Anna Porchetti has written her book to be "a kind of manual for romance" and an antidote to a culture of promiscuity.
Just one verse each day.
I recently read Anna Porchetti’s book “Amatevi finché morte non vi separi” (“Love one another until death do you part,” currently only available in Italian). It is her first book and she addresses the subject of married love with depth and a witty ironic streak.
In the chapter: “Catholics do it better — that is, Catholic spouses have better sex” — Porchetti, who considers her volume “a kind of manual for romance,” tackles the topic of sex, openly criticizing not the process of women’s emancipation as such, but what has passed as an achievement of absolute value: sexual liberation.
From a certain point forward, we were told another fairy tale: the fairy tale of sexually liberated women (and men). But if sex is not a prison, what were we supposed to be liberated from? I’ll tell you. From love. From real intimacy. Sexual emancipation is taking sex and separating it from feelings, to make it again just a physiological stimulus, similar to what animals experience in mating season.
If sex is only “for recreation”
From a female perspective, which has seen women encouraged to repeatedly experiment with different partners to the point of considering such promiscuity normal, she says:
You don’t have to ask a Nobel laureate in economics to understand the rule of supply and demand: the overabundance of something immediately reduces its value. The more sex is easily accessible, the less it is worth in itself. It becomes commonplace. It’s no longer a wonderful and exclusive achievement for life. If it’s no longer a unique and special thing, if it has no unitive purpose but only a recreational one, then sex loses that magic that makes us finally feel one, in spirit and body.
The need to be loved in our wholeness
Our schizophrenic culture, which has assured itself of the possibility and ease of separating the body from feelings…does not at all take into account how we human beings are made, full of needs that are not only physical, but also moral and spiritual; first of all, the need to be loved as persons, in our uniqueness, particularity, and wholeness.
Women: Rebel against the “rule of three”
The author sympathetically demolishes “the rule of three,” which some of her single friends have explained to her:
It seems that nowadays, if a free and emancipated man and woman meet, they must end up in bed by the third date (…) My single female friends confess that they don’t feel ready to violate the rule of three, lest the expected penalties are triggered, i.e., the guy in question will vanish, but only after accusing them of being frigid, bigoted, sexophobic, etc.
The first rule: Don’t throw yourself away
And faced with the absurdity of this unwritten “commandment,” she addresses a warning to her reader. Each of us, she says, has:
…the desire to be loved all our lives. Our need for deep love rests on mutual exclusivity. And, to make it happen, rule number one (but also rules two, three and four) is don’t aim low, don’t throw yourself away. Avoid people who approach you thinking that they can give you a try, like you would with a dress or with a pair of shoes: “I’m going to try it on now, but I’m not sure I want it. I don’t know if it’s the right one for me, but in the meantime I’ll try it on, what’s the harm? If then I don’t like it, I’ll put it back on the shelf.” If they’ve then tried you on, and left you so they can move on and try out the next model, don’t complain about being used, and don’t thunder against the objectification of women. Remember that you voluntarily submitted yourself to that trial, and that you put yourself on that shelf as an object to be tried on, whereas you could rather have demanded respect for your wonderful uniqueness.
Catholic spouses have the best sex
The final part of the chapter is devoted to the sexual act from the perspective of fecundity.
I don’t know if you remember, but from every sexual act a life can be born, and that alone would be enough to suggest that sex is not something to be taken lightly… So many people have forgotten about it since contraception. (…) Contraception has further reduced women’s freedom. I know that sounds like heresy. In order to be sexually free, they say that one must first of all get rid of the natural consequences of love (…) Instead, when one unites sexually with another person out of love, the best fruit that can come from such a complete union is a child (and even two, three, etc. etc.). Having a child with the man you love remains one of the best things that can happen to you in life, with no ifs or buts.
The book is primarily directed to women, but its introduction is closed by the author with a quick joke addressed to the unlikely male reader:
If, however, you are a man and have happened to be here among us, fear not: nothing that follows will seriously harm your health.
If you know some Italian and want to read the book, you can find it here.