Author Topic: Sexual morality  (Read 2417 times)

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Offline authio

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Sexual morality
« on: October 11, 2005, 02:21:53 PM »
Here's where I'm at:  I go to a Jesuit university.  Now, the Jesuits are not in line with the Vatican or Christian Tradition when they discuss sexuality, so I'm starting this way to explain why I'm somewhat lost.

I converted from fundamentalism.  In literalist protestant biblical Christianity, sex isn't really talked about.  Except in regards to marriage.  It always seemed like there was a jump - "we went out one night, the next night we were married and enjoying one another."  This semi-puritan spirit caused me a lot of guilt, especially during puberty.  Now, as I've converted to Orthodoxy, my understanding of sexual morality is distorted.

My priest reiterated Scripture and said I am not to have sex.  I got that.  He said that oral sex is still sex.  I got that, too.  Hmm....I seem to  be coming at this from an immature legalist's perspective.  Is it wrong of me to ask for clarification?  I'm not a perv, but I do enjoy my girlfriend quite often.  I think this all comes down to the fact that I sleep (literally) with her every other night.

But it's my lingering fundamentalist guilt, right?  [Help me out here!]
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Offline aserb

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 02:40:34 PM »
I think that anyone who has grown up in America, regardless of religion, is afflicted with puritan guilt. I do not believe that this is a bad thing, necessarily. I do believe that you should take the advice of your spiritual father. He is looking out for your best interests. Your asking this question on this web site leads me to believe that you are looking for an answer to justify your behavior. It is hard to stop eating potato chips once you've opened the bag, if you get what I mean. Nonetheless, I cannot throw stones at you. Only pray.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 02:46:05 PM »
Nah, your priest is right, sex before marriage is not ok. Then again, cohabitation isn't either, but maybe your priest wants to take it one step at a time ;) I don't mean to come down hard on you, believe me, if I told of my own sins on the forum I would probably get run off very quickly! But you asked, so here's my answer. It's not wrong to enjoy sex, what is not ok is to enjoy it outside of the proper context, that context being marriage. It's also not wrong to ask questions, but you have to realise that if you ask questions and then don't change because you don't like the answers, well then that's a different story. Not to be hard on ya, but you would ask such an intimate question for two reasons: either you wanted to be justified in doing what you're doing and hoped that the priest would say that it's ok, or you wanted to find out the real answer and try to follow it. What your motivation is is your own business (and God's, and the priests if he's helping you partake of the sacraments), not mine, so only you can answer for yourself what to do next.  I was in a similar position a few years ago... my then-fiancee and I were living in a homeless shelter for a month, and we had to get out at the end of the month, which meant we would be living together. We got the priest to marry us quickly (5 months sooner than planned), and then didn't have a problem.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2005, 02:47:41 PM by Asteriktos »

Offline TomS

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 04:01:32 PM »
I wonder if the whole issues relating to pre-marital sex was an issue of cultural "property rights" of the father for the culture AT THAT TIME IN HISTORY? Is it really relevant today? I am not so sure.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2005, 04:02:48 PM by TomS »

Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2005, 04:07:13 PM »
While I think the question has merit, given the way marriages took place for thousands of years, I think that Christianity has always held a loftier view of marriage than how it was normally done. Yes, if you just consider the practical circumstances, your question brings up a good point, Tom. BUT, following the Church's goal or guidelines, it has always been about much much more. Two become one flesh is not just a sales slogan! ;) Certainly I DO think that context should make a HUGE difference, we live in a totally different situation than 7th century BC Jews or 7th century AD Christians. Nonetheless, the moral truths of the Gospel do not change. Moses might have allowed divorce as a condescension, but there was always the goal of no divorce as the ideal to be looked up to. If the poster here is engaging in acts or thoughts that the Church deems sinful, then that shouldn't be looked at as something to be condemned for, but as something that can be improved and healed, so as to make someone a healthier person (spiritually and otherwise).

Offline Anastasios

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2005, 04:53:25 PM »
I wonder if the whole issues relating to pre-marital sex was an issue of cultural "property rights" of the father for the culture AT THAT TIME IN HISTORY? Is it really relevant today? I am not so sure.

