By John Richardson
Marriage, Sex and Covenant
By John Richardson
Marriage, Sex and Covenant
by Robin Phillips, Salvo Magazine
In our culture we hear a lot about things that are supposed to help couples have better sex, from skimpy lingerie to sex-enhancing drugs. What we don't hear a lot about is the role that religion can play in improving a couple's "sex life."
The mere suggestion that religion can improve sex will seem laughable to many. Our society has largely bought into the narrative that religion is the enemy of sexual pleasure. In the wake of the sexual revolution, many people have come to believe that someone whose sexual habits are constricted by religious values cannot at the same time experience fulfilling sexual happiness. While religious believers have often disputed these claims, only comparatively recently has science taken their side. Evidence meticulously gathered by social scientists has conclusively shown that religious people as a whole are more sexually fulfilled than any other group in Western society.
The Chicago Study
Recognizing that the findings of Alfred Kinsey in the mid-20th century were methodologically flawed, in 1992 social scientists Robert T. Michael, John H. Gagnon, and Edward O. Laumann initiated a comprehensive study into the sexual habits of Americans. They commissioned a staff of 220 interviewers, stationed at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. Instead of relying on unrepresentative groups of volunteers, as Kinsey had done, these researchers selected random samples. Over a period of seven months, they interviewed 3,432 respondents and asked them questions about all aspects of their sex lives.
Much of what their study uncovered was predictable, while some things came as a surprise. The greatest shock of all concerned the relationship between sexual pleasure and religious belief.
by Peter Saunders, CMF
An argument frequently advanced by those attempting to defend homosexual practice is that Christians ‘cherry pick’ the commands in the Bible – that is, they chose to emphasise some commands while ignoring others.
By Fr Dwight Longnecker
I can speak from experience. I was a celibate Anglican priest for seven years. Then I got married. I was a married Anglican priest for three years. Then we joined the Catholic church. I was in the married state as a layman for ten years. Now I am a married Catholic priest and have been for six years.
This week the question of mandatory celibacy for Catholic priests is in the news again. The question is a real one–especially in light of the most recent scandal involving Cardinal O’Brien of Scotland. One of the most vociferous voices opposed to same sex marriage, it turns out that he had a few homosexual adventures of his own in his younger years. Repeatedly we have heard rumors and whisperings of the sexual crimes and misdemeanors of clergy who have taken a vow of celibacy and then fallen off the chastity wagon.
Is celibacy the problem? Would the sexual scandals be solved if priests were allowed to marry? We have to stop, take a deep breath and think it through with common sense. First of all, celibacy in and of itself doesn’t necessarily cause a person to run out and commit a sexual crime. One only has to check out sexual offenders. Many of them are married men, some are sexually promiscuous, some are using prostitutes. Sex crimes are more likely to be committed by the sexually active than they are by the celibate. Therefore, we can conclude that celibacy (not being engaged in sexual relations with anyone) is not the cause of sexual crimes and misbehaviors.
In addition to this argument is the fact that a huge number of men and women, for many different reasons, are sexually inactive. It is not just celibate Catholic priests who are not having sexual relations on a regular basis. Many single people are not involved in sexual activity. Many older people are not involved in sexual activity. Members of certain professions which involve solitude or separation from their spouse are not involved in sexual activity. These other people who are not sexually active are not immediately and insatiably involved in sex crimes. Therefore we can conclude that celibacy in and of itself does not cause sexual crimes and misdemeanors.
From Christian Concern
An influential NHS group is calling on ministers to give nurses the power to offer condoms and the morning after pill in schools across Scotland.
The Scottish Sexual Health Lead Clinicians Group (SSHLCG) made the comments in a written submission to an inquiry being held into underage pregnancies by the Scottish parliament's Health and Sport Committee.
The inquiry was launched after the government failed to meets its target for lowering rates of conception among under-16s, leaving Scotland with one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Western Europe.
