Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Chastity and Healthy Sexuality

October 13th, 2017 by G.

Another virtue chart.

 

This one is pretty straightforward.

Lust” is not quite the right word. Lust is an inner vice.  Immorality might have been a better choice.  For pedants, sexual immorality.   But immorality by itself would have been fine, because immorality has come to mean sexual sin in one of its senses.   Not that we lack words for sexual sin.  It’s just that they are more specific.  Sex is such a powerful mainspring of being human that one way to sin with it is not enough.  Adultery, fornication, sodomy, deviancy, masturbation, pornography, rape, slut, cad, whore, john . . . .  We lack virtue words that are specific counterparts to some of those vices.  In some cases that is a pity.  There should be a word for the proud and lonely virtue of not doing porn.  In others it is simply that we take the virtue so for granted that we hardly perceive it as a virtue.  What is the opposite of a rapist?  Dunno, a continent man?  It hardly matters.  One note on sodomy, while we are at it.  Sodomy refers to second-class sex acts, primarily to include oral sex and anal sex.  I regret the degree to which conservative Christian’s witness against same-sexual relations over the last few decades has included limiting the word sodomy to that context, which has allowed them to ignore their previously clear consensus view that  heterosexual sodomy was sin, and to handwave away their growing use and even embrace of porn, fornication, slutting, cadding, masturbation, and deviancy.

There is no real good word for the virtue of healthy sexuality.  Morality does not clearly connote sexual morality to the degree that immorality does.  And in any case, “sexual morality” is a negative virtue.  It means not having sex when you’re not supposed to.  But healthy sexuality is a positive virtue.  Sex is good.  Male and female he made us, and the mystery of sex is part and parcel of the mystery of marriage, which is fundamental to our exaltation.  We all know already that our society is bad with sex, but the lack of a good word also points to it.

Chastity is the right word (I could have also said “sexual morality”).  But we mainly use chastity to mean abstinence, which is the virtue of chastity outside of marriage, or celibacy, which is a neutral term for not having sex.  Being celibate could be virtuous in some contexts, but vicious in others, like inside a marriage.  Inside marriage we call it fidelity, which is a more generic term.  I think the lack of a good understanding of what chastity means also points to some of our culture’s deficiencies.

Frigidity is what it is.

 

The complements are interesting.  Lust and frigidity sound like one of those contradiction in terms, like Screwtape’s Materialist Magician.  And yet, our college campuses are full of joyless bacchanals endlessly dissected in subsequent bureaucratic sexual harassment procedures.  Screwtape would be pleased.  Our entertainment industry is run by sexual predator shrill feminists.  We are puritans fanatically acting degenerate.

Chastity and healthy sexuality are a natural complement.  Those who abstain from fornication and adultery have happier, stabler marriages and better, deepening sexual relations.

Comments (33)
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October 13th, 2017 05:15:46
33 comments

Sutton Coldfield
October 13, 2017

Concupiscence? Immoderation? Licentiousness? All for lust.

Continence for healthy sexuality?

The naming of things is, of course, slippery…


MC
October 13, 2017

Winston Churchill once noted our people’s “philoprogenitiveness.”


Carter Craft
October 14, 2017

The most intuitive word for healthy sexuality is probably “devotion”, for example speaking of a man being devoted to his wife. But that word’s meaning is too broad; a man can also be very devoted to football.

The word “amatory” specifically denotes love in a sexual context, and is also a synonym for devoted, so it might suffice. It doesn’t carry a precise moral content (amatory actions can be good or bad) but the word lacks the negative connotations of other words describing sexual attraction.


Cw
October 14, 2017

Speaking of sexuality, this scripture jumped out at me when thinking about this whole Weinstein scandal.

And thus he did preach unto them, leading away the hearts of many, causing them to lift up their heads in their wickedness, yea, leading away many women, and also men, to commit whoredoms—telling them that when a man was dead, that was the end thereof.

And then on the rapid descent of his former popularity with the power players:

And thus we see the end of him who perverteth the ways of the Lord; and thus we see that the devil will not support his children at the last day, but doth speedily drag them down to hell.


G.
October 16, 2017

Amatory is excellent!

@Cw, that is apt.


MrShorty
October 19, 2017

An interesting diagram. some of the discussion is still around defining terms, and I am not sure I fully understand these terms or how you are using them.