I am.  Sexual promscuity or even "having one monogomous partner before marriage" destroys people's souls.  It makes it hard to find the right person to marry. It's a really bad thing.

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Offline me

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2005, 02:28:28 AM »
I am.ÂÂ  Sexual promscuity or even "having one monogomous partner before marriage" destroys people's souls.ÂÂ  It makes it hard to find the right person to marry. It's a really bad thing.

Anastasios

Destroys your soul? A REALLY bad thing? Now don't get me wrong, I'd be a fool to assume it wasn't something that distances us from God. But with that said, how do we know it destroys your soul? In orthodoxy, I didnt feel anything destroyed the soul.......ultimately they all just distance us from God? Your response seems really puritanical and not truly well founded. I agree premarital sex is sinful. I just don't think anything has ever made it sound as bad you did. Jesus speaks of this sins of the flesh how many times? 6? Not many more than that. So how do we determine it destroys peoples soul. It just seems we all have been quick to cast the first stone at this man. But like any of us, it doesnt seem a sin that confession and repentance cant ultimately aid in gaining God's forgiveness.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2005, 03:58:44 AM »
By "destroys people's souls," perhaps he means causing the soul great harm, not literally destroying it like one might destroy a piece of paper in a fire? Saints have spoken of people dying many (even thousands of) spiritual deaths. I think such imagery is meant to wake people up, not be taken as precise theological statements. Regarding the power of sexuality, St. Paul seperated it from all other sins, and placed it in a class by itself, so I think there is definately something more to it than we often credit it. We seem willing to accept all the powerful positives of sexuality, but refuse to accept that there are equally powerful negatives when abused. The fellow asked for thoughts, I gave some. :)

Offline Fr. George

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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2005, 08:56:34 AM »
The distinction placed on sexual sin is one of the cases where the Church in its wisdom understands the ramifications of sin beyond the spiritual.  Spiritually speaking, sex before marriage, or adultery in marriage, is the same as killing, or as  coveting, or as lying in a sinful way.  But the Church understood the social and psychological effects as well (not to mention the physical) - the emotional bonding, social appearances, the breakdown of the family, etc.  With this understanding one can see why the Church has more canons and writings regarding sexual sin than most of the other types of sin.

At the end of the day, spiritually, sin is sin - there is no such thing as a "small" separation from the infinite God; no "minor" missing of the target He sets for us.
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Re: Sexual morality
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2005, 12:34:14 PM »
Destroys your soul? A REALLY bad thing? Now don't get me wrong, I'd be a fool to assume it wasn't something that distances us from God. But with that said, how do we know it destroys your soul? In orthodoxy, I didnt feel anything destroyed the soul.......ultimately they all just distance us from God? Your response seems really puritanical and not truly well founded. I agree premarital sex is sinful. I just don't think anything has ever made it sound as bad you did. Jesus speaks of this sins of the flesh how many times? 6? Not many more than that. So how do we determine it destroys peoples soul. It just seems we all have been quick to cast the first stone at this man. But like any of us, it doesnt seem a sin that confession and repentance cant ultimately aid in gaining God's forgiveness.

Well look elsewhere if you think that I was casting a stone at anyone. I am not judging him and I wasn't even really responding to him but to TomS who indicated that he thinks sexual morality is relative to culture.

As far as soul destroying, I am speaking from mine and others' experience that sexual sins lead to spiritual death. I'm not the one who made it up. St Paul says fornicators will NOT inherit the kingdom of God.ÂÂ  Read the Ladder of Divine Ascent and see what St John says about sexual sin and then tell me my views are Puritanical and not Orthodox.

St Theophan the Recluse teaches in his book "The Spiritual Path and How to be Attuned to it" that we can turn off God's grace--completely--if we keep obstinantly sinning--so some sins are soul destroying.  Of course the person could always repent--BUT--the very nature of obstinent and repetitive sin is that it leads people to not WANT to repent--hence, it kills their soul so to speak.

Anastasios
« Last Edit: December 05, 2005, 12:35:36 PM by Anastasios »
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