05 March 2007

You want me to do what with what?

Just a thought I had while working on a journal entry for the Theology of the Body Institute...

When I was in High School I always found myself puzzled in health class when it came time for the teacher to discuss "safe sex". I was much too afraid to speak up, but I could never understand how involving a piece of manufactured rubber in sexual intercourse was a good thing. How could this natural act, which our bodies are clearly designed for as is, require something I could pick up at the local gas station or seven eleven. It just didn't compute. But I didn't have an answer. Had I asked a teacher or even a friend, I probably would have been told I was being immature and needed to grow-up and be thankful for man's medical advances (a piece of rubber, brilliant). Some might have even found me to be "cute", like a pre-adolescent who still believes in Santa Claus. I can only imagine the conversation in the faculty room.

Now that I am grown-up I have my answer...
"[T]he conjugal act 'means' not only love, but also potential fruitfulness, and thus it cannot be deprived of its full and adequate meaning by means of artificial interventions. In the conjugal act, it is not licit to separate artificially the unitive meaning [2 become 1] from the procreative meaning [2 create 1], because [they both] belong to the innermost truth of the conjugal act... Thus, in such a case, when the conjugal act is deprived of its inner truth because it is deprived artificially of its procreative capacity, it also ceases to be an act of love (TOB 123:6).
I'm convinced now that it was nothing less than the voice of the Holy Spirit whispering to me back in health class. The reason it didn't make sense to me is because contraception takes authentic love out of sex. It makes us pleasure seekers, not givers. It says to the other person, "You are not good enough to receive all of me, but you are sufficient enough to be used for my enjoyment". Nobody likes to be used, but that's exactly what happens with contraception and birth control. The ability to express our love physically is exploited. Through God's grace I was able to recognize that on some level.

So, what is "real" safe sex. It is sex that is free, total, faithful, and fruitful (like the wedding vows). It is sex with someone you can trust your life with (kinda like a spouse). It is with someone who would be willing to sacrifice all they have for you (someone Christ-like). It is that which is protected by the sacrament of marriage.

Marriage - home free. That's being safe. Safe from being hurt. Safe from being used. Safe, in the arms of your lover and in God's hands.

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