The other day, a friend shared an article with me with the title, “Why Married People Have the Best Sex”. True enough. The article went on to make some valid points, but this is the statement that really got my attention: “You must cultivate the erotics; give meaning to sex,” according to psychotherapist and couples’ sex expert Esther Perel, whose findings were the basis of the article.
“Give meaning to sex”…hmm. Actually, that’s already been done. Sex had (and has) a very specific (and incredible, transcendental) meaning from the very beginning. And therein, I suspect, is at the root of why there is now such confusion about marriage, too.
An appeal to natural law might be in order here. Why are so many people up in arms over GMOs these days? When it comes right down to it, they’re worried that foods manipulated to be something they weren’t designed for might be harmful to us. Instinctively, we know that we’re playing with fire when we twist, contort, and misuse a ‘good’ provided by nature.
Sex has meaning, and yet our society puts a great deal of effort into twisting, contorting and misusing it for all manner of purposes not in line with its design. Is it good that sex should be pleasurable? Sure. It was designed that way so that we’d be interested in it. (Really. God actually wants us to enjoy sex!) However, the pleasure is a secondary benefit – not a purpose in and of itself.
Dr. Perel is stating something that is quite true when she says that when sex has meaning, the couple enjoys it more. She gives little or no indication of what that meaning IS, though. Again, pleasure is a secondary benefit. Its primary benefits (and purpose) are two-fold: the unitive and the procreative. Sex is a language between a man and a woman that says to each other, “I give myself fully, freely, and faithfully to you, and with this act I’m committing myself to you for the rest of my life.” Sex bonds a couple, even if their words say otherwise. Their bodies are making a physical and physiological connection to each other. (More on that physiological connection in a future blogpost.) The two become one flesh.
One flesh. That’s as unified as you can get. But the unitive is only one part. Sex is fruitful – it’s procreative. It gives life to the relationship, as well as possibly giving life to a new image of God, who will live for all eternity. Through sex, we are afforded the incredible gift of being co-creators with God!
But what happens when all this happens outside of marriage? It’s a lie. The bodies are saying, “I do”, but the words are not forthcoming. It has the effect of the two saying to each other, “This is all well-and-good for now, but I don’t really want you fully (certainly not your fertility!). I’m not giving myself freely, as I might end up with other plans. I may be faithful, but maybe not, and ‘til death do us part? Um, I’m not really down with that right now.
So again, why do married couples have better sex? Some don’t, quite frankly. Many married couples don’t recognize and honor this profound meaning of both sex and marriage. But many do. What does it say to a woman who knows unequivocally that her man is totally committed to her for life, and wants to give himself fully to her, and who wants ALL of her, including her fertility? A deep-seated yearning is filled. A trust is forged. The bond that takes place is brought to a whole new level, and the pleasure that comes from that is naturally enhanced.
In the article, Dr. Perel says, “you must cultivate the erotics…”. But again, she leaves us hanging as to what that means. (I suspect she is still wondering, herself.) Christopher West references the former Pope – Benedict XVI in filling the gap here. “In order to restore erotic love’s true grandeur, he (Pope B16) argues that we must experience the purification of eros (human, erotic love) by agape (divine, sacrificial love). As this happens, eros is able ‘to provide not just fleeting pleasure, but a certain foretaste of the pinnacle of our existence, of that beatitude for which our whole being yearns.’”
Mr. West has also often said that God has a banquet waiting for us. Why would we choose to eat from the dumpster? Say ‘no’ to GMO sex. Go organic. You deserve that.
P.S. If you’d like to find out more about HOW our culture got to the point of seriously misusing God’s gift of sexuality, WHO played the most significant role in presenting a false vision of sex, and WHAT you can do about it, I encourage you to register for the Fall Semester of Family Honor’s online course, “The Truth and Meaning of Sexuality, Love and Family”. Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org for details.