Sex and Sexuality in Satanism, the Religion of the Flesh

By Vexen Crabtree 2002 Dec 06


1. Traditional Religions Have Damaged Human Sexuality

1.1. Anti-Sexuality in Traditional Religion

Note how things have got better in more modern religions:

The high child abuse and sexual abuse rates within the Christian priesthood highlight a problem that many religions face: We should not attempt to mould human sexuality around otherworldly religious ideals. Sexual dysfunction always results.Psychologists and sociologists have noted the association between extreme religious fervour and psycho-sexual problems (the former causing the latter), and the highly negative stance that many monotheistic religions take towards sexuality in general have contributed to a general malaise amongst their lay adherents, and a serious pandemic of abuse amongst professional religionists. The religious attitude towards religion is to behave like an ostrich and stick its head in the sand, hoping that theology can override biological truth, but merely making its victims unable to cope with adult sexuality. Witness the hateful and confusing statements that Christians and Muslims make about homosexuals, the anti-contraception stance that the Catholic church has in an over-crowded world ridden with disease, the harmful and simplistic rejection of abortion and the patriarchal dominance over women that has gone hand-in-hand with traditional religion on every continent.

In the modern world, many modern popular movements provide an alternative to traditional religions, and have enshrined normal sexuality. The secular world merely lets sexuality remain natural, and the New Age movement amongst many others, actively engage sexuality. The results have been much more positive and healthy than those of the classical monotheistic religions. This is one reason why countries that have liberal laws on abortion also have much lower rates of abortion than highly religious countries that restrict it heavily. An atmosphere of taboo and restriction serves limits responsible sexual behaviour. Rather than an ostrich, be a peacock!

"The Peacock vs. the Ostrich - Religious Behaviour and Sexuality: 6. Conclusions: Be a Peacock" by Vexen Crabtree (2008)

1.2. Misogyny

Anti-woman doctrines have thankfully been forgotten by secular (non-religious) society and by many new religions movements:

Secular society has made massive progress and in most developed countries, there are few areas where women are routinely discriminated against. Where it exists, discrimination in workplaces is largely indirect and accidental. This is because the masses have largely grown beyond any systematic subjugation of women: any prejudice that remains is widely recognized as prejudice. In a recent talk at the Women Worldwide Advancing Freedom & Equality event, the invited speaker Naomi Phillips spoke on women's reproductive rights and said that although secularism doesn't guarantee fair rights for women, it is still a necessary prerequisite simply because of the limiting harm that religion has so far done; the biggest threat to such rights still come from strict religion-based lobby groups.1

New religions are unlike traditional religions which have tended to be horribly misogynistic. The Bahai Faith (1844CE+) is a liberal Abrahamic NRM that suggests greater equality for women2. Modern Pagan and Wiccan religions are actively pro-women3. They were founded (in the twentieth century) on a conscious policy of inclusion and fairness3. The same century saw the rise of Satanism. You might assume it to be no place to look for good examples but although in the 1960s Anton LaVey, its founder, sounded misogynistic in his more personal writings, The Satanic Witch (1970) was a highly progressive and liberal volume for its time. Since then, the Church of Satan has thoroughly shed any gender bias, and a female high priestess followed on from LaVey.

"Religion Versus Womankind: 2. Modern Hope: Secular Society and New Religions" by Vexen Crabtree (2007)

2. Sexuality in Satanism: Liberal and Tolerant

The true Satanist is not mastered by sex any more than he is mastered by any of his other desires.

"The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey (1969)

Satanism is pro-sexuality. We should all shed the weird and stifling sexual inhibitions preached by the world's traditional religions; Sexuality is a pure form of pleasure, something that satisfies our deepest purpose in life. Modern life allows us to enjoy sex without the risks of unplanned pregnancies and sexual diseases assuming that sense is taken. Satanism supports any fetish, kink or flavor of sexual encounter as long as all parties involved are consenting. We are informed by modern and learned psychological, medical and scientific opinions on sex; there are no dogmatic principles or religious intolerance of sexualities within Satanism. It is very optimistic, positive and healthy: This can only be expected of such a carnal religion of the flesh such as Satanism! Some people like quality, some people like quantity: Just be responsible, take emotions and consequences into account, and above all, enjoy your life!

A number of essays and texts by LaVey concentrate on the use and expression of sexual energy, but as social tools and energy within ritual. Boyd Rice says 'LaVey understood that wasn't one cookie-cutter for everyone [...] Sexual freedom doesn't mean having as much sex as possible, it means having the kind of sex you want.' Our strongest emotions and desires are sexual, we are sexual beings, it drives and motivates us more than any other factor.

Our sexuality is fluid: It cannot be oppressed. Denying our sexuality simply causes its waters to flow into other areas, sometimes in very unhealthy ways, honestly and expression fare much better than repression.

