Love and Sex
I was at a chastity talk a few weeks back and the speaker said that sex is sacred. I believe that – I really do. My question is that if love makes sex more than just a physical act…if love makes sex sacred, how come the Church says it’s only for a man and woman?
You’re asking a lot and suggesting a lot in your question. I’m glad you’re asking this question.
Let’s break this down one line at a time, so we don’t miss each other.
I was at a chastity talk a few weeks back and the speaker said that sex is sacred.
Good. I mean that – it’s good that you went to a chastity talk (I hope it was a good one – I’ve been to very good ones and very bad ones in my lifetime). Also, it’s good that the speaker said that sex is sacred, because it absolutely is sacred.
I believe that – I really do.
Good. Don’t ever let that belief be compromised, not even in moments of temptation – stay rooted and confident in that truth that sex is sacred.
My question is that if love makes sex more than just a physical act…
Okay, we need to stop at this part of the sentence before we go on any further. Sex is absolutely more than a physical act, yes. Sex has two purposes – the unitive (bringing a married man and woman even closer together) and procreative (open to the possibility of creating life with God).
It’s important, though, that we make a clear distinction here…love is not what makes sex sacred…at least, not “love” in the sense most people think. You see, sex between animals is not sacred but sex between people is sacred. Pigs having sex is not sacred but people having sex is sacred.
Why, you may ask?
Humans are sacred. We are God’s children. We are made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). It’s not just that a man and woman are “making sex” is that they are potentially “making humans” and there is nothing more sacred than human life (Psalm 139:14-16, Jeremiah 1:4-8).
We are mammals, yes, but we are not the same as animals. By virtue of our intellect and our free will, we are made distinctively different from the animals, we reflect the image and likeness of not only our Creator, but of our Heavenly Father, Who is all holy, all perfect and all sacred.
Human sexuality is not about what we receive, but what we give...in other words, when we reduce sex merely to an act that elicits pleasure, sex has been stripped of its dignity - the end result is use...plain and simple.
Sex is a language between a man and a woman, a forever language which is what necessitates a forever covenant before it should be entered into. And...sex has purpose. When there is no possibility of human life that purpose becomes use. Life is SO sacred to God that an openness to life is even one of the Matrimonial vows before God, the Church and the witnesses.
…if love makes sex sacred, how come the Church says it’s only for a man and woman?
God invented marriage. God invented families. God invented sex. These things come from God, not man. The Church is the guardian of God’s truth. The Church helps us understand what God did (and does). The Church guards the truth of what marriage is supposed to be. The Church doesn’t bend to popular opinion, political polls, selfishness or sin. The Church couldn’t even if She wanted to, because the Church doesn’t “make up” these truths…She upholds them, because the truth comes from Christ, from God Himself.
Regardless of what any state government (or country) says, marriage is between a man and woman.
That being said, the Roman Catholic Church cannot recognize a same sex relationship as a marriage simply because it is not marriage. Marriage is more than a contract - it is a covenant, a covenant designed by (and given to us by) God, Himself. It is a covenant He ordained for a man and woman, to be an outward sign of how Christ (the groom) loves His Church (the bride) and vice versa. The term the Catholic Church uses for the Sacrament is Holy Matrimony - Matrimony means "the way of making a mother".
Premarital sex is a sin against chastity. Chastity is not abstinence (not having sex). Chastity is the proper integration of the flesh and the soul.
To quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, chastity is the "successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being" (CCC 2337).
Chastity is a virtue - it calls us (though sinful and imperfect) to something more, something higher, something selfless. Virtues are how man seeks moral perfection - virtues are what push us on out of selfishness toward selflessness and holiness.
IF a Christian really desires to be like Christ, they must desire holiness. If they desire holiness, they must "put away the deeds of the flesh" as St. Paul told us. Christ came to restore creation to the purity of its origins, not empower selfishness at every turn.
But don’t take my word for it…
Read what the Scriptures have to say on the subject…
Rom. 8:5-7, 12:1-2, 13:14
1 Cor. 6:9-20
Eph. 2:3, 5:22-32
1 Timothy 5:22
Or, how about a Chastity Bible Study…
Or you can read more of the linked archive articles below.
In any case, know that sexuality is a great gift of God. Sex is an amazing gift of God and the Church proudly proclaims how incredible and beautiful sex is…in the proper context and relationship of Sacramentally-committed “love” between a husband and wife, both sacred creatures of God, open to acting as co-creators with Him, in selfless love.
Thanks for the question…I pray that the answer, the verses and the Catechism references offered here find an open heart in you.
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