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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.
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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