Sex: What’s the big deal?

“What’s the big deal with sex, anyway?  Why is it important to save sex for marriage?”

These are common questions, and the answer to them tells one of God’s greatest love stories.

Here are 5 reasons sex is a big deal.

1.  Sex is Holy.  
There are two extreme viewpoints about sex: One is that “sex is good with whoever you want.” The other is “sex isn’t good,” but it’s acceptable in marriage only for the sake of having children.

Contrary to both extremes, sex is holy. It is a heavenly affair. God created sex, and lovemaking of a married couple represents Christ’s love for His bride, the Church (Eph. 5).

2.  Sex involves both body and soul.
Our society feeds us a lie that sex involves only our body. Yet, to view sex as purely mechanical is to degrade our humanity. God designed sex to be within the permanent and personal relationship of marriage—not in a “no-strings-attached” relationship.

Sex outside marriage says, “I love you today, but I may not love you tomorrow.” However, sex within marriage says, “I love you so much that we become ‘one,’ both body and soul.” Sex is then “a sign and pledge of spiritual communion.” (CCC 2360.)

3.  Sex is more than recreation—it involves procreation.
Sex isn’t a game—it holds the power to create life. When we separate something from its purpose, it becomes distorted. For example, consider someone who binges and purges on food. This is an abusive relationship with food because eating isn’t meant just for pleasure—it is also meant to nourish our bodies.

In the same way, when sex is not open to life, we abuse the gift of sex because we’re binging on pleasure and purging the possibility of procreation.

4.  Sex is most satisfying within marriage
A common argument for sex before marriage is that the other person has to be “test-driven.” However, a couple’s sex life changes over a lifetime. Just because a “test-drive” was pleasurable, it does not mean that the other person has the ability to form a lasting marriage. Besides, you test drive things, not people.

Sex between a husband and a wife is most satisfying because it involves true intimacy—the intimacy that comes from committing to loving and serving each other forever. It is like a tapestry that becomes more beautiful over time as the couple builds a life together. Children come, jobs change, and the couple grows old together. The tapestry artistically tells a story and gets more beautiful over time.

5.  Sex is about giving, not taking.
What is our society most afraid of? Giving our heart to someone forever. We are told, “It’s ok to have sex. But, be careful who you marry. Sex is easy. Marrying someone is risky.”

Why does our culture fear marriage, but is quick to promote uncommitted sex? Because marriage involves sacrifice. And, sacrifice is hard! In Croatia, some couples hold a crucifix during the wedding ceremony in order to symbolize that marriage involves laying down one’s life for one’s spouse, just as Christ laid down his life for us.

Sex outside marriage means someone isn’t willing to give you all of himself/herself—and by all I mean a lifelong commitment in marriage. It takes a body, but doesn’t give one’s life forever. It says, “I want your body, but I don’t want to give you my heart forever.”

Sex within marriage says, “I want to give you all of me—mind, body, and soul—forever.” This earthly love is meant to point us to the greatest love story: God’s love for us.

And that’s a big deal.

__________________________

Emily7Emily Brandenburg is a Catholic Youth and Young Adult leader in the Diocese of Orange, California.  She hosts a large Bible study and Praise, Worship, and Adoration evenings.  In addition, she is concertmaster of St. Martin’s Orchestra, holds a J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law, and is a full-time attorney.  She enjoys spending time outdoors, fellowshipping with family and friends, making new friends, and always having a good laugh.  You can connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Emily-Brandenburg/1565280567042667 and Instagram at @emily_brande.  She blogs at TheNetofLove.blogspot.com.

25 Comments

  1. As someone who is practising chastity, this was beautiful to read and it just really re-affirmed what I am doing 🙂 Thank you!

    By Mel | 2 years ago Reply
    • 🙂

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
      • All the points mentioned above are good, and I wish they would have happened. Married 47 years and only had sex and intimacy once or twice. We’re married on paper only ,we do live on the same piece of property but that’s it. We haven’t actually talked in maybe 30 years. Husband hates sex,me and kids but that’s been my life. Now I!must just don’t care any more.

        By Amy | 2 years ago Reply
  2. thank you for this clear and beautiful post.I respect all these points tho I know I STRUGGLE to understand point 3 ”Sex is more than recreation—it involves procreation.” I am not married but I want to in the future,but I just can’t see myself giving birth to 15,20 kids for not using family planning. I personally don’t see anything wrong with methods that are used before conceiving such as condoms, pills i.e methods that don’t kill the embryo. okay, may God help us. I am a devout catholic, I love Mary and I am saving myself for marriage.bless you

    By Aline | 2 years ago Reply
    • Hi Aline – Actually, Natural Family Planning (NFP) helps with that – it has a success rate that is similar to contraceptives, while remaining open to new life. You can read about it online! God bless!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
    • Hi,
      Like Emily said, NFP is an effective alternative to contraception which is Church approved (which ISN’T the old Rhythm Method) is something many people haven’t heard of. There are different methods to NFP you could look into and take classes for. Visit http://www.fertilitycare.org for all the information. 🙂

      By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
    • “The right and lawful ordering of the births of children presupposes in husband and wife first and foremost that they fully recognize and value the true blessing of family life, and secondly, that they acquire complete mastery over themselves and their emotions.” (HV 21) quoted in TOB p. 399
      “The concept of responsible parenthood contains the disposition not merely to avoid a further birth but also to increase the family in accordance with the criteria of prudence.” (TOB Aug. 1, 1984) p. 394

      What the Pope was saying that in the self-mastery of using Natural Family Planning in conjunction with a prayer-life, a couple begins to value their fertility instead of fearing it. In my 23 years of marriage, NFP has been hard at times, but my husband and I have grown so much from using it… frankly, we’ve often confirmed each other’s “feeling: that we needed to avoid a pregnancy or be open to one… God has been so generous to us, and our response to His love has been generosity in our openness to life.

