map, look at the red states, those are where you can get – you know you can get diseases in those places. [laughter from the audience] And by the way, Missouri is in those places, so don’t be fucking around here at Skepticon!


[laughter from the audience and Dr. Ray]


They use porn at least as much as we do. What’s the highest porn use in the whole nation? Utah! Right. And what’s number two? Mississippi, yes. Somebody back there read my book, I guess.


They get divorced as much or more, generally more, than atheists. Religious people get divorced as much as anybody else in the state they’re in, so if they’re in a high divorce state, they’re also getting high divorces.


And they have abortions higher than secularists do. There are more abortions among religionists than there are among secularists.


Now, I talked about this last year, so I’m not going to go into great detail, or I won’t go into any detail about that, but the evidence is just overwhelming that religions are not doing what they say they’re doing and in fact we are probably better at doing what they say to do than they are themselves in some rather interesting and some good ways. So because of their shame, religionists can’t evaluate their own behavior. They have no way to check it. I mean, if you’re living in a delusion, you’re not going to be able  to evaluate that delusion very well. They have difficulty channeling their own sexual drives and urges, and they experience self-loathing and fear of their own natural urges. They can’t stand themselves when they’re in the bedroom. And where in the bedroom, by the way, a married couple who’s Christian is always having a threesome with Jesus. [ laughter from audience]


They lie to their spouse about their sexual activity. I know so many Christians who had sex before marriage, but swear up and down to their spouse that they were a virgin when they got married. I know people who tell their children not to have sex before marriage who themselves had multiple partners before they got married, but they tell their children they didn’t. So they’re lying to the children.


The basis of their marriage is a lie, the basis of their relationship with their children is a lie. They express sexual frustration, they express anger, and they do it through blaming and judging of other people, and very specifically homosexual people.


Audience Member: Yes!


Dr. Ray: Yes, right. [laughter from audience]


And here’s Darrel Ray’s theory, you heard it first right here. I believe the root of homophobia in most of the planet, and that includes Hinduism, includes Islam, is rooted in the masturbatory behavior of the person themselves. So a religionist who hates homosexuals is scared shitless of his own masturbatory behavior. That’s the root of homophobia, and I’ve got—that’s my theory. I’d like somebody to test it, I don’t know how we test it, but we’re starting to get some good information about the more homophobic you are, the more you’re probably homosexual underneath the surface.


Anybody seen that research lately on the—yea, ok, so a lot of you have seen that research.


And here’s my evidence, here’s some of the best evidence. This comes from Mark Driscol, the megachurch minister up there in Seattle. He says, “Masturbation can be a form of homosexuality because it’s a sex act that does not involve a woman.” [laughter from audience] Ladies, you’re getting off free on this one, ok? [laughter from audience] “If a man were to masturbate while engaged in other forms of intimacy with his wife, then he would not be doing so in a homosexual way. However, any man who does so without his wife in the room is bordering on homosexual activity, particularly if he’s watching himself in the mirror and being turned on by his own male body.” [more audience laughter]


What the fuck? I never thought of that. So right after I saw this I got in the bathroom to see if it works. [audience laughter] It doesn’t work too well for me. [even more audience laughter]


So religious sexuality is a one-size-fits-all, that everybody should fit into a rigid sexual box. And it’s an unnatural box, it’s a box that we cannot and will not stay in as human beings. And they primary reason for that box that religion wants to put you in is that they know you can’t stay in the box. When you step outside the box, you will be shamed, and shame is a very important component of religion indoctrination, of religious brainwashing.


So let’s look at what’s really going on here. There are probably 10,000 sex acts for every live birth. But religionists tell us sex should be for procreation, especially our dear friend the pope. The pope says, “Have sex only for procreation.” Well, this is my dear dog, Sugar. Many of you who have been to my house know Sugar. We have a rule, you can’t have any dogs up here unless she’s at least one of those dogs. Now, the pope says have sex only for procreation, well that’s how my dog has sex. That’s how an insect has sex. That’s how a cow has sex. More of the sexual species on this planet only have sex when the female’s fertile and ready to reproduce. We’re not like that: we can have sex any damn time we want to, and that’s wonderful, I’m sure glad about that, but the pope says, “No, that’s not right. You shouldn’t be doing it.”


Now, when I say, “10,000 sex acts,” I’m including masturbation, guys and gals, ok? So we’ll just put that in the equation. Although some of you might be doing 10,000 without masturbation, I don’t know.


