Discernment Question-Chastity


#1

This is a bit of an odd personal question. I am a young Catholic in college considering a Vocation, and I have become much more interested/involved with my faith recently.

I guess my question revolves not so much around chastity but around sex in general. Is it normal to simply be repulsed by the concept of sexual relations? First and foremost, I disregard any relations between an unmarried man and woman in this discussion. I am specifically referring to relations between a married man and woman. I understand and accept that Church teaching (US Bishops article) states sex in marriage is primarily for procreation and conjugal love. Yet, I often think about the possibility of marriage, and simply cringe at the thought of having sex. If I were to get married, I would probably want a child and to become a father; yet, actually moving towards the point of sex is simply an odd thought. I do NOT think about sex all the time, since that would be immoral and probably similar to adultery in a Biblical sense. Yet, this is a question many of my friends ask me. I mean I have been asked sometimes "Do you have any interest in sex at any point in your life?" and they are not even referring to sex outside of a marriage.

Is this normal for someone discerning a Vocation? Again, let me reiterate that if I discern against a vocation, I would seriously consider a family if I were ever blessed enough to find a loving Catholic wife and have children. One additional piece of background information: I do not come from an ultra conservative type household which taught against sex, and I actually was raised in a very morally liberal town/area. So it is not like these were ingrained views or anything of that nature. I did not adopt them after reading anything; actually started to have such thoughts on my own without any external influence, even prior to becoming more interested in Catholicism.

If there were any religious individuals or priests/brothers there input would be greatly accepted; but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!


#2

[quote="futurtheologian, post:1, topic:210769"]
This is a bit of an odd personal question. I am a young Catholic in college considering a Vocation, and I have become much more interested/involved with my faith recently.

I guess my question revolves not so much around chastity but around sex in general. Is it normal to simply be repulsed by the concept of sexual relations? First and foremost, I disregard any relations between an unmarried man and woman in this discussion. I am specifically referring to relations between a married man and woman. I understand and accept that Church teaching (US Bishops article) states sex in marriage is primarily for procreation and conjugal love. Yet, I often think about the possibility of marriage, and simply cringe at the thought of having sex. If I were to get married, I would probably want a child and to become a father; yet, actually moving towards the point of sex is simply an odd thought. I do NOT think about sex all the time, since that would be immoral and probably similar to adultery in a Biblical sense. Yet, this is a question many of my friends ask me. I mean I have been asked sometimes "Do you have any interest in sex at any point in your life?" and they are not even referring to sex outside of a marriage.

Is this normal for someone discerning a Vocation? Again, let me reiterate that if I discern against a vocation, I would seriously consider a family if I were ever blessed enough to find a loving Catholic wife and have children. One additional piece of background information: I do not come from an ultra conservative type household which taught against sex, and I actually was raised in a very morally liberal town/area. So it is not like these were ingrained views or anything of that nature. I did not adopt them after reading anything; actually started to have such thoughts on my own without any external influence, even prior to becoming more interested in Catholicism.

If there were any religious individuals or priests/brothers there input would be greatly accepted; but any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks!

[/quote]

This would be a great question for the "Ask and Apologist" sub-forum.


#3

I wonder if we can fully appreciate sexual love until we actually fall in love. I do tend to think, however, that a seminary or noviciate would be looking for a mature sexual attitude in candidates or applicants, and perhaps you are not there just yet. I daresay when we are young and virginal, sexual love is the totally unknown other than to reflect perhaps on the actual act itself which takes it right out of its context of mutual love itself between a man and a womn, of falling in love. The first time I found out how children are conceived, I was horrified - and also very young in years.
I read of a nun when asked by a journalist if she ever had sexual thoughts "Yes" she replied " and then I thank God, for I am still a woman".

I dont know if this article may help:
ignatiusinsight.com/features2007/dasci_humansexuality_july07.asp

Extract from article only: "Anytime we judge something profound by superficial standards we fail to grasp not only its significance but also its value for our lives. [1]

Thus, the Church's view of the conjugal act far surpasses the level of momentary erotic pleasure or the satisfaction of an urge. The Church's theology of the conjugal act affirms the wealth of significance and beauty inherent in the sexual relationship of husband and wife. The Church's theology of the conjugal act imbues the act with the dignity proper to husband and wife as persons and also exhorts husband and wife to preserve the dignity and beauty of their love by approaching the marital embrace precisely as a personal act."

I tend to think that at this point in your youth and virginity you are reflecting on something profound by possibly superficial standards which is to reflect simply on the congugal act itself isolated from the love between a man and a woman which is a very unique and profound relationship where two people are joined by God in Sacramental Union with the special Graces necessary to live out their vocation.

This is a rather good article too by Brother Seán D. Sammon, F.M.S. titled: "Celibate Chastity: One Way to be a Sexual Person" forums.catholic.com/newreply.php?do=postreply&t=489250

But I would be having a good talk with a priest if I were you. Whether you are called by vocation to either the priesthood, religious life, or to marriage you would need to approach these vocations with mature attitudes and this may take more years yet and more growth even experiences in life. But then I am a lay person of mature years (private vows to the evangelical counsels of Poverty Chastity and Obedience) with much living behind me and not a priest skilled in counselling. My experience as a privately vowed layperson is very much in line with the article byBrother Sean above. Perhpas some religious and/or priests will come in on this thread and give you a better response drawing on their personal experience.

TS


#4

Apologies - I posted an incorrect link in my post above:

Quote "This is a rather good article too by Brother Seán D. Sammon, F.M.S. titled: "Celibate Chastity: One Way to be a Sexual Person" forums.catholic.com/newreply....reply&t=489250 "

The link should read: vocation-network.org/articles/show/27


#5

Thanks so much--all input is very much appreciated and so are the links. I also posted this on the apologist form and will see if it is also answered there.


#6

Well, it is possible for a person to be what’s known as ‘asexual’ - i.e. not interested in sexual activity with anyone be they opposite or same gender.

If you get as far as applying for entry to the Seminary though, you will almost certainly be expected to undergo a fairly rigorous psychological examination (I know I was!) and that will certainly include your attitude towards both the same and opposite genders. It will be necessary for you to demonstrate that you are fully conscious of your own sexual instincts and, indeed, any lack of them and be able to express it in an intelligent and self-aware way. In your case you will almost certainly be expected to relate well to people on a mature level, when it comes to dealing with latent or expressed attractions: don’t forget that women - and some men (!) - have been known to ‘throw themselves at’ priests. Any psychological investigation will want to be satisfied that you’re capable of understanding what’s happening in those circumstances. Obviously you get training in human formation at the seminary as well, but they’ll be looking for reasonably well grounded individuals to start with.

If you’re discerning a vocation to the priesthood, then I strongly caution you to mention this aspect of your personality to the Vocations Director of your diocese before you get too into any application process. He may not be bothered by it - indeed he may think it an excellent trait, who knows?! But it’s certainly something that’s a little out of the ordinary and you ought to be up-front about it to those who matter in the process.


#7

when I was actively discerning religious life, the issue of chastity wasn’t presented as asking if I could abstain. It was more( on the community’s part) a question of if I had a “healthy” attitude and beliefs about sexuality.

If you are repulsed- that may be something you would have to deal with in discernment and/or formation. Choosing celibate chastity shouldn’t be a choice because we are repulsed or afraid of marital sex. It’s kind of like offering God and the church something not out of love, but out of your own sence of- well, repulsion.


#8

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