For example, lust has long been difficult to understand, mostly because it seems to be conflated with sexual desire without ever explaining how sexual desire fits into healthy sexuality and how it fits into lust. I put “sexual desire” (assuming sexual desire is a virtue) into the healthy sexuality (another term I don’t know the meaning of) box, and that was interesting. Is sexual desire a virtue? If so, then perhaps it is helpful to see lust as bloating sexual desire and frigidity as opposing sexual desire.

After years in a sexless marriage, I found the frigidity legs of the diagram interesting. It seems that almost all of our dialog in the Church focuses on the lust legs (with chastity synonymous to abstinence) that it is difficult to find much discussion (except from non-authoritative sources like Sister Brotherson) about the frigidity legs.


Vader
October 19, 2017

MrShorty,

You’re not alone. I imagine you may know that, but just in case. When a brother is not sexually active because he’s unmarried, everyone knows. When a brother is not sexually active because he is undivorced (a term meant to be analogous with undead), it’s not visible, but it’s at least as great a challenge.

The brothers I know who have faced this challenge have sometimes ended the marriage, and sometimes not. I sympathize with the one and admire the other, without contradiction.


Bookslinger
October 19, 2017

V: _sometimes_ going frigid, or cheating, is a woman’s way of asking for a divorce without having to come out and say it.

I know of at least two cases where the husband was so emotionally cruel and controlling, and so two-faced, with everyone outside of the family thinking he was great, that the wife saw adultery/cuckoldry as her only way to get him to want to divorce instead of constantly controlling and manipulating her.

If a man starts verbally abusing his wife early on, and she takes it, the kids grow up from day one thinking that is normal; dad always did that, and mom always took it, that’s just the way things are. Eventually it wears her down. And no one believes her about the emotional abuse, as there are no physical bruises to show. Cuckolding him is, at least in her eyes, and probably true to boot, the only way to get him to _want_ to get rid of her, and to moot the point and avoid the argument of whether his treatment of her is abuse. She takes the fall thinking she can’t win the “yes, he is abusing me” argument. Of course, that’s not always the case. But it’s one of the interesting twists.

G: I mention this as part of your bishop-training. Sometimes the first-to-cheat is not necessarily the most guilty party. If I were on the jury, I would acquit at least one of the women I have in mind, if she had killed her husband instead of cuckolding him. In fact, I regret not beating the crap out of him the one time he yelled at her in my presence, as she held their infant first child in her arms. They were LDS.


Vader
October 19, 2017

Books,

It works both ways. I know a man who was excommunicated for adultery, many years ago. I think it may well have been his way out of a miserable marriage to a frigid wife, though it was not a conscious strategy. (I learned of that circumstance long after.) He never stopped attending church, in spite of getting a very cold shoulder from women in the ward who joined ranks around his ex-wife. It was years before he was permitted to be rebaptized, but he eventually had his blessings restored.

What he did is not excused. Still.

I have heard more than one Church leader suggest that there are no frigid wives, only clumsy husbands. I do not think this is helpful, in part because I do not believe it is true. Only in some cases.


twiceuponatime
October 20, 2017

I don’t think any church leader wants to be the one who gets attacked for telling wives to put out more (though, of course, they would never say it that way, but that’s how the media and the progressive wing of the ‘Nacle would play it).

Just teaching about sexuality has too much of an TMI factor, but the church could do better about teaching what a healthy married sexuality is like.

I don’t want to hash out the details of my first marriage, but I can say in my experience and the experience of too many of my friends, sex is seen by the wife as a ‘reward’ for the husband behaving correctly (as if providing for the family and paying the bills were a reward for the wife behaving correctly) and since no husband is ever perfect, many wives become ‘frigid’ because their husbands don’t deserve the sex.

Sex is part of a normal, healthy relationship and really shouldn’t be withheld (except in cases of abuse, but that should be a given) from a spouse (St. Paul taught as much).


Vader
October 20, 2017

Ironically, I got tapped to teach our High Priests Quorum (Jedi meet with the high priests) the lesson on chastity this weekend. Your thoughts here have been illuminating as I have prepared.


