There is no Pill for a broken heart: The dangers of premarital sexual activity and exposing a BIG LIE.
By Fr. Thomas J. Blau, OP
[Columbus, OH, 2 April 2012]
The HHS Mandate has offered the Catholic Church a wonderful opportunity to explain why we oppose contraception, abortifacients, and sterilizing procedures. We’ll call all of these “The Pill” for brevity sake.
But I get the sense from some talking heads of the pop culture that if a single woman does not get pregnant and doesn’t catch HIV then everything must be okay. That is the most that “safer sex” can offer. But this is a huge lie – there are other dangers. That is why the “r” was added to “safe sex” – its not “safe” but only “safer”! [R stands for ‘Risks-still-here!’] The lie says that those two problems [babies and disease] are the only ones.
We are being lied to by the gurus of our culture. There are more. Why and what are these effects? The human person is not just material physicality – we are made body and soul. We have that spiritual aspect to us. And with that comes emotions, memories, psychology and personalities, vulnerable areas, and potential to help or hurt another, relationships and an entire unseen world in the interiority of every person.
The Pill does not protect the heart. That is it pure and simple. It doesn’t do a good job at what it proports to do – just look at the “contraindication insert”. [That is that nasty list of the side effects. By providing that you cannot sue the company if “it goes wrong.”] But there is no protection for the heart: no condom, no pill, no shots.
Another way to say this is: “You didn’t get pregnant, you didn’t get AIDS, so why do you feel so bad?” Here is why.
1. People that use sex for a dating activity [v. saving themselves for a permanent marriage] end up with huge segments of their life wrapped in anxiety and worry. “Did he/she lie when talking about their freedom from sexual diseases?” “Did I just get used?” “Will that help or hurt the relationship?” “Did I go too fast and maybe ruin a good friendship?” There is no “pill” to prevent this mental anguish.
2. Regrets and Recriminations. Once we have spoken the “lie with the body” – saying in our body language what we have not said in our soul – there are terrible moments of regret, of wishing that we could go back in time and change it, and of casting blame. There are no shots, patches or pills to stop this. You see, contrary to the “only 2 problems” mentality – sex is a binder, a “superglue” for the hearts. Imagine 2 paper hearts glued together. If they are pulled apart there are tears, beauty is lost, and often chards of each remain on the other. That happens in our heart. And the Pill does nothing to stop it.
3. If you think of the level of self respect a person has for herself as a scale of “0 to 10”, after a single person acts out sexually they can think that they “let my self down” – that they caved into whatever and went against their better judgment or base principles or conscience. This produces a lowering of one’s self esteem and respect. Our “self-respect-O-meter” can go to zero. The lower it goes the more drastic a person can act against one’s self. We lose respect for ourselves when we do what we know in our heart is wrong. No pill can protect us from that.
4. Guilt feelings. We can live a life of guilt – knowing that we have done wrong, that we treated someone terribly or used someone, and wondering what it will mean and how it will affect the future. Great guilt feelings happen with premarital sex.
5. Then there is the rage. When someone feels that they have been betrayed – either by someone’s “kissing and telling” [bragging about the sexual encounter] or that what should have been a friendly time together turned into pressure to have sex, etc., the feelings of hatred and rage are incredible. It can consume one’s life: recalling any betrayal, any “use”, and any mistreatment in the relationship. This rage hits both men and women. Why would anyone seek out the kind of relationship that produces this? And premarital sexual encounters do. There is no Pill or “health care” for this natural response to being used.
6. The reality of a failed relationship that went sexual can cause such strong feelings of self-loathing, or lack of respect and even a feeling of now being “trapped” such that there is a sad fact. It can happen that a internal psychological movements toward self harm and self-inflicted “punishment” can grow. The loss of a relationship – especially after sharing the most precious things – can cause a crash of one’s life – even if there are no babies or diseases present.
