On Love and Desire

Author: Jan Bilewicz

The word “love” is a holdall into which all kinds of things are lumped: true love and its illusions, such as desire, infatuation, the pursuit of pleasure and escaping from loneliness.

Hi! Some time ago I read about a study of the sexuality of people from 19 different countries. Its results showed that only 20 per cent of men (contrary to what the media try to make us believe) find satisfaction in sexual intercourse. I wondered why there was so little joy in this sphere. And there should be a lot. This is even what God wills! My first conclusion was that to make sex important, beautiful and satisfying, one has to be in the state of sanctifying grace, that is to have a pure heart or to be free in the sexual sphere. Free not in the sense of being able to do anything one currently wishes to do (that is the road to addiction), but, on the contrary, free from impulses of covetousness. A person could, and even would like to, act sexually, but they can refrain from sex, because they know that it would be wrong at that particular moment. This person is able to choose good and not pleasure. This is freedom! A person either learns this or becomes more or less strongly addicted. This is the alternative. Either — or. Let’s learn to be free by maintaining premarital chastity.

Of course, addictions do not bring happiness; a momentary pleasure at best, and that of poor substance. Ultimately, they humiliate, depress and degrade a person. A man who is addicted to sex experiences his sexuality in a very primitive way: he uses his partner to feed his addiction. He or she can hardly be expected to be satisfied with such “intercourse” in the long run. The relief felt after feeding an addiction is a very different thing to satisfaction, joy and happiness. Isn’t it?

Desire can — and should — be “put do death” or overcome with the help of God’s grace. This is called maintaining chastity

Lumped together

Now, let’s have a look at the whole question from a slightly different point of view. I would argue that in order to make sexual intercourse satisfying, it is necessary for the man and woman to be joined by a deep relationship of love. Naturally! Most people would surely applaud. Sex should follow from love. Love must be first. And it must be true love. And is it? Rarely, how very rarely! … Look once again at the results of the study. Why should anybody be not satisfied with sex that is an expression of love? Yet, a vast majority of people are not satisfied with it. Perhaps they are not in love with each other, or what they call love is not love at all?

Indeed, the word “love” is a holdall into which all kinds of things are lumped: true love and illusions, such as desire, infatuation, the pursuit of pleasure and escaping from loneliness. In the media, it is even claimed that a prostitute “makes love” with a client, that actors “make love” in pornographic films, that animals “make love” on a glade in the woods … They have got something terribly wrong. Haven’t they? They surely make such love to their partners. To copulate like an animal does not mean to love! What then does a man’s true love for a woman involve? “How will I know,” you may ask, “that I love with such love?” Precisely! A good question: “How will I know that I love with true, mature, happiness-giving love?” … I will get back to this in a moment.

As can be seen from the above examples, love is confused with desire mostly by media “elites,” modern educators and sexologists. Love and desire — do they have anything in common? St. Paul writes: “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire” (Col 3:5). And elsewhere: “And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:24). Strong words: “put to death,” “crucify” … To love your neighbor, the Bible calls incessantly. St. Paul also writes: “Make love your aim” (1 Cor 14:1). The love of a woman and desire for a woman not only have nothing in common; they are poles apart. Love is good and constructive and means respect, responsibility, admiration, and the ability to make sacrifices for the good of the loved person. Desire, meanwhile, is destructive, as it treats a woman as an object, as a tool to satisfy desire, a toy to play with. It is nothing else but desire that makes men cheat on their wives, use the services of prostitutes, rape etc. — to name only its most extreme manifestations.

Mature love wishes for one’s life to be united with that of the beloved person for good, in ups and downs, in good times and in bad times. True love wants to start a family as well

Men, alas, have a natural propensity for desire. This and other bad propensities result from the stain of the original sin. But we do not have to yield to them. Do we? We are free! Let us choose Good. Desire can — and should — be “put do death” or overcome with the help of God’s grace. This is called maintaining chastity. Desire cannot be got rid of once and for all, because our nature cannot be changed completely once and for all. It can, however, be ennobled with God’s grace and one can develop a mechanism of controlling desire, that is attaining the virtue of chastity.

Every man faces the following choice: either he lets covetousness grow in his heart — to finally dominate his relations with women — or he learns to overcome covetousness, thereby making space for love, which then gets a chance to grow and ripen. Mature love is achieved by maintaining chastity. Many people cannot love, because they have not maintained premarital chastity. Or — to put it differently — because they have not maintained chastity, they are addicted to sex to a smaller or greater degree and that is why they can neither truly love nor can they have a satisfying sexual relationship. We have returned to the beginning.

Mature love

“When will love be mature? How will I know that it is already mature?” Mature love wishes for one’s life to be united with that of the beloved person for good, in ups and downs, in good times and in bad times. True love wants to start a family as well.

Have you ever been to somebody else’s wedding ceremony? I mean a ceremony in a church, not in a register office? If you have, you must remember that the priest asked the bride and bridegroom a few questions. They included: “Will you persevere in this marriage in health and in sickness, for better and for worse until the end of your lives?,” “Will you accept children lovingly from God?” … He truly loves who answers sincerely these questions with “Yes, I will.” And when he responsibly and earnestly is able to take the following vow: “I, …, take you, …, to be my wife and I promise to love you, to be faithful and true to you and not to desert you until death.”

If sexual intercourse follows from mature and responsible love, it certainly is a festivity, a feast for the spirit, an experience of mystery, the most intimate act of a woman and man giving themselves to each other. If, however, a boy says that he loves a girl but does not intend to be with her forever, does not plan to start a family and does not want to make any vows to her in public (possibly only in private), he should try to mature a bit more for his own and her good. Necessarily in chastity. Mature love — to reiterate — is attained by maintaining chastity.

Do not lose love!

Incidentally, have you ever thought what the purpose of pornography is? It serves only to arouse covetousness. Hence, it is about something quite the opposite from “putting to death” and “crucifying” as St. Paul writes. God and the devil stay their course. There are even studies made to find out what arouses covetousness best in people viewing pornography and then films are shot or pictures taken accordingly … Pornography arouses desire, so it “puts love to death.”

The same is true of fashion designers. Today, a “fashion designer” is a guy who is busy not so much fashionably dressing women as undressing them. The representatives of the fair sex must be “sexy” or arouse desire in the men they meet. And what happens? First, they eagerly undress, because “it's in vogue” and next they wonder why they are treated like — I quote — “a piece of meat” … (They would do better to help their colleagues “attain love” by dressing modestly and not provocatively, but they don't feel like doing so). And so we have an excellent illustration of the old folk adage: as you make your bed, so you must lie in it.

Of course, these “tarts” touting their wares on the Internet and these almost naked women running around town (at least in summer), and the widespread advice of “youth advisors,” boiling down to the promotion of the slogan “do as you wish,” must not provide us with an alibi for letting ourselves go and excusing ourselves from self-improvement.

That’s all for today. Until next time. Bye!

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