EBA: Sex and Secularism: What Happens When You Leave Religion

The East Bay Atheists February meeting features Dr. Darrel Ray, speaking on "Sex & Secularism." 

Many atheists claim that life changed significantly for the better when they left religion - some report it became worse. Beginning in 2011, Dr. Darrel Ray, decided to be among the first to research how religion impacts sex and sexuality. He collected huge amounts of information on-line, asking people about a wide range of issues. There were many other interesting findings and some quite unpredictable. He looked at what peoples' sex practices were when they were still religious, and how they changed after? He asked when atheists start masturbating and using porn, compared to Christians. What religions are the most guilt ridden? How kinky are secularists? The research results went viral, being written about in Playboy Magazine, the Los Angels Times, The Daily Mail, as well as blogs and on-line magazines throughout the world. Dr. Ray continues his sex and secularism research today in such areas as religion and shame and deprogramming religious ideas from early childhood.

This entertaining talk will have you laughing, thinking about your own sexuality, and wondering why anyone would want Jesus in their bedroom!

Darrel is the founder of Recovering From Religion Foundation, and a featured speaker at national events. Additionally, he has expressed interest in going out with the group afterward.  So don't miss this chance to learn from and socialize with one of the leading Freethinkers in the U.S.!

Dr. Ray's books will be on sale at the event and he will be glad to sign your copy. 

Afterwards we will go to dinner at King Dong at 2429 Shattuck Ave at Haste.

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When: Sunday, February 16th at 1:30

Location: Public Meeting Room, Third Floor, Berkeley Public Library, Main Branch, at 2090 Kittredge at Shattuck

BART Access: Less than one block from the downtown Berkeley BART Station.

Parking: All day parking is available for $7 on the weekend at the lot at Allston & Harold Way, a short block from the library.

Information: Larry Hicok, Coordinator:[masked]

Ski Grabowski, Treasurer:[masked]



Our March meeting will be on Sunday, March 16th, at the library. Details will follow.

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  • Ming L.

    If atheism is based on evidence & reason, then we should like the evidence shown in the charts.... unless of course feelings still trumps evidence. It is the best work I've seen on a difficult & sensitive subject so far. Hope the work continues with a wider & more complete participation. Good job, enjoyed the presentation.

    1 · February 17, 2014

    • John the D.

      It may be the 'best' yet. But there is almost no competition. I don't want to undervalue Ray's information gathering and processing. But the whole field of sexuality is practically unstudied, largely for political and religious reasons.

      So, certainly 'good,' but one would hope for something better. I don't know if Ray actually COULD have done better in the circumstances. So we should look for more informative work ahead.

      February 17, 2014

  • John the D.

    There was the hint of frustration that always comes with the closeness between 'serious' social science and Cosmo Surveys. A self-selected set of subjects self-reports and...

    Still, as Ray pointed out, the findings seemed fully congruent with every other attempt on the same matters.

    The guilt cycle seems an excellent explanation for the persistence of religio-sexual notions which consistently fail to match actual behavior. But that makes the whole notion of the 'better' sexual lives of the non-religious difficult to assess.

    If the religious and non-religious REALLY don't behave all that differently, is the better/worse difference only a measure of guilt? But what about social or public shame? The question of race and gender came up in discussion, but I think Ray has ducked the issue at least in his presentation.

    The pressure of conformity on women, and on Black Americans, for example, seems to extend further than just generating internal guilt. Shame must influence experience too.

    February 17, 2014

    • David D.

      Ray did speak to the concurrent effects of shame. I agree with you, John, that social and public pressure confirms and enforces guilt and shame, but we are a social people and our society has incorporated religious concepts fairly universally. That which is taught to individuals gains force when it is generalized to the mostly cohesive group.

      February 17, 2014

  • Rafael De A.

    Little or no interaction with the audience of such a small size. Long winded, in my opinion.

    1 · February 16, 2014

    • xopher

      Yeah. Also, I had a problem with some of the "jokes" he made, based on old-fashioned gender stereotypes. And I really did feel like he was dismissive about the problem of diversity in his sample.

      February 17, 2014

  • David D.

    Good subject. Held our interest. It was set up as a presentation and Darrel Ray presented his points clearly. A lot of charts and graphs may not be the best way to invigorate an audience, and a more open discussion might have been more dynamic. But we all have an interest in sex and the conflict with religion was made explicit. I liked the talk.

    February 16, 2014

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