I get turned on by hot priests & other religious imagery. Is there something deeply wrong with me?

I get turned on by hot priests & other religious imagery. Is there something deeply wrong with me?

You are currently viewing I get turned on by hot priests & other religious imagery. Is there something deeply wrong with me?
wp header logo png

Hi Jake,

I grew up in a very religious household, and even though I’ve distanced from all that now, I think I have a thing for religious iconography.

I love shirtless guys wearing a cross necklace, guys with angel wings tattooed on their backs, and even get turned on by images of a half-naked Jesus being carried on a cross.

But my biggest turn-on is a sexy “man of the cloth.”

As a teenager, I spent a lot of time with young, handsome priests in my religious training after school, and often secretly lusted over them. I remember finding it weirdly erotic at mass when the priest would provide the holy Eucharist by placing “the body of Christ” on my tongue.

Eventually, I stopped going to church completely after realizing my sexuality was considered a sin, but that didn’t shake my obsession. My new thing is searching for “priest porn” online. There’s tons of it!

Often times, I feel like there’s something really wrong with me for being into all this. I even tried to forbid myself the fantasy for a while, but keep coming back to it. Is this something I need to be concerned about and eventually rid myself of?

Father, I Have Sinned

Dear Father, I Have Sinned,

You wouldn’t be the first to sexualize a priest, or there wouldn’t be an entire adult film category devoted to it (not to mention the world’s obsession with the “hot priest” from Fleabag).

For some, especially queer people who may have experienced sexual repression ourselves earlier in life, what’s unrequited or verboten can be what is desired the most.

The important thing to remember is that questioning or shaming ourselves for our sexual desires is never healthy, because feelings of sexual attraction are beyond our control. Sure, we can decide if we’ll act on them or not, but we don’t choose what turns us on.

If you were around religious imagery that generated arousal as you were coming into your own as a sexual being, then of course those things might forever be associated with those libidinous feelings… even when it’s considered taboo.

Hormones are raging as an adolescent, but just because it wasn’t considered okay to express those feelings in your religious training classes, that didn’t mean you didn’t have them. Let’s face it, some priests are really attractive, and some even decide to flaunt it!

Similarly, if the only images you got to see of a half-naked man in your youth happened to be Jesus Christ himself, are you supposed to push those attractions away, just because he’s a holy figure?

Often times, these early imprints stay with us later in life, creating an ongoing pattern of arousal.

In addition, since religion is so entrenched with repression, it can actually feel kind of exciting or even dangerous to think about something so forbidden in an irreverent way.

Images or fantasies that are “naughty” can spike adrenaline and other feel-good chemicals in the brain, just like they did when we secretly lusted after the boy next door when we knew it wasn’t “acceptable.”

In other words, when things are off limits, it makes it even hotter.

Instead of trying to rid yourself of these fantasies, I would work to accept them as a part of your sexual arousal template. If angel wings or crosses turn you on, and you try to fight it, aren’t you simply giving in to the religious repression you’ve been trying to get away from? I never think “forbidding” yourself of any natural feelings is healthy.

Perhaps, sex and religion don’t have to be as removed from each other as the church would like us to think (artists like Madonna and Lady Gaga have played with this line for decades).

Instead, release yourself of any judgements around it. It’s usually the meaning we ascribe to something that becomes the problem, more than the actual act itself. If a priest fantasy gets you going, and isn’t hurting anyone else, is it really a bad thing?

At the end of the day, you may have a thing for what’s provocative (or even a little scandalous) when it comes to your sexuality. If you can lean into that, without shame or judgment, there’s really no need to go to confession.

Ask Jake is our advice column by Queerty editor and Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Jake Myers. If you have a question for Jake, please email [email protected] for consideration.


Leave a Reply

This site uses User Verification plugin to reduce spam. See how your comment data is processed.