Sex: it is probably the most human, most physical act that a man and a woman can engage in. Because of this, it has deep metaphysical implications conceived by many cultures in a variety of ways. But what is sex? The current trend of rising western progressivism promotes an anthropological revolution wherein the sanctity of sexual intercourse has been degraded. In place of moral intercourse, society has acted in favor of a more vulgar implementation encompassing pleasure. The virtue of chastity, further, is frowned upon as a sort of fad and is renounced in favor of pleasure. Indeed, it can be said that society is enduring a crisis of sexual morality. Sexual intercourse is misrepresented; the sexual act, in its truest form, is ultimately sacred and exists for the sake marital intimacy and union. In this paper, it will be proven evident that premarital intercourse and largely the desensitisation of sex is a proponent of immorality against the objective good that it innately possesses: which is to produce offspring and bring closer those two persons within heterosexual matrimony.
Sexuality immorality is ultimately a byproduct of misconstrued love. The notion that two loving persons may have intercourse outside of the bond of marriage is fallacious, as a relationship is not concrete enough until it is bound by a holy and sacramental marriage. Practicing Catholics especially should remember the vow of chastity (which shall be elaborated upon) they must exhibit by virtue of their baptism. As the Gospel simply preaches, “What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder”(Mark 10:9, DRC). In this verse, the inseparable implications of marriage are reinforced; the sacrament is given unto us by God to solidify and sanctify love so interactions such as sex are revered. Scripture also tells, “Marriage [be] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled. For fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). Sexually active persons outside of sacramental marriage cite that intercourse is an act that gives pleasure and creates intimacy, however, the bond offered by intercourse is ultimately groundless outside marriage.
Intimacy, all the same, is not exclusive to marriage. Intimacy is welcomed in all relationships, but to fornicate is to place pleasure before authentic love: love that is selfless and self-giving. Another resounding verse tells, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that you should abstain from fornication;  That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-4). One’s body is a temple to the Lord. It is a vehicle by which we glorify God and our fellow man by freeing him from the shackles of sin. Thus, being holy by virtue of our Creator, we must live virtuously according to the ways He fashioned us.
In this section, we shall determine what ethical intercourse entails. Before this, however, for the sake of clarity, allow the virtue of chastity to be defined. Donald Demarco, in his article “The Virtue of Chastity,” writes, “Chastity, therefore, does not require the renunciation of sexuality, but the right use of it. There are times when human beings should abstain from sexual pleasure, but it is not necessary to abstain from activities that are conducted in accord with reason” (Demarco, PH.D.). Chastity requires that the human sexuality be reverently observed and put into practice. Sex utilized exclusively for pleasure, whether it be in or out of the bond of marriage, is a bastardization of its two foundational qualities: to produce offspring and to exhibit the love that each married person in the interaction shares. Cherry-picking is not an option in the realm of ethics. Thus, sexual intercourse must encompass that which makes it virtuous for it to be ethical; hence both of its qualities.
In modern times, many relationships are centered around pleasure gained from premarital sex; it is falsely deemed integral to the relationship. The newly-arising emphasis on the so-called “importance” of premarital sex concerns, as Pope John Paul II puts it bluntly, “emotional security.” These relationships often devolve from amorous to utilitarian when sex comes into the picture. Catholic author Edward Sri writes, “A warning sign that one might be in a utilitarian relationship is when one person is afraid to bring up difficult topics or fears addressing problems in the relationship with their beloved” (Sri, Love and Responsibility…). If for example, one person in a relationship is waiting until marriage to have sex, but the other person involved urges them to break that mindset, mutual love as it stands in such a circumstance has either deteriorated or is degenerating.
A virtuous relationship would entail that both persons are willing and committed to abstinence before sacramental matrimony for the sake of mutual love and God, which is preferable to the yields concerning other things. Sri continues upon the topic of lust, “He [Pope John Paul II] says the sexual urge orients a man toward the physical and psychological characteristics of a woman her body, her femininity which are the very attributes that are most complementary to the man” (Sri). If love degenerates to lust for body over mind, the relationship in itself has been corrupted let alone the possibility of intercourse. Further, an article on chastity by the organization New Advent tells, “According as chastity would exclude all voluntary Carnal pleasures, or allow this gratification only within prescribed limits, it is known as absolute or relative”(Chastity: As a Virtue). In order to oust lust in favor of love, the man and woman ought to see one another for their beauty as humans before they indulge in earthly pleasures regarding physical attributes; it is in this instance where pornography, for example, is undoubtedly proven to be immoral.
Lust, in itself, is universally detrimental to the mind and body. Saint Augustine remarks in his work, City of God, “But even those who delight in this pleasure [lust] are not moved to it at their own will… sometimes [it] fails them when they desire to feel it, so that though lust rages in the mind, it stirs not in the body”(Augustine insert pg #; ch. 16). Lust, being one of the seven deadly sins, starts as a mere indulgence-related vice and evolves in to habit. When one of the deadly sins becomes habit, affected individuals find it extremely hard to break free from the chains of said “sin.” Psychological or physiological [sexual] arousal is an involuntary impulse which is embedded into us by nature, but contemplation upon arousal leads to the development of lustful habits. These habits eventually become second nature and triumph over us.
It was only after mankind’s vulgarization of the body where it was negatively sexualized. Augustine tells, “It was after [the original] sin that our nature, having lost the power it had over the whole body, but not having lost all shame, perceived, noticed, blushed at, and covered it”(Augustine insert pg #; ch. 21). In the Garden of Eden, God established the sanctity of the body and its inherent beauty by having not fashioned garments of any sort for Adam and Eve. Our sins led us to have to cover our bodies as a result of the weight of this sin. We casted ourselves out of utopia, and have done so since the dawn of creation.
Thus says the Lord: that because we are made in His image, we are destined to be elevated from the dawn of our existence. We are to live as Christ did; He exhibited all the virtues, and relevantly, chastity. It is often said nowadays that the Church wishes to enslave man by imposing rules and guidelines upon him, but this is surely not the case. Lust is a deadly sin whose grapple with mankind is unlike any other. Arguably the most alluring offense against God, lust deceives its victims into believing that fornication is liberation. Until we are no longer bound by the convictions of sin, man is not totally free. Mankind’s enthrallment to his vices will prevent us from achieving said “freedom.” Evidently, the desensitization of sex and rising sexual immorality are tarnishing the innate good of it therein.
Augustine, Saint. City of God. LIGHTHOUSE PUBLISHING, 2018.
“Chastity.” CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Chastity
DeMarco, Donald. “The Virtue of Chastity.” Catholic Exchange, 7 Aug. 2003,
The Holy Bible: Douay-Rheims Version. Saint Benedict Press, 2009.
Sri, Edward. “Love and Responsibility: Beyond the Sexual Urge.” Catholic Education Resource Center, March 2005.