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Let’s talk about sex

Beth Simpson | Thursday, February 10, 2011

In response to the Feb. 9 Scene Commentary “Sex on TV,” I concur with Scene Writer Stephanie DePrez: Yes, let’s talk about sex. It seems sex has become the common currency of not only the 30-minute sitcom but also our daily interactions. That which is the greatest mystery has been relegated to purely pleasurable objectification. But, is there anything really mysterious or sacred about sex?

A common misconception regarding the Catholic Church imagines that the stern and sober hierarchy denounces sex. And, moreover, the Church merits no place in my bedroom. Au contraire, however, for the Church embraces and exalts sex as the most sacred mystery between man and woman. In Theology of the Body, Pope John Paul II explains that man is to woman and woman is to man the most profound mystery. After all, it’s the mysteriousness of our beloved that peppers romance with excitement. It makes our heart flutter at the sight of a new crush. The mystery, though, reaches even further into the depths of our humanity: Into sex. Mystery — deriving from the Latin mysterium or sacramentum — means sacrament. Sound a bit “churchey?” It is. Anyone with an elementary understanding of the Catechism knows the definition of sacrament: “an outward sign conveying an inner reality.”

So what’s the sacramentality — the mystery of sex? By sex, human beings manifest and make real the image of God. The ultimate unity — physical, emotional and spiritual — of man and woman in sex reflects and makes real love of the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Like it or not, the Church by the Trinity is present in the bedroom. The mystery of sex continues, making man and woman more truly themselves as they become co-creators in the image of God. For this reason, the Church rejects contraception. When couples use contraception, they deny the mystery of sex and use it for their own ends — they objectify sex and objectify one another. Casual sex is as logical as a casual mystery — it’s illogical. So being inclined to mystery, I’ll keep the chastity belt and keep the crucifix above the forthcoming marriage bed.

Beth Simpson


Howard Hall

Feb. 9