...the Satanist would not intentionally hurt others by violating their sexual rights. If you attempt to impose your sexual desires upon others who do not welcome your advances, you are infringing upon their sexual freedom. ... If all parties involved are mature adults who willingly take full responsibility for their actions and voluntarily engage in a given form of sexual expression - even if it is generally considered taboo - then there is no reason for them to suppress their sexual inclination.

"The Satanic Bible" by Anton LaVey (1969)4

LaVey understood that there wasn't one cookie-cutter for everybody. What makes one person happy might well make someone else miserable. In terms of sex, for example, some people are happy living a totally monastic lifestyle, others are happy being total libertines. Sexual freedom doesn't mean having as much sex as possible, it means having the kind of sex you want.

Interview of Boyd Rice in "Lucifer Rising" by Gavin Baddeley (1999)5

Satanists are self-aware and honest about their needs," Gilmore states flatly. When asked if the two ideas are at odds with each other, Waytz declares, "Absolutely not. Sexual hedonism and romanticism are the same thing!" The materialism of Satanic philosophy dismisses any so-called spiritual life that's divorced from, or "higher than," physical existence.

"Sex & the Devil: Satan Really Wants You" by Rick Hall

Of the Four Crowned Princes Of Hell I equate the Aspect of Leviathan with sexuality.

3. Rule of the Earth 5 of 11

"Do not make sexual advances unless you are given the mating signal" is the fifth Satanic Rule of the Earth and on the page linked I discuss this (a little) more.

4. Homosexuality

4.1. Satanism is Pro-Homosexuality

Satanism is pro-homosexuality because Satanism is out and out pro-sexuality of any (consenting) kind.

The gay scene is likely to be aggressively anti-Satanism in the same way that the New Age movement is. In the relentless attempts to be seen as all-good and non-harmful, the instinct is to be seen to repel all evil. As most people do not understand Satanism, this means that those who wish to be seen as good (especially when oppressed by Christians who also want to be seen as good) the psychology of it all results in a class of people who are pressured into being anti-Satanism as long as society considers Satanism insidious... which is precisely what homosexuals and new agers do not want to be seen as.

As a result, nearly all the Satanists I know of (and goths, punks and other alternatives) who are also gay are not part of the gay scene and rarely mix with the pubs, clubs and events organized by the popular homosexual communities. Satanists who are homosexual are very much free to be public about it, and the founding members and High Priest of one Satanic denomination are openly gay. Satanism is pro-homosexuality because Satanism is out and out pro-sexuality of any (consenting) kind.

Book CoverSatanists generally agree on certain political points relating to the advancement of individual liberty. It is an intrinsic part of our philosophy as expressed in The Satanic Bible to accept a broad range of human sexual practice - so long as it is between consenting adults. The Church of Satan is the first organized religious group to fully accept members regardless of sexual orientation and thus our members advocate that any existing laws discriminating against homosexuality should be revoked. [...]

Allowing same-sex marriages does not mean that Christians and others who oppose such a practice will be forced into such unions. They may find it distasteful, but then, when a nation encourages the individual pursuit of happiness, there is no guarantee that everyone is going to like what everyone else is doing. That is a part of freedom - the tolerance of diversity.

Over time, the resolution of this issue will serve as a barometer for gauging the tenor of a nation's basic character. It will reveal whether a government can be truly pluralistic, offering equal freedom to its diverse citizens or if it will instead allow its people to be shackled by antiquated values fostered by religious dogma.

"The Satanic Scriptures" by Peter Gilmore (2007)6

4.2. Abrahamic Religions and Homosexuality

Abrahamic religions have contributed to the most negative and destructive attitudes towards sexual issues, especially homosexuality. Christian and Islamic groups are the most vocal assailants on any legal or societal moves towards tolerance and equality. The liberal wings of some of these religions have adapted to the wide (European) acceptance of homosexuality. Many traditional religions reject the scientific, medical and psychological knowledge that we have gained about sexuality and regard homosexuality as "unnatural", a "choice" or a "moral evil". These religions are themselves immoral and evil in their attitude, causing hatred, bigotry, violence and oppression in the name of God. Homosexual communities have become accustomed to the ranting of religious fundamentalists and traditionalists, and this causes a strong anti-religious resentment amongst them.

"The Battle Between Monotheism and Homosexuality: 8. Conclusions" by Vexen Crabtree (2002)

5. LaVey and Women

Although nowadays Anton LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan, is criticized for having an overly objectifying view on women, at the time of writing his ideas were groundbreaking and empowering. I may disagree with his views but is more a matter of an aesthetic disagreement than a literary one. Plenty of Witches in the Church of Satan have disagreed with me and supported his writings wholeheartedly. My final comments are that LaVey's writings on womankind are personal, unlike the doctrinal statements that he makes about Satanism itself, which are authoritive.

