Influences of Religion on the Sexual Attitudes and Practices of Canadian Youth: the Case of Premarital Sex

In: Youth, Religion, and Identity in a Globalizing Context

This chapter is based on data from a mixed-methods study conducted by Heather Shipley and myself entitled, Religion, Gender and Sexuality Among Youth in Canada (rgsy). In this chapter I examine how respondents talked about the influence of religion on their sexual attitudes and practices. Religion is generally important to our respondents but it is not usually definitive for their sexual practices. Yet the surveys and particularly the interviews have revealed some themes worth examining. Here I will take only one theme where religion is understood by the participants as influencing sexuality—the case of sex before marriage. We have discovered that religion continues to influence how respondents feel about their own sexual activity even if they no longer identify with the religion in which they were raised.

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