In its letter, the SSHLCG urged ministers to make emergency contraception available to pupils through the school nurse network stating: “The Scottish Government should give consideration to the availability of certain interventions in schools, particularly in rural areas and areas with higher teenage pregnancies, including the availability of emergency hormonal contraception in schools."
It added: "The Scottish government is prepared to make a stand on controversial subjects like gay marriage, why does it run scared of its critics on the subject of making emergency contraception available in schools?"
But the proposals were criticised by parliamentary officer for the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland, John Deighan, who said: "Sexual behaviour is something that's for adults. Children deserve to have a childhood.
by Dale O'Leary, MercatorNet
Last month The New York Times published an article on the latest expansion of sexual identity among students at progressive universities in the United States. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) no longer covers it, according to a handful of students who seem to have nothing better to do than reinvent themselves. “Generation LGBTQIA” want recognition for queer, intersex and asexual proclivities as well. According to the Times, this list by no means is final but continually being added to as students “move beyond the binary of male/female”, heterosexual/homosexual and reject the normal.
Most people are unaware of the inroads made by gender theory — the ideology that has produced “Generation LBGTQIA” — or of the dangers it presents. Part of the confusion lies in the fact that there are several different theories of gender each of which is based on a false understanding of the human person. The various theories — the gender perspective, gender identity and expression, and gender queer — are not logically consistent and are continually changing, making it difficult for those who try to critique them.
The term “gender” has become ubiquitous. The forms we routinely fill out, which previously asked for our sex, now asked for our gender. Most people assumed that gender was simply a polite synonym for sex – preferable since sex has a secondary meaning, namely as a shortened form for sexual intercourse. But those pushing the use of “gender” did not do so out of an over-scrupulous sense of propriety, for them gender and sex are not synonyms.
January 15th, 2013 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off
By Timothy Fountain, Stand Firm
“I love my husband very much, but this day to day financial burden, coupled with the lack of social life, lack of intimacy, lack of being able to do much of anything has brought me close to despair.” A woman caring for a disabled spouse.
by David Baker, Christian Post
Another year – another disagreement: the Church of England has managed to kick off 2013 in spectacular fashion with new headline-hitting division.
Last year the General Synod’s decision on women bishops managed to leave both supporters and opponents of the move dissatisfied. Now the House of Bishops’ move to allow gay bishops in civil partnerships, so long as they are celibate, has also managed to dismay both liberals and conservatives.
There are many factors involved here. For one thing, let us not overlook the spiritual battle: the devil loves to discredit the gospel – and if nothing else, we can certainly recognise something of the satanic in the maelstrom that has unfolded over this issue. We should also note the role of the media in this frenzy. As the blogger Gillan Scott observed on his ‘Godandpolitics’ website: “Quite often Christians are accused of being obsessed with sex, but maybe that’s because the press loves to talk about Christianity and sexual matters especially when it involves gay relationships. As orthodox Christian teaching becomes increasingly counter-cultural it becomes even easier to point a finger and say, ‘Look at these funny Christians with their strange views!’”
But of course there are also issues of substantial theological importance here. The vast majority of global Christianity across all denominations maintains a fairly overwhelming consensus that the right place for sex is solely within heterosexual marriage, with the alternative to that being celibacy.
By Jeanie Groh, Huffington Post
With their "True Love Waits" jewelry, conferences and T-shirts, Christians may be the face of the abstinence movement, but Muslims and Hindus are more likely to abstain from premarital sex.
That's the conclusion of a new study in the American Sociological Review, which also found that Muslims and Hindus — at least in the developing world — are more likely than Christians and Jews to refrain from extramarital sex.
"All major world religions discourage sex outside of marriage, but they are not all equally effective in shaping behavior," said Amy Adamczyk of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, who co-authored the study with John Jay doctoral student Brittany E. Hayes.
Drawing on the Demographic and Health Surveys funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, the study included data from 31 developing nations collected between 2000 and 2008. The authors focused on individuals' responses to questions on religious affiliation, marital status, and sexual behavior outside of marriage.
