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From Unconscious Alienation to Conscious Integration of Sex and Love: Human

Development in Context.
By
Okechukwu (MH) Izunwa
Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka
Mailing Address: P. M. B. 5099
Nnewi
e-mail: mauriceizunwa@yahoo.com

Introduction

Results from expert studies and the testimony of human experience show that sex and love are

deeply connected with the human personality in its dynamic expression. Thus, sex is neither a

biological appetite nor is love and incentive to same. No, they both originate from the deepest

and integral centers of human personality. Over and above being biological issues they are

equally mental, spiritual, social and cultural questions. As it is:

An individual’s sexuality is a significant element of her or his identity,


constructed on the basis of personally appropriated and socially
ascribed gender, preferred category of sexual partner, preferred and
actual modes of sexual behaviour, and modes of erotic experience
(Hinnells, J. 1985: 462).

Sex and love are therefore highly prized human values. Precisely as values, they ought

to be fostered by a provision of possible conditions for their prudent and legitimate expressions.

In view of this, any consideration of the human reality, which is antithetical to or misplaces

these priorities, poses as threat to be urgently confronted. Yet, at the mention of sex or love

some people become awkwardly sensitized as if struck at an excitable node. In such circles, love

and especially sex are falsely considered as belonging to the dark side of reality, a no-go area

either too sacred or too profane to be an issue for a decent class. Even when nature compels

such persons to these basic experiences in obviously non-sinful ways, they scrupulously emerge

with hangovers of destructive guilt feelings and ‘occult shame’.

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This unwelcome phenomenon sometimes transcends particular cases to some socially

institutionalized cognitive and behavioral patterns. Thus in some societies, sex offenders are

consigned to extra-diminutive public image far exceeding those given to even worse offenders

in allied and various moral issues, who perhaps prevail in continence through stoic-like efforts.

Celibates who default in chastity become wrongly presented as abominable and de-potentiated

to the points where no theories of ex opera operato can salvage. Ex opera operato refers to the

catholic theological belief that the ritual acts of an ordained minister is valid in spite of his

moral disposition while administering the act. Paradoxically, those who prevail in chastity like

successful celibates are not much celebrated as philanthropists. Victims of sex-connected

diseases are treated with much less sympathy as their counterparts who are victims of other

maladies.

In these ways, wrong ideas about sex and love lead to wrong attitudes, which filter down

the public psyche to wreck havoc. Sexual conducts of individual victims are atrophied either by

defect or excess. Cases of repression can, among other things, lead to mental disabilities like

frigidity, abnormal sexual preferences, sickness and nervous breakdown as in schizophrenic

conditions. Over indulgence on the other hand leads gradually from a fine disregard for decency

through a cottage industry of promiscuity to a dangerous chaos of ungovernable lust. This

dissipates, condemns and by degrees, details victims to sickness and death through AIDS and

sundry venereal diseases. Unbalanced sexual personality structures can be argued to be

responsible for some social misfits, incompetence in assignments and failures in life. What is

more! The fragile spiritual favour accessible to man is broken into and sapped at anytime the

sexual balance is disturbed. Often, when this happens, spirituality is defined in terms of striving

for a life without sex or with sex subdued. In this way, Christianity is preoccupied by sex, which

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becomes the chief target of moralism. This, from a certain point of view is nothing but

spirituality trying to deny the desires and needs that press from within and without as though

they are merely biological and therefore to be transcended. In this way, the ontological unity of

man is antagonized as we diminish the role of sex and in so doing, unconsciously make it the

biggest thing in life to a great disadvantage (Moore, T. 1996: 155-156).

This essay neither pretends to canonize sexual immoralities nor to minimize their

imputablility. If anything, it is oriented towards a useful assortment of the roots of these

uncommon lack of openness commuted to human sexuality and love. Trying to find out a

dependable foundation and positive outline for a Christian expression of sex and love, it

answers to what it takes to be a sexual Christian. It ends with an attempt at proposing human

sexuality and love as a new and privileged grounds for Christian action. The conclusion re-

affirms the Church’s official position as an unbiased guideline to be followed regarding the

issues under discussion. It also proposes sex and love as two viable matrices for authentic

human development.

