Have you noticed that people spend a lot of time talking and thinking about sex? As a result, so does the Church!

This video takes a pretty scientific look at the economics of sex, in which sex is considered in the same light as the distribution of goods and resources, with consideration of supply, demand, costs and market shares. Obviously, this video discusses sex, which means its age-appropriateness should be considered carefully, but it is in no way graphic.

For me, the main point that jumps out from this video is this: if I sell myself short, I am selling everyone else short as well. If I don’t expect better from a guy, then why should he bother. And if I sell ‘intimate access to my body’, as they describe sex in the video, for less than it’s worth then I am not only doing myself a disservice, but also my theoretical partner and all other women, because, in a way, I’m reducing the price.

But what is the value of sex?

To understand this, we need to take a couple of steps back and ask what love is. ‘Love is the free self-giving of the heart… In every friendship there is love. The most beautiful form of love on earth, however, is the love between man and woman, in which two people give themselves to each other forever.’ (YouCat 402). ‘Sexuality must not be separated from love; they must go together.

The sexual encounter requires the framework of true, dependable love. When sexuality is separated from love and is sought only for the sake of satisfaction, one destroys the meaning of the sexual union of man and woman. Sexual union is the most beautiful bodily, sensual expression of love. People who look for sex without love are lying because the closeness of their bodies does not correspond to the closeness of their hearts.

Someone who does not take his body language at its word does lasting damage to body and soul. Sex then becomes inhuman; it is degraded to a means of obtaining pleasure and degenerates into a commodity. Only committed, enduring love in marriage creates a space for sexuality that is experienced in a human way and brings lasting happiness.’ (YouCat 403) It’s interesting that we only start to talk about commodities (and the language of economics) when sex is inhuman and degraded.

God does love us and shower us with gifts, and so the Church understands that there are three aspects of sexuality which belong together: sexual pleasure, personal love, and fruitfulness (openness to children). (YouCat 404). Three gifts for the price of one! Each of these gifts is good and beautiful and comes from God.

In fact, because they come from God they cannot be anything but beautiful when used well i.e. when they all three belong together. Because this free self-giving which is love cannot be temporary (because if there is a need for a get-out clause then it’s not really free or self-giving) and because it is sacred (from God) then sex belongs only in marriage (YouCat 407), which has also been shown repeatedly to be the best environment for children to grow up in.

 If we ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ sex we are not only selling ourselves and others short, we are also misusing a beautiful gift from God. This gift, like the love that it expresses, is given freely and is not for sale.