By Oswald Sobrino, J.D.; M.A. (Econ.); M.A. (Theo.); M.L. (Master of Latin), doctoral student, University of Florida.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Unmentioned STD

Marriage in America in 2010Image by GEEKSTATS via Flickr
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I recently saw a pamphlet on the subject of "sexually transmitted diseases" in the lobby of a local government office. I read it and was struck by the exclusive focus on the biological or physical dangers of unmarried sex. Never once did I see (or recall seeing) any reference to the emotional and psychological effects of sex divorced from life-long, exclusive commitment.

All of which led me to think outside the conventional "box": isn't "unspousability" (the inability to sustain marital emotional intimacy) another STD?

Unspousability is the "Unmentioned STD" whose effects can be present even if you have managed by luck or caution to evade the biological STD's about which the pamphlet warned. The secular culture ignores the "Unmentioned STD"; while, often, even religious people downplay it because of the certainly real and true possibility of forgiveness, mercy, conversion, and renewal.

Yet, even forgiveness, mercy, conversion, and renewal (which are indeed real and true possibilities) cannot remove all of the factual, non-theological consequences of our past patterns of behavior. You can be forgiven, but still remain, for all practical purposes, stunted by your past actions. The sad example that comes to mind is that of the child molestor who in spite of conversion and forgiveness will never be invited to become the director of a kindergarten. No sane parent would tolerate that.

Likewise, not every potential spouse will find certain past patterns of behavior acceptable when freely and knowledgeably choosing the partner to whom one will entrust one's heart for life. We need to recall the perdurability of hard, real-life consequences even for the forgiven and converted. That recollection is a strong incentive to avoid the problematic behaviors in the first place. The conventional listing of STD's leaves out a major one to fear, one that can stunt a person's future as much as the physical threats can.

Update: Take a look at this outrageous Fox News link which actually recommends that college students have fun by "hooking-up," which is defined as having sex with someone you don't really care about. The advice to hook-up is presented as a normal, non-controversial alternative for intelligent young people.

Fox News is not conservative at all; it merely reflects the crassness of modern American society, a crassness that has now been at full throttle for at least 40 or so years. This instance is a strong reminder that Christians should avoid becoming too closely and automatically associated with everything that is supposedly "conservative." Stick to the truth and be highly skeptical of political labels. This crassness also reminds me of the recent Rupert Murdoch hacking scandal in Britain. Murdoch, as most know, is the owner of Fox.
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