Thanks to stuff like abstinence rings, fundamentalist religion has a pretty unsexy reputation. After all, its not like the Bible, Quran, and Hindu scriptures are stuffed full of surprisingly frank erotic moments, right? Or so youd think. It turns out that the worlds holy books are a lot less prudish than their reputations might suggest.
10Absalom Has Public Sex With His Fathers Concubines
The son of King David and Maachah, Absalom is said to have been the most handsome man in the whole of Israel. He was also devastatingly charismatic, a combination that allowed him to ingratiate himself with the people of Hebron and incite a rebellion against his father. The uprising, in 2 Samuel, leads to David fleeing the city and Absalom asserting his control in the kinkiest way possible. In front of the whole of Israel, Absalom takes his fathers concubines up onto the palace roof and proceeds to have sex with them.
In 2 Samuel 16:2122, were told how Absalom set up a tent on the palace roof and slept with his fathers concubines in the sight of all Israel. Supposedly, this was to make sure that the people knew it was a choice between his father or him, but since there were many easier ways to show this, were going to assume that Absalom just did it for the thrills.
Justice, however, swiftly caught up with him. Fresh from his starlight lovemaking, Absalom rode out into the wilderness to track down and murder David, only to be killed when his golden locks got caught in a tree.
9A Rich Woman Locks Her Slave Up And Makes Demands
You probably know the biblical story of Joseph, who was nearly killed by his brothers for wearing a Technicolor dreamcoat and singing a lot of award-winning songs. The Quranic tale of Yusuf is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake, with one important difference: When Yusuf is sold into slavery by his evil brothers, he winds up in the hands of a rich lady with only one thing on her mind. She wants Yusuf to become her lover.
In Yusuf verse 23, the rich woman waits until her husband is out, then locks the door and demands that Yusuf seduce her. Shocked at her impropriety, Yusuf instead runs for his life. The rich woman is so entranced by his rugged good looks that she chases him and literally tears the shirt from his back.
Although her husband unexpectedly arrives home before things can go any further, Yusufs handsome looks continue to cause hijinks. A few days later, a group of women at the house are so overwhelmed with his beauty that they cut their own hands. Terrified by this tsunami of estrogen, Yusuf prays to be saved from their debasement. Allah kindly responds by having him thrown in jail.
8Amnon Forces Himself On His Step-Sister
The half-brother of Absalom, Amnon had even less respect for women than his dashing sibling. After the beautiful Tamar is invited into King Davids deeply dysfunctional family, Amnon falls in love with her. Although shes his step-sister and the full sister of Absalom, he decides hes willing to do anything to be with her. But rather than show his love through romance or anything boring like that, Amnon decides to do it in the nastiest way possible. In 2 Samuel 13, he rapes his step-sister.
The Bible is pretty unequivocal on this point. Amnon fakes an illness and asks for Tamar to bring some fresh bread to his bedroom. As soon as she enters, he grabs her hand and says, Come to bed with me, sister! Tamar fights back but, as verse 14 clinically tells us, since he was stronger than she, he raped her.
This being the olden days, the act winds up with Tamar disgraced and left to live alone in misery. Luckily, her brother Absalom is still alive to provide vengeance. When Amnon is at a banquet a couple of years later, Absalom instructs his servants to stab the creepy rapist to death.
7Brahma Grows An Extra Head (For Peeping)
One of Hinduisms holy triumvirate, along with Vishnu and Shiva, Brahma is one of the least-worshiped gods in the entire religion. There are only two temples in the whole of modern India devoted to him. By comparison, Vishnu alone has thousands, and even obscure gods can easily rack up a good dozen. The main reason for this lack of attention may be that people are embarrassed by Brahma. By all accounts, he was a lecherous pervert with a thing for his own daughter.
According to some branches of Hindu mythology, Brahma created a daughter, Shatarupa, to help him with the creation of the world. Unfortunately, he made her so beautiful that she wound up distracting him. Brahma became completely fixated and wouldnt stop staring at Shatarupa, even though it embarrassed her. Finally, she got so upset that she ran out of his line of sight. Brahma immediately grew an extra head to keep watching her.
This bizarre game continued until Brahma was capable of looking in every direction at once. Finally, Shatarupa leaped into the air over his head, at which point the god grew yet another head to stare up at her. Fed up with his friends incestuous desires, Lord Shiva at last intervened, decapitating Brahma and insisting that no one ever worship him again.
6Ezekiel Declares That Egyptians Are Hung Like Horses
An allegorical representation of Jerusalem in a story told by Ezekiel, Oholibah is described in no uncertain terms as promiscuous. In Ezekiel 23, we hear how she lusts over Babylonian chariot drivers and enjoys selling her body to the handsome natives of Chaldea. But theres something that Oholibah responds to even more enthusiastically than attractive men with carriages. In her youth, she used to fornicate with Egyptians, whom the Bible claims were hung like horses.
In Ezekiel 23:20, we hear about how Oholibah would look back fondly on her days in Egypt. There, intones Ezekiel, she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses. Although hes making a broader point about the relationship that some Israelites had with their Egyptian captors, the overall effect is basically pornographic. Not one verse later, hes happily discussing young women getting their breasts fondled.
