Sex For The Simple-Minded

May 6 2012 @ 9:48pm

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Jo McGowan takes on the crude view of sex peddled by some Catholic priests as the contraception debacle unfolded. In particular, she addresses Father Roger Landry (celibate, of course), who thought the use of contraception amounted to the rejection of the "paternal and maternal leaning" that, for him, defines, or is the point of, sex:

He is wrong, though, to assume that using contraception automatically makes “pleasure the point of the act.” This is how adolescents think. Teenagers dream of constantly available sex, uninhibited by any possibility of pregnancy. That priests would talk the same way about sex between a husband and wife who have chosen to use contraception reflects inexperience and adolescent projection.

Adults understand that good sex, with or without contraception, goes deeper than pleasure. It is complex and demanding. And pleasure isn’t necessarily a part of it. Any human encounter requiring honesty and surrender has the potential for both revelation and pain. The communication, healing, and strengthening that good sex ensures is foundational to a marriage. Pure pleasure the point of the act? What is Fr. Landry talking about?

The word "adolescent" is the key one here. That is where most priests' sexual understanding began and ended. It may be why some find themselves attracted to adolescents. Until we have female and married priests, Catholic sexual teaching will remain as abstract as it is immature.

(Photo: Dana Dunham, Zenfolio.)