Critiquing The Roots Of The Alienation

Most primitive anthropologies propose a dualist view according to which man is a

spiritual soul imprisoned in an evil matter namely the body. From this, a profound skepticism

about everything apparently bodily like sex and love arose. The necessary task of the human

person was thought to consist in suppressing all bodily activities by “higher spiritual values”.

This idea influenced most eastern religions as Jainism, Hinduism and Buddhism which regard

matter as limitations (Aijva Pudgala), burdens (Maya), and illusions (Ahamakara) respectively.

They recommend Union (Yoga) as a means to liberation and access to superior consciousness

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(satori). In India, those practicing the traditional ‘yoga’ under strict vows of celibacy are not

allowed to sit alone even with a mother, sister or daughter (Bhaktivedanta, A. 2007: 7).

Christianity which itself commands the largest following on earth is not entirely left out

of this influence. The writings of the first and second century Christians especially those of St.

Paul are replete with ideas suggestive of the body as a sinful matrix (Romans 7: 21-23). But it

was left for St. Augustine to give a theological footing to this error when he combined the

Platonic, the Pauline and the views of Philo of Alexandria, hangover of his earlier romance with

Manichaeism, may be. From thence, anything involving bodily contacts, kissing, embracing etc.

even those within the marital context, became suspect. It was this development which very

likely led to the popular talk that the celibate state is nobler than its marital alternative and to the

suspicion that the sin of Adam and Eve was about sexual misconduct or at least that sexual

yearning/drives started with the fall of man.

The net effect of the foregoing philosophical and theological synthesis is that

Christianity appears to be anti-sex and anti-pleasure in general. “Such that if you are not

married, stifling your sex-drive is part of the price you have to pay for being a Christian” (Field,

D and Peter, T. 1982: 53). The issue here lies in differentiating between stifling of sex drive and

discovering its legitimate expression even outside marriage. As a matter of fact, one piece of

early Christian writing even describes sexual intercourse as an experiment of the serpent, the

impediment which separates from the lord. Not quite long after the appearance of this ideology,

a famous theologian castrated himself in the belief that he could serve God better without his

sexual powers. Much more ridiculous and indeed strange was that after about two hundred

years since the “Holy man” castrated himself as a mark of sacrality, an influential bishop wrote

that married people ought to blush when they consider the sort of life they live. If Bishop

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Ambrose could think as much of sex within the marital life, one could guess what his opinion

would be about extra-marital intercourse (Locit).

Against this backdrop that all bodily pleasures are sinful in themselves, there arose

among people a naïve narrowing down of sex to genital intercourse and love to sinful eros. That

they are the most obvious modes of expressing human sexuality albeit others, may have

contributed to this miss-emphasis. Immediately this discriminatory error is made, all affective

tendencies falsely assume the nature of means enroute copulation and become condemned with

it.

Sex having been made synonymous with mating and love with lustful eros, the ground

was prepared for cultures, which considered life and its sources as ‘sacred’ to propose strict

protective norms against their profanations. In the context of this, all acts immediately or

mediately, directly or indirectly connected with the ‘source of life’ was regarded as ‘too sacred,’

and so to be religiously secured even with ritual acts as in sacred prostitution and fertility cults.

Little by little, sex and love were being unconsciously removed from the confines of the

precisely human activities and transferred to the dark side of reality even to offensive details.

Sequel to this, everything, from ‘sex-soliciting contact,’ to copulation itself became abominable

as such, sometimes even within legitimate marital contexts where some vain theories argue that

sex and genital love is proper only for procreative intentions and no more. A regrettable

situation is that some parents use their pedagogical authority and influence at domestic levels to

reinforce these unwary ideas and attitude to a great social disadvantage. Therefore, the

unconscious alienation of sex and love is a function of particular philosophical, theological,

religious, cultural and domestic credulity and ignorance. Proposals are much needed for a

positive review of the issues at stake (Izunwa, M. 2005:7).