Adamczyk said the study evolved from another study she was doing that found countries with large Muslim populations have very low rates of HIV and AIDS. "I was trying to figure out why that would be," she said. One reason she considered was lower rates of sex outside of marriage.
September 3rd, 2012 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off
By Fiona Macrae, Mailonline
It seems mother was right after all. Relationships that start slowly are more satisfying in the end.
A study of hundreds of couples found those who waited to have sex were happier in the long-run.
Women particularly benefited from not leaping into bed at the first opportunity. Marriage also seemed to make them happier than co-habiting.
The researchers said delaying sex gave couples time to get to know each other and work out just how compatible they were.
Without this period of courtship, judgment can be clouded, leading to couples falling into unfulfilling long-term relationships. The study’s authors said: ‘Precocious pre-marital sexual activities may have lasting effects on relationship quality.
‘Courtship is a time for exploration and decision-making about the relationship, when partners assess compatibility, make commitments and build on emotional and physical intimacy.
‘The rapid entry into sexual relationships may, however, cut short this process, setting the stage for “sliding” rather than “deciding” to enter co-habiting unions.’
In one of the first studies of its kind, the research team from Cornell University in the US asked almost 600 married and co-habiting couples how happy they were together. They were asked how committed they were to the relationship, how emotionally involved they were and how well they communicated, as well as about how often they argued and about their level of sexual satisfaction.
August 26th, 2012 Chris Sugden Posted in sex Comments Off
Evangelicals Now, August 2012
Marriage is under attack in the UK. It has been humanity’s default mode of handling sexuality since the dawn of time. Whether or not it was accompanied by public ceremonies or religious rites, heterosexual marriage has been normative. Polygamy, by far the commonest alternative arrangement, has been the habit of only a few.
Such bonding is quite remarkable. Imagine what life would be like without it. If we treated sexual partners like holiday vacations, rarely returning to the same place twice, men would never know how many children they have or who they are. Women would be given the entire responsibility of bringing them up and providing for them. A moment’s thought shows how logical and inevitable heterosexual marriage is.
So the family unit has always been the basic building block of society. Alternative community arrangements have occurred, but few are enduring and have rarely found wide appeal.
Illicit sexual momentum
Jesus talked about the dynamic process that occurs in extra-marital sex. The moment desire is inflamed by lustful looking, adultery is already taking place in the imagination. Using robust imagery, he warns that it is better to be blind than to allow your eyes to lead you to hell.
Our eyes then lead on to flirting to establish a relationship. The process inevitably leads to touching… holding hands, but later holding glands. Jesus therefore warns that if your hand causes you to sin, you would do better to chop it off! These dramatic metaphors highlight the significance of limiting what we see and controlling what we touch, if we are not to get caught up in a dynamic process that leads first to adultery and then to divorce (Matthew 5.27-31).
This process gains momentum. It might be painful to refuse the smile of a pretty girl who gives you a welcoming look, but it is a lot less painful than to end a relationship that has progressed to fondling. Sexual ‘chemistry’ between two people is very subtle and difficult to analyse. Looking at a previous sexual partner triggers memories — and exciting ones at that. Familiar mannerisms are almost certainly communicated. There may well be a pleasant aroma, a subtle scent that we may not even be conscious of. Once sexual bonding, in all its subtle complexity, has already been established, it is very quickly reactivated.
The same mechanisms make it so difficult for people in an adulterous relationship to break free from it. If they still meet the same person in their community, for instance, forgotten desires are quickly re-awakened.
Jesus anyway implies that it is far better to control our behaviour at the level of desire, than to allow our eyes and our hands to draw us further into iniquity.