Lucinda
October 20, 2017

A husband who is sexually relieved sometimes is forgetful of his wife’s needs, not because he necessarily intends to be, just because of the nature of things. It can lead to an observable dynamic where before sex he’s interesting and engaging, and afterwards he can only think of getting himself a sandwich and hardly thinks about the wife anymore. Over time this can lead a wife to believe it’s a mistake to actually go through with it, because he ‘rewards’ her with inattention (or worse).

It is a temptation for wives to expect their husbands to show they care by reading their mind, and men tend to avoid expressing their vulnerabilities, which complicates the necessary communication. I think it would be better if women understood not to be excessively demanding in exchange for sex, and communicate a desire for “courtship” even when he’s not feeling sexually needy and if men spoke a little more honestly about needing a wife to express her love by having sex with him, and also being more afterward-grateful.

But I don’t think it’s a problem for married women to have standards of some kind, as long as they are realistic and are based in love. I do think many frigidity cases really are just wives who have “a little authority, as they suppose,” being punitive jerks to their husbands. But there also has to be room for loving negotiation.

It is pretty depressing though, the ways that mortal men and women use their power over each other to hurt. It used to really bother me, but I’ve come to see it as a necessary part of the plan, for individuals to be given power over vulnerable others and see what is done with it. Is the power over another used to express love, or selfishness?

It’s an important question to keep in mind.


Lucinda
October 20, 2017

Another quick point.

Women are not taught the value of cooking for their husbands anymore. I feel like that’s too bad because having the understanding that, as a wife, there is a responsibility to care for a husband’s physical needs is at the root of the frigidity problem.


Bookslinger
October 20, 2017

For a good laugh, and maybe some old-fashioned wisdom, google: worry clinic dr. Crane budoir cheesecake. Should be safe. His columns were printed in family newspapers through at least the 70’s, maybe later.


Lucinda
October 21, 2017

I don’t really have a better place to put this comment so I’ll put it here. For women trying to get along with husbands:

Sometimes I rediscover a pretty good way to interact with my husband that gives me “my voice” while not treading on his toes. Give information but let him make the choice. “There’s a good parking spot,” rather than “Park over there!” “The speed limit is 30,” rather than “slow down!” “I’m pretty tired, I do love you,” rather than “Don’t touch me!”

Anyway, it’s a practice I find helps. And I can use all the help I can get. And it only works when I’m not bent on getting my way.


Beth
October 22, 2017

@Lucinda – sometimes I do that with my husband. He hates it beacuse it makes him feel like he’s being manipulated. He’d rather just have me come out and say what I mean.


Angie Q.
October 22, 2017

A lot of these comments have to do with putting the blame on women for being “frigid”. But what is *their* side to the story? The word “frigid” implies these women either don’t have sexual feelings at all or enjoy being withholding – I don’t think that is an accurate picture. Women need to feel safe and connected to their partners before they can enjoy sex. If she is not initiating sex, perhaps it is because there are other dysfunctions in the relationship that preclude sexual enjoyment: maybe the husband is being controlling or taking her for granted or has insulted her physical appearance one too many times. Don’t automatically assume “frigidity.”


Lucinda
October 23, 2017

@Beth

Yeah, I think you are right there. It’s just I’ve found it a method to help me get out of my bossy/manager mentality, as long as I can really let go of final-say-greediness. But ultimately, if it is an effort to control him, and I’m going to hold it against him, then it is manipulation.

@Angie Q. – wow, I would hate to have to be the one always initiating sex. Too much work!

I think part of the issue is that every relationship has dysfunctions, and usually withholding sex ramps the dysfunction up rather than helping both wife and husband come to terms with each other. I don’t think it’s wrong for women to have standards. But if a husband wants sex, and the wife wants to stay married to him, then she should consider trying to enjoy the moment with him, and then bring up other issues at a time that will be more effective, like when his mind is in a more reason-oriented frame. Men are easier to get along with when their tendency to compartmentalize is accounted for.

On the other hand, as has been mentioned, if a woman feels the need to help destroy the marriage entirely, which is sometimes necessary, then that is her prerogative. But she should understand that that is what she is doing.


twiceuponatime
October 23, 2017

Women have a difficult time with male sexuality. Sex is how a man feel secure in a relationship. If a woman wants her man to change, she is much more likely to get it from him after sex, not before (i.e., withholding sex until he behaves vs. having sex and then discussing things with him while he’s in a more relaxed frame of mind).

