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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

CELIBACY!

Oh yes, I'm going there. And for those of you who may be sensitive, be advised that I'm going to speak very clearly (for once) and that I'm going to use terms that are not profane, but may be considered to be graphic. And I may become embarassed and remove this post because what I have to say is not an edification of a proud moment, but of some of my worst moments. And believe you me...I have even less respect for myself than you can EVER have for me in revealing these things.

Forgive me, my friends...it seems I'm going through a phase; a type of regression to my early blogging days during which I had a great number of cathartic posts which could be properly termed as "rants." So yes, this is perhaps another "rant." At the end, maybe we'll see.

I do not write out of anger, rather, I write out of exasperation, and out of offense to my very humanity and my dignity as a woman. Yet I believe I will be speaking for BOTH men and women who choose to live a life of celibacy and chastity.


DEFINITION OF TERMS

A very wise professor I had in college (Fr. Fabian), explained to us the importance of the definition of terms. Although at the time I was not well disposed to the vast majority of the lessons we covered in our class on Natural Law (ie Catholic Morality), I must say that his introductory session has stuck with me. As you see from a recent post, I consider terms and language to be extremely important. Life has bourne out his words and his wisdom.

Ever since that day, I've been able to see that people tend to argue from self-defined terms. And that is actually fine; we sometimes HAVE to define terms for ourselves, or at least our understanding of those terms. Even if our definitions are incorrect, if we explain what we mean to others, they are better able to understand and respond coherently. Everyone knows the story of the letter written by a woman describing a "WC", which to her was a bathroom, which she referred to as a "Water Closet." On the other end of the letter, however, the understanding of the abbreviation "WC" was "Wayside Chapel." I'm guessing the story is urban legend, yet it still contains truth.

SO! To avoid the "WC" debate, let me first say what this is about:

Celibacy: Abstinence from sexual union.

Chastity: The virtue that moderates the sexual appetite. It applies to married couples as well as celibates. Chastity involves a correct use of our gift of sexuality, in keeping with our dignity as human beings.

MOVING ON...

Now that the requisite definitions are out of the way, let's discuss celibacy. I am a single woman, and I am celibate. In other words, no, I'm not having sex. With anyone. (And by the way, that includes myself. Masturbation is not coherent with a celibate lifestyle.)

This choice to be celibate in my single state stems from a few things:

1. Morality (Yes, Catholic morality, otherwise referred to as "Natural Law", in part.)
2. Experience (I'm ashamed of this)
3. I've never met a man worth that gift. (Period.)


1. Morality

The Catholic Church gives us a very coherent stand on sexual morality. No, it is not "Victorian", nor is it detrimental to our psyche. As Catholics, we LOVE sex! Truly! Have you ever joked about the size of Catholic families? Of COURSE you have! It's stock comedy for anyone poking fun at Catholics! Have you ever looked at a large family and brazenly asked the woman with all the children including the one on the way, "Are you Catholic?" Of COURSE you have!

So I ask...are you suggesting that they don't know how they GOT all those wonderful children?

And yet...you turn around and complain that Catholics think sex is wrong.

REALLY?!

I think you got it backwards...Catholics LOVE sex, and that is evident in the numbers of children produced by such blessed couples. Those couples love each other SO MUCH that they are willing to give themselves COMPLETELY to one another, without a distrustful barrier of latex or chemicals between them. And guess what? That's ALSO referred to as "chastity."


2.Experience

Let's just say that I can't take it back. I remember the moment and the devastation will never leave me. Ever. No, he wasn't worth it. Nor were those who followed. Not a single one was worth it. I'd die to get my viginity back.

Let's just say that I exercised "choice" and my "choice" was based upon a false premise, which I recognized as wrong even as I went ahead with it. And let's just say that I believed in love and marriage and forever...and he didn't. And I let him manipulate me. And all I was to him was an object.

And let's just say that ultimately, the man I thought I was going to marry wasn't interested in marrying me.

I have ALWAYS been interested in "forever." Unfortunately, most of the guys I knew then were only interested in "right now."

Thankfully, the notches in my bra are few but they were enough to destroy my soul and affect me for life. I STILL, to this day, feel that I'll never be really "PURE" even though I've gone to Confession, even though I've embraced a life of chastity consistent with being single. But I can't take back what I freely chose.

