Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 53, Issue 6, pp 1634–1652 | Cite as

Anonymous Pastoral Care for Problems Pertaining to Sexuality

Original Paper


Anonymous pastoral care is one of the options for help in problems pertaining to sexuality. This paper explores the topics they seek help for, the religious aspects involved, and the relation between the normativity of their church tradition on the one hand and sexual and spiritual health criteria on the other. We analyzed helpseeking questions of two protestant Christian organizations in the Netherlands providing anonymous pastoral care: Refoweb and EO-Nazorg. Sexual themes were addressed in 19 and 2.3 % of the submitted questions, respectively. Of the helpseekers, 56 % is female, 15 % male, and 29 % unknown. Questions and problems for which people seek anonymous pastoral care focus primarily on premarital abstinence, gender roles, contraception, sexual orientation and masturbation. The authority of the Bible seems to be important for questioners, especially when dealing with ethical questions. Different relations between the normativity of the church tradition and sexual and spiritual health are discussed.


Pastoral care Religion Sexuality Sexual health Spiritual health 



The authors thank EO-Nazorg and Refoweb for their participation in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of TheologyVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa
  3. 3.Department of Clinical Psychology/SexologyUniversity of AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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