Relations among religiousness, spirituality, and sexual practices

Jessica L. Burris, Gregory T. Smith, Charles R. Carlson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Although religiousness is commonly associated with limited sexual activity, little is known about spirituality's unique effect. Study aims involved measuring spirituality's unique affect on young adults' sexual practices (frequency of sex, number of sexual partners, and condom use) and determining whether spirituality adds significant increment over well-established predictors. Three hundred fifty-three (61% female) heterosexual young adults aged 17 to 29 completed this cross-sectional, self-report questionnaire study. Hierarchical regression analyses demonstrated spirituality is positively associated with participants' number of sexual partners and frequency of sex without a condom. Spirituality contributed to the prediction of participants' number of partners and condom use above and beyond the variance accounted for by religiousness, alcohol use, and impulsivity. A moderating effect for gender was found. Spirituality appears to have a unique and strong association with the sexual practices of young adults, particularly women, and should be assessed in future studies of young adults' sexual practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)282-289
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Sex Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2009

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology (all)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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