3. Who is worth THIS?

Several years ago, in my mid-20's (I can't believe I'm calling that "several years"), I was out nearly every weekend, "clubbing" with my friends. And we wore our short skirts and tight tops. My dearest friend at the time was prone to meeting her boyfriends in such places. I was never really interested in meeting guys in bars. Certainly, I was looking, but most of the guys I met were just not up to par.

Mind you, I was not a practicing Catholic at the time. I was a secular party girl. And sometimes we went to house parties, and sometimes we hosted the house party. And I had no end of potential suitors. My attitude staved them off, however. I was not looking for meaningless sex; I was looking for a husband.

Downtown Minneapolis is NOT the place to find a husband. And I knew it. So while I had a good time, I remained aloof.

Yet my friend went through boyfriend after boyfriend. I remember one particular night, we met a group of cute guys. And they were decent. One of them was really obviously interested in me and I rewarded him with my attention, but the poor boy shared no interests with me, and getting him to talk was like pulling teeth. I realized immediately that this was going nowhere. Sure, he was a nice guy, and I legitimately liked all of them, even as I got to know them better. But the one in question had no depth...no husband material there.

My friend berated me some time later, referring to that night and that group, "You never give anyone a chance!"

She herself had dated their "leader" for a few months. That didn't go far. The problem was that she gave nearly EVERYONE a chance...and never found success.

I didn't want to live her life and her disasters.

That pretty much sums up those years.

THE HAPPINESS OF CELIBACY

Recently I took the Spiritual Gifts test through the Siena Institute, and "Celibacy" was not one of my gifts. I think it was partially because of how the questions were worded; it had to do with "fulfillment".

I don't think "celibacy" fulfills me, but I will say that it's an important part of my life and I'm more fulfilled by being celibate than through sleeping with every cute guy who happens to get my attention.

In fact, I'm happier this way. There is nothing to offend my dignity. I'm not asked to be an object; the one thing that I've learned that is being an object of someone else's pleasure is NOT dignified. It's demeaning.

When I lived in Mexico, I was once hit on by two guys...at the same time! And when I refused their...uh...advances, they asked me, "What's wrong? Are you a lesbian?"

WHAT?!

And in the past, the boyfriend I wanted to marry told me that if I hadn't acquiesced to him, he would have thought that I didn't love HIM...never mind that he NEVER loved me.

A few years ago, when I had a fairly intense period of realizing I might be called to religious life, a co-worker, also Catholic, (but not living a very Catholic life) learned about my discernment. Her very first question:

"What about sex? Won't you miss sex?"

I understood where she was coming from ,although I'd never lived that life as she did. This was a woman who'd had a couple children via a couple of illicit unions. Don't get me wrong; she was a wonderful mother, and she was young. And God bless her, she gave birth to her children! She was EXTREMELY pro-life!

She could not live without her children; and she thought she could not live without sex.

Like many, she thinks that sex is not optional. She's been fed the pop-psychology that sexual pleasure even for its own sake is NECESSARY for mental well-being. She couldn't even FATHOM that someone out there could actually CHOOSE not to have sex.


WHY I'M OFFENDED


I was not offended by my friend's question; I was offended by the ideology she embraced.

I've been offended over the years that every time I said "No", my sexual orientation was questioned, my mental faculties were questioned, and my religion was slandered.

I've been offended that EVERY TIME I said "no" to a man, that he made it about HIM and used that to demean ME.

I'm offended that even the men who are supposed to be men are drama queens.

I'm offended that people think that celibacy is a forced condition! People assume that those who are celibate really have no choice and must be trolls or disfigured in some way. For the record; I'm not a troll. I think my history speaks to that.

I'm offended that people would DARE to suggest that the refusal of sex results from the alleged oppression of some authority!

I'm offended that people think that celibacy causes unhappiness!

I am absolutely THRILLED that I am celibate and striving to live a life of chastity. I look over my years of error and angst, and realize that all that suffering was for no purpose. It didn't win me a husband, and in fact, it made me feel less than human.

