May 11, 2010

Porn, S&M, KamaSutra, erogenous zones & more in a Christian Marriage

At a men's retreat, someone brought out a point that will clarify a misconception about chastity in married life. This guy thought that just because he's married then he can do a lot of sexual stuff as long as he does not commit adultery and that there is no contraception involved.

First of all, my insights are general concepts and principles. For spiritual guidance, one needs a director - preferably ordained. What I'll state will not be enough but, it is a start.

Let's step back and establish some rules about judging immoral actions. There are 3 components: the action itself, the intention and the circumstances. The first 2 are self-explanatory. Some actions are evil by itself e.g. abortion or indifferent e.g. drinking water. Intention is why the action was done. And circumstances mean knowledge and freedom. Knowing that something is bad and still doing it is worse than being ignorant. And doing something deliberately makes it worse than being forced into it.

Let’s apply these to the case of watching porn to prepare for intercourse. The act by itself is immoral because, it dehumanizes women and supports that industry. The circumstances point to defective knowledge. He didn't know but can he be excused? No, it is clearly taught in the Catechism. Let’s assume that he is not addicted, so the act is deliberate. Finally, the intention - to start the marital act is good. But as you can see, determining culpability or sin or the gravity thereof is not that cut and dried.  (That is why the Lord ordered us not to condemn.  And that is why he forgave the Jews; because, they didn't know.)

But before going down to specific acts, we need to step back even farther to frame a moral life. There are 2 schools of thought: the navigation system model and the boundaries.

The first is like having a TomTom or Jiminy Cricket in your head saying, "Turn right or go ahead." So every step involves discerning God’s will. I think that is reserved for big decisions e.g. picking a career but not with what to do at bed.

The borders approach consist of having defined bounds and not crossing those lines. Anything within is fair. One can be spontaneous without analyzing every step. This is where the guy came from and he would have been right had he not missed one of the bounds.

That said, is it alright to learn about sexual pleasure e.g. erogenous zones? Absolutely, but not with porn; because, the end does not justify the means. Or a good result cannot be achieved using immoral ways.

What about foreplay? Definitely. In fact women need remote preparation. So, you can plant some thoughts in the morning then follow up with a phone call at noon. It is not sensitive to just jump her when you feel like it. She has to be ready too and it takes her more time to be in the mood.

How about playfulness and games? That’s foreplay too. It shows appreciation to your mate as a person instead of a bodily cavity.

How about props and positions? I'd think the rules to consider would be consent and dignity. Lubricants, scents, feathers, beads, ice-cubes, tapioca pudding and the entire Kama sutra is fair game. I have issues with SM and bondage - even if someone's wife likes it because, it degrades the other. Those issues may need to be referred to a mental professional.

And there are Church teachings about this – in general. See references below. I distinctly remember a passage stating that it is not enough for the man to be satisfied; he must ensure that the wife is also "fulfilled". At first, I felt a bit scandalized that clerics would talk about these but, with the new approach to sexuality, I even got to this point of writing details. I certainly hope I did not shock anyone. My goal was to make clear what is sinful so, God won’t be offended. And also, to state that while sex is not the end all and be all of married life, it does not have to be the missionary position all the time.


1 comment:

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