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Outline For A Positive Review

If one is searching for a dependable outline for a positive review of sex and love, the

scripture, the person and teaching of Christ, alongside the glorious company of his witnesses,

propose a valid starting point.

In the biblical perspectives, all approaches which see the body and sexual activities as

evil in themselves are permanently discredited (cf. Genesis 1:28). This is the particular failure

of Manichaeism, Buddhism and Hinduism. More so, sexual attraction in this Scriptural sense is

shown as not being a concession to our falleness because God shaped a complement for Adam

to provide for his unique emotional and physical needs even before they sinned (Gen. 2:18). The

dominical mandate “be fruitful and multiply” becomes a positive originating statement for total

self-giving with a full array of legitimate sexual expressions in marriage. Here even genital

intercourse becomes a celebration of love where couples bare themselves to each other, heal

each other and share at the deepest level. This becoming of ‘one flesh is also socially cohesive’.

The song of Songs gives us a tester of how the bible celebrates love and sex within proper

contexts viz.: “Your lips cover me with kisses, your love is better than wine…be my king, take

me to your room…” (1:2-4).

Christians therefore speak against casual sex and lustful love because they are out of

context, irresponsible and self-indulgent. Thus in cultures and among genuine friends, where

kisses, embraces etc. are exchanged as signs of greeting and expressions of genuine affection,

no fault can be immediately imputable. Among married people, genital intercourse and the

caressing and teasing at erogenic zones (romance) far from being spiritually destructive become

fulfilling of the partners: In shades and shadows, authentic expression of human sexuality and

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genuine love prefigure the experience of fulfillment to come in the eschatological realm.

Official catholic teaching reveals that God directly intervenes at the fusion of male and female

sex cells to create the soul. Thus in sexual intercourse, whether within or without the marital

context, man ‘conspires’ with God, becomes an instrumental cause, a ‘co-creator with him’.

Even in some great mystical traditions as tantra yoga, the ‘orgasmic’ and ‘erotic’ experiences are

seen as routes to the infinite. In as much as these may not be easily defensible, they at least, give

credence to the possibility of a positive view of sex and love.

Although Christ did not explicitly thematize the issue of how we should express our

sexuality, the general texture of his teaching and life, and the heroic witness of his ‘saints

provide us with trustworthy reference points. Hence, Christ, Mary, the saints and the martyrs

are not asexual beings. Christ’s option for celibacy and Mary’s virginity cannot be offered as

statements against sexuality nor do they preclude sexual live. If we allow sex any meaning at all

beyond the literal and biological, then the Monks, Buddha, Jesus and other spiritual figures may

be presented as fully sexual beings and the life of the spirit in full accord with sexuality (Moore,

T. opcit:55). Biblical scholars have tried to show that in consistently using sarx (depraved

human reality) instead of soma (flesh) whenever he wants to talk of sin, it is still unfair to

interpret St. Paul as having depreciated the value of the body and sex respectively.

By the progress of the three great events of salvation history- creation, incarnation and

resurrection, the ‘good matter’ became quickened by the spirit of God and finally given a pledge

of incorruptibility and immortality. The free consequence of this is that all theories about evil-

packed body and acts of the body as sinful become permanently discredited as having no moral

merit. If anything, the body becomes holy and wholesome, a sacrament of God, improved with

supernatural grace, raised to an office beyond the ‘original holiness’ of man and thus capable of

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and productive of acts of righteousness. By extension, sex and love should no longer be seen in

the old categorical framework as depraved but observed as possible centres of the sacred.

Another relevant provision that can be reconstructed from this new perspective is

the possible fusion of Eros and agape into a one dynamic process of genuine love. In this new

provision, the hard elements of eros as complexion, physique, texture of skin, carriage, colour

of eyes etc, can be genuinely attractive of a lover as invitations to a yet to come experience of

agape. This is because having been assumed and consecrated; these elements are good in

themselves. Human beings as corporeal creatures are structured to apprehend realities through

sensual receptacles and orifices. Socrates in the Phaedrus distinguished between blind

unreasonable eros and eros guided by reason. In the first, beauty is a means of enkindling

sexual passions and satisfying it. The second is similarly passionate but is directed more by

reason and passes across and through ‘particular beauties’ to the author of beauty (God). Sinful

eros manifests when these initial realities are constituted into, exploited, manipulated and used

as self-gratifying ends in themselves.

