Love & Sex as a Young Catholic in America

There are many words that I believe are completely lost on today’s youth. Modesty. Chastity. Virtue. Waiting. Just to name a few.

I was inspired to write this blog today after having been sucked into a bit of an unintentional youtube binge. I watched a bunch of videos for no particular reason, including one by a youtuber I’m not really familiar with, but had seen a few times on the channel of a youtuber I used to follow. Her video was a serious and personal one. She talked about the first time she kissed a man, then first time she ever had sex, and the regret she had after that and many more with the decisions that followed. She was 18, recently dropped out of college and moved to Hollywood, had never had a boyfriend, kissed a guy, or had sexual relations before, but she was very eager to. That’s probably where her troubles began. She probably wasn’t ready for any of that but jumped right into it anyway, and ended up very unhappy about it, and ended up making even more decisions she would come to regret, influenced by that first hook-up.

She did has some almost inspirational advice. While telling girls what it would be like their first time and warning them it could be awkward and uncomfortable (enticing, right?), she did tell them to make sure they save sex for someone they truly love, because it is a gift of giving yourself completely to another person. Our bodies are temples that we should respect and this includes not just using it for meaningless sex. Sex should mean something, and when it does, it is so much better. Now, I pretty much agree with all of this, I just feel like she left something out.

Sex is a gift, it’s a gift from God, a gift of ourselves to another person, in love through God. Sex is meant to be sacred, but in today’s society, it has become almost the complete opposite. There are teenage pregnancies left and right, divorce rates are higher than ever, children are being exposed to sexual materials at younger and younger ages without proper education. The list goes on and on, as do the arguments and opinions.

This past Sunday, I was home for the weekend, and I got to go to mass at my home parish. I have always really enjoyed the homilies my pastor gives. He always is very knowledgeable and wise, with good advice, funny anecdotes, meaningful stories, and powerful lessons. This Sunday was the feast day of St. John Lateran, which is actually a church, not a person, which is a little unusual. He was talking about this church, and explaining how this feast day is about more than just a building. The Church existed long before it had a church building to celebrate in. The Church is the People. We are the Church. This lead him into talking about how all of our bodies are temples, something that has been drilled in my head since kindergarten (12 years of Catholic school what). But this time it really hit me and meant something to me. One of his examples of how we should respect our bodies (and others’) was premarital sex. If we are in a relationship with someone, we are supposed to respect them, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. When we use or take advantage of someone in anyway, we are not showing them respect.

This particularly struct a cord with me because this is something I have been struggling with a lot. When you are in a loving and committed relationship with someone, it can be hard to not want to show them how much you love them through physical actions. Now, I love and respect my boyfriend more than anything, I would do anything with him, and I plan on spending the rest of my life with him. We are best friends and have been for a very long time, and some aspects of our relationship have been a little bit rushed. These and other contributing factors add up to what makes keeping our vows of chastity to ourselves and each other so difficult. We love each other deeply and care about each other greatly, so this puts us in a bit of a paradoxical situation sometimes. When we go further than we truly want in our hearts, it can be hard to feel guilty about it sometimes, because we feel we are doing it out of love. Sometimes it can be hard to not feel like a failure because we can’t seem to get things right.

Society has sexualized everything around us that it’s nearly impossible not to think about it. It’s in movies, on TV shows, in commercials, on billboards, in magazines, in books, literally everywhere. Even our (my boyfriend’s and mine) friends, many of whom were raised Catholic like us, are having or have had sex. Some of them don’t understand why we won’t. All of it feels like pressure and all of it feels like it should mean that it’s ok, but we know in our hearts that what is right is waiting.

I’ve read many blogs and articles about chastity, mostly out of reassurance and support. I’ve learned quite a lot from them as well. Many are incredibly inspiration. One post that I read had a line that has really stuck with me. It said that sex is a physical act that echos the vows we made earlier in the church in front of witnesses and God, and without those vows to echo, you lose the sanctity and purity that sex is supposed to be. Our society and culture has lost that.

I definitely don’t think I could ever be the poster child for chastity, but I do believe that it is incredibly important. It is something our society needs to rediscover and appreciate. While it is an incredible difficult lifestyle at times, it is probably one of the most rewarding decisions in the end.

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