Understanding sexuality is crucial to understanding God, ourselves and others. In fact, our take on sexuality impacts so much of our lives: how we live, our happiness, the future of humanity, and even our readiness for heaven.
Sexuality According to Our Culture
Pinning down a single cultural definition of sexuality is difficult, but looking at the depictions and attitudes that about in Hollywood, online, in music, and even among our peers provies a common thread:
My sexuality is all about me, and the goal of sex is for me to experience sexual release. Sexuality is such a driving and powerful force that sexual release is a necessity, and I have the right to experiencing that release however I want.
This narcissistic (it's all about me), hedonistic (it's all about pleasure) and relativistic (no one is ever wrong) cultural attitude leads to a culture full of selfish, pleasure seeking, impulse driven individuals. You may recognize this cultural attitude toward sexuality in one of it's many mantras...Read More
Sexuality According to Biology
The cultural attitude toward sexuality has lead many to completely disregarded biology as insignificant. The physical realities and basic biological requirements of sexual union are rejected as hedonistic desires take over. For example, the belief that we have a right to get what we want has led couples struggling with infertility, believing that they have a right to a child, to pursue in vitro fertilization, surrogacy and other methods of conceiving that ignore the biological requirement of sexual intercourse.
The culture denies the procreative aspects of sex, promoting control of fertility. The biological fact is that getting pregnant is a biological effect of sexual intercourse. The culture denies the definition of marriage between one man and one woman. The biological fact is that it takes a man and a woman to conceive a child. The culture wants to diminish the unitive aspects of sex, substituting 'pleasure' for 'union.' The biological brain science of neurochemicals released during sex demonstrates that peaceful, fruitful union can only be experienced within the context of a marriage relationship...Read More
God's Plan for Sexuality
Discovering the Divine purpose of sexuality transforms the very nature of sex itself. Going "back to the beginning," we can discover in the Genesis account of the Garden of Eden, God's original plan for intimacy. We are made in the image and likeness of God who is a communion (a Trinity) of love. Because we are created in the image of this beautiful and perfect communion of love, we long for love, we long for community, and we long for union. On the deepest level we long for union with our Creator – this is the eternal destiny to which we are invited. Our sexuality points us to heaven, which is union with God. However, God does not make us spend this entire life on earth waiting and hoping and longing.
He gives us our sexuality as a means through which we can experience a taste of that union here on earth. He gives us a desire for human love and for physical intimacy—God gives us the desire for sex. God gives all men and women erotic energy, which we call the sex drive. We have a passionate inheritance! This is good, and it creates part of the attraction between men and women that forms part of the nuptial meaning of the body. The full meaning of human sexuality is directed towards a loving relationship...Read More
Unhealthy Sexual Behaviors
Our sexuality is a gift from God. Once it is understood as a reflection of who God is and who we have been created to be in God's image, it becomes our gift back to God and to our neighbor. If we receive it, learn and live it – all the while relying on God's help – we will find that we are on the path to true freedom and abiding joy. Whenever sexuality is turned away from the imitation and reflection of the life-creating love of the Trinity (away from love), the individual misses out on the purpose for which he or she was created.
The lustful man says he wants a woman, but in reality "he wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus." 2
Unhealthy sexual behaviors that are focused on selfish desires and personal pleasure are a counterfiet to love--lust. Blessed John Paul II says that the opposite of love is not hate, it is lust.
"Utilitarianism, based on an individualistic understanding of freedom — a freedom without responsibilities — is the opposite of love." 1
Any form of self gratification violates comes from a place of lust, not love. Pornography, masturbation, sex addiction, and other unhealthy sexual behaviors represent the destruction of the meaning and purpose of our sexuality. Sex is not just a love act, it is also a life act. Sex is the sacred space of God. Sex is where God likes to work to continue His gift of creation. Sex is an act that may result in a new human being coming into existence. When lust replaces love and fantasy replaces reality, death replaces life and darkness replaces light.
Reclaim God's Plan for Your Sexuality
Your unhealthy sexual behaviors are based on a specific way of thinking and behaving that has developed over time through repetition. But these addictions do not define who you truly are — it's not you! You are a child of God, loved unconditionally by your Heavenly Father. You have dignity and worth beyond measure. God has given you a way out of these unhealthy sexual behaviors.
The recovery journey will be a constant challenge to trust God more. It will require dependence on Christ as you let go of the old habitual, unhealthy behaviors and begin new behaviors that are pure, healthy and life-giving. Trust in God's plan is critical to your recovery. St. Augustine said that "we believe in order to understand; we don't understand in order to believe."
A person's struggle to attain the virtue of purity is pleasing in God's sight, and any form of discouragement should be avoided. As you work through this program of recovery, keep in mind that discouragement is the work of the devil. When you feel discouragement, call upon the Holy Spirit to give you encouragement. To reclaim our sexual health, we must go to Jesus and ask for his mercy. Catholics can go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to confess sins and receive the forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Remember, nothing separates us from the love of Christ.
Everything you need to be completely and permanently free of unhealthy behaviors is already built-in to the very structure of your brain by your Creator, in combination with God's grace given in the sacraments and other faith practices. RECLAiM resources and the Online Recovery Program can teach you how to use this way out.
1. Pope John Paul II, Letter to Families, 1994.
2. Lewis, C.S., A Grief Observed (New York: Bantam, 1976), p. 50.