Shame, fear, and guilt. It is always to a religion’s advantage to create shame around sexual activity. In The God Virus I talk about the Guilt Cycle. I won’t go into detail about that either today. But the fact is, if I can make you feel guilty about something that you’re going to do anyway, then the only place you can get forgiveness for that guilt is the place you learned it. So religion basically gives us a disease, then sells us a cure for that same disease. So without sexual guilt, without sexual fear, without sexual shame, all the major religions on the planet would collapse. Can you imagine the pope waking up one day and saying, “Whoa, I had a great wet dream last night! I think we’ll make masturbation legal.” No, that’s probably not going to happen.


It has infected our political system, this whole idea of shame, and I’ve got a ton of things I’d love to say about shame. If I had 10 hours, I would do it today. But look at this: see what’s happened in our own political system just in the last few years. This fellow never masturbates, he never had sex outside of marriage, his wife had an abortion but you can’t, he wants you to catch his Catholic sexually transmitted infection. [pause] That’s one fucked up dude, I think. [laughter from audience]


And then we have our friend Rush Limbaugh, who thinks he can shame women into shutting their mouths and be quiet, not just in church, but in the entire political system. Sandra Fluke –she is one of my heroes. [applause from audience] She stood up to Rush Limbaugh and told the guy to go fuck himself and I love it. I think that’s what more people oughta be doing.


But why is Rush doing it? Because patriarchy religious systems use shame to keep women under control, and Rush is simply doing what patriarchies have been doing for three or four thousand years, using sexual shame to keep women from asserting themselves. Physically, politically, spiritually, sexually, you know, whatever you want to call it. But there’s one piece of shame I don’t hear anybody talking about, and I do want to spend a little time on that piece of shame, and that is male shame.


It is very obvious that Rush Limbaugh is trying to shame Sandra Fluke. What is not so obvious is what is going on inside of Rush Limbaugh’s head, or indeed many, many males’ heads. Shame is an important component in any religion, but one of the key parts of shame is telling men, “You must control your wives and daughters.” Men who do not control their wives and daughters are not doing their duties as head of the religious household and the head of whatever the religious – and that’s what you see in Mitt Romney.  That’s what you see in Mormons. It’s what you see in the Jehovah’s Witnesses. You just name the religion and if it’s patriarchal, and most of them are, the man is supposed to make sure he controls his wife and his daughters. Now what happens if his daughter gets pregnant, quote “out of wedlock”? That brings shame down upon the man. In some cultures, the daughter will be killed. In our culture it will bring great shame upon the family and you will see fathers apologizing. I have heard atheist fathers apologizing for their daughters getting pregnant without being married. Now what is going on there? Why would an atheist father ever apologize, unless he’s infected with this notion of shame?


And there’s also the notion of shame around masturbation. Religion wants to shame males into not masturbating, even though we know they will, so that means they have to come back to church and get forgiveness. Women are never mentioned in the Bible, there’s nobody that says a woman can’t masturbate in the Bible, but supposedly – there’s some questionable verses, even in the Bible, about males, but supposedly males aren’t supposed to masturbate either. When I was growing up as a 13 year old in the locker room of my junior high, there was always somebody getting made fun of. “You know, if you shake it more than three times, you’re playing with it. You’re going to be a homo if you do that.” That’s—I’ve heard that so many times. How many of you have heard that, guys? Yea, ok.


I don’t care if you’re an atheist or not. If you’re a 13 year old atheist in the lockers room, you are going to get infected with ideas of shame around your own body, about your own masturbatory activity. You’re going to get that signal. And where does that signal come from? It comes from religion. Shame in the locker room is, I think, a powerful component of religious indoctrination and it’s everywhere. And you saw. I don’t  know if you can see from my perspective, but virtually every man in this room raised his hand just now.


So the religion gives you the disease, then gives you the cure for the disease. Just come confess to the priest, come read your Bible, come to Bible study, come to Sunday school. You can get forgiveness for masturbating, for having sex outside of marriage, for thinking, for looking at a Playboy or lusting after someone.


