Today I was looking at an online ad for Walgreens, and noticed a section of it was for “Sexual Wellness.” It said, “Save on products to enhance intimacy and plan a family.” The products in this category are:
I am trying to figure out how one could use most of these items to “enhance intimacy” or “plan a family.” Of course lubrication is helpful for couples who need it, and treating a yeast infection could theoretically enhance sexual satisfaction or fertility. But the fact is, 95% of what is listed in this category is aimed at reducing sex to recreation, or reducing people to their parts. Where are the pregnancy and ovulation tests? Where are the…wait…I can’t really think of anything else a married couple might need to plan a family, except of course for the important stuff that you can’t buy.
If theoretically you could shop for stuff that would help you plan a family, this is what I’d hope to find stocked:
Of course, one can’t buy any of these things, and in our culture, one can rarely hear about them. This is one reason why it’s important for Catholic (and other Christian) women to burn brightly for Christ, and their spouses. Noooooobody is attracted to the frumpy prairie type, and if we’re not attracting people, we’re distracting or dismaying them. When I dress nicely, people are more apt to look at me and accept me. If they accept me, they’re more likely to accept the validity of the things I might say. If I want to be a witness to the Gospel, that’s important.
Similarly, since we live in a culture that promotes fornication, adultery, contraception, abortion, out-of-wedlock births, and divorce, it is extremely important for Catholic couples to burn brightly with the love of Christ and the joy of Christian marriage. If we want to attract people who have been deadened to the true power of sex, we need to glow with the beauty of chastity and faithful love.
Sex is a magnetic thing and we can use that to our advantage in evangelizing. I know couples with large families who are a powerful witness to the young people around them, not just because they are open to life, but because they are deeply in love with each other and unashamed of it. I know that in my own life people have been attracted to me because of my chastity (real and attempted). In college, I was asked out frequently, despite living in a college culture where most people didn’t officially date. I had really gorgeous guys, deadbeat guys, normally-quite-shy guys, badass bachelors, etc. ask me out and continue to pursue me even after I used my “no sex before marriage” man-repellent. My husband was one of these guys.
Fierce actually broke up with me because he was so frustrated, but confessed that he loved me in the same conversation. Had we been sleeping together in college, I have no doubt we would not be married today. We needed a good long time to work out our differences, and having a sexual relationship would have put a lot of pressure on us to simply pretend we were already on the same page.
In short, the things we need in marriage are things that we develop before marriage. Anybody who wants to sell a product that promotes intimacy probably doesn’t understand what real intimacy is. Anybody who wants one to plan a family by buying some product doesn’t understand what families are for, where they come from, or who gets to plan them. Those of us who know better need to do better to communicate the truth better.