Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex

DISCLAIMER:  If you are uncomfortable with sexuality, or are generally too young or immature for these subjects, it may be best that you don't read this.

So what's a celibate seminarian know about sex?  A lot, actually.  Sometimes the commentators know more than the participants, at least in the general notion of purpose, etc.  Following my post on culture, I figured I should talk about what I think is the primary issue on the cultural sphere:  sex.  Look at the big cultural debates: abortion, contraception, gay marriage, etc.  All sexual issues.  Even issues like women's ordination and gender equality are based in human sexuality.  This is, for the most part, the battlefield for our society's soul.  And so, I feel the need to put in a voice on this battle.  Because, as I said in my last post, I want to save the culture. 
If you dare say the "s-e-x" word, I'll beat you
till you're red as the devil's head.
First off, I want to disarm what most people say about Catholics and sex.  Most people think Catholics don't like sex.  This is absolutely true.  We don't like sex, we love sex.  We love sex so much we make it sacred, and we call it reserved.  Think of it like a fine bottle of (insert distinguished and expensive alcoholic beverage):  We appreciate the value of these things by reserving them for the extraordinary.  If we drank champagne for ever willy nilly occasion, then it'd lose its value, and we'd lose quite a bit of money.  We save our finest bottle of scotch/champagne/brandy and etc. because its valuable to us, and only to be indulged at the proper time.  

Same case with sex.  Catholicism sees sex as so awesome that it values it, even more than mere liquor.  Catholicism values sex so much that we want to save sex for a truly extraordinary occasion:  marriage.  Because there is something so marvelous about man and woman binding their souls together for love of God, we grace upon it the sacred privilege of sex.  And, because we love sex so much, we don't want marriages to use sex as mere recreation, but as celebration and proliferation.  Sex celebrates love in the best possible way one can celebrate love:  by bringing forth life.  God, in his infinite love, willed us into being, he brought us to life.  So it is with the powerful expression of love in marriage.
Yes, yes it does.
Our cultural atmosphere towards sex is guilty of one particularly heinous crime: it has diligently strove to make sex dreadfully boring.  Our attitudes towards sex have changed so that sex is as common and plain as white bread, thus, making it about as meaningful and interesting as white bread.  We educate our children, not about the value and treasure of sex, but about its inevitability and normalcy.  Terrible idea.  By nature, we don't want ordinary, normal, and inevitable sex, we want great sex, or none at all.  Our language of "safe" sex has painted sex out to be more like riding a bike and less like making a human child.

The same goes for pornography.  Porn, in making sex so ordinary and plain, has made it boring.  People now find sex worthwhile only if its with Aphrodite herself.  Our desanctification of sex has rendered those of us not possessing supermodel-esque bodies as boring, drab, and uninteresting, when that simply isn't the case.  And even the most beautiful bodies in the world only seem interesting for a matter of seconds.  Once the image is surmised by the eyes, it becomes old and boring, and we want to look at the next one.  Our champagne is becoming warm cheap beer really quickly...
Finally, our culture has made sex into something very selfish.  We don't have sex to give, we have sex to get.  We mutually (or forcefully) use each other for our own gratification, and it makes us a world of violated individuals.  The modern relationship isn't about  "How can I give you more or myself?", its about "Can you fulfill my wants?"  We treat dating like a budget sheet, making sure we cut a profit from our investments.  This is preposterous!  And boring!  We don't want to be an emotional accountant my whole life!  When we do things for ourselves, we find ourselves incredibly lonely, because we've isolated ourselves in our own little world, and then we find out that we're boring when we're isolated.

Man was not meant to be boring, isolated, used, abused, or discarded.  We might decide to reduce sex to something less extraordinary, mostly because it is easier that way, but that doesn't make it right.  We're called to more.  We're made for more. We're happier when we expect more from sex.  Sex needs to be valued again.  Sex needs to be treasured and protected again.  Most of all, sex needs to teach us again.  Teach us that its not about us, teach us that dignity is sexy, teach us that life is a gift and a treasure, not a burden.

Sexual "freedom" has burdened us.  Sexual "freedom" has made us a pathetic, sad, pitiable people.  Sexual "freedom" has ruined lives, families, hearts, and homes.  Sexual "freedom" is not at all free.  It's a prison, a prison we need rescued from, a prison we need released.  We need to re-educate ourselves.  We need to find what we've lost.  We need to reclaim what we've had taken from us.

And so, I address first the young and the virgin (especially those in relationship): Well done!  Keep it up!  Be an example of good and healthy sexuality.  Remember that sex is great, sex is sacred, and its nothing that we should be ashamed of.  Don't be afraid to be vocal about the value of a healthy Christian sexuality, but keep in mind your call to love.

To those who have traveled down the path of extramarital sexual activity:  Its never too late to turn.  No mistake is permanent, no scar irremovable, no shame unfading.  You can have better for yourself.  You ought to have better for yourself.  Have the courage to do what so many others are too afraid to do: Live a holy life.  All it take is a turn and step in the right direction

Finally, to the married:  Be good examples of holy sexuality!  Even in marriage, you can spoil the gift!  Treasure one another, reflect in your bodies the gift of self you made on your wedding day!  Teach your children how to love, first by your example, then by your instruction.  When they grow older, let them know that sex is holy and beautiful!

I can't promise you these things are going to be easy.  Nor can I promise you that they'll grant instant gratification.  But what I can promise you is that, if you dedicate yourself to these things, hold them in your heart, and let them change you, change you they will.  And you'll only be happier from it.

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