So you can take religion out of sex, but you can’t take sex out of religion. That’s the key component that I want you to remember here today. If we took sex out of religion, almost all the religions on the planet would collapse. Though sex, to me, is one of the most important things for us to attack. I’m on a roll right here, in a sense. You can go out and debate, and I love watching Matt Dillahunty debate, by the way. The guy’s amazing, I’ve been too close to him too many times and just felt like an idiot when I’m close to him, you know, watching him debate people. But you can debate all day about whether god exists or not, but you’re really not necessarily hitting them where it really hurts. Where is really hurts is their sexuality and I’m going to demonstrate that here in a minute.


And you might be saying, “Well, Darrel, why are you talking about this? I’m not even religious.” Well, we are swimming in a polluted culture, a religiously polluted culture, and I think there are many secularists, many right in this room, that are still infected with religious ideas. And let’s figure that out. If you feel guilt or shame around your own sexuality, that tells me you’re probably still infected with religion. I told somebody last week—I was in a, you know, a coffee shop, and somebody was there with me, a bunch of other atheists – and this new person was there and somebody told him, “He’s written a new book.”


“Well, what’s your book about?” And I tell this person, “Sex and god.” Their face gets red, instantly, bulge comes up here, they turn around, they almost can’t control themselves. I said, “What’s going on with that guy?” [laughs] I don’t know. So about five minutes later the guy comes back, he sits down and he says, “I can’t believe you wrote a book about sex and god. I was told never to talk about sex in public, and I don’t think I want to read that book.” That was amazing to me. This is an atheist! And he’s been an atheist four or five years. Why would he have such a powerful response to that simple—it was just the title of the book! I’m not asking him to read it.


So, we act like Christians when we hide our sexuality, when we pretend like we don’t or we haven’t done something. We pretend to our children like we didn’t have pre-marital sex or we pretend to our spouse, our spouse, that we don’t masturbate. My mother caught me masturbating when I was 13 years old in my bedroom, god that was embarrassing. Wow. But my mother, she was very kind, she sad down with me, she said, “Darrel, it’s ok, you can do it. You’ll stop doing it when you get married.” [laughter from audience and Dr. Ray] And she was the most open minded person I knew at that time.


And I did. I never masturbated after I got married. [laughter from audience] At least not for three days. [laughter from audience]


We act like Christians when we let religionists condemn perfectly legal sexual behavior and we don’t challenge them on that behavior. And we act like religionists when we act ashamed of our sexuality, like, for instance, when we walk into a porn store. If you walk into a porn store and you get a twinge of guilt and shame, that’s religion speaking there, folks. There is no shame in porn. Now, here in Missouri, our wonderful, great state of Missouri, if you want to find a porn shop, don’t look for the porn shop advertisement, watch for the religious advertisement. This is a $3,000 a month billboard and the guy who owns the porn shop, he’s probably praying for this billboard to go up in front of his porn shop, it’s advertizing better than—I mean, that’s a pretty lousy advertisement there compared to this. I haven’t noticed any porn shops going out of business on I-70 between Kansas and St. Louis. Even with the internet they still seem to be thriving.


So, let me illustrate this to you.  [laughter from audience] You know Jeff Foxworthy. “You might be a redneck if…” Well, let’s look at it this way: you might be a Christian secularist, or you might be a Christian atheist if you feel guilty about masturbating. You might be a Christian atheist if you feel shame admitting you enjoy porn. You might be a Christian atheist if you have difficulty talking to your children about sexuality.  You might be a Christian atheist if you have difficulty talking to your spouse or your partner about sexual fantasies you would like to have.  Now let me repeat that: you are a Christian atheist if you can’t even talk to the most important sex partner you’ve got in your life, the most important emotional partner you’ve got in your life,  about fantasies that are perfectly normal and perfectly legitimate. And I have a lot of examples in the atheist community of people saying, “I cannot possibly talk to my husband about possibly spanking me every once in a while.” “I cannot talk to my wife about tying me up and teasing me.” It’s like “Wow, you can’t do that?” And you’re an atheist. Where is this coming from? It’s coming from religious infection that you have no gotten rid of in your own self.


