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Sexual Deviations, Damages, and Solutions

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The sexual instinct, as one of the most important human instincts, is the factor for the survival of the human race. Human history shows that for reproduction, humans have needed sexual intercourse and have been attracted to the opposite sex. Sexual instinct manifests during puberty and adolescence with an attraction to the opposite sex, and it means a natural, psychological, and ultimately physical desire that moves a person in a specific direction and leads to ‘sexual behavior.’

Based on different cultures and viewpoints, the concept of sexual instinct has been evaluated differently. In past centuries, humans have gained their knowledge about sexual behavior from religion and literature, and based on such knowledge, have benefited from their sexual desires. The ancient Greeks expressed in their myths that humans have a dual nature; some humans are dual-female and some dual-male; therefore, the attraction to the opposite sex seems to arise from the split of male and female halves and the same-sex attraction from a dual (male-female) split[1].

The Jewish religious perspective on this matter has mostly been for the purpose of reproduction and having heirs and successors. This religion advises boys to marry between the ages of 13 to 18 and girls at the age of 12[2]. In Judaism, on one hand, the sexual acts of a woman are considered sinful and impure, and on the other hand, it is advised that sexual desires be satisfied within marriage and the woman be supported in the family. Based on such beliefs, Judaism presents a dual and contradictory view in this regard.

In Christianity too, there is no uniform attitude towards women; despite inviting women to monasticism, it considers them seductive due to the possibility of establishing sexual relations with men. In this case, it has advised men to suppress sexual desire and turn to the church[3].

With the advent of Islam, the past view of women and, in general, the sexual instinct underwent a transformation. Islam considered the fulfillment of sexual desire within the family system and under the institution of marriage as commendable and emphasized it. Islam allowed people to satisfy their sexual desires through intercourse with their spouses. In addition to permanent marriage, Islam has provided the possibility of temporary marriage under certain conditions to fulfill the sexual instinct. Hence, in the religion of Islam, marriage is the only acceptable way to express and satisfy sexual desire, and suppressing the sexual instinct is not deemed permissible.

 However, when the possibility of marriage is not available, ‘chastity’ is commanded. The Holy Quran in Surah An-Nur, verse 33, says: ‘But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty.’ Chastity means controlling the sexual instinct. In this sense, those who are financially or emotionally unprepared for marriage are advised to control their sexual instinct through specific methods, which will be described in forthcoming discussions[4]. [4]

From the perspective of all psychologists and biologists, the sexual instinct is a secondary instinct; because, unlike primary instincts like hunger and thirst, its non-fulfillment does not lead to the individual’s destruction. However, its improper satisfaction can cause psychological illnesses such as obsession and depression, and sexual deviations like masturbation and homosexuality, as well as sexual disorders like frigidity, sexual dysfunction, and so on[5].

The sexual instinct is one of the innate human needs, such that Maslow has placed these needs in the category of physiological or primary vital needs and believes that self-actualized individuals consider the peak of sexual pleasure as a means to achieve unity, bond, and true complete love[6]. However, this instinct is not merely a biological matter subject only to the secretions resulting from human puberty; rather, it is subject to factors like gender, socio-economic class, race, religion, etc.[7]

The secondary nature of this instinct does not imply its lesser importance compared to other instincts but rather indicates that how it is satisfied can be varied based on issues such as religion, reason, prevailing values, and the conditions of time and place. In other words, the dominance of reason and human choice in two types of instincts is different: while throughout human history primary instincts have been responded to in almost the same way, the satisfaction of this instinct (sexual) has had numerous variations across different cultures and times. Issues like sexual celibacy, sexual freedom, a man marrying several women and vice versa, the sanctification and vilification of women in different times and places, and the view of divine and non-divine religions towards this instinct can be cited as evidence for this claim.

Now the question arises: how should this instinct be approached?

According to Piaget, ‘We can guide all instincts in their original direction, especially the sexual instinct, because if all the energy of this instinct is turned to sexual matters, then this person will appear as a lustful giant, but restricting all sexual behaviors and setting them aside causes side effects that are more dangerous than fulfilling all sexual efforts.’[8]

In response to this question, we first need to define the purpose of human life and see what role this instinct can play in helping humans achieve their goals. Based on this, if we consider a worldly framework for human life goals, the greater help of this instinct to humans is in obtaining the utmost pleasure, and sexual education is summarized in acquiring the ultimate sexual pleasure. Otherwise, spiritual matters should also be considered in sexual education.

Humans naturally have a desire for perfection and eternity and are averse to annihilation. The nature of this instinct, due to its importance in preserving the human species, creates a strange attraction in humans and compels them to reproduce. This instinct has the capability of expansion and contraction to the extent that it can occupy all dimensions of an individual’s life or appear as a small part of human life. Now, if the approach to this instinct is to the extent of excess or deficiency, human perfection and eternity are at risk[9].

[1] Understanding Human Sexuality, Hyde, J, Mc. Grow, New York, 1986: 4.

[2] Psychology, Lindzy & Thompson, New York, Worth Publishers, INC, 1988: 421.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Taken from the article: Sexual Behavior in Religious Thought; Kojbaf, Mohammad Baqer; Women’s Strategic Studies Journal, Spring 2005 – Issue 27.

[5] Sexual Education, Foundations, Principles, and Methods, from the Quran and Hadith Perspective; Faghihi, Ali Naqi; 3rd Edition, Qom: Dar al-Hadith, 2009, p. 38.

[6] Maslow, cited in:

Vandermassen, G. (2004) Sexual Selection: A tale of male bias and feminist denial. European Journal of Women’s Studies: 11(1), 2-26.

[7] Psychology and Sexual Education of Children and Adolescents; Kuchetkov, V. D.; Lapik, V. M., translated by Mohammad Taghizadeh; 14th Edition, Tehran: Bonyad, 1994, p. 6.

[8] Five Talks on Psychology; Piaget, Jean; translated by Nikchehreh Mohseni; 3rd Edition, Tehran: Roshd, 1981, p. 129.

[9] Taken from the article: Comparison of the Position of Sexual Instinct in Islamic and Western Culture; Zandavonian, Ahmad; Shamshadi, Sadegh; Shia Women’s Journal, Autumn and Winter 2010 – Issue 25.”

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