Sunday, March 27, 2016

The Culture of Chastity-shaming

Fulton Sheen aptly diagnosed the modern sexual situation: “Sex is thought about as a medium of pleasure to such a degree that it has become an obsession.” Even in our sex-saturated culture, student organizations like the Love and Fidelity Network have formed in reaction to the college culture, which masks sexual libertinism in Slut Walks and speech against “slut-shaming”—efforts that often only lead to “chastity shaming” instead. Even women well versed in feminist theory find pop culture’s presentation of feminism unsatisfying, with its insistence on the bifurcation of the self—dividing the physical from the personal and the emotional from the sexual. . . .

The body is not merely our possession: It is a sacred property created and preserved by God. As temples of the Holy Spirit, created in the image of God, we are reflections of the divine. If our bodies were merely instruments, then pornography, sex trafficking, and slavery would be legitimate uses of the body. Yet as Fulton Sheen writes, “sex instinct in a pig and love in a person are not the same, precisely because love is found in the will, not in the glands—and will does not exist in a pig.”

To reduce our sexual being to a merely animalistic instinct is to diminish an integral aspect of the human person. Our sexual identity is bound up with much more than our glands: It is inseparable from our personalities, and most importantly, it is sanctioned by the will. The willed “yes” of spouses is so much more than sex between two animals. “One of the noblest projects of the race,” R.F. Trevett writes, “the subordination of the sexual passions to love and to generation through love—has been approved, ratified, consecrated, assumed into the union of Christ with mankind.” The human emotions tied to the sexual act go far beyond mere pleasure and pain, but instead include our most profound part: the spirit.

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