To what degree is one's sexuality a product of complete free will?

My claim is that one’s sexuality is very often beyond one’s free will, such as in masturbation and gay identity.

I was about to vote “seldom”, but reconsidered.

I don’t think masturbation is a part of one’s sexuality…it is an act…a choice. There are often presures on us that increase the temptation to make this choice, but it remains a choice.

Sexuality is different in that I don’t think one chooses to be attracted to the other gender or their own, it is something that happens to them. I don’t think it (eg same sex attraction) is a choice in the same way that masturbation is. I would also suggest there is a difference between “gay identity” (which may involve some sort of choice to accept a homosexual identity or even lifestyle) and “same sex attraction” (not really a choice).

So I won’t vote in this poll, since I think multiple issues are conflated.

There is a lot more to sexuality than the 2 things listed, some not even relating directly to sex. I voted sometimes, I agree with previous poster in regards to masturbation being a choice. I beleive that we have no more control of which sex we are attracted to than we do what colour eyes we have. That being said everyoneone has a choice how they choose to act on these attractions.

I agree with you.:thumbsup:

Hang on a sec, Robert.

Neither “masturbation” or “gay identity” are part of one’s sexuality.

Masturbation is an act of the will and certainly inherent to either male or female sexuality. I mean, would you say that a man who does not masturbate is somehow denying his sexuality or is less of a man?

Adopting a gay identity is likewise something done, and is really a socio-political identity that had no equivalent in Western culture prior to the 1960s. I would agree that homosexual attraction can be part of someone’s sexual identity, but not “gayness”.

Homosexual attraction = being gay. You’re arguing semantics on an issue where it doesn’t even work. You can argue that homosexual attraction isn’t part of a sexual identity (which has merits, as many women in Victorian England would “visit” each other while their husbands were working but would never have dreamt of adopting an identity around it), or you could argue that it does (which has merits, as gendered physical attraction is likely innate). But you can’t argue that homosexual attraction is part of a sexual identity, while [homosexual attraction] isn’t, where being gay = homosexual attraction. It’s the same as arguing something exists and doesn’t exist at the same time.

why is there a not a never?

I’m inclined to disagree that masturbation is an act of the will. I think it is an act of instinct. Left alone and without any education about it, and humans and many animals will engage in it instinctively. As a near-teen I discovered this act before I even knew what it was.

I do believe that resisting the urge to masturbate takes an act of the will, and we are called by God, as beings with a conscience, to rise above our nature. For some acts, that requires an act of the will to overcome what we would naturally be inclined to do, and I believe that to overcome this act, for us to want to will against masturbating, requires at the very least a love of God and a purpose for doing so. It’s a bit like passing a grocery store display when we’re hungry, we can’t just help ourselves and feast on the spot. We have to restrain our instinct until a socially-acceptable moment arises. That requires will.

Most of us, fortunately, are capable of a sufficient degree of self-control. Where serious pathology enters the picture is for those who don’t.

Masturbation and being gay is NOT a part of one’s sexuality? How do you define ‘sexuality?’ I would define it as being of or part of the sex drive… the totality of our sexual experiences and desires.

This is way to complex of an issue for there to be a simple poll response.

  1. sexuality is at the core of man and it is who he is
  2. disordered sexuality, which can be sinful comes from many factors
    2a) how a person is raised and his past. Psychologist have realized that many times people who have some type of disordered sexuality isn’t just because they chose it, rather there is something in their past which is causing this to occur
    2b) no matter if same sex attraction is genetic or not, I personally think that those who have SSA is because of their background and how they grew up. For example a young boy has an abusive mother and because of this he is very hesitant to have any relationships with women, because of this he finds that need for relationship almost exclusively in men, and when those sexual feelings come up he feels no attraction to women because of his past (note he may have no knowledge of why it happens this way). You could also flip this situation and make it an abusive father of a young girl.
    2c) you must remember what St. Paul had to say, that he did things he didn’t want to do. When someone get’s tied deep into sin especially sexual sin man losses free will and no longer has control on his sin. For example, you have someone who has been drinking a morning cup of coffee every day for 5 years, can this person just say I’m going to stop drinking coffee tomorrow and never drink it again? He will likely fail. Note, the previous example isn’t a sinful example. Sinful example, an alcoholic thinks he should stop drinking, he throws away all of his alcohol from his house, two days latter a friend sends him a bottle of wine. His body has a very deep craving for alcohol so he drinks the entire thing. The bodily attachment to alcohol means it is very difficult for him to stop drinking alcohol. So when someone is addicted to a sexual sin, they can’t stop it on their own the sin has made them a slave.
  3. so to answer your question free will does play a role, but many things that men and women struggle with when it comes to disordered sexuality is because of habitual sin or things in their past that have caused them to act this way.

masturbation is a part of one’s sexuality. Sexuality is that which is at the center of man, what it means to be a man what it means to be a women. A man masturbates because there are those deep core desires that all men have is coming up, because it is disordered and because he doesn’t know how to deal with it he deals with it in a disordered way.

I think you’re confusing things and making things more complex than the question dictates. You’re listing factors for SSA and not simple answering the question of whether these factors do or don’t limit one’s free will.

ok sorry

I thought my answer did but i’ll make it simple

in a way yes because, I believe a man or women has SSA because of their past. So a man in college dealing with SSA and trying to become more holy can’t simply stop having these attractions and stop falling into the sin that relates to it.

any disordered desire or any sinfulness reduces one’s free will. At-least if you understand free will as the freedom to do the will of God and live virtuously.

the above is why I made the analogy of addiction. Does someone who has an addiction to caffeine will not to drink coffee for a week? Probably not. Can an Alcholic cut alcohol completely out of his life when ever he wants to? probably not. The reason is the addiction makes them a slave to that object, it takes serious changes in their life to overcome these addictions if they want to overcome it. Same goes with sexual sins and SSA. As long as man sins he will always be enslaved to it.

2352 By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.” “The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of “the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”

To form an equitable judgment about the subjects’ moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.

It seems that the CCC is saying that one’s free will can be severely hampered. Let me know if you have another interpretation to the CCC.

Sexuality per se is not subject to free will, being rather an aspect of our natural psychosoma.

Our sexual behaviors however are subject to free will, subject to our state of consciousness etc,; and so such can be good or sinful.


was this addressed to me?

I thought I said exactly this.

I’m using sexuality to include ALL sexual behavior.

Not directed towards you in the least. I think we’re in agreement.

sexuality goes deeper than this, at-least the way JPII and the Church understand it.

a guy getting excited over a football game is actually a part of his sexuality. Sexuality is at the heart and the center of man.

a priest even though he is celibate and is in no way doing any sexual things, he is fulfilling his sexuality in his spousal relationship to Christ and the Church.

a virgin religious sister vowed to chastity (celibacy, can’t remember what they vow to) is also fulfilling her sexuality

good :slight_smile:

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