Catholic Husband

Love, Lead, Serve

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Enough About Sex Already

I have zero interest in your sexual preferences. Frankly, it's none of my business. Yet, we’ve become so fixated on everyone's sexual preferences that it's spilled beyond relationships into jobs, culture, and every other facet of our shared community life. Sex is an intensely interpersonal act that has two aims: to emotionally bind spouses more closely and to create children. The only time I'm interested in hearing about your sexual preferences is in the context of a baby announcement.

I remember one time I met an accountant who told me, "I'm not an accountant, I account for things. My job does not define me." He said it in jest, but he made a solid point. We are complex and dynamic beings. I'm a son, brother, husband, father, writer, web designer, business owner, Catholic, American, Virginian, pilot, stamp collector, reader, walker, lover of olives, jazz listener, and so many other things. To define myself by just one of those aspects to the detriment of the rest would not only be unfair to me, it'd define me as something other than who I truly am. I am all of these things together.

How did we let our sexuality become our defining characteristic? Sex has always been a fascination, but when we "liberated" our sexuality in the 1960s and 1970s, is when we really got out of balance. Honestly, do you feel liberated? Contraceptives have been a complete disaster. Women spend half of their reproductive lives using them to avoid pregnancy and the other half trying desperately to reverse the effects in order to achieve pregnancy. Rates of single parenting, the number one indicator of potential poverty are through the roof. Pornography is ridiculously accessible. Doesn't sound like the fun liberation that was promised.

Our sexuality is important and it's incredibly personal, but we've let ourselves become prisoners of our sexuality. We've forced ourselves to act in certain ways because people say that's how we should act. High school students lose their virginity because they're told that's what you're supposed to do. People with very real and serious emotional problems are counseled by medical and mental health professionals to masturbate instead of seeking avenues that will actually heal and correct the underlying issues.

All of this is absurd. Sex is the vehicle by which the fruits of the married life, namely children, are achieved. It's the method by which spouses are emotionally and biologically unified. It's the complete gift of self, of vulnerability, shared in the context of an indissoluble bound, that is meant to be shared by spouses and with no one else.

Sex is for you to share with your spouse, not the world. You're so much more than a sexual being, you're an integrated person. It's only by living an integrated life, with each component of your personhood in proper balance, that you'll achieve the lasting happiness and deep sense of peace that you desire. Everything else falls to nothing.