I often read Dan Savage’s sex advice column in the Chicago Reader. He is an homosexual, while most of his correspondents are heterosexual, and so his answers to them are sometimes quite hilariously wrong. This week, however, he was tragically wrong.
“Sexless and Desperate” wrote in saying that she had been married for about four years and had one child with her husband. S+D’s problem was that, while she had a perfectly normal desire for frequent coition, her husband almost never wished to have marital relations. She added that he would rather masturbate to pornography, which he does about three times a week.
Mr. Savage responded that, while he would normally simply advise the woman to end the relationship and find a more eager partner, since the couple has a child he thinks it would be better that they stay together. He then advised S+D to seek and open relationship with her husband. “So long as you’re a good and loving partner and co-parent, and so long as your family is your first priority, you should be free to seek safe, sane, and non-disruptive sex elsewhere.”
Of course, from an atheist/secular/queer perspective, this must seem like perfectly serviceable advice, but the real answer is staring us right in the face. The wife should simply insist that her husband stop masturbating.
• First off, masturbating counts as cheating. Despite what our secular society says, masturbating is a fundamental violation of chastity and a betrayal of the marital bond. S+D’s husband has no more of a “right” to masturbate than he has to keep a mistress or patronize prostitutes.
• Secondly, any fool should be able to figure out that the husband is simply dissipating his sexual energies on self-abuse and, if he were to cut that out, he would soon enough seek satisfaction from his wife.
• Thirdly, pornography has obviously given the fellow a distorted idea of what sex ought to be like. Real, human, intimacy is difficult, messy, and demanding. Moods, emotions, and the desires of another person come into play. It requires effort. One of the evils of pornography is that it turns sex into a consumer item, an easily available self-indulgence. Pornography is absolute poison to human intimacy.
• Finally — no mention of duty? S+D has a right to sexual intimacy with her husband. The fault here is entirely his and he should be made aware of it.
Am I the only one who finds it hugely ironic that secular humanists call Catholic expectations of chastity “unrealistic” when they fail to see how totally unworkable their own sexual mores are?