Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Dreadfully Misguided Approach to Sexuality

I think I find it as hard to resist online discussions about contraception as Sonny the Cuckoo Bird finds it to resist Cocoa Puffs.

A few days ago my friend and co-worker Matt Yonke posted on his blog simply a few words from Sigmund Freud in which Freud noted that "the abandonment of the reproductive function is the common feature of all perversions".

In the combox, somebody said that quoting Freud on contraception as a way of attempting to show that contraception is bad was "a dead end".

To which I said:

As for Joshua’s comment that “quoting Freud is a dead end”, I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there.

I’m of the opinion that credit ought to be given where credit is due, and intellectual honesty is worthy of credit. Here, Freud is telling it like it is.

I for one am flummoxed by the attitude taken by many Christians — even many self-styled “conservative Christians” — who have, for all intents and purposes, adopted a just-about-anything-goes-now-that-we’re-married attitude toward sex.

Ironically, perhaps, Freud understood what such as these don’t.


The link above is to an article about one Joe Beam, a Protestant minister whose ostensible raison d'etre is to go around and encourage Christian couples to "have hotter sex".

From the article:

But he [Beam] argues that if the Bible does not forbid it, you can do it. So bring on masturbation. Try any position in the Kama Sutra (but refer to drawings, please, not pictures of real people). Wife away on business? Have phone sex. Birth control is good. Even anal sex is OK if (and Beam believes this is a big if) it does no harm to the body.

Another comboxer asked (out of genuine curiosity) if I objected to Beam's general thesis or just some of his specific recommendations.

To which I said:

I’d say both. I primarily object to his general thesis. It sort of naturally follows that specific recommendations based on said thesis would also be objectionable.

His whole approach to sex is almost hopelessly misguided. One thing we must all remember is that sexual matters — especially in our pornified culture — must be addressed very, very carefully, and prudently. Remember, there’s a reason prudence is regarded as the “charioteer of the virtues”.

One of the (few, it seems) no-nos, according to Beam, is that one must have “no lust for people other than your spouse”. (Of course, one shouldn’t lust after one’s own spouse, either, but that’s a whole other can of worms — which, of course, is addressed in the Theology of the Body.)

And yet, Beam conducts seminars where he talks in great detail about sex positions, oral sex, phone sex, masturbation, etc., etc., etc.

Does he honestly expect that what with such discussion, and with all the couples in the room, and all the hormones and the pheromones flowing therein, that the men in the room (some of them? many of them? dare I say all of them?) are going to be able to resist the gravitational-like pull to lust after at least *one* other woman in their vicinity?

I second Matt’s recommendation of Christopher West’s writings. I’ve not read “ToB Explained”, but I have read some other stuff of his, and I too find it excellent.

In one of his books — I think it was “The Good News about Sex and Marriage”, he pithily explains why it’s absolutely essential for every sexual act within a marriage to be open to procreation.

I’m paraphrasing here, but the gyst of what he said is this:

The one-flesh union is a physical expression of a couple’s marriage commitment. In a very real sense, when a couple engages in one-flesh union, they are renewing their wedding vows, an essential component of which is to accept children lovingly from God (cf. Gen. 1:28, 2:24; Luke 1:38).

Just as it would be wrong for a couple to claim that they can be “faithful” to each other throughout their marriage without each and every sexual act to be with each other, so it is also wrong for a couple to claim that their marriage can be open to the possibility of children without each and every sexual act being so.

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