I mean seriously,
do you think all the tension, conflict, and heartache in dating relationships and marriages are normal? Do you think the ‘me too’ movement is normal? Do you think the hook-ups, casual sex, and drunken nights that happen in people’s lives that lead to emotional and physical distress is normal? Do you think, deep down, abortion should be normal? This is not normal. This is heartbreak. This is not the way God created it to be and something in our hearts, and the way we’re being educated and taught sex today is terribly wrong.
“Why couldn’t God just make us self-controlled and more respectful in our sexuality?”
He did. We messed up the plan. Before Adam and Eve sinned, they were perfect in purity, that is; in their intentions. They were fixed on God and His love filled their souls and captured their hearts. All the intimacy they shared together was perfect; no shame, no embarrassment, no need to “clothe” themselves and hide. Adam had no desire to use Eve with objectification, he simply looked at her with one glance and fell in love. A love that was selfless and pure. After they sinned (disobeyed God and tried to fulfill a pleasure in an unfulfilling way) they now are more inclined to “try” and experience God’s ecstasy in harsh ways. And now, the way our hearts function is a little messy — a tiny bit misguided. We desire sin more than we desire good.
Anything that is considered sinful really just means, ‘anything in the world we use to experience ecstasy and satisfaction that is not ecstasy and satisfaction of God’s essence.’ Both good and evil still exist, what’s left is that God gives us the choice to do it or not. The 10 commandments exist because God saw how many people try to experience His glorious love in wrong ways. So he simply said, “Hey guys! These sins are not what I am like, I am greater and more loving than what they make you think!”
Whether we choose the good or bad of this world, results follow. Freedom not only makes evil, violence, and hurt possible, but it is the only thing that makes love possible, too. Love is a choice. Therefore; rightly-ordering our desires towards sex is also our choice.
“The Church and organized religion just puts a damper on fun and desires. It’s way too restrictive.”
The reason this famous line is overused is because the culture “raises” us in thinking this way. Our media consumption for years has portrayed one-night-stands, casual dates that lead to sex, and drunken nights that leads to it. We have mental scripts in our brains that tell us what we should do based on what others tell us and what we’ve seen and done ourselves in the past. Chances are we hear these “thoughts” and “teachings” about sex more than we hear chastity or purity (which both have so much baggage around).
Our past decisions and experiences also allow us to justify what we define as “fun,” and “desirable.” Growing up invested in hearing and speaking about sexual comments, jokes, pornography, and our habits can make us associate these things as “fun.” Countless times in my ministry I meet young guys or girls who are known for having a “history” and meet a young man or woman of God and find that person to be everything they want in a relationship. There is something attractive about purity that we are all drawn to, but do not want to live up to.
If you associate ‘dating’ as finding someone to be sexual with, than chances are if you’re dating someone who isn’t sexual with you, you’re “dissatisfied.” Technology feeds this, our experiences and past feed this, and our choice to look, talk, and listen to certain things harms us and our hearts giving us difficulty in understanding why chastity thrives.
I’m not discrediting our bodies and their natural desires. Nor am I discrediting the beauty of sex. But, what I am discrediting is the fact that those desires can’t be quenched with impulses or justifications like;
“We’ve been dating for so long, we should be able to do it.”
“It was a hook-up. No commitment, no worries.”
“I’m not hurting anyone.”
Religion is the last place I’ve experienced prudish restrictions. I speak mainly off of the context of the fact that the entire faith is a relationship with God, not an institution based off of education, worshiping a tyrant, or policy. Education and policy exist to help make certain choices better for ‘said’ relationship. That simple. It’s far from prudish because the Catholic Church is the only institution that challenges me to love in an (almost rebellious) undiluted way. Who else in the world is encouraging you to sacrifice for your lover? But, it’s not socially or culturally normal for most people to do this.
Every decision the Church makes is in your favor, with your happiness in mind, to help make you live a life of great love, and I’ll even take a step further as say; to make you have a great sex life. The natural order and creation of love is not going to change. Trends, culture, and circumstances change, but love itself is never going to change and we must orient our behavior off that good; love.
God is deeply interested in you, you’re not alone. God created sex, and God doesn’t want the act (that is deeply spiritual and sanctifying) to be reduced to something merely physical. You’re only getting half of what you could get. In short, there’s so much you can get out of it that mainstream media and past experience does not portray.