Right now, I know that I am a child of God. I know what my femininity is for. I am no one's object of entertainment. My life is worth more than that. My body is worth more than that.

And I'd rather die that live that lie again.

I know what freedom is, and the name of freedom is Chastity.

17 comments:

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Keep it up! You're doing great! I'm loving everything that you've had to say.

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: This is one, if the THE, most staggeringly honest posts you have ever done. You write from the hip and lay yourself bare.

This post really resonated with me.

I hope you leave it up but I understand if you don't since it's so personal.

I think many can learn from it.

You know this but it is worth repeating: What is most important, is who you are NOW and what you resolve to be going forward.

God bless you.

Melody said...

What Cathy said!

ignorant redneck said...

Adoro--

You make me feel ashamed at my lax and feeble efforts to reform myself, and to become a chaste person, instead of a person who doesn't have sex.

thank you.

Adrienne said...

I have never been able to figure out how the act of procreation has become central to everyones life. The end all and be all, so to speak.

Sex is fun and enjoyable but so is eating mac and cheese. This is the result of raising children without the concept of denial - for anything.

To have sex for the sake of sex is actually a display of stunted emotional growth.

Terry Nelson said...

What Cathy said. I like being celibate too - and I love chastity.

It may sound strange, but I never, ever thought a woman who abstained from sexual relations or marriage was a lesbian.

uncle jim said...

colloquialisms - i don't know them all - can you explain what you meant using the phrase '...men that are drama queens'

i'm sure everyone else got it...but i didn't - sorry

Adoro te Devote said...

Thank you, everyone, for your comments. I nearly took this post down several times. I questioned posting it.

IR ~ Don't get the impression that I'm living perfection.

Adrienne ~ Yup,that's the problem with our society...they've made sex the idol of all being and so everything revolves around it. Doesn't that explain a LOT?

Terry ~ It doesn't sound strange. It sounds REFRESHING!

Uncle Jim ~ It's a response to the above line:

"I've been offended that EVERY TIME I said "no" to a man, that he made it about HIM and used that to demean ME. "

That's drama at it's finest. "Drama" uses others to make it all about "me" in order to use the original situation against "everyone else" especially the person actually experiencing the offense.

In other words....most of our politicians are drama queens.
( :-P )

Ma Beck said...

Yessssssssssss!

If only more women felt this way.

Fr John Speekman said...

Good stuff, Adoro. God is truth and the truth sets us free.

Anonymous said...

Daring to be vulnerable - daring to grow!

Everytime we open ourselves to the Truth & become vulnerable - this is when God blesses us the most. Especially when we speak the Truth & the Truth is against popular culture.

I pray God will bring you many special blessings & bless everyone who is touched by this post! LM

Anonymous said...

I have a niece whose totally into every aspect of the college party scene. She doesn't "get" that she has a dignity and her lifestyle is beneath that dignity. Any words of wisdom? I know you "get" it ... how can I explain it to her?

Fr. V said...

Well said!

Adoro te Devote said...

anon ~ I'm sorry, I can't offer any wisdom. Unfortunately, if she's that wrapped up in her world, the ONLY thing to do is pray. Rosaries, Divine Mercies, any kind of prayer. Because she won't listen to reason because reason conflicts with what she wants to do and thinks is ok. Just pray God will lead her out of that lifestyle.

Anonymous said...

thank you for this post!!!
it is such an encouragement to know that there are other people out there trying too... that i'm not as alone as it seems.

-natalka

Anonymous said...

Thank you Adoro!
I know EXACTLY what you mean. Every time I make my position known to people who don't know me, they assume I sit at home, knit, read Jane Austen (there's certainly nothing wrong with that!) and just wait for this guy to come knocking at my door and voila! There's my future husband!
They certainly do not see the real me who has a university degree and is studying law. They see the 'naive', blonde me and think I'm missing some brain cells.
Even my female GP looked at me weird when I said 'no, I don't need any contraception advice thanks'.

God love you Adoro!

Alice in Australia.

Gina & Dan said...

Thank you for sharing your experience Adoro, very brave of you.
I have saved your post and highlighted main points, as I know it will help one of my friends in need of choosing a life of chastity.
No doubt you will change people's decisions who read your post.
Well done and God bless you!