Every marriage class and counseling session and workshop I’ve ever been too (and I’ve done a lot – I want to make sure my second marriage survives) includes this bit: Women have no clue just how important sex is to men. They may think they do, but they are likely underestimating by a factor of 10 or even 100 (of course men need to take their wives’ needs and whatnot else into consideration too, this is no excuse to be a jerk and expect sex on demand).

My first wife said something like”I like sex, but I also like ice cream. And I don’t have to do any work to make the ice cream happy, and the ice cream is always exactly what I want it to be.”

I was hardly a perfect husband, but that was fairly hard to bear; women who excuse that behavior by claiming all us men are just mad sex bears or whatever need to do some serious soul searching.

Lucinda seems to have it fairly right, though – probably better than I do, anyway, since I have too much baggage in this area anyway.


Angie Q.
October 23, 2017

@Lucinda and @twiceuponatime:
Your comments are exactly what I was referring to. Men and women are supposed to be partners and it is so wrong to put it all on the woman when things cool off in the bedroom. “If she would put out he’ll change.” What a joke.

I’ve been doing that for years. My husband still calls me fat and lazy and insults my housekeeping and my work ethic on a regular basis. Sometimes when there’s a lot of noise and chaos in the house he just leaves to go for a walk, leaving me to sort it out on my own. I’m always the one to initiate reconciliation because I do want to stay married. Nothing ever changes. Months later, weeks, or days, he’ll say the same mean things. Nothing I have ever given him – sexually or otherwise – has made a difference.

Please explain to me, @twiceuponatime, how *I* am the one in need of soul searching.


seriouslypleasedropit
October 23, 2017

I am not married, but the best advice I have seen on this topic is Cane’s Tacomaster Desires Steadfast Love”. It does require being in the right frame of mind to understand; if I were to summarize it for context, I might do so thus:

– There are two problems being conflated as one: lack of sex, and man’s inability to deal with it. We live on the word of God, not by bread (or sex) alone.

– Though they “should not have to” in the same way that the Atonement “shouldn’t have” been necessary, men can control the second. Men understandably resist this idea, suspicious that the proponent is angling to excuse the wife. But, if convinced that the speaker is trying to improve mens’ lives rather than bamboozle them, it can serve as a revelation that they are in fact in charge of their lives, and there are good things in life besides sex. The problem, of course, is that this advice is as counterintuitive as it is good, and is likely to not be believed.

– there are some other ideas held as context, such as:

we’re all sluts (“They’re all wrong because they all married sluts. Anyone not raised in some fringe culture like the Amish or Mennonites is going to be quite sexually perverted. Actual sex acts involving the sexual organs make this worse, and certainly more stark, but, folks: French kissing is a real sexual act. If you don’t think so: Go french your dad and then tell him it’s just a kiss. Watch your wife tongue another man, and then play it off. Take a moonlit walk with the neighbor lady with your arms around each-other’s waists and see if your wife minds.”)

love as an action done for the benefit of its object

I would seriously recommend Cane’s blog to anyone remotely interested. Celibacy is bad enough—there’s no need to compound it with other afflictions.


twiceuponatime
October 23, 2017

I would say what you seem to have is a very dysfunctional relationship, possibly bordering or even crossing over into emotional abuse – and I am most emphatically saying women should merely put out.

My advice/discussion/whatever assumed a non-abusive and mostly functional relationship (all relationships have some dysfunction). If your description is accurate, then nothing I said applies and your husband needs to repent of his bad behavior.


anon for this one
October 24, 2017

I used to think my father was the bad guy, because he kept losing his temper. But then I caught my mother intentionally setting him off, over and over again. I finally realized she “needed” to be abused. Her childhood abuse/trauma had somehow made her a permanent victim, and she kept regurgitating that victim-poison, the pus of unhealed wounds, onto him.

To the casual outside observer, my father was the bad guy. But in essence, they needed each other. He “needed” to abuse someone, and she “needed” to be abused.

Unfortunately, the subtle programming-by-example had its effect on us kids before we figured out what was going on, and we all got a big dose of secondary PTSD from both of them, and absorbed various aspects of their dysfunctional dynamics.


Lucinda
October 24, 2017

Angie Q.

You shouldn’t have sex with your husband, and you should seriously think about separating from him permanently. If you have kids, they need to understand that his kind of behavior has consequences. Your husband is gaming the system. You may have to go against the advice of friends and family and even church leaders because they worry for the price that you personally will have to bear, but consider the greater good.

