Problems Explaining Contraception


#1

I’m discussing contraception with someone. Based on what I’ve learned from Mary Rosera Joyce, I’m pointing out that there is more than one purpose to sex, but the specific purpose is procreation.

(I realize that there are two main, inseparable purposes, which are bonding and procreation. But there are other moral ways to bond. But no other moral ways of procreation.)

I’m saying that because the specific purpose is procreation, contraception is wrong.

He responded by saying the specific purpose of a bed is sleeping but it can be used for other things too. Is it wrong to use a bed for sitting?

Likewise I said that there is a natural connection between sex and procreation. He said, well, there is a natural connection between gravity and falling to the ground. Is it wrong to stop something from falling to the ground?

How do I answer these arguments?


#2

His “arguments” aren’t arguments at all, they are analogies, and bad ones at that. The problem is that he is assuming a moral equivalence between having contracepted sex and sitting on a bed, without demonstrating any such equivalence exists. Thus, he is assuming that contraception isn’t immoral when he is trying to prove that contraception isn’t immoral. In logic that’s called a “circular argument.”

I’d respond by using the same tactic in reverse to show him the absurdity of his “arguments.” For example,

You said: “the specific purpose (of sex) is procreation, (therefore) contraception is wrong.”

He replied: “the specific purpose of a bed is sleeping but it can be used for other things too. Is it wrong to use a bed for sitting?”

I’d give a counterexample of his flawed strategy by showing the invalidity of this argument:

Person A says: “the specific purpose of a Nazi gas chamber is to kill innocent people, (therefore) building death camps is wrong”

Person B replies: "the specific purpose of bug spray is to kill bugs, is making bug spray wrong?

(Person B’s reply assumes a moral equivalence between killing bugs and killing people.

OR

Person A: “There’s a natural connection between dumping industrial pollution into local water ways and innocent local people dying of horrible diseases. Therefore we should stop industrial water pollution.”

Person B: "There’s a natural connection between gravity and things falling. Should we try to stop gravity? "


#3

Agree with @PietroPaulo. What your friend is positing as an equivalency is an analogy. There is no moral consequence to sitting on a bed or sleeping on a bed (for that matter.) But recreational sex, even by a married couple, is immoral. Our bodies are created in the image and likeness of God and for a specific purpose. To use our bodies for purposes other than what God intended is a sin. :thumbsup:


#4

So…sex between a married couple after child bearing years is immoral? Where is that written?


#5

That isn’t exactly what 808Catholic said, is it?

Sex between a married couple after child bearing years doesn’t = recreational sex (i.e. sex purely for fun). Sex is for both procreation and uniting a married couple in deeper ties of love. Neither end can be rightly classed as “recreational.”


#6

Thanks, man. That’s helpful.


#7

What is “recreational sex”? What does the expression mean?


#8

So as long as sex between a married couple is for creating “deeper ties of love” after the possibility of children is past, it is not considered immoral?


#9

Thank you. I think this term confused me a little.


#10

No, sex between married couples if one or both is infertile is not immoral, just as “recourse to the infertile periods” of a woman’s cycle isn’t immoral (cf. Humanae Vitae)


#11

“Recreation” is typically defined as an “activity done for enjoyment.” 'Recreational sex typically means sex that is only for pleasure. Using your wife solely for your pleasure is immoral.


#12

???

Solely for your pleasure as in without the intention of it being unitive?


#13

This “recreational sex” issue is something of a tangent, so I won’t dwell on it. But we can note this from the Catechism:

2362 "The acts in marriage by which the intimate and chaste union of the spouses takes place are noble and honorable; the truly human performance of these acts fosters the self-giving they signify and enriches the spouses in joy and gratitude."145 Sexuality is a source of joy and pleasure:

The Creator himself . . . established that in the [generative] function, spouses should experience pleasure and enjoyment of body and spirit. Therefore, the spouses do nothing evil in seeking this pleasure and enjoyment. They accept what the Creator has intended for them. At the same time, spouses should know how to keep themselves within the limits of just moderation.146

So, there’s nothing inherently wrong with having sex for pleasure and enjoyment (assuming of course the procreative and unitive aspects are not separated). Yes, Catholics are allowed to have good sex lives! :wink:


#14

Recreational sex is for pleasure only. When we engage in the conjugal act for the mere sensual pleasure of the act and ignore why God granted us this great gift. This is similar to masturbation; we pleasure ourselves and ignore God. That’s why masturbation is a sin. If a husband engages in sex with his wife even though she is not feeling well, that’s a sin. Vice versa. If the husband fails to culminate inside his wife on purpose, that’s a sin. If a husband thinks of another woman in an unwholesome way as he is engaged in the marital act with his wife, that’s a sin.


#15

The act must ALLOW for the procreation of children. It does not have to PRODUCE children. Yes, sex can deepen the bonds of marriage; that is part of the sacramental part of our vocation.


#16

When we engage in the conjugal act for the mere sensual pleasure of the act and ignore why God granted us this great gift. This is similar to masturbation; we pleasure ourselves and ignore God. That’s why masturbation is a sin. If a husband engages in sex with his wife even though she is not feeling well, that’s a sin. Vice versa. If the husband fails to culminate inside his wife on purpose, that’s a sin. If a husband thinks of another woman in an unwholesome way as he is engaged in the marital act with his wife, that’s a sin.

What you write in the two paragraphs quoted above are not the same thing. In the second paragraph, the act is more than “recreational” - it is immoral for one or more reasons. In the second paragraph, the encounter is one or more of:

  • selfish;
  • not procreative;
  • adulterous

Sex may be wholesome yet sought for its pleasure. Sex may be pleasure seeking (which I take as the meaning of “recreational”) without being any of the things I list above.

I would suggest abandoning the expression “recreational” sex. I’ve been on threads where to some this means various things including:

  • contracepted sex;
  • sex where conception is not sought.

Your description in paragraph 2 adds to the list of possible interpretations.


#17

Pietro,

what would you say is the best approach for speaking up against contraception on a non-Catholic board like Christian Forums?


#18

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