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Monday, December 19, 2005


Body Language
A few weeks ago I happened across Oprah’s web site and noticed that her show that day was called “Why do men do that?” I’m not a regular Oprah viewer, but I tuned in that day to see a panel of “experts” on male behavior, including Jay Leno, explain why men look at pornography, go to strip clubs, and cheat on their wives.
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Women don’t simply want their husbands to direct their lusts exclusively towards them, as if this made a man “faithful.” As our late Pope John Paul II once pointed out, a husband can commit “adultery in his heart” with his own wife if he treats her as nothing but an object for his selfish pleasure.

I know it’s a cliché, but why do so many wives claim “headache” when their husbands want sex? Could it be because they feel used rather than loved? Marriage does not justify lust; it is not a ticket to treat a spouse as a means of selfish pleasure. A woman who is the object of lust soon realizes, “You don’t love me; you don’t need me. You’re only interested in a means to your own gratification, and you can get that anywhere.”

When the name of the game is self-gratification, any outlet will do. In this view, the Church’s teaching on sex seems tailor-made to “keep me from having a good time.” But when the name of the game is self-donating love, everything the Church teaches seems tailor-made to help me overcome lust and learn to love as God intended in the beginning. Bingo.

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