I am like many of people these days that consider themselves to be more spiritual than religious. This being that I rely more on my gut feeling of a higher power, source, God, The Universe rather than what I am told or read. However, I was raised in the south (AKA The Bible Belt) and went to Catholic school as a child. I had many bones to pick with this religion as I got older, especially it’s ideas around sex and sexuality. It didn’t help that many aspects of natural my self was/is considered an abomination to the church. After about eight seconds of feeling guilty, I revolted and gave a big middle finger to my southern catholic roots.
For other people who were raised in the church I have witnessed the inner conflict that is produced when natural sexual desires or actions occur. I remember clearly a conversation I had with a male friend when he discussed his shame about wanting to have sex with his girlfriend but she wanted to wait until marriage. He felt like a bad Catholic and that there was something wrong with him.
I appreciate that the current Pope is making room for change within the church but there are still some basic aspects that are taught need to be addressed directly.
Virginity- “Do not be deceived, those who fornicate will not inherit the Kingdom of God”.Galatians 5: 15-25,
- Virginity seems to have made sense when it was a means to protect one’s perceived property (women) before she was “sold” to another man. But is it really so important now?
Birth control- “The marital act must always be left open to the transmission of life. The use of artificial contraception is degrading to both human nature and to the institution of marriage. Persons who employ artificial means deny the will of God and actually set their wills in His place.”
- Is it so wrong to make the practical decision of when to have children and when to stop having children? Should a relationship suffer from lack of intimacy because of a desire not to have children?
Sex before marriage – “You cannot have a healthy marriage without chastity — that virtue by which we are in control of our sexual appetite rather than it being in control of us. And chastity is a tough virtue to develop. If it is not in full development before marriage, it is going to be very hard to develop after marriage. So, before marriage is the time to accomplish this very positive thing, the virtue of chastity.”
- Sexualy chemisty is an imporant aspect of relationships, a strong point of fulfillment. How should one navigate if they are married and there has been no opportunity to learn or understand each other sexually?
Homosexuality- “The homosexual orientation is intrinsically disordered. No Bishop or priest may in any way support pro-homosexual organizations that call themselves ‘Catholic.’”
Not enough room to ask all the questions I have with this.
Masturbation -Masturbation ("self-abuse") is an intrinsically disordered act.
- How else are humans able to learn and know what things they enjoy. It seems that waiting until marriage to learn these things can result in a disordered sex life or a lacking one. Walking to a relationship with the baggage of expectations seems to do so much harm to couples.
How does one reconcile their faith with their sexuality? It seems like the very aspects that make us human and allow us to have survive and breed for millions of years are the very things that the church is asking us to stifle and act as they do not exist.
I wonder about the damage that religion has on sexuality. Or its effect on kink within sexuality. If God apparently doesn’t like it when you masturbate, how does he feel when you flog your partner or sport that naughty nurse outfit for your boyfriend who asked to be pegged but you have no intention on marrying.
Around me, it seems like there is less pressure to follow the teachings of the church. Morality turns into a self focus of what is right and wrong. Parents seem to preach safety to their children rather than strict abstinence. Men no longer seem to hold on to notions of marrying virgins and seem to stay away from them once found. Maybe these questions don’t hold the space they once did when I was in school wondering if the nuns were horny. Maybe they do...