In my last article, I wrote on how chastity offers freedom from sinful or selfish motives we knowingly or unknowingly use sex for. This second part will discuss how chastity allows you to appreciate, admire, and respect the person you are in a committed relationship with.
Many people in life can make us feel good and it’s normal for us to desire attention. This is inevitable.
People are always going to give us some form of emotional bliss in life for numerous reasons, it just happens. How your boss makes you feel special is different than the way your parents do. Likewise, your spouse’s love will be different than a friends love. The point being this: any person with their bodies, qualities, and attributes can spur a spark in you.
And one way we experience this spark is by way of sexual stimulation. Any sight of a quality you find attractive has the power to stimulate you. But, those feelings and experiences fad away overtime. Not only that but many people possess the qualities you get stimulated by and many people have it to a higher degree.
So the point is: qualities and attributes are repeatable. Feelings are also repeatable.
A person, though, will never be repeatable.
In his book, The Love that Satisfies, Christopher West describes this point saying,
“In the deepest sense, if each person I date gives way in the end as him or her being an instrument for my sexual pleasure, than he or she can be easily replaced in such a function.”
That is precisely why infidelity—even strip clubs and pornography—can leave the other person devastated. Infidelity and other outlets of stimulation or entertainment says to the victim, “I am repeatable. I am replaceable.”
Chastity is a virtue that exercises our ability to love and respect the value of a person. Chastity inspires you to say, “I long for your good.” Whereas anything on the contrary says, “I long for you as a good.” Some people practice goodwill and admiration of others without giving it the name Chastity either— so maybe we just don’t like the word Chastity?
Italian ethicist Rocco Buttiglione says, “Only the value of the person can sustain a stable relationship. Values of sexuality are wasted away in time, a person’s good looks don’t last forever and are exposed to the danger of disillusion. But this is not the case for the value of a person…which is stable and in some way infinite. When your love develops and reaches admiration for the person, then it is forever.”
I know how hard it is to wait until marriage, or to understand the reason sex is only for marriage. I’m sure you agree.
I know this message draws you in, while culture speaks to you; “I just want to see how compatible I am with someone before we marry.” Never forget, my friend, you’re a human being who deserves love, you’re not a car to be test run. You’re not an ongoing “audition” before you deserve a ring on your finger and anyone who waits around and compares you to others has no authentic love for you, but for the pleasure you bring them. Think about those people you have a strong friendship with and how amazing it is to have such a deep connection and never feel forced to bring anything sexual into it. It’s freeing! Sometimes that friendship outweighs casual, spur of the moment, bad sex. And sometimes a few of us are matured into marrying that person and experiencing it with them.
The decision to pursue a lifestyle of chastity entails a deep understanding of the human person, and even more so, yourself. Chaste people realize that sex (like food, alcohol, shopping, weed, drugs, texting, etc) can be an outlet for loneliness, hurts, addictions, social stigmas, coping, pressure, insecurity, use, selfish pleasure, drunkenness, and so much more. In no way, shape, or form should sex be reduced to this “itch” that needs to be scratched and diminished in value because a person cannot control their impulses.
Chastity opens up our ability to understand ourselves. To understand what kind of love and eventually what kind of marriage we want one day. More importantly, Chastity helps us do good for the other person.
Sex should never leave you feeling empty, hurt, more lonely, heartbroken, less cherished, and less than. Sex is a promise, a gift of deep intimacy to the person who deserves it most; the person you freely choose to take to the altar. Chastity takes continuous effort, but it is the surest way to real love. And God promises that striving for it, and experiencing it’s pleasure with someone in the right context brings you closer to Him in the greatest of ways.
Love and prayers,