All right, I know I’m going to get Francis shaking his head on this one and probably every reader Liberty’s Torch has, but what the hey? Yet, there is that which is True and cannot possibly find a place in this world.
This began as a brief little offbeat essay, but it grew into parts.
1) Everybody gets human sexual intercourse between a man and a woman wrong. (That homosexual acts of sodomy are hopelessly absurd and wrong need not play any part of this piece.)
2) Acts of sexual intercourse (we’ll just call it sex, okay?) past the age of reproduction harms the soul, delays wisdom.
3) Holy sex is the only kind that matters and helps human beings.
4) You’re not only an animal. You are meant to be a saint.
Put the blame on Mame.
Most everyone with any thoughtfulness agrees that the purpose of sex is reproduction. Yet having experienced the act of sex, they will also agree that its purpose is to give them pleasure. Ripe, rich, ecstatic pleasure.
But they would be wrong. The purpose of sex is not to give human beings purely sensual pleasure.
Oh wait! I forgot, the pleasure isn’t necessarily purely sensual gratification. In many cases it is an expression of love between a man to woman. The emotional feeling of love accompanies the physical act, relief, and gratification and serves to bind in affection and delight the male and female.
Oh bushwah! Sex makes you feel good? Popping a pimple makes you feel good, too. Scratching an itch does the same. The body calls for relief of tension and once relieved, is relaxed. How lovely. Intercourse between a loving couple is different? No. If each had manipulated the other without penetration to orgasm, exactly where would the difference be? One helped the other to orgasmic relief and pleasure. They cared enough about the other to be helpful in gratifying their carnal desire. How does that count as especially special?
Sorry, folks, most sex between couples is merely mutual masturbation. “I’m tense, darling. Let me get off with you.”
Exactly where is God in the room? If God is real, we aren’t silly enough to think that He absents himself when we feel frisky and start to get intimate, do we?
But if God is in the room then, oh dear, is the missionary position the only one that will not embarrass Him?
Think about it, please. If you knew God was present in the bedroom with you, how would you express your sexual desire for unity, completion with your wife or husband?
You know the answer, so you see, it’s not I who is the prude, the Puritan, the bluestocking or killjoy. We all are when we acknowledge what is best or perfect. The truth is built into your own soul, and you would act accordingly if you truly believe that God closely watches over you and is never far even in the most intimate situations.
What is sex for? It’s for the transcendental completion of a man and a woman open for the creation of a child, a totality of self-giving in blessed union with God in an ecstasy that vitally surpasses the basic sense of physical orgasm. If you have never experienced this, you have never actually experienced sex.
Even the pathetic Norman Mailer was able to observe in The Prisoner of Sex, “When a man knows the woman is fertile, it changes everything about the act.”
Well, when a man and woman are fertile it makes sex real, primal, meaningful, and perfect (if they want it to be).
On the day my daughter was born, I had the overwhelming feeling that, “My God, I’ve finally done something right in this world and life. I’ve done what I was born to do.” My happiness was immense.
Another aspect of that sense of cosmic rightness occurs when sex as I defined it above happens between a man and woman.
Now some would say that given the nature of human beings, it’s no use complaining that the urges and instincts of the flesh overwhelm young people and easily distract them from the path of true romance and being in oneness with the Lord.
And they would be right. Youth is folly, and everyone wants what they want when they want it. Orgasm is almost good enough to make us forget about God entirely. The problem, though, is that orgasm is never good enough. Particularly for the male whose experience of it is not at all as consuming as the female’s. Which might help explain the constant male need for frequent repetition. For the male, orgasm is simply not satisfying enough, he chases after it again and again expecting a completion that never comes the way a junkie goes after that first euphoria that never makes a return.
A woman’s orgasm is much more powerful and can satisfy for weeks or a month until she might feel the need to relieve tension again. But bound she is, also, like the male to have it again independent of “love” or a desire to procreate. She is a victim of her body, also.
The Catholic Church, for example, teaches that the faithful should not only be chaste outside of marriage, but within it. Some saint said something like, “lusting after your wife doesn’t alter the fact that it’s still lust, and that’s a sin.”
In a classic line admonishing Rocky to refrain from amorous activity in the eponymous movie, his manager reminds him that “women weaken legs!” All his sexual tension needs to be unleashed in physical aggression on his opponent.
Well, The Church would advise the devoted follower of Christ that semi-celibacy strengthens faith and leads to more effective prayer and discipleship. Sex binds heart and mind earthward, which is why so many religious practices through the ages recommend fasting from food or sex to open them up for divine inspiration, grace, or understanding.
Pleasures of the flesh cordon people off from the transcendent, since being relaxed and satisfied in the Garden of Earthly Delights reinforces that which is entirely instinctive and animalistic in us.
A fine meal with a great wine, a pleasing bout of infertile sex, and a fire burning in the hearth while you snuggle in the afterglow -- the call to prayer can’t really beat that -- even though the feeling and expression of gratitude is heartfelt. We aptly call them creature comforts for satisfying our senses, not for their spiritual edification or connection to divinity.
Yet, it is ironic that the cry of “oh, God!” so often punctuates the marital act when focus on pure sensuality makes Him quite remote from apprehension.