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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

New religions have historically been sites of sexual experimentation, and popular imaginings of emergent and unconventional religions usually include the assumption that members engage in transgressive sexual practices. It is surprising, then, that so few scholars of new religions have focused on sexuality. In this chapter, I consider the role of sexual practice, sexual allegations, and sexuality studies in the consideration of new religions. I propose that sex both shapes and haunts new religions. Because sexuality studies attends to embodied difference and the social construction of sexual pathology, the field can and should inform theoretically rigorous scholarship of new religious movements.

Keywords: Sex, sexuality, gender, heteronormativity, cults, sex abuse, moral panic

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