Monday, March 15, 2010

Are College Women Coming Around to Catholic View on Contraception?

This article was first published by Technorati on 11 March 2010. To see all my Technorati articles, click Lifestyle in the Contents listing on the sidebar.
New research suggests that the vast majority of Americans (82%) believe God helps them make personal decisions. Does that include decisions about sex?
At first blush, one might think that a heightened sense of spirituality in an individual would lead to less frequent sexual activity, but researchers at the University of Kentucky (my alma mater) say that isn't the case.
The study in question distinguished religiousness from spirituality and found that the latter was actually a predictor in the other direction.
According to Jessica Burris of the UK research team, "Ascribing sacred qualities to sex has been positively associated with positive affective reactions to sex, frequency of sex, and number of sexual partners among university students.”
Not only did the study find high correlation between spirituality and sexual activity, they also found a decreased likelihood of condom use.
Says Burris, “Spirituality, at least for women, could be considered a risk factor.”
An interesting comparison can be drawn to traditional Catholic teachings against use of contraception. Compare the language of the official Catechism to that used by Burris: "By safeguarding . . . . the unitive and the procreative [aspects of sexual union], the conjugal act preserves in its fullness the sense of true mutual love."
In reference to the study, Burris says, "Believing one is intimately tied to other human beings and that interconnectedness and harmony are indispensible may lead one to believe sexual intimacy possesses a divine or transcendent quality in itself."
How is that different from the Catechism? Are spiritual, non-religious women beginning to come by a different route to the Catholic Church's long-held position against contraception?
More research is needed.
Photo credit: Beyond the Eyes . . .

1 comment:

  1. It's not much of a leap to feel that the bliss of sexual union is a spiritual experience. The body is the temple of the soul, and sex can be a transcendent experience. Of course, in some contexts it can be far from spiritual. It depends what context the experience is in. Thanks for an interesting post. I feel that having a sense of the spiritual dimension greatly enhances the experience of sex.


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