7. Using sexual activity as a dating activity leads to a string of ruined relationships. And why would anyone want to walk through life knowing they have a list of people that they have serious issues against? What is more, many friendships – that COULD HAVE been wonderful and awesome in the future are ruined because they got sexual – told the lie of “I do” in body language before they actually said it – at the altar. Choosing to engage is sexual activity before marriage puts the relationship out of context – of a loving, life-committed, spiritual covenant. And that can ruin a good friendship. This just leads to long sad hours of “what ifs”. There is no government-backed pill to stop this.
8. It is often found that the moral stance a person takes to “wait until marriage” – once rejected, gives way to growth in many vices. The person no longer sees a need to strive to be a good person overall – the knowledge of their wrongdoing can make them say “that is me.” “Oh who cares now!” becomes the beginning of a slide. And so they grow in all sorts of vice. The 7 Deadly Sins – pride, envy, wrath, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust – can gain new strength by “throwing in the towel” in one area: the sexual relationship. Fornication [sexual activity outside of marriage] has that power. No pharmacy has drugs to prevent this.
9. This next one if true of both men and women. Once you have been burned, once you have been hurt in relationships – especially if there is rejection or betrayal – there can grow a fear of commitment. Who wants to get hurt? Who seeks out “I want to get my heart broken” [except in fairytale Hollywood]. No, people stay away from that which causes pain and some people stay away from relationships because a sexualized relationship brought them great pain. They fear and avoid commitment. No vaccinations for this either.
10. There can grow an immaturity and stunted emotional and psychological growth. This happens in a number of ways. One way is when we begin to think that the sexual relationship actually teaches what good relationships are all about. “Use” can become the norm. Also, the interior strength needed for “waiting” can be lacking. That interior strength is going to be needed in other areas of life, but the person practices “giving in to the emotion/desire”. THAT becomes their habit. And that leads to immaturity in approaching the struggles of life. This is seen even after marriage when a man, who has practiced giving in to his sexual desire at all opportunities, all of a sudden has to practice self-restraint for circumstances or the health of his wife. He never practiced self-restraint in his single life – he fools himself to think he can miraculously be a Super Virtuous Man later. Lastly, some people will think that the sexual relationship is the only important thing in the relationship because they have focused all their dating life on such experiences. They become incapable in growing a real relationship. Immature character development is a bitter pill to swallow.
12. Lastly, and we have not mentioned disease or babies once! is another effect of being used or rejected: a general distrust of others. Who wants to get close to a good person when it has led [with choosing sexual activity] to being hurt. People avoid painful situations and distrust others who might be a source of pain. That is baggage – and a lot of people carry it. It is a great burden to live this way. And NO Pill will cure the distrust.
I would be remiss in my analysis here if I did not say that there IS a cure for all of this but you’ll never see it sponsored by the government. First, get right with God. Mercy and forgiveness is possible with turning to the Lord no matter how often we have failed. If you have fallen to the lie of our society [that only babies and diseases are the dangers, that the Pill in all its forms is a “prevent all”, if you have thought there was a “Condom or Pill for the Heart and Mind” and did wrong, etc] – turn to God who is rich in mercy. You can be forgiven and begin to have a truthful vision of yourself and your life. Get to the sacrament of confession if you are a Catholic Christian: hear, not just imagine, the words of forgiveness. God is waiting. Second, break off all relationships that have steered into sexual activity – do it today – before you crash. Life is too good to carry around the baggage that I have discussed above. Third, if you suffer from any of these ailments of the Heart, talk to someone. Unlike a victim mentality which says “You will always be like this” – reject that, and in faith begin to live as God made us to live. Wait until marriage, reject the lies, try to help others reject the lies. And you will find rest for your heart.
– frThomas Blau, OP
contact for permission and use of this article firstname.lastname@example.org
Addition: A caller named George gave me the following: “Effect 14: memories that persist into marriage. With premarital sexual activity there are strong memories stored – ones that will follow you for a lifetime, so that you will struggle to keep your mind on your spouse, will be plagued by past faces/activity, and could even come to doubt the grace of one’s marriage vows.” This is a huge effect – well worth pondering. And it just shows you – there is no Pill to protect your memory.
– frThomas Blau, OP