So you might be a Christian atheist if you feel guilty about masturbating. Oh, wait, I just looked at that one. [laughs]


So religion’s weak spot, I think, is sexuality. It’s not whether god exists or not. That’s not the weak spot of religion, you can debate all day long. But you can challenge people on their sexuality and their sexual behavior. So don’t let religionists dictate to us what we can and can’t talk about. I want to talk openly about myself, about my sexuality, and I’m not saying go out and being inappropriate and expose yourself or anything stupid like that, within reasonable bounds, but be open about it. Don’t let them kowtow us into behaving in their shameful way. I think we should follow the lead of the gay community. I think the gays have done more to challenge religionists in the United States and we heard earlier—[audience applauds] we heard that earlier today how much power the gay movement has had in challenging religion, well we ought to be there helping them. Let’s help challenge the religionists with our own sexuality. I’m not gay, but I support gays, I support them any way I can and I’m going to act like a gay person in the sense that I’m not going to be ashamed of who I am or what I believe is right for me, sexually right for me. I don’t push my sexuality on other people, I don’t believe that what is right for me is necessarily right for you, but I also don’t believe you have a right to impose your sexuality, your sexual taboos, your sexual shame and guilt on me.  So here’s the thing: be out about your sexuality, and respect and support others in their sexual choices and sexual orientations. It’s the biggest challenge we can do against religion.


I am not a Christian. And I don’t have to act like one! [riotous applause]


[Dr. Ray laughs]


I put the fig leaf in for the 13 year old, I don’t know where they are. [laughs] So, yes, let’s not act like Christians, let’s be out and open about ourselves., and here’s examples.


I can say, “Sure, I fornicate, just like a lot of religious people do.” “Sure, I masturbate. Don’t you?” I mean, it’s a simple question, but it’s an admission that I am a normal human being and I’m damn sure I’m not going to lie about that. And I’m not going to let you get away with lying about it either. So, if you say, “Yes, sure I masturbate, don’t you?” one of two things is going to happen: they’ll say, “Oh, I do, too” or they’re going to lie. [audience chuckles] I studied with the famous psychotherapist Albert Ellis, he had a famous saying. He said, “97% of all men admit to masturbation, and the other 3% are lying.” [audience laughs] About 80% of women masturbate, and I don’t know whether the other 20% of them are lying or not, but some of them are, I’m positive of that.


You know, people say, “You sure talk about masturbation a lot, Darrel.” Well, yea, you know, that’s the most important part of your sex life cause you’re always making love to yourself and yourself is always around to make love to, so it is a pretty important component of your sexual activity, of your sex life. And if you’re not enjoying it, I feel sorry for you. There’s a whole lot to enjoy going on there.


Sure, I like pornography just like most religious people. They just can’t admit it. We should be framing their behavior, and this is how we should frame it: control of women’s bodies is the key component of all patriarchy religions. If you don’t control your women’s bodies– and it could include your mother in Saudi Arabia. Twelve year old boys can escort their mothers, that’s amazing – controlling your wife, controlling your daughters, but it’s males controlling women’s bodies is the key component of all patriarchal religions. We need to challenge that, and we need to frame it in ways that just put it right back in their face, and here’s one way to do it.


A woman might say, “I take birth control because I like sex inside and outside of marriage, just like Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh do.” I mean, how many wives and how many lovers have these guys had and they’re telling you that you have to be married in order to do it? That’s crazy. I mean, this guy, his own staff had to get him out of cars fucking women while he was running for Congress. This was back twenty, twenty five years ago. And they complained about he always had a new lover. Yea, he’s had three wives—four wives? How many wives has Newt had now? Three? Three wives, yea? But he’s had 50 other lovers, I’m quite sure of that, at minimum probably. And who know about Rush Limbaugh? He may be gay. [audience chuckles, applauds a bit]


So be out–


Male Audience Member: Hell no!


Dr. Ray: [laughs] Hell no! I wouldn’t take him either. But I know [inaudible] in the heteroworld. So be out about your sexuality. Be tactful, we cognizant of your job and the responsibilities you have in life. I’m not saying come out and get fired. But be as out as you possibly can. If you were a practicing nudist, for example, there is no reason to be ashamed of that. When I was growing up, my parents thought that five doors down, they thought the couple that had no children were “nudists” and they would whisper about, “Oh, those people are nudists.” And if they were, I don’t know if the people were nudists or not, but they sure didn’t advertize it, they never said a word about it. You’d be at neighborhood parties and whatnot they’d never whisper. But being a nudist is no better or worse than belonging to the Elk’s Club. It’s perfectly legal, legitimate behavior, there’s no reason to be ashamed of it.


If you’re kinky, be not ashamed! [audience cheers and claps] If you’re polyamorous, advertize it. Put it out there, let people know you’re a polyamormous. [audience cheers and claps even more] If you’re anything sexual, be as open and reasonable as reasonably possible and don’t let the religionists kowtow us into abiding by their shame-based behavior.