By Dr Peter May
This is the first of two articles originally published in the European Leadership Forum Newsletter
Marriage is currently under attack in the UK. It is important to note that marriage has been humanity’s default mode of handling sexuality since the dawn of time. Originating before recorded history, monogamous marriage appears to have been the norm across ancient civilisations. From the Inuits to the Aborigines, from ancient China, throughout Africa and in South America, whether or not it was accompanied by public ceremonies or religious rites, heterosexual marriage has been normative. That is not to say there have not been variations on a theme. Polygamy, by far the commonest alternative arrangement, has been the habit of only a small minority.
Such inter-personal bonding is quite remarkable. We might pause to imagine what life would be like if such powerful bonding did not occur. For instance, while some people holiday in the same place year after year, most do not. If you have had a nice holiday in Bognor, why would you go back there again if you could visit the Mediterranean instead! There are endless nice places to go and relax.
If we treated sexual partners like holiday vacations, men would never know how many children they have or who they are. Women would be given the entire responsibility of bringing them up, with all the financial responsibility of needing to earn enough money to do so. A moment’s thought shows how logical and inevitable heterosexual marriage is.
According to news reports at the weekend, consummation by sexual intercourse would be removed from matrimonial law if same-sex marriage gets the go ahead. Our own legal advisers confirm this is the case.
It shows that the plans to redefine marriage are far-reaching. The legal meaning of marriage will be changed for everyone. Which is why you should respond to the Government’s consultation (if you have not already done so). Tell them to leave marriage alone. It only takes 60 seconds to complete your response using our quick, simple form.
Under the current law, a man and a woman must consummate their marriage. But the details of the law mean a same-sex couple cannot fulfil the requirements involving natural sexual intercourse. The Government's plans to rewrite the marriage law would cause the law of consummation to be torn up. This overturns the whole of our legal tradition. Hardly a small change.
Removing sex from the law of marriage would relegate marriage to nothing more than a written contract between two adults. It would sever any link between marriage and the conception of children.
From Cranmer on consummation: [...] Further, as lawyers and judges sitting in their courts (both civil and religious) get their heads around what might constitute homosexual and lesbian consummation, for the sake of equality, this new consummation case law will also have to apply to heterosexual union. For, surely, if we are concerned with matters of equality and justice, if a finger or tongue in the vagina, or a penis in the anus or the mouth, henceforth constitutes consummation for homosexuals and lesbians, then a fortiori must this constitute consummation for heterosexuals, or the standards by which consummation might be judged will not be equal, and the Government will have created a manifest inequality between hetero and homo marriage.
And what, then, of celibate gay Anglican clergy (not to mention the un-celibate gay Roman Catholic clergy)? The Church of England permits vicars to enter into a civil partnership provided that they remain celibate. But what constitutes consummation in such relationships? Is penetrative sex about to become mandatory in order for civil partnerships to be commuted to marriage? Indeed, what constitutes consummation in any same-sex relationship which does not involve penetrative sex, insofar as penetrative sex is ‘ordinary’? Or is the definition of ‘ordinary’ about to be re-written to embrace the extraordinary? If mutual masturbation may become ‘ordinary’ consummation, does that not rather discriminate against the individual in their marriage status? Is a man about to be able to consummate a marriage with himself?
All of this will soon be a matter for the courts to decide, because the Government clearly doesn’t have a clue. We could throw these questions into the ‘consultation’, but they will meet with no ministerial response: such contentions will instead be firmly and securely kicked into the long grass. Henceforth, in the consideration of same-sex adultery, it will be for the judges of England and Wales to define what is meant by same-sex consummation.
A Florida Planned Parenthood affiliate has taken the opportunity of “National Masturbation Month” to highlight the national organization’s promotion of masturbation as part of a “a common and safe kind of sex play” with “many health benefits.”
By Clare Campbell, Mailonline
Today’s teenagers are under ever increasing pressure to become sexualised at an early age, says Leonie Hodge, now 27. Her own experiences have driven her to leave a career in TV to set up a charity that helps young girls learn to say no
As one of the generation of girls who took to heart the message that sexuality was the path to female empowerment, what I – along with many of my friends – discovered was that it instead led only to exploitation and unhappiness. And from my experience of working with teenage girls today, they are even more confused than we were back then.
