While driving home from Thanksgiving grocery shopping, I decided to skim through radio stations, to find some music to fit my cheerful mood. A catchy song started playing, and I heard the following words: “Hunt you down eat you alive/Just like animals/animals.” I switched the station—only to hear the same song playing on that station. Switching off the radio, my mind started to spin. Can women only hope for this—being preyed on by some animal? Is the music world trying to tell me that this is what a relationship should be?
I’m sure very few—if any—women out there would choose being “prey” over being “loved.” Yet this is happening over and over in our world. The culture is trying to turn us into animals. Let’s just look at the basics. Generally speaking, if an animal is in heat, what happens? It has sex. No further reasoning, the animal does what it is predisposed to do. According to society, if two people desire sexual fulfillment—they don’t even necessarily need to love each other—what happens? They use contraception and have sex. The whole culture of “swinging,” one-night stands, and overly physical dating relationships can all point back to this “animal” mentality. Instinctive and self-centered, these kinds of encounters will never lead to true fulfillment—because as human persons, we are made for more.
I want to be fulfilled. I want to be set apart from the animals at the zoo. I want to be loved for who I am, and not be seen as some object to be devoured by an “animal.” I want to experience the “more” that I am made for. After all, as a human person, I don’t have to be like the animals. I can reason and will to do (or not do) things in a way that animals cannot (no matter how smart they are). I can choose to give myself sacrificially to my husband. I can choose to not be ruled by my instincts or emotions. I can choose to be chaste.
Chastity isn’t a mold that will destroy who you are. Rather, chastity will help you become who you were made to be. It will help you see that you are a unique individual, worthy of another’s self-gift. Chastity sets you apart from the animals; by having mastery over yourself, and saving yourself for your spouse in marriage, you reach a higher level of love than any animal could experience. Yes, chastity requires sacrifice, and this isn’t easy. When you have strong passions and desires for union with another person, it can be difficult to abstain from sex or impure behaviors. But chastity doesn’t hinder your passions and ability to love; rather, it frees your love. As Karol Wojyta wrote in Love and Responsibility, “Chastity can only be thought of in association with the virtue of love. Its function is to free love from the utilitarian attitude.”
Chastity helps you to become more of a person; plus, it enables you to see other people for their true value and worth as persons, and not as objects for sexual “fulfillment” or enjoyment. St. John Paul II states that sexual union “carries within itself a particular awareness of the meaning of the body in the reciprocal self-gift of the persons.” In his he continued to state that “Man can become a gift—that is, man and woman can exist in the relationship of the reciprocal gift of self—if each of them masters himself.
Even if everyone around you seems to fit the “animal” image, that doesn’t mean you should degrade yourself and stoop to that level. Regain who you are made to be, and rise up above the animalism that society pushes on you. Discover what it means to give of yourself in true, sacrificial love. Recognize your intrinsic value that demands love—and not lust—from another person. Maroon 5 may tell us we’re “just like animals,” but we know we’re better than that. Let’s start practicing chastity to regain true relationships of love and a better sense of our humanity.
AnneMarie Miller studies Theology and English at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has a passion for the Catholic Faith, chastity, St. Francis of Assisi, and frolicking around barefoot. In August 2013, she was blessed to marry her incredible husband, and the two of them enjoy the epic adventures of married college life. When she’s not doing homework, housework, cooking, or playing chess, AnneMarie reflects on life’s beauty and random observations on her blog, Sacrifice of Love (http://marianninja.blogspot.com).