The issue is that sinful eros show up when people see and think of their sex-drive

primarily as a physical appetite. In this way as a renowned psychologist Christian Wright puts

it:

Chastity is no more of a virtue than malnutrition. A hungry man


who turns his back on a good dinner is a fool, not a paragon of
virtue. In the same kind of way a man (or a woman) who stifles his
(or her) sexual appetite, when there are means available to satisfy
it , is surely being more of an idiot than a saint (1981: 55).

Any analytic voyage into the presuppositions and implications of this kind of Mordern-default-

thinking, presents men and women as sex-objects and not as people, as things and not as

persons. Indeed it is fashionable for boys to say “I used that girl”, this is even the language at

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the confessional. But it is a thing that is used not a person. With a person I enter into a

relationship. That is to say, I relate with a person but use a thing From this objectification

language a pathway leads to the commercialization mind-set where sexual intercourse is seen as

a contract as in prostitution and never as a relationship. What is more! The use of Sexual

intercourse as a mark of close friendship outside marriage is gravely objectionable. Notice that

this is not an argument available to prove that sexual intercourse is evil but one to show that it

has a purpose. Removed from that teleological possession, it lapses into a great moral malign.

Hence, in the creator’s plan, sexual intercourse is not the appropriate expression of just an

affectionate friendship though our sexuality is. As for intercourse per-se it is the right seal on

two peoples exclusive commitment to each other for life- in other words on their marriage. The

language motif which argues for this exclusion is as follows “joined to his wife which in Greek

original purports Sticking and they become one. In other words according to Wright:

…Sexual intercourse affects us as whole people, not just as


bundles of appetites in search of satisfaction. Its purpose is not
merely to link up two bodies in a few minutes of physical ecstasy
and relief, but to unite two partners in an ever-deepening
relationship (1981: 44).

Regarding the question of whether the physical indices of affection have any moral value, this

essay answers in considered affirmative. Indeed, it is contestable whether man is immediately

capable of agape. Love at first sight is about infatuation. Immediate intimacy would appear

like jumping steps. Gregory of Nazienzen well appreciated this problem regarding agape when

he says “Agape has supremely to do with the will; it is a conquest, a victory and achievement.

No one ever naturally loves his enemies. To love one’s enemy is a conquest of our natural

instincts and emotions” (Berccley, W. 1964:21). Agape arguably may take time, care and trouble

to develop. For this reason, “hasty marriages are less likely to succeed because the partners do

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not have the time necessary to get to know each other at a more intimate level, which is an

essential precondition for real love emerging” (Vardy, P. 1987:134), through a dialogical

transcendence of the particular attractions.

Interestingly, that we are more equipped to start with some physical attractions does not

mean that to be loved is a special preserve of those who are beautiful in the common estimation

of men. Not at all. Thanks to the plenitude of providence, there is always something uniquely

attractive in every person as in every piece of art and there is always somebody, somewhere,

sometime to appreciate it. Nobody is absolutely bereft of lovers. That there are often some

starting points does not make Christian love less an unconditional love. These initial baits are

only apparent. They gradually fade away as they lead us to the real region of experience. If

however every loving experience were to depend immediately on the image of God in man,

without the contemplation of the particulars, among the saints at least all men will be loved

equally because all men are made in the image of God and are equal before him. Such situation

has never existed among men. Even Christ has a beloved apostle John. He cried at the death of

Lazarus among others. What this helps us to conclude is that these ‘starting points’ are not

essentially evil. And if one finds himself attracted to another and confesses ones ‘love’; if one

at such experience observes that ones genitals are excited; and if one discovers oneself as

already failing in chastity, the first attitude, before any judgmental scrutiny, that is, is to

acknowledge God’s gift of health leading to thanksgiving. Attempts at not accepting and

integrating such apparent embarrassment could lead to crises situation precisely because one is

struggling against what can go for the ground for an effective human and Christian action if

properly integrated.

