A Letter to a Friend- Terrifyingly Paleolithic Ideas on Why Sex is Too Important to be Thrown Around Willy-Nilly
A friend of mine asked me why I have the views I do on sex. This was my (slightly edited) response.
….Yep, that is DEFINITELY St. Teresa of Avila orgasming in the magnificent love of God (note where the Angel of the Lord is pointing his arrow.)
This is probably the best depiction of the relationship between sexuality and spirituality ever produced. Father Fulton Sheen famously said that there is no good sexual act committed by only two people; God needs to be in there somewhere (dirty minds, go crazy.)
There is nothing greater and more beautiful than human love and procreation, for it is in these two acts that Man becomes most like the Creator- human love being the closest we can get to the love shared between God and His creation, procreation being the closest we can get to the act of creation (which is fundamentally an act of love.) Both of these being the closest we can get to the physical expression of divine love and divine creation. As such, sex is not merely a physical function, but is also and inseparably a spiritual and emotional function, one that unifies independent beings and brings them to a greater communion amongst each other in which love can flourish, ie the family, and one which represents the ultimate truth of the Universe, creation through love.
Granted, there’s nothing anyone can do to prove this anymore than anyone can prove the existence of God. But nature has sprinkled the act itself and its consequences with hints all over the place- the fact that sex is fundamentally a creative act (and this is why homosexual sex is respected in some religious traditions and abhorred by others, but never, ever elevated to the spiritual significance of heterosexual sex,) the fact that the act of sex increases the emotional and spiritual connectedness of sexual partners and is made more enjoyable by a previous emotional and spiritual connectedness between them (and in response to the previous point, this includes both homosexual and heterosexual lovers,) the empirical observation that sex outside of these conditions tends to either lead to or accompany spiritual dissatisfaction and emptiness and even physical coercion, etc.
That there is indeed a sexual hunger and a sexual need in human beings is not lost on me- I believe it wholeheartedly, and I think most non-asexual individuals can attest to having felt it at one time or another.
That said, there is ALSO a spiritual hunger and a spiritual need in human beings, and that, I think, is lost on most defenders of the hookup culture. What is more, the fact that there are organic, natural ties between the sexual urge and the spiritual hunger is usually forgotten by the advocates of modernity. Spiritual health and sexual health cannot be separated; to separate them may perhaps be a convenience for the immediate urges, but is ultimately a betrayal of the better angels of our nature.
Again, I don’t think you need a belief in God to see the natural connections between sexuality and spirituality, and I think most people prefer not to make the theistic argument. I just think the theistic argument is a more artistic way of articulating the naturalistic argument. A priest of mine once told me that long before he became a priest, he hooked up once; and immediately thereafter he felt an emptiness inside of him that no amount of steamy, R-rated action could fill. How many today have felt this emptiness, and hid it from the world? How many has the world told that that emptiness could not possibly exist? How many have believed it?