Sex: What’s right, what’s wrong?

Todd Vanderwerff

Todd Vanderwerff

But maybe it’s not just about having sex, having fun.

Maybe there is something more to it after all.

Oh sure, most any of us could have sex. We’ve all got the equipment, after all.

But what happens when it’s not fulfilling? When it leaves you feeling empty?

Is there a morality to sex? Is there a divine purpose for it that stretches beyond mere pleasure and procreation?

And who decides what’s right and wrong anyway?

The student

Every Tuesday night, Josh Ford attends Campus Crusade for Christ meetings.

He goes for the fellowship and the friends and he goes to learn more about his relationship with Christ but he also finds solace in what is taught there.

Ford is abstinent. He will remain that way until his marriage. He says it is tough, but that he finds it fulfilling.

“It’s not always easy, but with God all things are possible and I feel like I’m more fulfilled and more filled with joy than I would be without (practicing abstinence),” Ford said.

Perhaps Ford is an aberration. After all, the SDSU campus and the whole of American society seem to be a place where sex is constantly promoted and dwelled upon.

But for Ford, the rest of society is going against a divine decree from God. While he won’t condemn anyone for having sex, he wants to make sure people know the truth.

“I do it (practice abstinence) because I feel it’s the right thing to do and I would encourage (other students) to do the same,” Ford said.

For Ford, the only way to have sex is with the woman he has promised to love and cherish for the rest of his life. And he must promise to do that in front of God and man. Marriage can only occur in a public ceremony.

It may surprise Ford to hear this, but the vast majority of students the Collegian has spoken to during its sex series have said that they believe remaining abstinent until marriage is the way to go.

But many of them fall short of that goal.

So is Ford right? Or is there a wide grey area where many sexual encounters fall-a vast wilderness between right and wrong?

In Jack’s Place

It is late Monday evening in Jack’s Place. A small group still huddles around the pool table, laughing and cheering at each impossible shot that rattles around the brim of the hole, eventually plunging in.

One group sits around a small table, enjoying the evening, the Jack’s Place workers periodically calling out pizza orders, the people sitting at the table getting up to collect their mess of meat, bread, cheese and tomato sauce.

“Every time you have sex, you have to be open to the idea of a life,” Lindsay Houston says. The freshman political science major is a Catholic and to her, the notion of procreation is central to the reality of sex.

In the eyes of the Catholic church, abortion is a sin. So if you conceive a child and you’re a practicing Catholic, you’re going to be having that child. And since the Catholic church does not endorse birth control, the likelihood for procreation is high among practicing Catholics.

Sitting at the table with Houston are three other Catholics and two Lutherans. They make up a fairly good cross-section of Midwestern religion. They all agree that sex should be saved for marriage. They all say that most everyone they know believes that too.

But most everyone they know has failed at adhering to that philosophy.

But why? Is it just that hard to save yourself? Is the need for sex so overwhelming?

“A lot of times, the other person involved makes it seem like you’re going to be together for that long, for forever,” says Shantel Julius, a freshman pre-veterinary and business major.

The others at the table nod. They agree that both guys and girls will use partners for sex, saying that their love is for the ages, then leaving after the relationship hits a snag.

Jeremy Small, a freshman mechanical engineering major and Lutheran says that his hometown church was less concerned with abstinence until marriage than stopping promiscuity and sex had just for the heck of it.

“It wasn’t seen as that horrible as long as you loved that person,” Small says.

All six at the table agree that sex is not black and white. They all agree that promiscuity is not something to chase after. They all think that sex between people who love each other is not as bad as sex which is had on the spur of the moment.

“The church wants sex to be black and white … but in our society today, it’s not going to be that way,” says Katie Krahn, freshman biology major.

The Leaders

Dr. Chandrahar Dwivedi, a professor of pharmacy, is a practicing Hindu and one of the leaders of the campus Hindu community. He remarks on the similarities between Hinduism and Christianity.

“Sex outside of marriage is considered a sin,” he says. “But I think there are different ways of getting married. … As long as your marriage is viewed by the gods, it doesn’t matter if others see it.”

While most Christian denominations would argue that a ceremony needs to be held for a marriage to take place, the similarities between the Eastern religion and the Western religion are remarkable. The statements could have been made by any one of a number of Christian leaders.

“If you roll off the lot in a brand new SUV and it says unleaded fuel only, you don’t go to the gas pump and say, ‘You know what, the maker of this SUV is nuts! Gimme’ diesel!'” says Fr. Scott Traynor, the priest at Catholic Campus parish.

According to Traynor, God is our maker and we should obey his commandments to have a long and happy life. He believes that sex should only be between married people and that promiscuity is a dead end.

“I would say that it’s common for someone who’s been promiscuous to feel an emptiness although our culture says that’s a way to find fulfillment and freedom,” Traynor said.

Rev. Bob Chell of the University Lutheran Center agrees that sex should wait, but he wants students to know that God gave sex to them.

“Sex is a gift from God and actually one of God’s great gifts,” Chell says.

In the end, they could hem and haw about semantics, when marriage actually occurs and what sex is, but in the end, they all return to God’s forgiveness.

“I’m not anxious to say this is a sin and this is not a sin. … My job is to tell people that God loves and forgives them,” Chell says.

And it’s hard to argue.

#1.887398:674446297.jpg:sex.jpg:As these models demonstrate, conflict in a relationship may be the result of differing viewpoints towards sex and religion. :