Thursday, December 14, 2006

Dangerous Liasons

Reasonable devotees of the One Thing that Matters don't want anyone to know. The Libertine sympathies of individual absolutists blind them to the truth. Only Fools would worry it.

But real people hurt.


We're talking about sex.

And not the way they want.

What happens when good people abuse the gift of their own sexuality?

They suffer. Confusion, depression, and even self-mutilation: they often can't understand why. And what will university health centers do?

Nothing. Unless they acquire the natural consequences of their abuse. In that case, these departments will provide the necessary alleviation: the abortion referral or regiment of penicillin. Whatever works, baby!

Daniel Crittenden of the OJ describes the sad details:

Unfortunately, the young women described in "Unprotected" have fallen victim to one of the few personal troubles that our caring professions refuse to treat or even acknowledge: They have been made miserable by their "sexual choices." And on that subject, few modern doctors dare express a word of judgment.

Thus the danger of sexually transmitted diseases is too often overlooked in the lifestyle choices of the young women at the unnamed college where the author works. But the dangers go far beyond the biological. A girl named Heather, for instance, has succumbed to an intense bout of depression. The doctor presses her to think of possible causes. She can't think of anything. Then she says: "Well, I can think of one thing: since Thanksgiving, I've had a 'friend with benefits.' And actually I'm kind of confused about that."

Heather continues: "I want to spend more time with him, and do stuff like go shopping or see a movie. That would make it a friendship for me. But he says no, because if we do those things, then in his opinion we'd have a relationship--and that's more than he wants. And I'm confused, because it seems like I don't get the 'friend' part, but he still gets the 'benefits.'" It finally dawns on her: "I'm really unhappy about that. It's hard to be with him and then go home and be alone."

Heather is not an unrepresentative case. The author meets patients who cannot sleep, who mutilate themselves, who exhibit every symptom of psychic distress. Often they don't even know why they feel the way they do. As these girls see it, they are acting like sensible, responsible adults: They practice "safe sex" and limit their partners to a mere two or three per year.

They are following the best advice that modern psychology can offer. They are enjoying their sexual freedom, experimenting, discovering themselves. They can't understand what might be wrong. And yet something is wrong. As the author observes, surveys have found that "sexually active teenage girls were more than three times as likely to be depressed, and nearly three times as likely to have had a suicide attempt, than girls who were not sexually active."

As long as our society perpetuates the self-eviscerating confusion of the sexual revolution, the dissolution of our young people will continue. We know it in our bones. I knew it when I partied hard on the dark side. I didn't want to admit it. I fought like hell to avoid facing it. But I knew. We all did.

And we have the scars to prove it.

Thank God many of us have lived and learned. Yes, the university of Belmont Avenue offers the most comprehensive life curriculum around. It's a shame that we, society, still mandate those courses for every new generation.

We do so at our peril.

The gift of our sexuality allows us to share communion with the one we love--the one we literally give our lives to. The sexual act is our surrender to our beloved. It's our total giving of the best of our very lives to those we've vowed to share them with. It's our declaration that we'll share even our precious capacity to procreate new life with the one we love!

We waste only our very selves when we waste this personal gift.

The sooner our society accepts this, the sooner we embrace a sanity our fore bearers knew. But we won't do that until we start acting Foolish.

Like actually believing that we should have sex only with our spouse. Like actually celebrating that act in marriage as a sacred trust. Like actually acknowledging that its a participation in the very love Christ has for his communion--the Church. As in, all of us!

Let the Reasonable scoff. Real people hurt. Libertine slogans won't alleviate their suffering.

Truth and Love will.

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