Loyal SEX

The Place of Sex in Life

Everything we recommend in this book is likely to turn both-person out to be too conservative.  When we consider the fantastic pace of change in the Roman Catholic Church  over the past  three years, we can hardly expect  a steady evolution of faith and morals.  When we consider that these changes are not merely in doctrinal niceties  but reach  right down  into everyday  ethics we are warned to prepare for stormy weather for our own emotional   ships.  The extent to which  the sexual revolt has been instrumental in forcing the top-to-bottom reform of the Roman Church will  never be known fully.  But it has certainly played- and still plays – a major  part.  When thousands  of clergy reported mass defection from the Church’s  edicts on contraception, when the Catholic hierarchy finally dug its head out of the  sand to find that the population explosion was no mirage conjured up by anti-papists, it  became clear that a major reshuffle of the  Roman Church’s stand on the place of  solosex in life was at hand.
            It is not necessary here to bemoan or berate the Church’s sanctification of society’s errors on the place of sex in life for many centuries.* But at the same time we must not pass them by too easily. Let Christians face squarely the face-fact that much of what Christian authority passed off as God’s revealed truth was in fact human error with a Pauline flavor. Let us remember this fact every time we hear a solemn assertion about this or that being God’s will or the Christian ethic. And while some patterns may no doubt be attributed rightly to protests against particular cultural excesses, ‘the world sees in such rebuttals only defensiveness. It surely takes no great humility to admit that since Augustine the entire attitude of the Church on sex had been colored by a fundamental error in understanding the place of sex in life. It is now admitted on all sides that sexual love or sex urges are, then, not the worst of sins, not the commonest sin, nor indeed sin at all. The sex instinct is now widely acknowledged as not existing for procreation alone: nor is one of the chief reasons for marriage that it is a protective device against sexual sins.
Man’s sexual nature is part of the beauty of God’s creation. We assert that our sexuality is at once an appetite, a source of pleasure, and a means of communication.
There is no doubt whatsoever about the sheer biological need for sexual expression. Nor is there doubt about the fact that this hunger is similar to other hungers-in that it is appeased by expression. Nor is there doubt about the fact that the need for sex is different from the necessity for food or drink since man can exist and thrive without any physical sexual expression for long periods. Further, the variation of this need from person to person, with age and with circumstance, is infinitely greater than variation in the need for food. There appears to be every reason to believe that the Creator intended the regular satisfaction of this sexual need as the normal mode of existence. All animals and all human societies are geared to provide such satisfaction for the vast majority, at least of the males. The voluntary celibate life and the involuntarily sexually deprived life are either self-chosen denials of potential value or infelicities of very doubtful value. But they do show that sublimation of sexual desire is possible and possibly creative. Moreover, the very existence of most of the world’s civilized societies of the last two or three millennia in which the sexual appetite has not been allowed free heterosexual expression, prove that at least for those particular circumstance the postponement of sexual expression to an age often beyond the period of maximum appetite, and its circumscription beyond that age, did not damage irreparably the creativity of a society. We do not know whether a more permissive society-attitude would have been more creative or less, but we do know that this biological drive can be psychologically controlled. On the other hand, we cannot be led to state that, in our day and culture, with its all-pervading sexual stimulation and its available control of conception, such sublimation is equally possible, and equally useful.