Thursday, March 17, 2011

When comments haunt your dreams

If you were keeping track, tonight was our sixth Theology of the Body class... but I will publish the write-up on that this weekend. I have something else to share today...

Homeboy McCoy wrote a comment on Tuesday's Bright Maidens post that stirred thought in my mind and the minds of my Bright Maiden cohorts. We think it needs addressing.

Are the three of you currently single? Just to play devil's advocate, perhaps you can invite an unmarried practical Catholic woman in a steady relationship to share her thoughts on these issues. 

I'm reminded of a quote from St. Jerome: "When the stomach is full, it is easy to speak of fasting."

She may have a perspective on the difficulties of remaining faithful to the teachings of Mother Church while grappling with sexual energy. Because love does weird things to your resolve.

My first reaction was a little unfavorable, I must be honest
Julie responded:  
Well, I'll start: No, I am not single and yes, it is definitely difficult to grapple with one's sexual energy when you really, really like a person. But it is possible, as everything is possible with God, and especially when the couple makes communication a priority. It also helps that we are both Catholic (and have the same understanding of human sexuality vs. a past person who liked to tell me how sexually repressed I was because I would not give into his pressures).

I don't really think of single people as having a full stomach- there is an ache to singleness. Love does come with its own complications, but there is a beauty in chaste love that is difficult to grasp when one already has bit the apple, so to speak.

And then Trista responded:  
I agree that it would be interesting to have the perspective of an "unmarried practical Catholic woman in a steady relationship," but that's not needed or a qualifier for the three of us to give our take on contraception and sexuality. ALL of us have sexual energy that we are dealing with and have dealt with in the past, in relationships with attractive, handsome men whom we were crazy about.

(I don't own the rights)
I echo my friends' sentiments. To reiterate the idea behind the blog: we are young, unmarried Catholic women. I love me some mommy blogs, but that's not our niche.

Priests and celibate religious talk about NFP and sex. I teach and write about Theology of the Body on this blog. The teachings on sexuality and contraception are not topics that only people facing temptations can discuss.

I understand the suggestion was to help balance our take on the topic, but I'm here to say I think we have our bases pretty well covered.

We live in a hook-up culture and our age group is most-affected by this moral relativism, while single or within a relationship. I have faced and failed in the carnal temptations in my past. There are mistakes I live with everyday, even everyday I'm single.

Just like a mother teaches her teenage daughter to learn and set up her boundaries on this topic, we must make these decisions before facing those moments of heat.

Loving someone opens a can of wormy temptation; I've lived it. This is precisely why we need to determine our resolve at each checkpoint. The three of us are dating and getting to know men and we have made these decisions about our sexuality, no matter our relationship status.

I really appreciate the devil's advocacy; this is our rebuttal.


Leah said...

And it's a great rebuttal. There's no reason to think that you can't discuss temptations before confronting them. Whatever happened to a spirit of preparedness?

Stacy Trasancos said...

Nice job! I speak of fasting on a full stomach, knowing at the time it's easier. :-)

Jackie said...

Good point, though I do think our experience of sexuality is different in every stage of life we are in.

For instance, I would really be interesting to hear the take of a couple who is past childbearing, how once that is off the table it would change concepts of a sexual relationship and all.

But I don't know any 60+ bloggers who talk about their sex lives!

Homeboy McCoy said...

Here's the reason I brought this up. (And this is because that gnarly psych exam I just took stirred my brain in regards to understanding my own sexuality.)

If things were different and I was dating or in a relationship, I can honestly say I won't ask Eve for a "bite of the apple." Yup, even when I was touring with my band, I didn't go chasing tail as some of my band mates did. I was a good Catholic boy.

But... if Eve, in her free will, offered me a bite of the apple, I don't think I'll have the will to turn her down. As what happened in my last relationship.

What I was getting at is it's easier to live according to the teachings of the Church when it's not a present and pervasive temptation. Like in Lent, how it's easy to not eat chocolate when you don't regularly eat chocolate anyway.

Well, you three are presently dating, so here is me putting my foot in my mouth! They're some lucky guys.

Elizabeth said...

The Bright Maiden ladies thank y'all, Leah and Stacy. (I'm not going to correct my southernness there...)

Jackie-hahaha you're too funny. Yeah, I don't know any of that breed either. I know you're right, we do experience differences in sexuality and sexual temptation challenges.

Homeboy- I understand your objective with your comment and I thank you for bringing it up! We value your opinion. Your comment definitely made me think more on this subject.

Anthony S. Layne said...

@ Homeboy: Just one single Catholic male to another ... the hormonal mix does tend to make us more sexually agressive than women, and the peptides released even in the gentle act of kissing tends to impair judgment a bit. So, in general, we do men have a bit more of a challenge and concomitant responsibility when it comes to sexual continence. However, it also gives us a bright-line measure of one component of true masculine strength, as well as a component of true humanity—the exercise of free will over corporal urges. Any animal can and will have sex when possessed of the urge; it takes a human being to not have sex when confronted by the urge. You could say, the more a guy is a "dog", the less he is of a man.

Lisa Schmidt said...

Love that quote from Saint Jerome.

Great job, Liz. Is it strange to say "I'm so proud of you"? Well if it is, I don't care. I am! You three are doing awesome work.

No need to "balance" the conversation when that "balance" just might be a near occasion of sin that eventually leads people down a destructive, sinful path.

Keep on, sister!

bleusmon said...

Jackie, you're about to hear from an over 60 combox lurker talking (a little) about his sex life - so caution! :-)

I lived outside the Church for over 30 years precisely because I wanted no interference in my chosen path to engage sexually with as many women as possible. There's much that can be admitted about the sin involved, and also that I have nothing to show for that choice - until I returned to the Church 8 years ago (now I have something to show for that). Even then I didn't enter chastity until 5 years ago - old patterns are indeed hard to surrender - but surrender is the name of the game, isn't it?

Here's my contribution to this great post. Last year I was in a phone conversation with a woman serious about her Catholic faith about the prospect of meeting in person after contact via a Catholic dating site (not all that, either). I had been chaste about 4 years, but since I had temporarily set aside pursuing relationships because of necessarily different activities, my commitment had not been put to the test. She warned me to make no assumptions about my ability to stay chaste once I entered a relationship lest I be blindsided by what had happened to her; that emotional involvement with a beloved will often lead to great temptation when the associated sexual dynamic is activiated - as it almost always will be, even by the emotional connection alone.

Men and women both must EXPECT this and help each other remain firm in their resolve, and if they embrace a proper understanding of love (as explained by John Paul II) then each will be able to place the well-being of the other over their own well-being and desires - and keep chastity until marriage or an appropriate end to the relationship.

God bless you all - you're doing great work. I wish I had had TOB when I was a young man, but I'm living it out now.

Post a Comment

Considering commenting? Indulge the urge!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...