On the subject of sexual intimacy

As society deals with the complex emotional and physical consequences of the "sexual revolution," chastity seems to be making a quiet comeback. Is there more to it than "Thou shalt not"?

I don't think anyone would argue that these are easy times to be young and sorting out what is right and wrong when it comes to sexual activity. Society seems to be placing far less emphasis on restraint and fidelity in relationships. The persistent encouragement to be sexually active finds expression on television and movie screens, and in a lot of contemporary music, where sexual themes are openly exploited. Many advertising campaigns, either overtly or subliminally, make connections between their product and sexuality. And then there's peer pressure and the feeling that "everyone else is doing it, why aren't you?"

With so many elements pushing to legitimize a promiscuous or sexually liberal life style, it can become a struggle to resist the constant pressures of those suggestions, especially when one is sorting out his or her own sexual feelings. But when one looks at the destructive effects of such unrestrained sexual activity, on both the individual and society, it's clearly worth the effort to slow down and think about what kind of life we want to live. Sexually transmitted diseases, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, divorces and insecure marriages—all of these things are exposing the harmfulness of sexually permissive attitudes. But there's got to be more to the issue of sexual restraint than the fear of bad consequences.

The depth of Jesus' teaching
August 31, 1987

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