It’s no secret that our secular society has become hostile towards religious views and beliefs.  People who follow most organized religions are viewed as ignorant and unenlightened.  This is especially true for Catholics.  Many believe the Catholic teachings on sexual morality are antiquated and places too much of a burden on people today.  However, it’s these very beliefs that help us understand what healthy relationships and sexuality is all about.

People who struggle with pornography/sex addiction often realize their view of sexuality is skewed and unhealthy.  Thus, their question is, “What is healthy sexuality?”   To understand what healthy sexuality is, we need to ask several important questions.  While Catholic teaching can provide answers to all these questions, secular society falls sadly short.  So, their answers, and thus their entire understanding of sexuality, falls short of being anything close to “healthy.”

Catholic Questions:

  1. What is healthy sexuality?
  2. How were we created as sexual beings?
  3. What is the purpose of sex?
  4. What is God’s plan for human sexuality?

The brief answer to these questions is that sex is meant to unite a husband and wife in a bond of love that mirrors the trinity and God’s love for humanity.  As such it is both unitive and procreative.  This is a special and holy gift that is reserved for marriage.  Every time a married couple engages in intercourse, they renew their wedding vows, strengthen the bond of love between them, and are open to new life.  Through this they give glory to God by participating in His plan for humanity.  For more information on this, read St. John Paul’s Theology of the Body and Love and Responsibility.

Secular Questions:

  1. What is healthy sexuality?
  2. How were we created as sexual beings?
  3. What is the purpose of sex?

Because the world takes a secular view of sex, they cannot inquire about God’s plan for sexuality.  Without this foundation for healthy sexuality, their only answer to all of these questions is “As long as it’s between consenting adults, and no one gets hurt, healthy sex is whatever you want it to be.”  This opens the door to accepting of many deviant and dangerous forms of sexuality, including swinging, homosexuality, bondage, bestiality, fetishes, and in some cultures sex with children.  Thus, the world’s view of healthy sexuality if far from healthy.

This all, of course, is old news in the fallout of the sexual revolution, when sex became a sort of personal right.  The introduction of oral contraceptives reinforced this view.  Now, one didn’t need to worry about pregnancy or even being in a relationship with their “partner.”  Sex was reduced to nothing more than a recreational activity.  Pornography has promoted this view by “normalizing” all forms of deviant sexuality.

The secular view of sexuality has resulted in lives torn apart by addictions, serial infidelity, rampant sexually transmitted diseases, increased abortions, exploitation of minors, and an increase of human trafficking.  While the people who promote this view of sexuality may feel they are enlightened and helping society, they are really plunging it deeper and deeper into hopelessness and despair.

As Catholic men, we need to be more vocal about God’s plan for healthy sexuality.  We need to show how following God’s plan will lead to a life of true joy and happiness.  We need to let our culture see that what they believe is outdated and restrictive is really the path to healthy sexuality.  It is though our actions and words that we can be a source of God’s light and healing on the dark sexual landscape of our culture.

  • Fr. Thomas Cahill

    Thank you, Dr. Kleponis, for giving us further confidence in living and promoting the Catholic teachings on sexuality. A further disastrous affect of the secular view of sexuality, albeit a secondary one, is the psychological/emotional impact on the children of broken homes. Whole families are essential towards a sound society.

    • Wayne Mackenzie

      Question: How does one view then couples who have sexual intercourse after the childbearing years when having children is no longer possible?

      • Richard A

        Unless you're one-half of that hypothetical couple, you probably shouldn't be viewing, or even thinking about, couples having sexual intercourse.

        Ok, as long as you and your wife don't actively do anything to prevent pregnancy from occurring, sexual intercourse still serves the unitive and procreative ends. Same as for healthy couples in their childbearing years who have relations and then do not, in fact, get pregnant as a result. Pregnancy does not have to result for sexual intercourse to serve a procreative end.

      • Wayne Mackenzie

        Thank you, that answers my question.