Spiritual Sex Predators: Why It's Common To See Sex Abuse In Faith

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man covering a womans mouth

A little while ago, one of my close friends began to date a guy who was all into Norse mythology. He was a pagan guy, and having grown up in a pagan household, I already had a bit of respect for him off the bat.

For a while, it seemed like a good relationship. My friend was pagan, he was Norse pagan, and he was really into the idea of teaching her about whatever deities he was worshipping at the time. And then, slowly, he began to shift the idea into sex magic.

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Yep, it was another guy who was a "playgan."

In the pagan community, there are a lot of guys out there who use paganism as an excuse to get women naked, as an excuse to cheat, or just as an excuse to use women. 

Sadly, having hung out with many pagans, I’ve noticed that this is incredibly common. It’s so bad that certain pagan festivals actually have blacklists because of sexual predators who use spirituality as a guise to prey on people.

In some spiritual circles, even those that aren’t pagan, it’s the norm rather than the exception to the rule. After all, Catholic sex scandals, Christian pastors preying on girls, and starting your own religion to get laid do happen.

Many people wonder why sex and religion can combine into this, and how it happens. Here’s the sad truth: religion and spirituality are both arenas that make it way too easy to scam people. If you think about it, there are a lot of methods that are way more effective in religious circles than they are in atheistic groups.

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Here is why it's common to see sex abuse in faith:

1. Shaming

A scary amount of religions use shame as a way to get people to “fall into line,” and the reason why it works is that humans are naturally wired to detest shame. This is why “Catholic guilt” is real. If someone keeps shaming us, we automatically assume we are bad people, and we don’t want to be bad people, do we? Of course not.

Luckily, it just so happens that this religious leader can purify you and teach you how to be a better person. When you think about it, it’s not surprising that many people get shamed into sexual abuse.

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2. Community

Every religion has a community attached to it, and spiritual sex predators use that to their advantage. They can get away with sex predation by threatening to get victims kicked out if they speak. Or, they can use the “bandwagon approach,” and tell victims that this is just what everyone in the community has to do “for god to bless them.”

3. Normalizing

The scarier part about the community issue is that they often can turn communities into their own method of getting what they want. I personally have heard of predators who told women, “This is just how sex magic works... what’s the matter? We’re not doing anything that messed up, are we?”

4. Faithing

Here’s the crux of the issue with many sex predators: they use a person’s faith or desire to learn about faith against them. Because there’s no concrete way to prove that they’re bullsh*tting about a belief, they use religion. They tell naive, trusting people to take “a leap of faith,” knowing full well that what they’re asking the person to believe isn’t real at all.

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5. Authority

There’s a reason why news headlines always show church authorities abusing their partner. Being the one who says, “You’re really going to defy your religious leader?” is tempting to predators. Moreover, people assume that people who are in power are moral and more ethical than others, even when they’re not.

6. Forgiveness

Here’s a chilling thought: Many abusers will pick on religions knowing full well that they can get away with it if they get caught. Why? Because after some tears, they can talk about how “forgiveness is divine” and go their merry way.

If you think about it, spirituality makes it easy for narcissists to get the supply of attention and authority they crave. Many sex predators who use faith to get access and trust of victims do so because they do have a mild God Complex, and because they really do think they’re better than others. They think that it is their right to take advantage of the weak as well as those who seek spiritual advice.

The funny thing about people who are sexual predators that use spirituality or faith to get close to victims is that they often will act the same.

They tend to be textbook narcissists, known for their charming demeanor, and will often portray themselves as these perfectly moral individuals. They are excellent showmen and have no issue using manipulative language in their favor.

But there’s also that spiritual side to them. They may claim to be enlightened or personally touched by deities. In many cases, they’ll claim to talk to deities or offer spiritual blessings that only they can administer. Sometimes, they’ll talk about how the typical rules “don’t apply to them,” or how a certain female follower is “gifted” and needs to be coached by him.

That being said, sometimes the only thing that signals that something’s amiss is that weird, slimy feeling we get when around a scumbag. I’m not saying that all men of faith are predators, but I am saying to listen to your gut and keep an eye out. After all, false prophets are a dime a dozen.

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Ossiana Tepfenhart is a writer whose work has been featured in Yahoo, BRIDES, Your Daily Dish, New Theory Magazine, and others.