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Andrew wrote:

Hi guys!

I have a question on Catholic teachings related to certain sexual issues.

I have heard about people studying why women have sex. One reason was supposed to be the whole idea of pleasure and being horny. We are all sometimes horny or have a longing for pleasure. We, as humans, must accept that we sometimes have sexual feelings and, at the same time, Catholic teachings tell us you can only have sex within a marriage if you want to live according to God's plan.

Nevertheless, we must be very careful here because we can easily think of what we are not allowed to do or feel. Sometimes one can get the impression that one should not do anything but that can't be true.

If one is angry then one must deal with anger. I cannot punch a guy in his face or think evil thoughts about him but I gotta do something as I cannot just repress my anger. I may have to go to the person in question to deal with it or deal with it some other way. Something emotional has gotta come out of me.

Anger makes you look outside of yourself. You gotta do some action but only according to God's plan. With sexuality, we also gotta do something since not doing anything or repressing sexuality is stupid.

  • We cannot do just anything but we gotta deal with it, right?

Sexual morality, in my opinion, must be based on what to do rather than giving laws on what to avoid. All those women can't just say to themselves that they should not do anything. They have to do something but maybe not as a modern psychologist or sex educator might tell them to do.

Catholic moral teaching, besides being based on awesome ideas, must also be practical as well.

It must be based on reality and not repression. It seems like the Church views sexuality more as having something to do with being crucified with Christ, like St Paul spoke about, (Galatians 2:20) rather than something pleasurable.

  • What is the official Church response to my views?

Andrew

  { How does the Church respond to my views on sexual ethics and Catholic sexual morality? }

Mike replied:

Dear Andrew,

In order to get the appropriate mind set or view of the Church in this area, I would encourage you to read this posting from our database. It makes a reference to the hierarchy of pleasures that were created by the Lord when he created both male and female.

You see, God created both man and woman, with a kind of hierarchy of pleasures to be used according to His Divine Providence.

Used in the way that the Lord has ordained for both men and women, pleasure is not only OK and very good, but intentionally built into both men and women.

When our Lord created us, he attached certain types of pleasure to things we do.

  • What am I talking about?

Well, whether you are at work or at home, I am sure there are a number of times you have to go to the bathroom during the day and it has nothing to do with grooming yourself. In our family we call this:

Taking a mother nature break.

I don't think there is one reader of this web posting that will disagree that there is a big pleasure in taking a mother nature break.

  • Why is pleasure attached to going to the bathroom?

Because if we didn't go to the bathroom, the toxins in our waste would kill us and we would die.

  • How about eating and drinking?

Surely everyone will agree that, for most of us, this is a pleasurable activity.

  • Why?

Because if we didn't eat or drink, over time, we would die.

What we see during our daily lives are various levels of pleasures attached to certain activities that both men and women do, including:

  • holding on to our [boy|girl] friend during a date.
  • petting during a date.
  • getting our back or feet rubbed by our [boy|girl] friend or spouse
  • kissing our ([boy|girl] friend) or (our husband or wife)

Of all the pleasures attached to all the activities we do, probably the greatest pleasure is that of sexual activity.

  • Why?

Because it has the potential each time to bring a new life into the world!!

A new life made in the image and likeness of God, made for a specific purpose in life.

As it pertains to pleasure, my colleague Paul, in a previous answer, has said the following:

You're making the mistake of thinking that because something might be pleasurable it is good and right. Many people find great pleasure in:

  • doing drugs
  • alcoholism
  • pornography, and
  • other perversions of well being and morality.

Pleasure is not an indication of God's will or what is right. Pleasure is good only when it is a benefit of behaving according to the natural design of our Creator.


Eric followed-up by saying:

Our bodies are inclined in many ways toward committing acts that are unjust and sinful. It's part of the Fall so perhaps God didn't create us in this fashion but it is part of fallen human nature.

Jesus Himself confirmed what Eric has just said in the Scriptures when He said:

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

Since Our Lord was a man like us in all things but sin, He, like the Church, understands the struggle, so just do the best you can. Get to Confession if you struggle with sins of the flesh and strive to make good, holy Communions.

Struggles, whether they are emotional or otherwise, are best handled by prayer.

He created us, so only He has the proper medicine; we just have to ask for it.

That's my take,

Mike

Paul replied:

Andrew,

In both animals and man, the sensual bodily pleasures correspond to survival — of the individual (eating) and the species (sex). The desire to engage in both is natural, for it is of the natural law to live. But all human goods must be governed by what reason sees as right.

For example, it might be okay to wear a swim suit to the beach, but to wear one to church or class would not be good. Eating is good, but stealing someone's lunch to do it is wrong. Sexual relations are good, but with a non-spouse it is wrong.

All prohibitions safeguard the act from being degraded and abused, and are to preserve its proper and special meaning. No person with a rightly formed conscience says on their wedding day,

"I wish I didn't preserve myself for my spouse!"

Anger and lust are the two sins that demand expression. The body tends to need an outlet for both internal acts.

  • If one harbors anger, it will come out in violence or repressed in depression.
  • If one lusts it will come out in fornication or turned inward in masturbation.

It's no wonder Jesus specifically warned against these two internal sins (anger and lust) in the Sermon on the Mount. Grace, conscious, daily discipline of the eyes, mind, and heart are absolutely necessary for any person to avoid falling into the pit of sin.

Peace,

Paul

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