Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Fletch Sex - Recreation Or Creation?

Is sex meant just for fun - for recreation - or is it's real purpose self-evident?

Society sure sees it mostly one way: sex now mostly seems to be seen as a pleasurable experience shared between two people who are willing ― whether they're married, boyfriend and girlfriend, just friends, or have only just met that same evening. As long as the girl is on the Pill or the boy uses a condom, then it's OK they say; do what you like. In a excerpt from a new book, Light Of The World, in which Pope Benedict is interviewed, he says -
[...] the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.
I think he hits the nail right on the head there. Sex has become another 'Friday night drug', akin to having a beer, a wine, or a cigarette. Just something you do to feel good, and it often doesn't matter who you do it with. But if we take a step back and really look at it, is this the real purpose of sex or is it just selfishness?

I think we can compare it to another human activity: that of eating. Food tastes good and we enjoy eating but is the enjoyment we get from the taste of food the real reason we eat it? No, the real reason we eat food is to nourish our bodies and keep them running. I think God has made the eating of food enjoyable so that we'd do it and keep our bodies going, and of course he wants it to be enjoyable, but can it be abused? Yes, people can and do overeat; they get used to the taste of certain foods and want to eat them all the time. The result is bad health including obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and any other number of maladies.

Likewise, I think that sex is being abused in today's society. The good feeling of doing it is trumpeted as the main reason for sex and society tells us we should do it wherever and whenever we please and with whomever we want. But the good feeling is not the main reason for sex. Sex also is called (or used to be called) 'making love' for a reason. It is supposed to be an expression of love between the two people (hopefully husband and wife) taking part. These days love doesn't have to come into it; lust seems a primary motivator.

Again, I think God made it feel good so that we'd do it, but one of the main reasons is procreation - babies. I'm not saying that babies are the only reason for sex - it is also to draw man and wife closer together in unity, for their enjoyment, and to nourish their relationship - but the fact is that the product of sex, babies, is often unwanted these days. We contracept to avoid having them, and when that fails we abort kill them.

I think that if the subject of sex is looked at logically and scientifically (and yes, emotionally) that the reasons for it are obvious: and it's not predominantly for fun.

4 comment(s):

Francis W. Porretto said...

You assume that sex, which fulfills several functions, must be "meant for" one of them at the exclusion of the others. Your "logically and scientifically" nonsense would really only make sense if there were no God; that is, if sex were the blind product of an evolutionary dynamic propelled by survival-as-species-vindication.

Sex is "for pleasure."
Sex is "for bonding."
Sex is "for the expression of love."
Sex is "for procreation."

None of these excludes the others in any way.

What orthodox Catholics have been told over the centuries -- that sex is "for procreation," and that pleasure, etc. are merely useful adjuncts to that end -- amounts to a disparagement of one of God's greatest gifts to Mankind.

I'm a Catholic. And I'm quite aware of Church teaching on the subject. But do please remember that Church doctrine about sex is primarily rooted in the teachings of Saint Paul, not in the words of Christ. Before his "road to Samascus" conversion, Saint Paul was an ascetic Pharisee. Afterward, he attempted to import as much of the Levitical covenant into Christianity as he could. He begrudged his approval even to marriage. Ponder the implications of that for a while.

I'll be writing more about this at Eternity Road. The time has come.

ZenTiger said...

You assume that sex, which fulfills several functions, must be "meant for" one of them at the exclusion of the others.

Hi Francis, I don't think Fletch assumes that at all. He used words like "predominantly" and phrases like "can be abused".

It seems to me Fletch acknowledges there are several reasons, not just one, but suggests a hierarchy of importance. Putting pleasure at the top (almost as if that is what it is meant for, to the exclusion of others) is ultimately detrimental.

Indeed, the meaning from the post I get is that it is that the issue has flipped to the way you discuss it - sex is being promoted as "meant for" fun and pleasure almost to the exclusion of the actual function - creating babies, and all that implies.

Thus contraception, and then abortion, to ensure such functions do not interfere with the "predominate" reason of pleasure.

The post, to me, simply outlines that there are dangers when pleasure becomes the "main reason", to the point where relationships are irrelevant, STD's are considered an unavoidable fact of life and we implicitly endorse overly promiscuous behaviour in our young adults, rather than trying to teach or model more beneficial values.

I also think that taking this view, whilst counter-culture, isn't necessarily prudish. It can seem that way, because making a point against the danger of imbalance can imply an opposite, yet this need not be the case. I got a much clearer understanding of the balance and acceptance of the "many reasons" for sex through reading the Theology of the Body.

I don't disagree with your argument in substance, but I also think the argument you make doesn't directly speak to the points I thought Fletch was making.

I.M Fletcher said...

Francis, I actually took great pains to say (so that nobody would be confused) -

, but one of the main reasons is procreation - babies. I'm not saying that babies are the only reason for sex - it is also to draw man and wife closer together in unity, for their enjoyment, and to nourish their relationship

I even highlighted "main" in bold. I guess there was bound to be someone who misunderstood what I was trying to say though, which was that today's society treats sex as a 'Friday night drug' simply for pleasure. As Zen said, I was not trying to say this is the reason for sex and not that, I was pointing out what society now sees as the main reason for sex to the exclusion of all other reasons.

I was not making comment on what the Church believes about sex, although again, "it is also to draw man and wife closer together in unity, for their enjoyment, and to nourish their relationship" seems to me to be a fairly accurate presentation, although perhaps I should have put "to draw man and wife closer together in unity with God", because marriage is a sacrament and humans cannot create. It is only through God that new life is created in partnership with the act of love.

MK said...

Well said and the Pope does hit it on the head.

No wonder so many hate him with such passion, he won't bless their need to screw around with wild abandon.

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