But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. — Matthew 18:6 The nature of sex, itself, must first be grasped if we are to estimate the damage done to the souls of children by the so-called sex education in the classroom — damage not only from the moral point of view, but also from the one of human integrity and spiritual health. An unprejudiced analysis of the phenomenon of sex clearly reveals its radical difference from other instincts. It has a kind of depth possessed by no other instinct — neither thirst nor hunger, nor the need to sleep, nor any desire for other bodily pleasures.
Sex Is Mysterious and Unique
Our personal life is affected in one way by the other instincts and in a completely different way by the charm of the other sex, by bodily sexual desire, and by sexual lust. These sexual entities have a mysterious character; they irradiate our psychical life with a quality which is simply not found in the desire to eat or in the pleasure which the satisfaction of this desire procures. Above all, the sexual ecstasy goes to the very depth of our bodily existence. In its overwhelming power, it is something extraordinary, something to whose depth only terrible bodily pains can be compared. The unique profundity of sex in the bodily sphere is sufficiently shown by the simple fact that a man’s attitude towards it is of incomparably greater moral significance than his attitude to the other bodily appetites.
Surrender to sexual desire for its own sake defiles a man in a way that gluttony, for example, can never do. And the adequate response to this sphere, purity, ranks much higher than temperance. But sex is important not only from a moral point of view. A man’s attitude toward sex has significance, also, for his entire personality; it is, in fact, one of the chief characteristics of his personality. This central position of sex is due to two factors. The first is that here, body and soul meet in a unique fashion. The second is the peculiar intimacy of sex. Apart from its depth, sex possesses a unique intimacy. Intimate things call for a veil; they appeal to bashfulness. But we should realize that bashfulness is not identical with shame. Shame is the right response to things that are ugly.
We are ashamed of certain actions which are not only morally evil, but also specifically mean and petty. We shun the humiliation implied by an exposure of these faults before other people. The same applies to things which are specifically ridiculous. We are ashamed to exhibit them because we shy away from making ourselves ridiculous, and from being laughed at. The healthy and decent person also desires privacy for certain things which are unaesthetic and unpleasant to others. Shame forbids him to do certain things in public. Only an animal-like coarseness or the pride and perversion of the cynics can eliminate this healthy shame and desire for privacy.