      By federoff11 | 2 years ago Reply
    • I practice NFP in order to prepare for marriage (and to better understand what I advocate for), and I can tell you that the recording process itself (recording different signs from your body depending on the different methods) is pretty simple. Obviously, waiting during the times that you can’t have sex is much more difficult than recording, but I’ve heard from many couples that it actually pushes them to express love in other ways and grow closer as a couple.

      Add to that the possibility of many different kind of contraceptives to be abortofacients that can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg and then many contraceptives may increase risk of cancer, and I think NFP is worth it.

      By Catherine | 2 years ago Reply
  3. I support your comments, yrs sex is a true gift of God, it’s a sign of his love for humanity. May God bless all your initiatives for the kingdom of God.

    By Rani George | 2 years ago Reply
    • God bless you too, Rani!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Thank you!! I am a high school student and not a lot of people understand why I want to wait. I never knew exactly how to explain it, but now I do. Thanks again!

    By Kelley Wegman | 2 years ago Reply
    • Kelley – that makes me so happy to read that now you know what to say! That’s actually exactly why I wrote this – to have a concise explanation at our fingertips. God bless!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  5. thank you for this article. it strengthens what i believe in, and gives me hope that there are many people that I share the same principles in life with.

    By Gabe | 2 years ago Reply
    • Thanks for the note, Gabe. Yes, there are many out there who share your beliefs. Many blessings 🙂

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  6. Such a beautiful article! As a high school student, and soon to be college student, this article reaffirmed my choice to practice chastity!! God Bless!

    By Bianca | 2 years ago Reply
  7. Emily, thank you for replying to posts!
    I believe strongly in the heart-sex connection of marriage, holding my parents as example of true commitment until death.
    As one in her early 30s, I am having a few struggles with the potential of one day finding a husband (candidate for, I should say) who shares that view of marital lovemaking and having self-control to do so. I am thinking about how I feel if I meet someone that is in tune with me who has been sexually active with girlfriends and perhaps has cohabitated. I don’t want to be compared to others. I know that is certainly a possibility in our culture. I believe there is a mental/emotional/energetic bond when people spend time intimately as a family, not to mention there could be children involved and the man could have stepped in a father role. I am worried that I would feel like less if that occurred. I would much rather have a man who has saved sex for one day meeting me and for our Holy bond. I think that my values and how I hold the powerful creative and procreative love as sacred could be healing to someone who gave in to what the culture tells us.
    I wish there was a support group for those of us who are beyond high school, college and single.

    By Drea | 2 years ago Reply
    • Hi Drea!

      Thank you for your beautiful comment. As someone who is also waiting and is single in my late 20s, I can definitely relate to how you feel. Have hope – there are many men out there who are saving themselves for marriage.

      However, even if Mr. Right hasn’t, if he has rededicated himself to waiting after Reconciliation, that is good too! I wouldn’t rule someone out who has messed up in the past if he has been reconciled with God and has rededicated himself to chastity. Christ makes all things new!

      Feel free to message me through my facebook page if you would like to talk more!

      By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
    • I agree completely with Emily’s reply here. There are many of us men who have reformed ourselves and now live a life of chastity. Don’t give up on us!

      Like Catholic converts who are often more enthusiastic about their faith than cradle Catholics, a newly chaste man can be as committed to chastity as the virgin because we know firsthand the emptiness of the alternative.

      Far from comparing the marital act to sex with previous girlfriends, I imagine when I’m with my wife that I’ll rejoice in finally experiencing sex as God intended it. I don’t think there will be any comparison.

      By Scott Spinola | 2 years ago Reply
      • The new movie “Old Fashioned” is a perfect example of this!

        By Batrice | 2 years ago Reply
      • Scott, thank you for the male perspective. I know we hear plenty of stories of the girls who have renewed themselves.

        By Drea | 2 years ago Reply
  8. How DARE you compare someone’s personal choice to have sex to BULIMIA?!? Are you insane? Bulimia is a serious illness and to compare it to safe, healthy, consensual sex just because you don’t agree with that choice is despicable. No one chooses to have an eating disorder, and promoting that myth perpetuates the stigma of the illness and seriously harms those who suffer from it. I don’t know how you can call yourselves kind or loving people. Grow up and get out of other people’s business.

    By Natalie | 2 years ago Reply
    • There is actually a close connection-the same area of our brains that controls our desire for food controls our desire for sex.

      By Batrice | 2 years ago Reply
    • You go 100% agree with you

      By Psalm | 2 years ago Reply
  9. Thank you for this Emily. As a newly chaste man, the realization that, as you say, “sex involves both body and soul,” was an eye opener for me and explained all the emptiness I felt after all of those intimate acts. I was satisfying my body but starving my soul of love by thinking I could separate what could only be truly fulfilling when experienced as God intended it. Thanks for putting this to words.

    By Scott Spinola | 2 years ago Reply

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