We have instincts, but we also have reason
Biology teaches that human beings are sexual animals – we reproduce through intercourse, a fact that underlies the comparison with other animals that also reproduce in this manner. Some compare human sexual behavior with that of dogs, justifying it precisely by highlighting the fact that dogs are also sexual. Although it seems obvious that such a crude comparison with other animals is contrary to the dignity of the human person, it is an argument that is often used today to defend the idea of “free sex” – a sexuality without commitment that promotes an experience based on instinct and in pursuit of pleasure. Though it may seem self-evident and therefore unnecessary, it is important to recall that human beings – far beyond being mere sexual animals – are rational, and moreover, spiritual creatures.
Humans are three-dimensional beings consisting of biological, psychological, and spiritual elements. As such, human sexuality is not only dependent on mating instincts or the preservation of the species. Within the context of evolutionary biology, humans have redefined sexuality. Unlike animals, man is a dependent being: at birth, a baby needs to be cared for, fed, educated, and protected. Although today there is a talk about different family forms, the humanities – and especially psychology – teach that the emotional bonds that connect a child to the mother and father, and other relatives among them, are vital to the healthy development of the child. This interdependence that exists between humans gives a new meaning to sexuality – the need for a commitment. The sexual act, although it is pleasurable and can potentially be performed with a variety of different partners, requires a character of allegiance. If a child is to grow up in a healthy environment, the presence of both a father and a mother becomes necessary. Moreover, the bond between the parents must be a harmonious union sealed with mutual and selfless love.
Chastity is the virtue that that gives order and purpose to human sexuality. Young men and young women who learn the importance of chastity are able to educate themselves and harmonize the hormonal forces in their bodies with their capacity to transmit the power of life. The experience of chastity educates the body, granting a capacity for self-mastery that harmonizes the instincts together with reason and the spirit, all within the context of commitment.
Today, throughout the world, there are different theories about sex education. There is talk about “freedom” grounded in response to sexual instincts alone, disregarding reason and the importance of affective bonds. In the third world, governments choose to promote “free sex” from early adolescence. In Brazil, the government follows the same path, distributing condoms, contraceptives and even the morning-after pill free of charge to the entire population without offering sex education or talking about the values of affective bonds and chastity.
If an evolved society is one where people have learned to excel for the sake of reason and the spirit over instincts, a society that seeks to excel for the sake of instinct above reason and the spirit is easily manipulated and never free, bound to remain a slave of its own conditionings.