In casual conversation, you can say something like this, “Sure, I talk to my children about masturbation and birth control. I told them how normal it is, and not to listen to other children if they say their religion says it’s wrong.” Imagine telling a Christian parents that little sentence right there. Wow, that is a powerful challenge to them, their sexuality, and the sex education methods they’re using with their own children, because chances are the person  you’re talking to masturbated that same day or certainly within the last week. They’re telling their children and you’re saying “I am not a hypocrite.” That’s what you’re really saying: I am not a hypocrite, how about you, Mr. and Mrs. Religionist?


In a conversation you can say, “My husband and I have been in an open relationship for 20 years. We enjoy it a lot, it’s made our marriage strong, we love each other wonderfully and we enjoy our outside partners as well.” I met a 70 plus year old couple in Arizona a few years ago after I gave a talk like this and they came up to me and said, “We can’t say enough how glad we are to hear people talking about this. We have been out about our nudity and about our open sexual relationship and we’ve had an open relationship since the day we got married at” I think they said it was at 28 years old they got married and had an open relationship. And they’ve been married for what? 50 years? And they’re open and proud about it now. Of course, they weren’t for most of their lives, but they’re starting to come out now.


So, I am not a Christian, and I am not bound by Christian rules on sex and sexuality. I don’t have to pretend to follow their rules, and I want to quietly, very persistently, challenge their guilt-based, their shame-based religion by simply being who I am. Whoever Darrel is, that’s who I’m going to be. [audience applauds] And that’s what I challenge you to go back and find out how can you be who you are. Start asking questions: why do I cower when I’m around that person? Why do I avoid certain topics around that person? Why do I act ashamed about my body? Why do I not use certain words?


And again, I’m not encouraging you to be vulgar—I mean, I’m vulgar in here, but we’re all friends, right? [audience chuckles] I’m challenging you to be appropriate, but don’t kowtow to the shame. If someone is racist in front of me, I will challenge that. That pisses me off.  If someone is sexist, I will challenge them about that. That pisses me off.  If someone is sex negative, that pisses me off, I will challenge that just as much.  [loud audience applause] So we should let people know that we are sex positive, and we’re going to stand for that view of life, and we’re going to champion that view of life for everybody around us. If we see people being persecuted because of their sexual preferences, or talked down about, or in some way slandered, we have to stand up, just as we stood up – and most of us did – during the civil rights era. We challenged racism and look what we’ve been able to achieve.  It’s not gone, I’m not saying society is not racist, we can see that by the last election, but there certainly is a lot less in key areas.


Let’s let go of things like shame, shame in our own body.  Now, I want to give you a newsflash here: it’s the only body you’re gonna get. There’s not a second resurrection, there’s not a new body you’re going to get after death, so it doesn’t matter what body you’ve got right now, it’s the only one you’re going to get. Get over the shame. Get over the guilt about your own body. Learn to live with your body, be proud of your body, treat your body right and enjoy your body. It’s built for pleasure, it’s built for enjoyment.


Don’t judge other people by their bodies. When you judge other people by their bodies, you’re saying a hell of a lot about yourself, just like someone who judges somebody based on the color of their skin is really saying a hell of a lot about themselves.


And get over your own guilt about your own desires and fantasies. If you want your husband to tie you up and spank you every once in a while, there’s  nothing to be ashamed about that. Guys, if you want your wife to tie you up – or guys, I don’t care which way you swing – just tell them. Talk openly about it.


When I wrote Sex and God, one of the key parts of the book was the last five chapters. Those five chapters are written to challenge every one of you to have a very strong, deep conversation about your sex, your sexual preferences, your sexuality, with whoever your partner is. I want us to become better communicators with our partners about our sexuality. That will make us more comfortable with ourselves and we’ll go out into the bigger world and challenge the bigger world. If you’re comfortable in yourself, you’re going to be comfortable outside challenging people.


So let’s go on the offensive and let’s do things like Maryam Namazie did with the big calendar, I think I flipped this up here last year. I’m not going to do that this year. But when she put that calendar out with all the different major players in the feminist/atheist community, she raised some waves and made a big difference.


