Babies and Bonding


#1

So just a simple question:
sex was created by God for the purpose of unity and babies, or 'babies and bonding' whatever you want to call it, how does pleasure relate to both of these? Or does it not relate to these at all? I'm just wondering on what people think. God created sex so that it feels good so obviously there is pleasure involved but how does that relate to 'bonding'?


#2

[quote="dillonhudson, post:1, topic:186923"]
So just a simple question:
sex was created by God for the purpose of unity and babies, or 'babies and bonding' whatever you want to call it, how does pleasure relate to both of these? Or does it not relate to these at all? I'm just wondering on what people think. God created sex so that it feels good so obviously there is pleasure involved but how does that relate to 'bonding'?

[/quote]

Without pleasure sex would be a boring and pretty weird and even disgusting chore, it would not bond you.

Just think about the mechanics of sex, it involves sticky fluids, organs you pee out of, it is time consuming. If it wasn't pleasurable, people wouldn't do it except reluctantly if they wanted a child.

From a biological point of view, animals who didn't find sex pleasurable or didn't have the drive to sex didn't procreate and their sex-hating genes didn't make it to the next generation. People who live today are the descendants of those who had a lot of sex, and we have the genes that make us like sex.


#3

Hi Dillon,

Babies and bonding, huh? You must be reading/listening to some Janet Smith! To attempt to answer your question, pleasure relates to the unitive and procreative aspects of intercourse in several ways:
The first way is merely biological and has to do with the procreative aspect: the pleasure encourages us to have intercourse so that we actually do procreate. This is analogous to the pleasure of other biological things which are necessary for survival like eating and sleeping well. The difference, of course, is that sex is necessary for the species’ survival, and not just the survival of the individual ( but, in biology, there isn’t much difference here).
Second, the pleasure is part of the unitive experience, especially when it is shared. Just like you feel closer to someone when you share a good laugh with them or watch a beautiful sunset with them, you also feel closer with your spouse when you share the pleasure of sex. It is meant to reinforce: "this is good."
Pleasure is also described as a side-effect of sex, but not an end in itself, which can (I think) be better understood in terms of Aristotle’s ethical theory. You see, Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics that “good” is said in “many ways,” but that this doesn’t mean that it’s merely homonomous. The best way to explain Aristotle’s theory is in terms of Aristotle’s metaphysics in the categories, looking at the definition of “good” focally. By this account, the primary way of being good is being a good substance (man, god), which means being a well functioning substance. The secondary way to being good means to contribute to or derive from the well-functioning of the substance. Pleasure, under this account, can be called “good” to the extent that it derives from well-functioning and encourages a person to function even better in the future. Pleasure seems to have this purpose in sex and, thus, it is good in a secondary sense: it contributes to and derives from the unitive and procreative aspects.


#4

In terms of babies and bonding, once the nursing relationship is established for a new mother her brain floods her body with bonding hormones when she nurses. This encourages the mother to nurse her baby as it is relaxing and pleasurable. By having a new mother nurse as a newborn baby requires (many times a day & night) she and the baby gaze at each other and caress each other all of which help bond them together and ensure the baby’s survival. To nurse comfortably a mother holds her baby very close and the skin-to-skin contact with her baby also triggers relaxing and bonding hormones in both mother and baby. To thrive babies need to be touched, held and caressed all of which is engendered by nursing. A mothers milk is a living substance (like blood) if put under a microscope the white cells and other living particles can be clearly seen. It therefore contains all the essentials for a baby’s brain and body development, with the release of bonding hormones the mother is more likely to continue nursing and giving her baby optimal nutrition.

"Lactation refers to the physiological process of producing milk and its removal by an infant. Women produce breast milk as a response to the baby’s suckling in an efficient system of supply and demand. Two hormones, prolactin and oxytocin, play important roles in this process. Prolactin is essential for both the initiation and the maintenance of milk production, while oxytocin stimulates milk ejection. Both hormones play complementary roles in breast-feeding, helping the mother relax and easing the infant into sleep. Oxytocin is particularly intriguing because it controls milk letdown, which can be affected by fear, pain, stress, and anxiety. The oxytocin reflex is more complex than the prolactin reflex. The mother’s thoughts and fears may hinder the letdown reflex, and thinking about her baby may trigger the production of oxytocin and milk ejection.

Colostrum, the first milk mothers produce after giving birth, meets all the nutritional needs of the newborn. It has strong antiviral properties, strengthens the newborn’s immune system, and acts as a laxative to remove meconium (first feces) from the digestive tract. It is thicker and richer in minerals and protein than mature milk. Colostrum is particularly rich in vitamins E and A. Infants usually consume only a small amount of this first milk. Within one or two days colostrum becomes transitional milk, and the supply increases greatly. The rate at which colostrum changes to mature milk varies from woman to woman, however, mature milk is present within two weeks.

