REFLECTION: The delicate topic of human sexuality PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 06 February 2015 11:53



Back in 1995, the Vatican issued a document that to me holds special and urgent relevance today. It’s entitled, The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality, and precisely talks about a topic that should be made mainstream.

It needs to be brought out more in the open. Given the many issues in this area that have managed to generate a lot of confusion and complications, the document offers a basic and comprehensive primer especially to parents who are the first teachers and formators of their children.

What we have in society only reflects and is a result of what we have in the families. If the families do not do well or even fail in the education of their children in human sexuality, we cannot expect a society that will have a healthy attitude toward this very important aspect of human life.

The naked truth is that problems in this area have multiplied not only in number but also in kind. Wherever we go, even if we just take a cursory look around, we can immediately see that there are things that are not quite right or, shall we say, that at least raise eyebrows, provoke questions and concern, etc.

Pornography is now so easily accessible that even little innocent children can already get exposed to them. Teen-age pregnancy is on the rise, together with casual sex and hook-ups, STD, abortion, contraception, and illegitimate children. This is not to mention the rise of problems related to the confusion in sexual identity.

There is a tendency not to talk about these issues, except when they involve people who are supposed to be the teachers, defenders and models of healthy human sexuality either in the state of marriage or celibacy.

When these latter cases happen, you can be sure that a lot of talk will take place. People like to feast on scandals. But if the same problems involve those who consider themselves ‘liberated,’ then hardly anything is heard unless violence or killing is committed, or some discrimination is done. I find this funny.

In a way, there is good reason not to talk too openly about human sexuality, because it touches on very private, personal, confidential matters. Besides, it’s such a sticky thing that it would require some precautions before talking about it. There are some people who are so sensitive that the mere mention of the word, ‘sex,’ would already make them wild.

But we really do have great need now, more than ever, to talk about this topic both openly and discreetly, realistically and prudently. Obviously, the more proper venue for this talk would be within the family, and personal conversations between parents and children, the father with the boys, and the mother with the girls.

Discussions of this topic in public should be done in subsidiary roles, focusing more on explanations and reminders of relevant moral principles than on displaying certain techniques, more on appeal to virtues than on simply enumerating a list of do’s and don’t’s.

These public discussions should not replace the primordial duty of parents to be the primary teachers of their children in human sexuality. These discussions are supposed to help parents fulfill their duty as teachers to their children.

We have to stress the original beauty and truth of human sexuality, its great positive and constructive power and contribution to our lives. And so we have to highlight its origin in our human nature as designed by our Creator himself. We therefore cannot help but view human sexuality always within the framework of our Christian faith.

From there, we have to stress why our human sexuality is to be lived always in the context of truth and love, that is, in chastity, and not just in the context of our feelings and passions, and other worldly trends and some ideologies detached or even hostile to the faith.

Since we cannot avoid having some conflicting discussions in this topic, we have to have a clear idea of the distinction between good tolerance and bad tolerance, between healthy open-mindedness and the unhealthy one.

More importantly, we have to find ways to make this concern of teaching the truth and meaning of human sexuality an ongoing affair. Some structures have to be put up to continually help parents effectively discharge their duty of being teachers to their children, especially in the area of human sexuality.

All parties should be involved here—individual persons, parents, teachers, clergy, media, government, etc. Let’s hope that we can create a world where the whole truth and beauty of human sexuality is lived.