Let’s ask some embarrassing questions. Does your priest or preacher masturbate, do you think? You know, that guy that was debating out there, I wanted to go up and ask him that question last night, but there were too many people up there, I didn’t want to interrupt. But I wanted in the worst way to ask him, “I masturbated today, did you?” [audience chuckle] That’s all I wanted to ask. He’s a Christian, he’s there trying to talk about god and all this, but his children were right there and I didn’t want to get accused of—what I was really doing, which was trying to indoctrinate his children for him [laughs].


Do you think your priest or minister had pre-marital sex? I’m pretty darn sure. Most ministers I knew in Bible college had pre-marital sex. They were all over, too many women, too many times.


If I’m talking to a religionist, I might say, “Are you honest with your children? About your sex life, about your sexual history? Do you expect your children to do what you can’t do yourself?” I mean these are questions we can openly and easily ask a religionist. And it really puts the onus on them to their lie or re-examine their assumptions as a religionist.


Be honest with your own children. If you’re an atheist, a secularist, tell your children you had several lovers before you got married. If you’re polyamorous and you’re married and you’ve got children, let your children understand what that is with age-appropriate information, obviously. There are some things you don’t want to tell real young kids because it could cause other problems, and I’m not saying to do that.


Tell them, “Yea, I started masturbating when I was twelve years old!” Now Eric down here, he started when he was eleven, I think. [audience laughs] Nine, nine, yea. He was in my talk with, I think, American Atheists and I said, “Twelve” and he said, “Twelve?!” Yea, right, so I’m a late bloomer, ok?


So be and act comfortable about your sexuality. If you act ashamed of your sexuality, your behavior will speak loud and clear to your children. Your children know if you’re ashamed of your body, they know if you’re ashamed of your sexual behavior and your sexuality and ashamed of your relationship with your partner. They can– they sense this stuff. Challenge shame, challenge guilt in yourself.


If you feel shame or guilt, it’s generally based in some kind of religious programming. Your shame and guilt helps perpetuate the shame and guilt and sexual oppression of other people within your sphere of influence, including your spouse and including your children. Your inability to be open about your sexuality is a sign of your continued religious infection with a God Virus.


I wrote Sex and God to help people like you and I get over the residual effects of religion. I don’t care how long you’ve been an atheist — I had a lifelong atheist, the guy’s been an atheist since he was fourteen years old, say, “I need to have coffee with you.” This happened about six months ago. He’d heard me talk, he’d read Sex and God, he came in for two hours, I sat in the coffee shop, I hardly said a word. All he had to say, over and over again, in so many different ways, was, “I had no idea how infected I still was with shame and guilt around sexuality.” And this is a man you’d say, from the outside, that he’s pretty comfortable with his sexuality, but obviously he wasn’t or he wouldn’t have had that two over coffee conver—one way conversation, I couldn’t get a word in edge-wise hardly.


So, I want to start building a framework for us secularists, a framework that steps outside the religious training and indoctrination. I want to celebrate positive, natural sexuality, not religious sexuality. There is Catholic sexuality, there’s Baptist sexuality, there’s Muslim, there’s Hindu sexuality. None of those sexualities are related to human sexuality. Not one of them are. I want us to develop human sexuality for ourselves. I want to encourage secularists to be open and proud about our sexuality. We are unique, and I call us “secular sexuals” and I would like to propagate that meme from this room, throughout the world. Start considering ourselves secular sexuals, think about that. I’m not a Catholic sexual and all that goes on with that. I’m not a Baptist sexual and all that goes on with—I am a secular sexual. What does that mean?

And that will inform an entire universe of ethical considerations  and re-considerations in our behavior, I think. We are not tied to religious guilt or shame like the Mormons, the Christians, the Muslims, the Hindus, so let’s not act like them. I am a sex positive atheist and I’m proud of it. I am a secular sexual.


So, sex is fun, and so is drinking. [cheers from the audience] Let’s do them responsibly, right? There’s no Jesus to forgive you if you hurt somebody else, and I don’t want you to be a vector for a sexually transmitted infection, and I don’t want you to be a vector for a God Virus either.  And they’re both sexually transmitted diseases, as you well know in my writings.


So I would like to encourage you to visit our table out here, learn about Recovering from Religion, take a look at my two books that are out there right now. If you’re interested in having me speak at one of your organizations or meetings, you can find me through Recovering from Religion, through Secular Student Alliance speaker’s list, or from ipcpress.com. Any of those places will get me.


So with that I’m going to call it quits and thanks a lot for your attention, folks.


[thunderous clapping from the audience]


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