Does the Church inadvertently cause people to repress their sexual urges?


Psychological repression, or simply repression, is the psychological attempt made by an individual to repel one’s own desires and impulses toward pleasurable instincts by excluding the desire from one’s consciousness and holding or subduing it in the unconscious. Repression plays a major role in many mental illnesses, and in the psyche of the average person.

This is especially true when it comes to sexual urges. The only real alternatives are to repress it, act it out (e.g., find a sexual partner) or sublimate it by altering the sexual energy into socially acceptable behavior. Outside of prayer, which worked for me, these are about the only alternatives.

This is a big issue and the reason many psychologists are so critical of the Catholic Church. How do you defend the Church here?


Self-control is vitally important. Do our bodies control us or do we control our bodies?

I heard it said by the radicals of the Hippie generation: “You Catholics are sexually repressed! You think sex is dirty!” No. We date. Get married. And have children.



No, I’m pretty sure that it’s done intentionally.


The Church defends herself quite well. Unhealthy urges need to repressed if we are to become holy and be eternally happy in heaven. Acting on all urges in not truly human but animalistic. We are called to self-mastery.


Again, prayer worked for me. The only reason I brought this subject up is my familiarity with the field of psychology and my wondering how people would defend it.


How about other urges?

If I get angry and want to kill someone, is it bad to repress my anger inside, won’t it just blow up eventually?

If I want something in a store, and don’t have money, should i steal it? Because if I don’t steal it, I will be unhappy…

Sexual urges are good in themselves as they come from God, but if used for the right purpose.

I hope in some way you understand my point :slight_smile:


Just another point. The argument you present implies that sexual urges are good regardless of its purpose. So then if we repress sexual urges, which are natural, and good regardless of its purpose, then what the Church is doing is bad.


You are arguing from a humanist-man is an animal point of view.
As Jews and Christians, we are considered to be Children of God, and are expected not to repress, but to control our base animalistic instincts.
At least that is ho the Jesuits of my boyhood explained it.
It is indeed unfortunate that modern society often confuses love with lust.


Yes it does, and not inadvertently, but indeed definitively.

Just as it requires the faithful to self deny in other areas.

In order to surpass our animal being, we need on occasion to suppress our attention to its drives. Only by doing so can we achieve the “surpassage” of our animality that is the Life Everlasting.



Sexual sublimation, also known as sexual transmutation, is the attempt, especially among some religious traditions, to transform sexual impulses or “sexual energy” into creative energy. In this context, sublimation is the transference of sexual energy, or libido, into a physical act or a different emotion in order to avoid confrontation with the sexual urge, which is itself contrary to the individual’s belief or ascribed religious belief. It is based on the idea that “sexual energy” can be used to create a spiritual nature which in turn can create more sensual works, instead of one’s sexuality being unleashed “raw.”[7][8][9] The classical example in Western religions is clerical celibacy.

As espoused in the Tanya[citation needed], Hasidic Jewish mysticism views sublimation of the animal soul as an essential task in life, wherein the goal is to transform animalistic and earthy cravings for physical pleasure into holy desires to connect with God.

Different schools of thought describe general sexual urges as carriers of spiritual essence, and have the varied names of vital energy, vital winds (prana), spiritual energy, ojas, shakti, tummo, or kundalini. It is also believed that undergoing sexual sublimation can facilitate a mystical awakening in an individual.[10][11][12]

Sublimation is the honorable solution in forgoing sexual urges. I sometimes think that what was sexual energy within me got transformed into spiritual energy.


I think you missed the point.

Sexual urges should be suppressed…just like the urge to kill someone or steal something.

The people who don’t suppress those urges wind up in jail !


Inadvertently?? No. The church teaches that sexual relations may be legitimately expressed within marriage. That has been pretty much the consensus view of most civilizations throughout the millennia as well.


Everybody is different, it does not work for all…
Even celibacy is not good for all the priests, there are many that have children.

It’s not easy to go against the natural law. The procreation is very hard to fight.


I think you confuse natural law with the laws of nature. Natural law is the portion of divine law that is accessible to human reason. Natural law shows that self mastery and the ordered use of our sexually is that which fulfills us.


No, I know what I am talking about. This is a quote:
While St. Thomas does define the natural law as “the participation of the rational creature in the eternal law” this does not mean that it is simply reason or logic. Rather, it is reason’s ability to understand our human nature and its inclination as designed by the Creator. These interdependent inclinations are (from most fundamental to most excellent): existence/life, the procreation and education of offspring, living in society, and the pursuit of truth.

The procreation and education of offspring is very strong in the human nature as designed by the Creator.
Just watch couples that can not have children what they are willing to go through in order to have one.

The celibacy goes against it. Yes, the celibacy is against the natural law.


You cannot be correct about this…St. Paul was celibate and said he wished “all men were as I am.” - 1Cor. 7 : 7 But he also says it is not for everyone.

Priests take a vow, they know what the priesthood entails!


when I stopped thinking of myself as an animal ruled by my physical desires, I became more human. With the Grace of God I have more control over my life than I ever did before. It is not about ‘repression’ it is about control and proper use of God’s gifts.


No, you don’t know what you are talking about. It is part of what some call “human nature” to desire intimate relationships, but that is not “natural law”. It is against natural law to engage in intimate relationships outside of the marital covenant. You are confusing “nature” with “natural law” . Celibacy is NOT against natural law.


Thank you.:thumbsup:


If every man was like St. Paul then there is no humankind now.
God said, go and multiply…

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