For one, have you opened the Bible to the Song of Songs? That chapter of the Bible should be rated PG13.
“If I met you out of doors, I would kiss you and none would despise me. I would lead you, bring you to my mother’s house, where you would teach me…”
“His left hand is under my head, and his right arm embraces me. I adjure you, do not awaken or stir up love until it is ready.” (8:1-3)
…”my breasts are like towers. I became in his eyes as one who brings peace.” (8:10)
This chapter goes on and on about the beauty and goodness of a lover, of his and her body, and how good it is when they embrace. The love this book speaks on is the height of God’s plan for attraction and eventually, sex. The language is beautiful, pure, and poetic, and it bespeaks the nature of something words cannot express. Ultimately, the faith teaches that romantic love bespeaks the essence of God — adoration of God. The essence of God is neither pornographic, lustful, or harmful, but sincere, breathtaking, life-giving, and enjoyable (all words used to describe sex).
St. Teresa of Avila, one of the holiest women to walk this Earth, once prayed this while discerning whether or not she should be a Religious Sister;
“Why should I not give myself what a tender skilled husband could? Why remain free of the external binding of love with another? What if you forget about me Lord and my loneliness?”
For a 21st century paraphrase: she basically asked God, “why would I give up sex?”
Gods reply: “To those who are married to me, I will take care of things like that. I have not forgotten the thoughts of any creature that ever lived. Whether I am vividly there, embracing you or not, I am drawing you close and using you to convert others.”
Anyone who doesn’t see this, agree with this, or understand this has yet to make their relationship with God a personal one. With that, they have yet to realize that who you have sex with effects the greater good of everyone, not just yourself. It effects your spouse, children, friends, colleagues, and the generations to come. It’s a life-changing, prayer-fully inspired, erotic, pleasurable experience that should have a safe, vulnerable enviroment to be experienced in.
When I turn to prayer and reflection or meditation on God’s love and God’s beauty, it’s a deep encounter of love that brings me to greater respect towards myself and others. It calls me to great virtues like; kindness, generosity, patience, and joy. I recoil at lashing out on anything of the opposite affect, and aim to make all my encounters with others one that entails those virtues. I am able to commit myself to goodness (albeit, imperfectly) and take humble credit for striving. There is nothing wrong, boring, or prudish about that.
Unarguably, some of the most loving encounters I’ve had with others were not sexual in the slightest. On the reverse, some of the most sexual encounters I’ve had with others, were the most unloving.
With that being said, in the shortest explanation possible: the reason chastity is so amazing in the world today is because it safeguards the heart by raising up noble, loving, virtuous lovers. The life of a Christian is nothing more than to be a great lover, and the Bible is FULL of Good News on how to do it. Enough striving towards this changes and molds a person into depths that open the experience of sex in the greatest way God intended — for the pleasure of spouses and procreation of children.
It involves having a loving Father figure looking out for us and our happiness. He desires to give us not only as a fleeting moment of happiness, but one that is a deep rest of vulnerable love with another that, even if it lasts a mere moment will allow us to experience HIS bliss and majesty in a bodily way.
Why is that so wrong?
“So If I experience deep love with another person I am not married too, why is it still wrong to have sex?”
Great sex is not the measure of great love. To base love and “connection” off of mere sexual satisfaction is lame. To expect perfection in sex is based off of your experiences and expectations of great love. The most pleasure from the act is either from the physical arousal or the internal love that was felt inside. This varies from each act, it varies with our moods, and does not remain constant. Therefore; to judge if someone is worthy of “forever” is inconsistent to a couple “test-runs,” and there’s beauty to that. You get to love someone more for who they are, than what they are. Is it something to consider, absolutely, 100%, yes! No disagreeing there.
In John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, he mentions three major experiences that the human person can use to express their innocence: solitude, unity, and nakedness. These “innocent” expressions are where we are susceptible to vulnerability and the moments when we crave intimacy the most. In short, solitude is the loneliness a man (or woman) feels without a relationship. Unity is the desire to be intimate and vulnerable with another person. Nakedness is the expression that combines the both and is supreme vulnerability with someone. Here, you are close to someone, desire to get closer, and have no shame, so to speak, so you unclothe yourself for the other (emotionally and physically) and open yourself up to them in such a deeper way.
