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Catholics and sex


Mythicwings

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I'd like to ask this here because I tried in an fb duggar snark group but I engaged the wrong person and she keeps jumping down my throat. I mean, she is one of the Regina George's on the group so what did I expect, right? But I am not trying to be weird about this question - I truly want to know. It's been mystifying me for decades.

I grew up in a Baptist home. My father was a minister but really this would apply to most Baptist homes I know: premarital sex was the worst thing you could ever do. Back then, being gay was an issue for people raised Baptist of course, but so fewer people came out to their families, especially when they were raised in Baptist etc homes, so there wasn't an expectation of it. So premarital sex was the biggie and Baptist girls in general didn't tend to do it guilt-free. They did do it of course, depending on the girl, but usually they felt out of sync with Jesus.

But then I went to a Catholic college and made lots of Catholic friends. They had absolutely NO problem thinking that Jesus would have any issue with them having sex. They didn't tell their parents, of course - they weren't suppose to do it,but when they did it didn't seem to have any impact on how they felt spiritually or in terms of their relationship with Jesus. Which, having been raised Baptist and it being all I knew in terms of Jesus, really super confused me. I didn't care if they had sex, but I was confused about how they felt. I hadn't had sex and at that point if I had, Iwould not have felt guilty and Jesus wouldn't have been part of my feelings on it - but I also no longer considered myself to be Baptist. But my friends did think of themselves as Catholic and have raised their children Catholic and they have no problem with them having sex - so I've always wondered what the difference is between how Catholics are taught about sex, and how Baptists/most-evangelicals are. Can someone explain it to me?

Do you understand what I'm saying? I'm trying to sound clear because GOD I have tried to have this conversation a couple of times and the response I get is that I am calling girls who have premarital sex sluts. And of course I am not! I'm so sick of not being able to have this conversation! I just want to understand the different religious traditions but man is it a touchy subject and I don't know why!

Thanks!

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The Catholic church teaches that sex outside marriage is a serious sin. There is a huge gap between what the Catholic church teaches and the beliefs of most members.

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The Catholic church teaches that sex outside marriage is a serious sin. There is a huge gap between what the Catholic church teaches and the beliefs of most members.

'Cafeteria Catholicism' is a huge problem with American Catholics but especially in regards to birth control, the logical extension of that is sex outside marriage but also using birth control inside marriage.

I think the difference between you and your Catholic friends is rooted in how you each understand your salvation. Catholics do not believe in "getting saved." They believe they have "been redeemed." Just a lite version of a big theological divide.

The emphasis is not on a personal relationship with Jesus, like it is for Baptists.

But I don't know. I could be completely wrong. Catholic guilt is supposed to be well known but it didn't seem to affect your friends. In this regard the religious tradition is really the same - no sex outside marriage. I suspect your friends have cafeteria'd it.

Hmm, when I was growing up Southern Baptist, we had a term for some people that we called "fire insurance." People who didn't really believe but participated in order to avoid going to hell. That's how I would think of anyone who professed a particular religion yet ignored major tenets but still raised their kids in it but their kids end up ignoring major tenets as well and that's ok with the 'rents.

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I think context of religion in the household is the big thing. Both of my parents were raised Catholic- because that's just what you are/were in the Boston area in the 1950s (when they were born), until the mid 1980's when we left the Catholic church. Catholicism just WAS. You do the rituals because that's just how it works. Fish on Fridays, church on Sundays and high holy days, getting slapped around by the Nuns at CCD, and everything else. My Mother's family left after Communion every single Sunday. You get Communion, and you keep walking out the door. My father's family stayed to the very end. We kids didn't like sitting with them every other week because we knew we'd be stuck there the whole time, and since "their" pew was at the front of the church, we'd probably get the stink eye if we fidgeted. My parents lived together before they got married, in a Catholic church. They just lied during their pre-marriage classes. Neither of my parents are really religious. They're spiritual, but not religious. They disregarded the "rules" they didn't like or thought were stupid (no premarital sex, no birth control, etc). Now, they're in a very liberal United Church of Christ congregation that fits them extremely well. For example, they believe the Bible is a framework of ideas and not the literal words of Christ- a collection of parables if you will. They also believe that there is no hell- that hell is just a spiritual state within the bounds of heaven.

