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Speaker examines female sexuality in a Catholic context

| Friday, November 18, 2016

Cassandra Hough, founder and senior advisor of the Love and Fidelity Network, hosted a presentation and conversation Thursday night entitled Body, Mind and Spirit. The presentation examined being a woman, having relationships and understanding sexuality in a Catholic context.

“As I’ve seen in both my personal and professional life over the past decade, it is vitally important that young people — especially women — connect these topics both as at the intellectual level and at the practical level,” Hough said.

Hough began her presentation with a discussion of three different types of friendships as outlined by Aristotle’s ideology. These types of friendships include: friendships of utility, friendships of pleasure and true friendships.

“Unlike many of today’s thinkers, the ancients thought a lot about friendship,” Hough said. “I would like to revive the wisdom of the ancients. In particular, what Aristotle has to say about friendship. Not only do I find him personally persuasive on these topics, but his writings also provide a perennial source of wisdom.”

Friendships of utility and pleasure make up a large amount of the friendships students have in their daily lives, Hough said. Friendships of pleasure often grow from a common interest or hobby.

“Many of your friendships may fall into this category, especially starting out,” she said. “The reason for your friendship is the pleasure you derive from each other’s company while you are pursuing something else.”

These types of friendships build a basis for understanding dating and marriage, Hough said. Marriage and true friendships stem from common places, even though marriage requires more sacrifice.

“We may give up our personal freedom to do what we like when we like, but we give it up in order to be free to choose love over our own selfish desires,” she said.

Hough said having a grasp of friendship and marriage is fundamental in knowing how to date because dating is the “cultivation of friendship.”

“Dating is a practical activity of discerning and preparing for marriage,” she said. “If our habits of friendship are strong in our other relationships, then we will be at an advantage in romantic relationships.”

Hough finds it important to look to one’s close friends in order to get a picture of whether or not a relationship is beneficial, she said.

“Attraction is very powerful,” Hough said. “In the eyes of a person sentimentally committed to another person, the value of the beloved grows enormously. … If this is the case, then it is essential that we look to the counsel of those who know us well and desire the best for us.”

In addition to listening to the advice of one’s close friends, Hough also said that it is important to hone one’s capacity to control himself or herself.

“In a relationship when we experience sexual attraction and sexual urge, we need to ask ourselves how we are to direct that impulse so it serves the good of the other person, and of the relationship itself,” she said.

This presentation was the third of seven occurring this academic year which analyze different facets of sexuality with students over dinner. The series concludes with a conference in April, where students can share their perspective on faith and sexuality.

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About Jordan Cockrum

Jordan Cockrum is a senior at Saint Mary's studying Communications and Humanistic Studies. She currently serves as Saint Mary's Editor.

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