Included in LaVey's works are personal opinions, jokes, fun, entertainment and then more personal opinions. He found it hard to write long without involving his own interests, past or bias. And these show through in his approach and writings about women. Anton LaVey's upbringing in the 40s and 50s lent themselves to an older, more traditional view of women. Although a freethinker who shattered convention and lived far beyond the cumbersome social taboos and limitations of his time, Anton appears to have shed little of the 50s slightly misogynistic attitude.

He broke through in some areas, such as women pro-power and beliefs that Women should be no less cunning or manipulative than any man. But he couldn't seem to separate his tastes from his work. So some of his writing on women makes me cringe a little. The Satanic Witch contains radical and unheard-of advice, which was 20 years ahead of its time, but some of the underlying assumptions have become dated. I think he wasn't entirely "in touch" with women.

No offence to those that actually agree with his many wise words... if we all agreed with each other we wouldn't be Satanists!

"Black Solstice's Holy War: 1.2. Anton LaVey & Women!" by Vexen Crabtree (2001)

The Church of Satan and the beliefs of Satanism do not lend themselves to considering that a person can ever be perfect or infallible. All knowledge and wisdom is taken with a pinch of salt and doubt. Anton LaVey was nothing other than an excellent freethinker, a top-class carnival psychologist/sociologist and perhaps even the best anti-religious philosopher since Nietzsche! But he did tend to share a slightly misogynistic attitude towards women with Nietzsche, although not as bitter or scathing, LaVey was instead more stuck on power games and some personal fetish.

Book CoverPredictably LaVey was labelled a misogynist - a mantle he willingly accepted, going so far as to publish an essay entitled "Confessions of a closet misogynist" in his 1992 collection The Devil's Notebook. As ever with this ingeniously provocative thinker, there was a twist in the tail: LaVey didn't hate women but was in awe of their power, treating them with the blend of suspicion, fear and respect afforded to a worthy foe!

"Dissecting Marilyn Manson" by Gavin Baddeley (2000)7

Book CoverI personally feel the best way to look at this is this: If you do not agree with Anton LaVey's views on women, then just accept that that's the way it was in his time. He was ahead of his time, but didn't quite hit the nail on the head in the way I feel that the nineties' view of women has. Anton LaVey, like everyone, has opinions. Feel free to disagree, as long as you at least think about it! Of the three most respected female Satanists I know, who I have met in person, all of them have fully supported LaVey's texts on women and supported, in particular, The Satanic Witch, so my dislike of LaVey's comments on women are probably as much to do with personal taste as anything.

Taking LaVey's views on women and projecting them on to Satanism as a whole would be mistaken, and therefore criticism of "Satanism's view of women" in general is also mistaken. Individual Satanists decide on such matters, it is not of theological or philosophical concern to the beliefs of Satanism. What is of concern is individual thought, and an individual striving for self attained rights.

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By Vexen Crabtree 2002 Dec 06
Last Updated: 2010 Nov 02
http://www.dpjs.co.uk/sex.html

Links:

References: (What's this?)

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Baddeley, Gavin. An (ir)Reverend in the Church of Satan.
Dissecting Marilyn Manson (2000). Published by Plexus Publishing Ltd.
Lucifer Rising (1999). Published by Plexus Publishing Limited.

British Humanist Association, the
Newsletter. Website also contains news: www.humanism.org.uk

Gilmore, Peter. High Priest of the Church of Satan (as of 2001+).
The Satanic Scriptures (2007). Hardback. Compendium of texts. Published by Scapegoat Publishing, USA. Many essays are new editions of older texts by Gilmore.

LaVey, Anton. (1930-1997)
The Satanic Witch (1970). Quotes from 1989 edition, 18th print, with introduction by Zeena LaVey. Published by Feral House, Los Angeles, USA.
The Satanic Bible (1969). Published by Avon Books Inc, New York, USA. Anton LaVey founded the Church of Satan in 1966.

Momen, Moojan
The Phenomenon Of Religion: A Thematic Approach (1999). Published by Oneworld Publications, Oxford, UK. [Book Review]

Footnotes

  1. The British Humanist Association Newsletter mailing (2011 Issue 2) p3. Added to this page on 2011 May 04. Naomi Phillips is head of Public Affairs at the British Humanist Association.^
  2. Momen (1999) p16, p499.^
  3. Hutton (1999) ch. "Uncle Sam and the Goddess".^
  4. LaVey (1969) p70.^
  5. Baddeley (1999) p161.^
  6. Peter Gilmore (2007 version) "Founding Family: "Morality" versus Same-Sex Marriage". Gilmore is the High Priest of the Church of Satan. Published in the compendium of essays "The Satanic Scriptures" by Peter Gilmore (2007).^
  7. Baddeley (2000) chapter Chicks with dicks p92.^

© 2013 Vexen Crabtree. All rights reserved.

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