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I think Catholic "guilt" works in different ways for different subject areas.

I grew up VERY Catholic. Went to Catholic school K-8, made all my sacraments like a good girl, didn't really date any boys-even in college-kept my virginity until I was 25! And even then I only allowed myself to believe it was ok with God because I was with the man that I was going to marry. That didn't end up happening and the guilt kicked in for a bit afterwards until I woke up and realized, Jesus doesn't give a flipping fuck if I'm having sex. As long as I'm not a complete awful person, I'm good. Life has been much happier since then. That seems to be how most of the current generation of Catholics function.

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I think Catholic "guilt" works in different ways for different subject areas.

I grew up VERY Catholic. Went to Catholic school K-8, made all my sacraments like a good girl, didn't really date any boys-even in college-kept my virginity until I was 25! And even then I only allowed myself to believe it was ok with God because I was with the man that I was going to marry. That didn't end up happening and the guilt kicked in for a bit afterwards until I woke up and realized, Jesus doesn't give a flipping fuck if I'm having sex. As long as I'm not a complete awful person, I'm good. Life has been much happier since then. That seems to be how most of the current generation of Catholics function.

I am asking sincerely - how did you come to the conclusion that Jesus doesn't care if you're having sex?

Was this part of a general move away from active church involvement or something?

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I am asking sincerely - how did you come to the conclusion that Jesus doesn't care if you're having sex?

Was this part of a general move away from active church involvement or something?

I did some private Bible studies for women and read a book that broke down the entire old testament and new testament and explained all of the texts. Essentially Jesus told us to follow the Ten Commandments and to follow the Law of Love. Yes there's the whole adultery thing in the the Ten Commandments but I've always took that to just mean "don't sleep around outside of your relationship" and that when it comes down to it, should God be floating around up there is He going to really going to condemn me for having a healthy and enjoyable sex life as long as I tried to be a decent human being? Probably not.

So yes this probably did start more when I went away from active church involvement and active faith.

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  • 8 months later...

Growing up in an extremely devout Catholic home, I will tell you my perspective. The issue is that although the church preaches many things about sex and how it is evil and only procreation. Sex outside of marriage is blasphemy etc. Between my friends, only being allowed fellow church going friends, and my own personal family. We are not talked to about what sex even is. There is a complete an utter lack of knowledge of your body. I was yelled at so many times as a young child for touching my vagina or breasts or asking questions about them.

Then there is this giant culture where all the "devout" older and "cooler" Catholic youth are participating in all kinds of ungodly acts. BUT as long as you go to confession and confess your sins, feel truly bad about it, do your penance, all is forgiven. I experienced a very predatory culture as well. I was molested as a young girl and this was completely ignored by my family. In my Catholic world, if you didn't talk about it, it didn't happen. Even if someone directly saw the transgression occur, you could just pretend you didn't and then everything would be alright.

As a young adult, my first sexual experience was when I was 14. With a 20 year old man. He forced me to go further than I wanted, but I had never been educated about the difference betweeen things that were right and wrong in the sexual world.

My sex education was my mom handing me a book on my period and how that meant I had to "stay clean down there" and would bleed once a month. Followed up by, on my drive to college, my mother telling me not to give away my "precious gift" that had disappeared when I was sexually abused as a child and 15 year old.

Then, my first night at college, I went out with some new found friends, met a guy, and he raped me in a violent and malicious matter.

Because of my up bringing, I was so scared I refused to report it to the police or take any help for it. When my parents found out years later, they once again handed me a book on being a proper woman and dealing with being raped.

Catholics ignore and don't talk.

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I grew up in a very devout Catholic family in the 60's. K-12th grade Catholic schools, one of eleven children, home rosary every night, joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries...etc. I was also sexually abused for most of my early childhood while being reared in a very purity driven culture. I did not even date until I was 21. Sex outside of marriage was a potentially cardinal sin...I was terrified of confession, terrified of penance and knew that my sins of commission, omission, thought, word and deed were far too grevious to confess for a dreadful seven year old so I gave up on heaven pretty young and sort of hoped for a long stint in purgatory at best, hell on bad days. I still work through Catholic guilt on a semi regular basis though I have been out of the church for 33 years...

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