5The Hadith Discusses Semen Stains
A collection of quotes and sayings related to the life of the Prophet Muhammad, the Hadith is the awesome expansion pack to the Qurans original release. Its considered vital for showing Muslims how to live their lives, and it contains everything from advice to anecdotes to allegories. It also contains a detailed description of washing out semen stains.
In volume four of the Sahih Bukhari, an entire chapter is devoted to hygiene and ablutions. It includes advice on everything from how to best ritually wash oneself to whether it is permissible to leave prayers if the guy next to you has just cut the cheese. It also includes verses 232233, which discuss how the Prophets wives used to wash the semen stains from his clothes before prayers. In full, verse 233 reads:
I used to wash the semen off the clothes of the Prophet and even then I used to notice one or more spots on them.
The spots referred to are water, by the way. In context, the verses are telling us what is considered clean and unclean where praying is concerned. Verse 233 is demonstrating how post-coital stains are acceptable, so long as youve tried to wash them off first. Still, its kind of startling to hear semen being referred to in a holy book so openly.
4King David Warms Himself With A Virgin
Even though he was an epic giant-slayer chosen by God to rule over a powerful kingdom, King David still spent the last years of his life suffering from standard old person problems. In 1 Kings 1, we hear how he was always cold, even when wrapped up tight in layers of clothes. Unlike your average pensioner, though, David had an alternative cure hidden up his sleeve. He employed a young virgin specifically to lie in his bed and keep him warm at night.
1 Kings 1:14, we hear how Davids attendants declared: Let us look for a young virgin to serve the king and take care of him. She can lie beside him so that our lord the king may keep warm. Thats the prim New International Version. In the more direct King James, they said, Let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in thy bosom, that my lord the king may get heat.
The chosen woman is Abishag, whom the Bible assures us is improbably beautiful. She spends the next few years caressing David and lying in his arms all night long, although the authors are quick to point out that they never actually had sex. In other words, David simply liked to practice celibacy while lying next to a nubile young girl, just like Ghandi.
3Shikhandi Switches Gender To Get Revenge
One of Hinduisms many holy texts, the Mahabharata has more in common with an epic Greek myth than the books of Moses. Loosely centered around a heroic narrative, it includes magic, shape-shifting, curses, transformations, and fragments of Indian legends. But even amid all this swirling chaos, the story of Shikhandi still stands out. Originally a girl named Amba, Shikhandi died, was reborn, and magically transformed into a man in her quest to get revenge.
The object of her hatred is Bhishma, a warrior man who kidnapped her from her husband-to-be. Dedicated to avenging herself against him, Amba throws herself into a funeral pyre and is reincarnated as the daughter of King Drupada. Still mindful of her previous lifes quest, she then magically manages to transform herself into a man named Shikhandi, takes a wife, and sets off to slay Bhishma. Realizing that hes really fighting Amba and having sworn never to hurt a woman, Bhishma lets himself be killed, dying from an arrow to the chest.
In modern times, the sex-changing story of Shikhandi has become widely celebrated by liberal Hindus. A recent book by Devdutt Pattanaik claimed that it was a prime ancient example of female-to-male transsexuality.
2A Biblical Gang Rape Gets Out Of Hand
When a violent gang rape is the least disturbing part of your story, you know youve crossed the line into Eli Roth territory. The story of a Levite and his concubine, Judges 19 doesnt just cross that lineit leaps right over it.
The story starts when the Levite and his woman arrive in the city of Gibeah. Taken in by an old man, theyre just settling down to dinner when an angry mob forms, desperate to rape the Levite. Terrified for his guests, the old man offers them his virgin daughter instead. When they still wont listen, the Levite throws his concubine out and tells the mob to rape her instead.
So they do.
The poor woman is abused all through the night. At dawn, she crawls back to the old mans house and dies on his doorstep. The Levite then carries her home, dismembers her corpse, and mails each bit to a different part of Israel.
This isnt even the end of the story. The womans death triggers a violent battle across Israel that sees thousands of men die, villages get burned, and animals put to slaughter by the millions.
1Allah Conspires To Get Muhammad Laid
Its a well-known fact that the Prophet Muhammad was openly polygamous. He had 12 wives in total, actually a modest number for an Abrahamic hero, as King Solomon had 700 (plus 300 concubines). Unlike Solomon, though, we know how the Prophet came by some of his womenfolk. In one case, it was through a wacky coincidence that wouldnt seem out of place in a ditzy 1980s movie.
The tale in question concerns Zaynab bint Jahsh. The wife of Muhammads adopted son, Zayd, Zaynab was, by all accounts, strikingly beautiful. So Allah apparently decided to have some fun with her. As told in the history of al-Tabari (whose writings remain vitally important for Sunni Muslims), Muhammad went out for a walk one day and happened to pass Zaynabs tent as she was undressing. At that exact moment, a gust of wind threw open the entrance, giving the Prophet a full view of her naked body. From this unlikely setup, a marriage was born.
Luckily for all concerned, Zayd was already looking to leave Zaynab, and Allah had recently revealed that marrying an adopted sons ex-wife didnt count as incest. Muhammad got his wife, and Islamic literature got a strange new tale to tell.