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Sex And Love As Privileged Grounds For Christian Action

Once was told the story of a pretty lady who went to a Sherman complaining that people

lack interest in her. “Nobody ever said to me I love you” she said. You can be sure, a regimen of

rituals to be performed at regular and select moments were prescribed to ward off the spirit of

hate that has overshadowed her. Again, so often we meet with a couple of young people

requesting for capacity psalms enforced with regimented fasting to avert the very frequent

desire to love and other peoples easy interest in them at first sight which of course is understood

as invitation to sin It is therefore either that some or all have lost the true sense of love or are

overly confused about what it is all about. In this way, we can, in the free enterprise of

enchanted souls in touch with “others” stop for a moment and give a query to one another:

What do you mean when you say that you love me? Until this question is honestly addressed

and a common semantic platform provided for “claimant lovers”, we shall all be experimenting

with different specimens in different laboratories and coming up with varying and even

opposing results without knowing it. Too grievous will be the consequence on the society in

which we live and test our results.

What is more; in a world where there are so many problems, frustrations, failures all

trying to compete life out of men, in a world where self interest, and “ambition” make fellow

feeling, a fanciful imagination into the void, in a world where competition impoverishes and

divides men, in a world where sin and sinfulness confront the internal fortunes of humanity to

compassion, mercy, goodwill and all, the contemplation of love as a ground of Christian action

becomes a hopeful campaign for social work and reformation.

Love is the reason for life and the power to live. We live to love and love to live. It is the

heavenly remedy to our mortality and finitude. For indeed, if one wakes up one morning to

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discover that every body one encounters returns hate; when a turn to the left, right, back and

front re-echoes this statement into the subject’s spirit, “you are not desired”, the truth is that the

victim has received the fastest warrant to death by installment, “meaning” having been lost. It is

arguable whether anybody, even men of greatest fortitude, can survive such an experience for

seven days week before exhaustion or embracing suicide as a quick remedy. Little wonder all

men desire to be loved expressly or impliedly. The king and the servant, the Pope and the

church rat, the rich and the poor alike.

For this, one can make bold to assert that any theory of man which underrates the

evidence and motive of love as a directive principle is immediately defeated. This is all the

more because, creation and redemption were anchored on the truth of love. Hence we pray at

mass “In love you created man, in justice you condemned him, and in mercy you redeemed him”

(Order of Mass, Preface,11). Notice that the originating moments of creation and the finalizing

moments of redemption were love events. Justice only comes in between as a “love device” to

purify and prepare men as worthy recipients of love in its dimension of mercy.

God is love, he created us to know him, we know him best by loving him and we love

him best in one another. All the strenuous efforts of the philosophers to know God by reason put

together has remained inferior to a moment access to him in the “mysterium amore” (mystery of

love).

It is for this that it is no overstatement by the ancient fathers when they sang” where

love and charity abide there God is found”. By due implication and process, a world devoid of

love is “devoid” of God and one can be sure that “absence” of God is Hell and inaction as God

is the source of the Christian strength and work. Accordingly, Godlessness or lovelessness

guarantees the situation which the social contract theorists described “ex-hypothesi,” as a

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gallery where man becomes a wolf to man, where might is right, where only the fittest survive

and thus where development is impossible given the existing contradictions.

Fulton Sheen of holy memory did say that “we are lovable because God has loved us

first” (1984:9) Whatever people find in a person that draw them closer in wondering

appreciation is the sign of God in the symbol of that persons being. Hence any opportunity

provided to celebrate love, and there are so many of them must be explored with passion. Such

are those rare moments when we make a voyage of freedom into the regions of rarefied and

intangible supports of our existence; those regions protected from the noise and bickerings of

the external world: from the unholy contingencies of time but opening up to the ‘real’ and the

timeless values within and beyond us. This gives the human spirit unmediated access to

meaning, and unfettered linkage to himself, others and the wholly OTHER. Firmly, anchored

there, frustration becomes an impossible event, and this makes positive Christian action a

reality. Hence the Christian people chant: “Because he lives, I can face tomorrow, because he

lives all fear is gone because I know he holds my future my life is worth a living just because he

lives.” Thus, if a man lives in love he can face all situations with the greatest fortitude he can

command, and will succeed.

