Letter: Life, liberty and the pursuit of consequence-free sex

Sex is beautiful.

During sex, you give your whole self, both physically and spiritually, to your partner. Even better, you allow for the creation of new life; a new human being that can love, create and think just as well as you can.

However, the unitive and procreative aspects of sex are today often divided, repackaged, consumerized for convenience or, worst of all, cheapened. We are told that sex is valuable for the pleasure it creates, that we can or should have sex as often as possible, so long as we do it “safely.” We have sterilized ourselves, physically and emotionally.

I can barely step out of my door in the morning without seeing one of the many colorful signs, provided to us by Planned Parenthood, advertising condoms or other birth control. When I look at them, I can’t help thinking that they look bright, cheery, friendly and very fake.

Behind the cheery faces and bright graphic design, these ads push something very inauthentic. They certainly push sterility, that’s the whole point of the product, of course, but it seems industrial or inhuman. Many advertisements fail to recognize that their targets are humans, but few have a subject that is so close and intimate to our own bodies.

There’s something inauthentic about condoms themselves, like someone refusing to touch their significant other unless they’re wearing rubber gloves.

It is easy to see the cheapening of sex today in an average party in Ames during any weekend. Go to them, and you will hear both men and women talking about the other sex as instruments; they are treated as nothing but tools which help achieve pleasure.

It’s remarkably selfish, but the idea has been treated as somehow “enlightened” by many of the educated and their educators. Women are often told that, somehow, they can be empowered if they use men for pleasure and then toss them to the curb as effectively as some men use and toss away women. The rejection of the unitive aspect of sex is not just cruel, it’s also a distortion of the act. It deconstructs a beautiful act into power relations or the accumulation of pleasure, leaving behind horrible casualties of hollowed-out souls in its wake.

Sure, most people today do not consciously reject the unitive and procreative aspects of sex, but they are nurtured in a culture so hostile to both that many people do not realize that there are other options. The modern twisting of sex is not a semantics issue, or a vague, philosophical issue. It is an issue that affects all of us. When we fail to respect our own bodies, we fail to respect ourselves and we fail to respect life itself.