Stereotype #2: Pagans have orgies and sleep around

I’m sure we’ve all heard this stereotype.  I know I have, and it’s one I am most definitely not comfortable with.  Personally, I don’t want people to assume I’m loose or easy simply because I’m pagan.  I don’t want them wondering if I take part in orgies or have unusual sexual tastes just because they’ve heard some rumors that pagans are weird and don’t have sex like “normal” people in a “normal” way.

Pagans are assumed by many to be loose.  This assumption is based on a misunderstanding.  Paganism is open about sexuality, and sex is not a taboo subject or act.  As long as the two people are willing and of age, it’s not a big deal like it is (or can be) in some other religious traditions.  However, that assumption is completely wrong.  Not all pagans are loose (I’ll grant that some are, but loose people exist in all religions, not just paganism), nor do all pagans engage in premarital sex or casual sex.  It’s a personal decision and lifestyle, but sadly the expectation from non-pagans exists that all/most pagans do behave in this way.

One thing I’ve noticed recently is that pagans tend to talk about sex a lot.  As in, more than other types of people I have ever met.  I’m glad we’re all okay with talking about this subject, but come on–there is more to life than sex, and great conversations can take place without having to center on sex.  I am not at all saying don’t talk about it.  I’m just saying try to mix up the conversation topics a little more, and take notice of when people start to feel uncomfortable and change the topic.  I’m all for being yourself, but should you make others uncomfortable who perhaps are not as familiar with paganism or as comfortable talking about sex just so you can prove a point or talk about what you want to talk about?  This is probably part of the reason other people assume (wrongly) that all pagans have sex with anyone they want to, whenever they want, and engage in A LOT of sex.

I think part of every pagan’s life is to know about the stereotypes that are stacked up against us, and not only acknowledge them but work to change those stereotypes until they no longer exist.  It’s not right that we should be subjected to these stereotypes and prejudices and then sit back and don’t try to do anything about it.  Your life and your actions can be living examples of what it means to be a pagan.  And like it or not, every individual pagan is a representative of the pagan community as a whole, because that is how the non-pagan world has chosen to treat us.  How other people view you is how they will view paganism and other pagans, especially if they have limited contact with other pagans who may not necessarily share one individual’s views (and in fact probably do not, considering the wide variety of beliefs within the pagan community).

One person’s sexual exploits can then become the assumed standard for all of that person’s pagan community. And that creates problems not only for that person, who then has to deal with whatever comes their way in terms of remarks or comments or stereotypes, but also for the other people within that community, who may not believe in the same things or behave in the same way.  Yet they are branded just the same.

I am NOT saying don’t have sex, or don’t talk about it.  I am saying that maybe you should choose your words wisely, and choose your conversational partners wisely.  Realize that sometimes the subject may not be appropriate, or may be tiring to those who are listening.  Decide if it is truly necessary to bring this subject up with this person, and continue from there.

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One response to “Stereotype #2: Pagans have orgies and sleep around

  1. Very good job of being well rounded in your argument – you attack the stereotype and create a solid argument without being harsh or untrue!

    I think one of the reasons Sex creeps up in conversations a lot is because it’s taboo not only in other religions but in many other settings, so that when sex does become open, people feel the need to almost overcompensate. Sort of like when you start on a diet and do very well, and then decide to enjoy some dessert only to go too far and end up eating an entire cheesecake by yourself.

    Not that I’m defending it, moderation in all things is always wise, and your argument does indeed find a very happy middle.

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