Everybody Else is Doing It

The search for a better way

It is a common occurrence, particularly among young people, to hear talk about ‘conquests’ or ‘making the mark’, or something similar. Many people in today’s society are engaging in sexual relationships outside marriage. It is common, even understandable. But it is not right.

Chastity might be difficult, but it is worth it. We are encouraged by the Church to keep our bodies ‘holy’. This usually means refraining from acts that are bad for us. When sexual activity is practised outside the context of a marriage that is fully open to life, then we are, quite simply, building ourselves up for a deep disatisfaction fall, whether in the short- or the long-term.

Sex is good. Sex is pleasurable. Sex is precious. But because it is all these things – God made it so! – it needs to be treated in an appropriate way. God or the Church is not trying to put shackles on anybody with the Catholic teaching on sexuality. On the contrary. Two thousand years of profound thought, rooted in the very mystery of what it means to be human, have resulted in a body of teaching that is beautiful, meaningful and, what is more, attainable.

Very often, young people might be tempted that they are not normal if they are not engaging in sexual activity. But the ‘norm’ is what which God intends: healthy, loving relationships between members of the same sex and between the sexes, that build mutual support and openness. Sex outside marriage just does not fulfil.

This is not to say that we go round like fridges. Our sexuality must be celebrated: men act as men, and women as women. But it does not need to be acted out in a way that might give immediate pleasure. It simply does not satisfy, but clouds the vision.

When sexual activity is reserved for marriage it finds its deepest fulfilment. Couples stay together, and Christian life is nourished.

Keep friends with those who you can trust. Maybe there are not many who have the same views as you want to have for yourself, but there will be someone out there – your future spouse! – who will be eternally grateful for your decision to reserve the deepest physical expression of your love for him or her.

Remember too to pray. Pray for the one whom God will give you in marriage, if that is your calling. He really does help, for he came “that they might have life, and have it to the full” (John 10,10).