Editor’s Note: Find more OVID.tv film reviews here.

Why is sex such a threat to religion?

Sex is apparently so much a threat that both religious tradition and dogma limit any natural inclinations of men and women towards poly-amorous freedom, and restrict sex only to within a sanctioned marriage. This three-part documentary examines how and why five worldwide religions work to control a most basic human instinct.

Hindu marriage ceremony
Indian couple of different castes
Thai prostitutes

OVID.tv Documentary Shows the Real-world Practice of Religion vs. the Preaching of Religion

Episode 1 - First Love - We share the personal experiences of young people from orthodox and reformed Judaism, Hinduism, Protestant Christianity and Islam describing their sexuality and their perspectives on what they view as acceptable sexual behavior in relation to their faith.  Within the conservative religions (conservative Judaism, Hinduism and Islam), women are required to be virgins before marriage, which are usually arranged by parents.  Though there is wide divergence among Protestant religions, the family depicted here subtly suggests their daughter experiment prior to marriage.  And though religious dogma may state that men also must remain virgin, there is usually no stigma to sewing wild oats.

Episode 2 - Fulfilled Love – How religions preach and how followers practice are often different stories of sexual behavior.  An Orthodox Jewish couple living on the West Bank seem blissfully happy in their tight community, where deviation from marriage vows would evoke censure.  Shiite men have their permanent wife and their temporary wife, a religiously sanctioned prostitute.  Catholic couples, faithful to the Church and to each other, choose to practice birth control and to welcome gays who marry—both against Catholic dogma.  Celibate male monks in Thailand, usually semi-cloistered from a young age, are depicted as able to meditate their lust away.  Unfortunately, sexual abuse and sexual disease plague many monasteries.

Episode 3 - Forbidden Love – A charming gay Catholic couple continue to attend church even though forbidden the sacraments.  Their attitude is more disappointment than anger.  A Turkish woman living in a conservative Muslim city is ostracized after her love marriage falls apart.  With her two small children she begins to forge a new life by creating a shelter for women cast out by Islamic dictate.  A married Thai Buddhist donates to the temple, and then spends his weekends in the flesh pots of his country.  A man and woman of different Hindu castes marry with the help of the Love Commanders, a voluntary non-profit organization in India, which helps and protects couples in love from harassment and honor killing.

hindu sexual carving

For this reviewer, Faith Love Desire covered much known ground and some new subjects.  It was informative to see the aspects of sexual control as lived in other countries.  All the participants were frank and realistic in their approach to religion in their lives.  Intersticed with the stories were religious scholars who presented the views of the religion involved—often diametrically opposed to what we just witnessed.

Faith Love Desire clearly addresses the subjected role of women in religion.  At some point, worship of the earth mother became suppression of the earth mother, and the role of worship was changed to organized religions that keep women down and raise men up.  With few exceptions, the dogma of the five great religions continues to advocate these roles.


Director:  Hilka Sinning, Heinz Greuling

Production: Birgit Schulz for Bildersturm Filmproduktion GmbH

Each Section runs 51 minutes.

For more information or to watch, go to the FAITH LOVE DESIRE OVID.tv webpage.

Images courtesy of Ovid.tv.


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Ann Boland
Portrait by Paul Sierra

Reviewer Ann Boland is committed to Chicago theater. Involved in the audience since the early 80’s, she’s witnessed firsthand the rise of our theater scene, our exceptional local talent, and the vigor of each new generation.  Ann handles public relations for authors and works on programs to help seniors with neurological movement disorders.  Please visit her website for more information.  


Click here to read more Picture this Post reviews by Ann Boland.

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