No matter how much and far the contemporary society has defined God out of love and

drafted sin as an essential element of same, no matter how faint the sound of true love recedes to

the remotest and ancient poles; no-matter how dim the rays of love appears “let courage rise

with danger and strength to strength oppose (Catholic Hymnal: 35)When men struggle to

recover love, they are justly struggling for what is theirs. Love is from above not from below.

This is a valid statement of faith that can be relied on. It is a statement that cannot be

overreached, impeached or defeated. It can neither be improved upon for any attempt to so do,

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will end up in antinomy. The People of the Book were commanded, “love one another even as

God has loved you” That there are possible accident zones in this movement and enterprise of

love is trite yet Pope Benedict the XVI observes with great convictions that there is the sign of

God in both the ascending and descending regions of love. The word is “caveat emptor.” In the

words of the Pope:

…eros and agape ascending love and descending love –can never
be completely separate. The more the two, in their different
aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the
true nature of love in general is realized n(Benedict xvi, 2005: 10)

Indeed, unless man risk to sojourn into the dark recesses of intimacy with the promise of

divine illumination, where he lays waste his unconscious defenses which suppress his intuitive

freedom and withdraw into his conscious capacities to inter-subjectivity, he cannot found a

positive Christian action. In other words, unless man surrenders and makes vulnerable his

carefully guarded posts to a free, lovely, benign and constructive assessment of his brothers he

shall end up an artificial person on an artificial mission through an artificial thoroughfare. Like

a technician he would be turning every inch of his short life into an inquisitor’s spanner for

securing his selfish anchors. This is after all not life but death.

Notice that the principal element of human sexuality is this yearning for connection with

the other: God, man and nature. This yearning gives rise to love relationships which is about

unity. Among human persons, “the lover and the beloved sculpt each other mutually in their

dialogue of being (diousia). In this way, they become to each other true sacraments …as they

interact in the affinity of their mutual otherness” (Thompson, R. 1990:179)

It is in this kind of loving dialogue that the psychological integrity of individuals is

coked and harnessed for effective Christian action. Given that a healthy mind exists in a healthy

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body, when the integrity of the psyche is guaranteed, we can infer the likelihood of bodily

health. And because man is an organism, his spiritual health is most likely to be also in tune.

Now, when the health of man is assured in his tripartite constitution, a pre- condition for an

authentic Christian action is set. Ex hypothesi, an asexual person is a contradiction in terms.

Such a person cannot perform because the Christian action is basically dialogical. A fortiori, the

great events that shaped the human destiny are indeed, dialogical love events. In the incarnation

for instance, there was a dialogue of being between God and Man, (Sacrosanta commercia), a

holy exchange of gift between God of holiness and man. Since then, freedom for authentic

Christian action lies in the rope that binds men together. Starting with love, the freedom leads

through the three stages of kindness to the other, encouragement in one’s own strength and self

sufficiency, and finally a challenge – ‘a loving but firm exhortation to action’. It is therefore

only in the realm of sex and love that the Christian action could be forged and launched with

good effects. And it is sexual not asexual love that is the matrix of the Christian life and action.

Love is an outworking of the sexuality condition of man. Hence an asexual love is neither

human nor spiritual but strange and sick.

Conclusion

For some unitive, procreative and productive ends, God made people sexual beings who

can love. People are therefore morally bound to seek out and express their sexuality only in

those ways compatible with these ends. It is precisely in doing this, that the human sexuality

will assume a highly positive value connatural with man. Here, chastity in all its three

dimensions of spouses, of widows and of virgins becomes indispensable. But human sexuality

can err against chastity as it too often does. This is because the strength of the drive for sexual

attractions, though wonderful things in themselves, allows opportunity for abuse (Ward, B.