Human milk is a living substance, changing constantly and adapting to meet the changing needs of the infant. For example, it changes from the beginning to the end of a feed. The fore milk has more protein, vitamins, minerals, and water and the hind milk has more fat to signal the end of the feed. Human milk has the highest fat content in the morning and the least at night. It even changes by season, age of the infant, and according to the baby’s demand. Human milk reflects the environment, the diet, and the germs of the mother. Ultimately the infant determines the composition of the feed in an interactive process. Although breast pumps are available to many women in urban settings, a breast-feeding infant is the most efficient remover of human milk.

Breast milk is a living substance. It contains living white blood cells that fight infection. Maternal antibodies are passed to the fetus through the placenta before birth and through breast milk after birth, providing temporary immunological protection for newborns. Milk proteins, such as lactoferrin, play an important immunological role, as do enzymes, immunoglobulins, and leukocytes. Human milk is clean and free of bacteria. Unlike artificial milk substitutes, human milk contains nonnutrient substances with the capacity to enhance immunity and destroy pathogens. Human milk has antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-infective properties that have been recognized for centuries. For example, expressed human milk has been used as a folk remedy for conjunctivitis. The protective effect of human milk is strongest for gastroenteritis and respiratory infections. However, the beneficial and protective effects of human milk include lowering the risk of allergies, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)."

From: Riordan, Jan, and Kathleen G. Auerbach, eds. Breastfeeding and Human Lactation. Boston: Jones and Bartlett, 1993.


#5

My best friend said something beautiful about sex, “When you make love, you give, not take, from your partner.” Basically, with your spouse, you make sure they experience pleasure and they, you. If you love each other, you want it to be mutually enjoyable!

Also, the marital union is meant to bond a couple so much, a new person results from it. It’s meant to be a foretaste of God’s love for us in Heaven. How could there not be joy and pleasure out of that? God made it, therefore it is good.


#6

Thank you everyone for your posts. As you know I just had a question and wanted to see what people thought about it. Very nice answers from all of you, thanks for sharing your opinion!


#7

oh, yuck. thanks, Fish. :smiley: my husband thanks you, too.

good answers. i’d just add that the pleasure of having and holding your baby, watching it grow, talk, walk, and relate you you as mom or dad is a wonderful feeling. the pleasure is linked back ultimately to the pleasure of sex, which is turn gives birth (literally) to the joy and pleasure of having a child of your own.


#8

In relation to men, the pleasure part is the part that brings about procreation. A man finds pleasure in release, hence why men will masterbate or watch porn with the intention of masterbation. This used to be the thought process of the eaerly church and in some sects of Islam today, that a woman should not find pleasure in sex, since it has no procreative purpose - it won’t release an egg or make fertilization happen. Indeed in some countries now, then will remove a womans clitoris so that she has even more difficulty in finding pleasure (only about 15% of women experience g-spot climaxes) They believe that a woman finding pleasure will lead her to stray and want sex. Women DO want sex for the pleasure on a natural standpoint, not just to have children. Indeed most women find that they are most horny during their period when they statistically have the least chance of procreating.

We have come to find however that in women, when we are pleasured in bed and actually climax, that not only does this reaffirm the unitive part (or bonding if you want to use that term) but also helps in future sexual intercourse (we want more of the same - which increases chances of children). The chemicals that are released during a climaz effect parts of our brain that forms bonds between people, much the same chemicals that are released during pregnancy to create that maternal bond between mother and child. While a female organism does not have a direct result of procreation, it does help, in that it “lubes” the passagways for the sperm to be able to more easily reach an egg.


#9

HA! When you actually think about what happens during sex, it is a violent messy ordeal in which if it was incredible fun, we would have died out eons ago. Hormones are released, sticky fluids are exchanged, neurons are firing off like crazy, your heart is racing like you just ran a marathon, breathing is labored, legs start to twitch and toes curl, your abdominal muscles spasm, afterwards you sometimes feel like you couldn’t move if the house was on fire, and yet other times it feels like you could pick up the house and simply move it away frmo the fire. It violent. Its messy. And it sure is fun…it is that pleasure that keeps people coming back for more that is natures way of insuring survival of the genes of people that keep on “kicking” :D:D


#10

Women can also experience a spike in their libido during ovulation, a period of time where they can get pregnant. Although, this might have something to do with the biological longing to have a baby that many women experience. Something like, we feel the physical and emotional longing for a baby, and our bodies signal us when are in a fertile period so that we can make a baby...?

Anyway, some great Catholic theologians have discussed the 'three orgasms' of a woman's life - sexual intercourse, birth, and suckling. All three experiences involve the production of oxytocin, the hormone that makes us feel bonded. It is released during uterine contractions and nipple distention. It is a biological feedback mechanism that bonds women body and soul to first their spouse and then their children. I am only just beginning to explore this topic in my research, so I might have some of the particulars out of order, but it is pretty amazing stuff.

The psalmist was right - We are fearfully and wonderfully made!


#11

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