I was just 13 years old when I had my first very damaging sexual experience. I had gone to my friend’s house for tea. We’d agreed to meet a group of older boys and girls from our school in a park near where we lived in leafy Hemel Hempstead. I remember giggling with my girlfriend as we got dressed up, putting on make-up and playing at being adult. Coming from a middle-class family (my father is a GP), I knew that my parents would never have given their permission for me to go out dressed like this. But I had no idea of the possible dangers of what we were doing.
By Susan Brinkmann, Catholic Education Resource Center
This new way of teaching about human sexuality has come to be known as the "theology of the body."
God's Plan For Sexuality
"According to John Paul II, God created the body as a 'sign' of his own divine mystery," explains Christopher West, moral theologian, author and speaker, who is considered an expert on the theology of the body. "This is why he speaks of the body as a theology, a study of God."
Because God Himself is the source of the complementarity of the sexes, when He created man in the image of Himself, he created both a male and a female. They were then directed to "be fruitful and multiply" by becoming "one flesh."
Part 1 of 6: The Phantom Gene
Part 2 of 6: Known causes of same-sex attraction
Part 3 of 6: Health risks of the homosexual lifestyle
Part 4 of 6: Treatment and prevention
Part 5 of 6: Gay Marriage: Who's minding the children
By Francis Phillips, Catholic Herald
Giving girls as young as 13 the contraceptive Pill without their parents’ knowledge is yet another hugely misguided policy. Time for a change of approach?
By Albert Mohler
The sexual revolution of the last several decades has transformed any public conversation about sex and sexuality. The revolutionaries directed their attention to the dismantling of an entire edifice of sexual morality that had been basically intact for well over 2,000 years.
At one point in the sexual revolution, efforts were made to legalize prostitution as a “victimless crime,” a term that anyone could recognize as an oxymoron. Most of these efforts went nowhere in the United States and most of Europe, though “progressive” law enforcement officials often looked the other way and did little to curb the market for illicit sex.
Then something truly interesting started to happen. Influential forces in society began to notice the scale and magnitude of the market for sex. Law enforcement officials started to acknowledge the fact that women, along with under-age girls and boys, were being “trafficked” through international networks of gangsters. By the end of the last decade, American officials were aware that sex trafficking was taking place in cities large and small. Women, along with boys and girls, were being kidnapped in far parts of the world and on the streets of American cities, to be sold into what could only be considered as sexual slavery.
April 14th, 2012 Jill Posted in sex Comments Off
By David Quinn, Iona Institute
A poll commissioned by the Association of Catholic Priests has found that the vast majority of people – three quarters – believe the Church’s teachings on sex are irrelevant both to them personally and to their families. But what do they actually mean by this?
Do they mean it is totally irrelevant in every respect, or that just bits of it are irrelevant (meaning, one presumes, of no help whatever to them in their day-to-day lives?)
For example, presumably a parent wouldn’t be too happy to find out that their 14 year old daughter is sexually active? Well, the Church would agree with them there.
Presumably most parents wouldn’t be too happy to discover that their 16 year old son was about to become a father? Again, the Church would agree with them there.
And if someone found that their spouse was being unfaithful on them, they would be unhappy about that? Yet again, the Church would agree with them.
From the Cardinal Newman Society
You may not have heard the word “sexualityism” before, but you’ve surely seen its negative effects on society.
During a talk given at Franciscan University of Steubenville (FUS), George Mason University law professor Helen Alvare explained that the Catholic Church is the chief opponent of “sexualityism,” the notion that “sex is about expressing oneself.”
Dr. Alvare recently delivered a keynote lecture titled “Religious Freedom and Sexual Liberation” at Franciscan University’s conference on “The Integrity of the Medical Profession and Contemporary Threats Against It”. The University reported that the conference attracted doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals who came to understand how to deal with pressing modern bioethical issues.
From the FUS press release: