Theology of the Body Thursday #31: Women’s Viagra

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I talked about it before and I doubted they’d do it, but they did.

Late last month the FDA has approved a Viagra for women called Addyi. To the FDA’s defense, they have approved it with a number of unusual restrictions such as only a physician trained specifically in this drug can prescribe it and it has to have a major warning label forbidding use of the drug with alcohol.

An odd mix of sex activists, sex therapists and social conservatives who will likely never agree on anything else ever again are all criticizing this medication. It has only a 15% success rate and even then, it only makes a small positive change in the patient’s sex life. It has some awful side effects including a risk of fainting.

Unlike Viagra, Addyi has to be taken daily for months before you can feel any affects. This puts you constantly at the risk of fainting, unable to drink or to safely drive or use heavy machinery even if you have no immediate plans of having sex. It was originally made to be a anti-depressant, but after the drug company failed to get FDA-approval, they repackaged it as a treatment for low sex drives in women. Speaking of the drug company, this isn’t the first time Sprout has messed up.

Pretty good illustration of men's sex drive vs. women's sex drive

Pretty good illustration of men’s sex drive vs. women’s sex drive

Anyone can tell you, sex is much more complicated for women than it is for men. Women need to feel safe, they need to feel like they can trust their partner, and they need to feel an emotional connection. It makes sense given a woman’s amazing capability to bring new life. They need to feel like the person they are with will stick around for the long haul to raise whatever potential life could come from this act. All of these very natural, understandable things cannot be fixed by a simple pill.

Starting in October, a drug company will start to try to sell women a drug to solve problems that cannot be solved by drugs and their particular medication is not only ineffective, but outright dangerous.

Here's what it looks like so you can avoid the trap.

Here’s what it looks like so you can avoid the trap.

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Love is Our Mission: A Book Review for The World Meeting of Families

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This small, admittedly stinky (really the paper and the glue smell horrible), book is a soothing balm for the heart and a great preparation for the World Meetings of Families coming later this month.

If you haven’t heard, every 3 years a meeting is held to discuss the family. It’s kinda like a World Youth Day for Catholic families. This year the World Meeting of Families is being held in Philadelphia and Pope Francis is going to be making an appearance the last 2 days of the conference. This meeting will discuss not only the controversial issues like birth control, gay marriage and divorce, but more mundane issues like the daily challenges of living out our faith and how can parishes better serve families.

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Love is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive
is the theme for this year’s meeting and the title for this book. The book is, frankly, amazing. In a measly 115 pages, it thoroughly explains the Church’s views of sex, marriage, and the family in a very accessible way. It gives the necessary foundation and then courageously jumps into the murky, “hard teachings” in a way that is distinctly pastoral. Each of the 10 chapters end with 4 questions that are a nice blend of review and personal reflection. In all, this book would make a great study for your parish.

I wish it didn’t cost $10 and that it didn’t stink so much. Seriously, don’t put this book up to your nose. As bad as the odor and price is, the book is made of good materials and appears very sturdy, so it should stand up to many readings and many studies. I would still recommend purchasing a paperback of the book because I can guarantee that you will be using a highlighter and taking notes in the book. It’s just not the same studying hard from an e-book.

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Everyone needs to read this book. I guess another complaint would be that the title and marketing for this book makes it seem very event specific. I would like to see this republished as a kind of Compendium of Catholic Sexual Ethics. The material in this book is as timeless as Church teaching itself. Reading this over the past week has given me great peace and comfort in a world that seems to have gone mad. Notice, none of my complaints have anything to do with the content of the book. Because the content is pretty much flawless. And that’s all I have to say.

Theology of the Body Thursday #18: RFRA Out-of-context

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There has been tons of debate and anger over the last couple weeks about Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In defense of this law, some people are trying once again to defend the Church’s teachings regarding homosexuality outside of the context of the overall Catholic view of sex.

In 1971, a Catholic laywoman coined the term “seamless garment” to describe the Catholic defense of life from womb to tomb. I would like to adopt this phrase in regards to our teachings on sex and sexuality. No part of our teachings on sex make any sense outside of the context of the whole. The Catholic defense of sex needs also to be seen in terms of a “seamless garment.”

The Catholic Church is against:

  • artificial contraception
  • abortion
  • homosexual behavior
  • pornography
  • prostitution
  • sexual abuse and rape

 

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Gandhi wasn’t Catholic.

 

All because the Catholic Church is for love that is:

  • free
  • faithful
  • fruitful
  • total

We all want a lover that loves us freely, that is faithful to us and that gives of themselves totally and accepts us totally. We all want to make our mark on the world. Anyone who has experienced anything like love knows that love cannot keep to itself, it has to spill out into the world to bear fruit. All of these things are timeless desires and experiences of humanity. This definition of love makes sense regardless of where and when you speak these truths. These aspects of love don’t even depend on the Bible or a belief in God in order to ring true.  They are fundamental to human nature.

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FDR wasn’t Catholic either.

 

The Church recognizes that anything, I mean anything, that undermines any of the above four aspects of love is beneath our dignity as God’s children and is, frankly, a sin.

In explaining the Gospel, we need to talk more about what the Church is for rather than what the Church is against. We also need to stop taking the hard teachings out-of-context. Many of these teachings are hard to digest and serving them without the overall sweetness of the Gospel or the reality of human experience makes them completely inedible for many people.

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