O Lord Thou shalt open my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

If Only Sex Wasn't Pleasurable

Icon of the Maternity of St. Anne, also known as the Immaculate
Conception. Its elements are St. Joachim, St. Anne, and a
marriage bed. The Theotokos was conceived in the natural
manner, so how pious and holy must that act have been if it had
the capacity to beget the Immaculate Conception herself? How
much self-control over their passions must they have had?
Pray to them for chastity and the sanctification of marriage.
The worst part about sex, the part that is our greatest downfall as a species, is the fact that the conjugal act is physically pleasurable. So many of our problems are caused by that fact. From broken hearts, to broken relationships, to broken marriages, to broken families, all because people are after sexual pleasure and manipulate those around them to get it. Not to mention the worst result of seeking sexual pleasure: eternal damnation; because you are then not just abandoning God in favor of worldly pleasure, but the premier worldly pleasure on top of that (anyone who says you can have it both ways is delusional.)

Indeed the sexual act would be far superior if it was mundane and not physically stimulating. The same act, but not providing any physical pleasure. Now, I cannot say if the carnal pleasure that accompanies sex was always a part of our human nature or if it is a result of original sin, but we would be far better off as a species if sex was not physically stimulating and provided no pleasure. The sin of lust and the manipulation that comes with it would disappear. All the many forms of the sin of lust such as acts that cannot lead to conception (oral sex, masturbation, sodomy, etc.) as well as pornography, prostitution, and so on would disappear together with the sin of contraception and the sin of abortion, for at that point, with the sexual act being mundane and lacking pleasure, only those truly interested in bearing children would even perform it. The only reason why any of those sins exist is because of sexual pleasure. Those sins also constitute the majority of the sins committed in the world. Bl. Jacinta of Fatima said that souls fall into hell like snowflakes because of sins of the flesh and the Mother of God told her that more people go to hell for sins of the flesh than any other reason.

So why would the sexual act causing no stimulation be such an improvement? What are we trying to get at? What's the big idea? Consider the Carnal Intimacy between Christ and His Bride: the Holy Eucharist. It is a mundane physical act that provides very little stimulation of any kind. It is the consumption of a small piece of ritual bread soaked in ritual wine (in the Western Rites, only the bread). The senses are barely stimulated at all and sense only mundane food. Only the intellect knows that It is the Flesh of God. It is a great power and reality we have, the ability to be physically intimate with Christ Our Bridegroom in the Divine Mysteries. Thank God that it is a physically mundane act with no physical pleasure, or else people would be grabbing Holy Communion sacrilegiously and in large quantities, only for their own physical pleasure in extreme degrees, with no regard for God, in a manner not unlike...well...the pursuit of sexual pleasure. How glorious it is that the Carnal Intimacy between Christ and His Bride is physically mundane, so that it is left aside and not abused by those who are worldly and do not love God. (Sadly, the Divine Mysteries are abused by those with false theology about the Eucharist and liturgy, but that's a topic for another day.)

The sexual faculties are a great, magnificent, awe-inspiring power, too great to be trusted to us humans. They exist to beget new life and to make the couple an icon of Christ and His Bride the Church. They are degraded by the fact that the sexual act is physically pleasurable. That causes virtually all humans to abuse their sexual faculties, turn them against their purpose, and abuse them for pleasure. How much more glorious would conjugal love be if it was a mundane and non-stimulating physical act like the reception of Holy Communion! It would mirror the Conjugal Love of Christ and the Church by being mundane physically, and by not arousing the physical passions, leave the soul soul be free to seek its intimacy. How free for prayer in their self-giving would couples be! Sin exists to impede our union with God and lust is the sin par excellence for it impedes our sexual faculties, our natural ability to imitate Christ. Indeed lust causes more damnations than any other sin. If Satan is going to hate anything, it's our natural ability to imitate Christ's self-giving; not an acquired power, but a natural power that we are all born with.

Marriage is the sacrifice of yourself to God to bring your spouse to Heaven. You give your entire self to take care of your spouse, even your very body. The sexual act is the pinnacle and symbol of marriage. It symbolizes the entire giving of your life to your spouse and is the pinnacle of the giving of your entire life to your spouse. That's what makes marriage a sacrament. (A sacrament is a symbol that brings into reality that which it symbolizes. Baptism is a physical washing that symbolizes and causes a spiritual washing. Imagine a stop sign that physically causes you to stop.) Marriage is a verbal (in church) and physical (in the marriage bed) giving of yourself that symbolizes and effects the giving of your entire life. That's why divorce is impossible, you have given your entire life. It is a sacrifice of yourself to the Father to get your spouse to Heaven. It is an imitation of Christ sacrificing Himself to the Father to get His Bride to Heaven. That is why the Holy Cross is called the "Marriage Bed of the Church": it is where Christ sacrificed Himself and it is what is present in the Eucharist, the Physical Intimacy of Christ and His Bride. The physical intimacy of bridegroom and bride within this sacrifice is virtuous, since it is self-less and seeks the salvation of the other. All other sexual acts are sinful, regardless of gender, marital status, consent-without discrimination they are all sinful-for none of them seek the salvation of the other, but physical pleasure and are all degradations of marriage and the sexual faculties.