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1987: 95) The sixth commandment covers the entire sinful vistas of human sexuality, which

includes masturbation, fornication, homosexuality, prostitution, romance, rape etc. Conjugal

chastity is particularly violated through use of contraceptives, free unions, adultery, polygamy

etc (cf. Eff. 5:19-21;Col, 3:5-6; Mtt. 5:28).

It is very unlikely that the best approach to these sexual depravities is to indict the

human sexuality itself even in its valid expressions as evil. The only authentic route available is

the way of self mastery which is a training in freedom involving self-knowledge, practice of

‘ascesis’ adapted to ones life situation, obedience to God’s commandments, exercise of moral

virtues and fidelity to prayer. These are most likely to succeed than insistence on earth –bound

efforts: observance of dietary laws, physical exertions oriented to mere natural solutions and all

other means informed by the knowledge of human sexuality as evil.

Interestingly, Christianity sees sex and love as very positive correlatives. When it

appears to indict these, it does not proclaim itself an enemy of the ecstasy of pleasure and

delight co-terminous with them but because in given circumstances the satisfaction and delight

which these bring are so pitifully partial and temporary and are therefore, capable of obviating a

richer and pervasively eternal promise of quite another ecstasy in God.

Love is indeed an “ecstasy”, not in the sense of a movement of intoxication, “but rather

as a journey, an ongoing exodus out of the closed inward-looking self towards its liberation

through self-giving, hence, towards authentic self-discovery and indeed the discovery of God”

(Benebict xvi, op.cit : 9). Thus, love must equally consider the body and soul or matter and

spirit as the essential duality of the human reality. Any experience of love and sex that

denigrates the spirit or the body in favour of either is not an experience of the human love but

either bodily or spiritual debasement. Through responsible sex that is marital sex, which takes

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into consideration the material and spiritual essences of the human subject, we enter the

timeless, boundary-less moment. We “partake of the one experience above all others in life

which allows us the bliss of true union” (Kingma, D. 1996 : 18) with the other and OTHER. It

is therefore important that the society especially the religious groups within it do not make a

fast and unconsidered statements of inhibition or derogation about sex and love. For instance as

Cardinal Suenens noted, the church had much to learn about the man – woman relationship. He

wondered whether classical church doctrine took sufficient account of the new knowledge

achieved by modern science, for example, “with respect to the complexity with which the real

or the biological, interferes with the psychological, the conscious with the subconscious… we

have made progress since Aristotle (and even St. Augustine). Let us have done with Manichean

pessimism. In this way we will understand better what is against love and what is not against

love” (Suenens, 1985 : 65) and I will add, what is against sex and what is not against sex.

In all, sexual morality required judgements on a wide range of specific activities in other

to come by what is acceptable or objectionable. Some activities are exceedingly rare, others are

so destructive or disruptive that no society, no matter how tolerant, can possibly condone them.

We certainly cannot have “free love” and so far no society has managed widespread “free rape”

(in which anyone can sleep with anyone else whenever they choose). Even if morality could be

set aside, it would be unrealistic to believe that we could benefit from such arrangements

without paying great price for them. Little wonder, every society and state have always in

written and unwritten laws tried to regulate irresponsible sexual ethos. In Nigeria, the criminal

code makes a general provision for what is referred to as “offences against morality” (CC. SS.

214-229). Interestingly, all the matters provided as offences from SS. 214 – 229 of the Criminal

Code were exclusively sexual offences. Here we find that the sexual morality question is not

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merely religious issue but touches all facts of social regulation gadgets. Thus there must be a

concession of moral sensibilities, to bear on sexual behaviours. According to a Stanford

University expert:

…a stiff penis has no conscience. The world however, is not

populated by penises and vaginas but by men and women, and they

do have conscience. In fact, the moral questions related to sex, as

well as to any other area of life, may well be the most critical ones.

They certainly are the most difficult (Katachadourian, D. and

Lunde, D. 1987 : 7).

Sex is sacred, help to sanctify it. As part of this help, it is recommended that the parents

at domestic levels, the schools and churches should inaugurate and sustain effective and

balanced sexuality education. The point of our argument in this paper is that when sex and love

are properly understood, lived and experienced, the path to an integral human development

would be inaugurated.

18
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