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How does religiosity influence sexual activity?

How does religiosit inlfunece the sexual behavior of young people?

While several studies have investigated the relationship between religious beliefs and sexual behavior of youth, the overall results are not coherent.

A relative study analyzed interviews of 118 young people aged 17-18 to see how religious faith affects their sexual activity and contraception use.

About half were aware of the various views of their religion about sexuality and one out of three thought that their religion forbade premarital sex. The deeper

the religious faith of young people was, the less likely to accept various hypothetical scenarios of sexual behaviors.

However, religious faith did not show significant association with reports in their own sexual behavior and use of contraception. In the same study, young people stressed that what affects their sexual activity is not the principles of their religion, but the characteristics of their relationship (such as length) and their physical health.

What happens when beliefs are not consistent with one’s behaviors?

The above results are consistent with other studies that have shown that religious faith new influences more on youth’s beliefs about sexuality, rather than their sexual bejavior. Taking into account that several studies have pointed out that the religious faith of young people is often accompanied by guilt about their sexuality, we can assume that those when the beliefs do not match with behaviors, feelings of guilt may be intensified. However it is important for young people’s sexual health, that they are encouraged adopt the sexual behavior that best fits their overall value system.

Leonard K, Jones D (2010) A Belief-Behavior Gap? Exploring Religiosity and Sexual Activity Among High School Seniors. Journal of Adolescent Research 25: 578-600.


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