If your husband were my son I would hope you could help him understand he can’t just not even try and still keep a sexy wife. Please stop initiating reconciliation. It’s hard enough for the rest of us to figure out how to get along with husbands who are actually trying when you want to lump your husband in with ours and keep us from talking about how to have a healthy relationship because it ‘doesn’t work’ with a man who doesn’t even want to stay married.


Still Anon
October 24, 2017

Gee, Lucinda, you’re a little….. I dunno. I was just going to suggest professional counseling.

IMHO, most relationship problems harken back to childhood events and the family one grew up in.

For instance, even if a kid doesn’t get PTSD from his/her own trauma, they can get an “infusion” from one or both parent’s PTSD. (Not saying that’s Angie’s case. Just giving a fer-instance.)

This was driven home to me when I went on vacation with my sister and her family, and saw my sister verbally/emotionally abuse her daughter the exact same way our father abused us.


Lucinda
October 24, 2017

Still Anon,

Well, I was being extreme based on her own extreme description. If she was exaggerating, then she can read mine as an exaggeration also. If she wasn’t exaggerating, then I definitely stand behind my advice. (I find professional marital counseling makes things worse in these kinds of situations.)


ahusband
October 24, 2017

I’m trying to figure out how to tie healthy sexuality into a situation that Angie Q describes because I could easily be that same husband. My wife has gained significant weight since the last child (mostly a product of candy, facebook, and probably stress [likely from me]). She has rarely been a good housekeeper and laziness shows in work ethic for anything she doesn’t want to do.

As a husband who frequently does no right in her eyes as much as she in mine, and now that I’m not really attracted to her physically anymore, how should healthy sexuality be?


Dr. Sigmund F.
October 24, 2017

You people vant marital und zexual advice from anonymous people on zee Internet? You volks are CRAZY!


G.
October 24, 2017

Quality discussion. What I realize is that some virtues are not and cannot be individual virtues. Healthy sexuality is one of those.


Vader
October 24, 2017

I have found that it is almost impossible to have a productive open discussion on healthy sexuality. It always — always — turns into a discussion like this one, in which those unhappy souls whose marriages struggle, for whatever reason, come to dominate the discussion, and no one is really prepared to help with their marital pathologies.

I understand why they are desperate for help. I have concluded that there is simply no help to be had outside a bishop’s office or the prayer closet. In saying that, I second what Lucinda says about the futility of secular marriage counseling. G., I agree which your last two sentences: Marriage is almost unique in the Gospel in that its virtues, and vices, involve the deepest corners of two hearts.


G.
October 25, 2017

It is true that the comments have turned a mite too confessional.


Lucinda
October 25, 2017

Creation is the underlying element of virtue. Consumption or destruction the underlying element of vice.

With marriage, sexuality in particular, the desire to actively create love and the desire to passively consume love are somewhat mixed, especially while young. But as time goes by the two different motivations settle out, like a salad dressing that has been shaken and then left to sit. Either creation of love or consumption of love surfaces as the dominant motivation.

For those who have found the passive consumption of love dominating and destroying their relationship, the only answer is a true change of heart, only available through the grace of God.

But the situation is not symmetrical. Husbands experience passive love biologically as opportunities for conception. Wives experience passive love biologically as material help in bearing and nurturing children. This means that passive love will run out for husbands once their wife runs out of fertility. But male material helpfulness in bearing and nurturing children needn’t expire before the man himself expires.

For this reason, I believe the timed active vs. passive love test for men and women is different. The ticking clock of *loving* vs. *being loved* for women happens when their children age, and whether the woman as a mother can learn to actively love their independent children rather than passively receive love from dependent children. The natural woman would rather infantilize grown children, analogous to the way the natural man would rather discard a post-fertile wife.

As a civilization, women infantilizing adult children is not a big issue as long as men are not discarding post-fertile wives and are active fathers. But once discarding post-fertile wives becomes normal, than infantilization of grown children becomes the driving force of an entitlement mentality that brings about civilizational breakdown.

That is to say that while wives learning to actively love is an essential aspect to the happiness of those closest to her, husbands learning to actively love is the only way to save a human society from actual destruction.


Vader
October 25, 2017

Interesting insights, Lucinda.

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