Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Sex Stories

There are a lot of stories out there trying to attack Christian sexual morality. Personal testimonies that say I did something that Christians say is good and got a bad result or I did something Christians say is bad and got a good result. For example there is My Virginity Mistake at Salon.
Had we had sex before our relationship transitioned into a contract, I would have known that there was no passion, no spark, nothing happening between our bodies. I would never have agreed to marry him because sex is a significant part of a relationship and therefore a significant part of our relationship was failing. With the failure of our sex life, I felt like less of a woman, no longer a sexual creature but more of a plant. Sitting there, day in, day out, wilting while I waited for someone to take care of me.
Without having sex before marriage, I blindly walked up an aisle and committed myself to a man who didn’t know me and gave my long-held virginity to someone with whom I had no more chemistry than a second cousin.
It is a sad story. She tells it very well. She does some things right. Yet she does many things wrong. She uses contraceptives.  She talks about being pushed into marriage. She has divorce in her head on day one of her marriage. So if you think about Catholic theology that every marriage should be free, total, faithful, fruitful. Waiting with sex gives her faithful but she is missing the other three. So when she has a bad result she blames it on the one thing she does right rather than the many things she did wrong. That is a bit strange.

Yet in some ways it is not that strange. Sometimes Christians put such an emphasis on avoiding sex before marriage that people go away thinking that is the whole of Christian sexual morality. If you make it to the altar as a virgin your marriage will be great. It is not that simple. A good marriage still takes effort. Even a good sex life does not just happen automatically. The point is you are supposed to have a solid relationship to deal with any issues. It is not that there things will be easy.

The motivation for dealing with problems does not come from just wanting great sex. It also comes from knowing this relationship is for life and knowing you will have to raise children together. Those are two things she didn't have. It is so much easier to say this is not working lets just get divorced. It is especially easy when she does not plan to avoid remarriage or even casual sex after a divorce. The last paragraph.
Soon after our divorce, he got remarried to someone who suits him better than I ever could have. And years later, I can confirm that I am not that woman who has no interest in sex. I don’t quilt. I haven’t compiled a grocery list in bed in years, and I now know that sex can be amazing … with a bartender who only knows your first name, a pilot you meet on vacation in Costa Rica and yes, with the right guy – sex in a marriage can be beautiful. The key is to figure that out before you find yourself walking down an aisle in a dress that costs more than the family car (my mother has since reminded me). It isn’t the most important thing when it comes to love. But for me, I learned that sex is important enough not to wait.
This hints at another theme that is common in many of these stories.  That is that good feelings imply you have not made a mistake. Casual sex can feel good. So can drugs. So can murdering someone you hate. A good feeling does not make it moral. The question is not whether it is good but whether it is good enough. Sex is meant for a relationship that is open to life and not open to divorce. That can work through intimate problems and not just take advantage of some short term attraction. The goal is not amazing sex but amazing love.

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