Human Sexuality: Myths and Truths Christian Self-understanding: Sexuality and Chastity
How is sexuality a part of my self-understanding?
Sexuality is the force and energy to be creative in response to life.
The force is experienced spiritually and bodily
Our sexuality orients us toward the “other” in relationships of all kinds: marriage, friendship, family and community.
Doesn’t sexuality mean the same thing as sexual intercourse?
To say yes to that questions means that you have a limited self-understanding about sexuality.
It also means that you have been affected by some: modern idealists, empiricists, materialists, atheistic existentialists, and hedonists attempting to impose a distorted idea of sexuality on reality.
Their idea of sexuality is a myth.
Why would their myth limit my self-understanding about sexuality?
Perhaps the reason is that you rarely see sexuality depicted in its spiritual way
and. . .
you rarely see the bodily aspect of sexuality depicted in a dignified way.
You are bombarded with images like these that you can find . . . let’s say in a woman’s fashion magazine:
You can’t always be sure the product they are selling, but one thing is for sure; they are definitely selling sex.
“ Whatever these women are selling I’ll buy it!”
The latest in women’s rugby gear?
I’ll take two pair!
He’s the # 1 salesperson in the store.
Salesperson # 2
Her personal chiropractic team?
How can I get pure like, Ted?
Where’s the denim?
These ads are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to a person believing the myth of sexuality!
There are young adults who are ready to party anytime because they think this is the only way to express their sexuality .
They think that the only way to express your sexuality is to have sexual intercourse.
Consider the myth of the “Spring Break” rite of passage.
“ Will there be any hot guys at the club to “hook up” with for the night?”
Oh yeah! Having a few beers before going to the club. “Who will be there for us to freak with?”
. . . the women have already found a man to “hook up” and to do some freaking with. “Anybody else gonna be there?”
“ It’s Paris! Isn’t that what she was going to wear to TomKat’s wedding? Will she bring any friends?”
“ Britney’s coming in her formal attire too! She’s wearing underwear.Yah Baby!”
“ What’s the music going to be like?”
Check out these lyrics:
“ First things first, I poppa, freaks all the honeys
Dummies - playboy bunnies, those wantin’ money
Those the ones I like ‘cause they don’t get nathan’
But penetration, unless it smells like sanitation
Garbage, I turn like doorknobs
Heart throb, never, black and ugly as ever
However, I stay coochied down to the socks
Rings and watch filled with rocks”
“ These lyrics by the late Notorious B.I.G. are sick, but what the heck do they mean?”
Here’s a translation:
As a general rule, I perform deviant sexual acts with women of all kinds, including but not limited to those with limited intellect, nude magazine-models, and prostitutes. I particularly enjoy sexual encounters with the latter group as they are generally disappointed in the fact that they only receive penile intercourse and nothing more, unless of course, they wash on a consistent basis. Although I am extremely unattractive, I am able to engage in these types of sexual acts with some regularity. Perhaps my sexuality is somehow related to my fancy and expensive jewelry.
Advertising, youth culture and the entertainment industry all contribute to the sexuality myth.
You cannot avoid having your attitudes about sexuality influenced by these institutions of secular culture, but it doesn’t mean you have to live by their distorted understanding about sexuality.
If what the secular culture represents as sexuality is a myth, what is the truth?
In order to be prepared for the truth, you have to consider your modesty level.
What is modesty?
Modesty is a moral virtue that enables a person to moderate and control his or her wants and desires.
For our sexuality, modesty enables us to avoid being provocative and to avoid the provocative. It controls how we think, act, talk, dress and how we respond to how others think, act, talk and dress.
Take the modesty survey to evaluate your level of modesty.
Take two minutes to respond Always, Seldom or Never to the following questions:
How uncomfortable are you when . . .
someone tells dirty jokes?
people wear their clothing so you can see: boxers, bras, thongs?
people wear their clothing in a way that reveals bare parts of their body, e.g. cleavage, buttocks or midriff?
people use sexually related profanity?
a person openly discusses his or her sexual activities?
there is nudity in a film?
there are sex scenes in a movie?
If you answer never to one of these questions, you need the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding chastity to help you have a better self-understanding about your sexuality.
God created us as male and female. (Genesis 1:27)
God created us equal in personal dignity.
God calls us male and female to a vocation of love.
Men and women need to recognise our complementarity, which means an appreciation and a respect for the necessity of the differences between men and women.
Our differences enable us to accept the responsibilities of marriage: public witnesses of the vocation to love and to be co-creators with God in the procreation of children.
Created Male and Female
What does chastity have to do with sexuality?
Chastity is a moral virtue and a gift of God’s grace that enables us to be positively integrated into relationships of all kinds.
This positive integration is exactly what our sexuality is: our orientation into relationships of all kinds.
Why isn’t sexuality the same as sexual intercourse?
Chastity makes it possible for boys and girls and men and women to practice relationships of self-giving.
Practice makes perfect in that we freely choose to participate in various stages of development.
When we have mastered the art of relationship, we know that sexual intercourse and its pleasures are only a part of our sexuality rather that the sum total or the reason of our sexuality.
Why do people say that chastity is impossible and that young people are slaves to their hormones?
Because chastity takes time to master, people do not have the patience to endure in its fulfillment.
As we have seen, immodesty is rampant in the secular culture and we mistakenly identify with celebrities and their self-indulgent behaviour.
Most of all, people don’t have the self-understanding of their sexuality so: they don’t seek God’s grace in the sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation; they don’t pray, and they don’t practice the avoidance of the occasions of immodesty.
How are we called to live chastity?
Chastity is required of all baptised persons.
Single persons practice chastity in the preservation of their virginity and their mastery of all kinds of relationships.
Chastity and Marriage
Women and men who marry practice chastity by their lifelong covenantal love and by their openness to the possibility of procreation. Married persons do not practice sterile, contraceptive intercourse, nor do they mutilate their reproductive organs in order to prevent conception. Married persons respect the dignity of their fertility and with the help of the virtue of temperance they are able to regulate the number of children they have.
Chastity: Holy Orders and the Consecrated Life
Some men and women consecrate their lives to God as priests and bishops and as monks and nuns.
They make vows of virginity and of celibacy, which means that do not get married.
What are the sins against chastity?
Sins against chastity are all expressions of the vice of lust.
These sins include: fornication, adultery, masturbation, pornography, prostitution, rape and homosexual acts.
These acts do not reflect covenantal love and they do not represent an openness to procreation.
How are these sins a reflection of the problem of idealism, materialism and hedonism?
You can be a chaste person . . .
because you recognise your dignity as a person.
because you will be a pure gift for your future spouse.
because you want to devote your life to Holy Orders or to the religious life.
because you have intelligence to be critical of the mythology of sexuality.
because you are not a slave to your hormones; you are a free being who is not going to be the object of anybody’s lust.