No where in the desire for intimacy is intimacy synonymous to sex. Is sex a deeply intimate and emotional experience, yes.
Emotional conversations, and vulnerability with another person is supposed to reach physical vulnerability with bodies. We open ourselves up emotionally, so we should open ourselves physically. That’s why men or women get jealous when their significant other is “deep” and close to another person, it can lead elsewhere.
Human beings are made to function this way: our hearts are moved by someone that we give our emotional energy towards– this is what makes marriage such a beautiful lifestyle to endure with the person you love. But without boundaries, there can be cases of infidelity. With understanding this, you can start to understand why pornographic images of women or men half naked train us to see others as objects, and not as human persons with hearts that feel emotions. Those men in women in photos are seeking the intimacy they should exclusively have with another in a shared loving experience, but instead are trying to gain attention from the entire world.
The pornographic world exploits not only sex, but our dignity, and our bodies. Porn stars usually have to be drunk or high or O.D’ed to perform the acts or scenes for the first time. Likewise, porn industries generate images of fake women, so you’re sometimes “liking” or lusting after a woman who doesn’t exist. No one actually loves a porn star for who they are, just what they look like, leaving them robbed of true love in their lives. By not looking at porn, you’re letting those actors’ careers fall, so maybe they can go find someone to date. Girls who willingly post naked photos have a desire for love too–imagine that being your sister, friend. She is someone’s daughter, or granddaughter, and she deserves a committed spouse.
No one wants to be used, no one wants to have unfaithful spouses, no one wants to hear their lover being emotionally or physically happy with someone else. No one wants to be taken advantage of at the expense of someone else’s desires, we are called to be loved by others and called to love others.
Women don’t cover their bodies or live chaste lifestyles because they are ashamed of themselves or because their bodies are “bad” but because they are guarding their dignity. Virtuous women who know their worth comes from God find hope in holding out her beauty for her husband, and her husband only. It is a gift.
Holiness is nothing more than “man expressing himself deeply, with his own body, precisely through the sincere gift of serving others.” (TOB 19:5) What God intends for sex isn’t that all the pleasure and intimacy go away, instead, for it be set on fire without shame, without masks, without lust, without harm, without guilt.
God’s laws and commands are meant to protect us and guard our hearts in order for us to experience the uniqueness (and beauty) of our sexual nature the way He intended it to be. God intends sex to be good for us. It results in deep connections and bonds with others, and new life (babies), it’s a beautiful thing! The safe context for us to experience sexual relationships is in a committed marital bond. When we dwell on and act on the cravings we have for sex outside of a committed marriage, we reduce a sacred and spiritual experience to a physical one.
We cheapen ourselves by giving into meaningless experiences and we can fall into thinking that we are not worthy of having the best love, the love God wants for us. We can even cheapen ourselves from having healthy social lives with others. Being patient with our development and maturity with our desires requires help from God. Taking a step back from our impulses, we can better learn how to make great friends and virtuously train our emotions towards higher values in attractions with potential dates.
Your sexuality is a huge part of being human and it points to the desire to have closeness and intimacy. These desires are good, so seek them out with good intentions and a well-trained conscience. Rightly ordering our desires and abstaining from our impulses and lustful thoughts help us to love others and our [future] spouses better. With that, it helps us stay intentional about other areas in our lives. Finding greatness and personal integrity within ourselves, towards our desires, is a great way to strive for virtue.
After reading this, you can still choose to do whatever you want. All I want you to know is there is a divine spirit of love that breathes this world into existence, keeps it afloat to those who ask Him, and He knows how you can get to experience that reality and not be so concerned with what you’re impulse tells you you need. Mainly, God’s plans for life and chastity helps us to stop and think. It then allows us to “call out” the ways we misuse or misunderstand sex, and our desires, and it challenges us to respect our own bodies, and the bodies of others. Chastity should give us hope that there is a deeper meaning to our sexuality than what we’ve been settling for.
All that being said, if you desire to be a person of sexual integrity, deep love, and to have a relationship of an intimate bondage of love through chaste living and holiness, you must battle for it because it does not come easy. Many people want to be people of high integrity and virtue in every area of their life but their sex-life. So again, the reason this may end up making no sense is because the world does not know God to be a God of deep love.
That’s all I have for now,