How Sex Got Dirty (Thanks a Lot, Plato!)

Posted | 4 comments

Church folk have a reputation for being sexually repressed.

Thank goodness it’s not always true!
But unfortunately it’s true often enough.

All that sexual repression came from somewhere — and Greek philosophy played a major role.

If we religious folk are going to have a place at the table as our society rethinks sex education, we have to come to grips with the toxic parts of our heritage.

Have a listen,




  1. Doug, I admire your courage to challenge the western dogma’s interpretation of the passage referenced in your podcast. (Especially this far below the Mason Dixon line.) My grandmother (a staunch Baptist) explained to us that same western interpretation regarding the young man’s desire. As you already know, grandma had become accustomed to chasing me around the house when I challenged “her” westwern interpretations; and, this topic was one of those times…
    I look forward to listening to your next podcast on this subject.

  2. I learned a whole lot about Plato I didn’t know. Aha moment: the word platonic comes from Plato duh. I am wondering if the idea of the Trinity also comes from Plato’s world view. I’ve never understood the Trinity. I had sex ed in Catholic school so we were explicitly taught sex is for procreation only. I love having the historical context for this. My best friend is Jewish and in her ketubah the husband is contractually obligated to have sex with his wife. A lot of kids have been very messed up about their sexuality thanks to Christianity. I think this perspective would help to reverse some of that damage. God is in the rocks, trees, and our bodies. We are good. I like it!

  3. Doug –

    I enjoyed how you hinted at some other things that were affected by the viewpoint of “sex and material stuff is dirty.” Not sure if you’ll talk about it, but how women have been treated is really important I think. The first gospel written said nothing about Mary being a virgin, but somewhere very early on it did get inserted into a few of our other gospels. The church later on took that and ran with it, even making up stories of Mary’s divinity and birth. The way that this shaped the view of women (striving to be just like Mary because of course, she is the best you can be, but you actually never can be because it’s possible) has had a much more significant impact than I think people know. I hope you discuss this further.

    Also, the fact that the material world is dirty, so why try to take care of it is very current right now (pollution, global warming, etc.).


    -You said the church has always tried hard to suppress the animal side – is there any connection between this and the evolution wars that took place 100 years ago?

    • good point. i suspect so.