Integral ecology

"In the face of hypersexualization, educate the body to love".

"Faced with the pressure of hypersexualization, pornography, gender ideology, let's educate young people in a responsible sexuality centered on the ability to give", encouraged this week Benigno Blanco, lawyer and former president of the Spanish Family Forum, in a reflection meeting of the Centro Académico Romano Fundación (CARF).

Rafael Miner-June 27, 2021-Reading time: 8 minutes

Photo credit: Michael Fenton / Unsplash

CARF had announced the issue, Hypersexualization, as a "growing problem in which our society is immersed: the sexual value of people is emphasized above any other quality". And the reflection meeting with Benigno Blanco lived up to expectations. The speaker has been a high-ranking official in the governments of José María Aznar, although he is almost better known for his years at the head of a civil society institution, the Spanish Family Forum. And for some years now, for his conferences on gender ideology. His analysis at the CARF was direct and argumentative.

At the outset, as a good teacher, he justified the topic he was going to address. "Our young people today, unless they live in families well anchored in a humanistic formation and a Christian vision of life, live in a hyper-sexualized world. The music they listen to, the fashionable clothes, the models of sexual behavior and the bodies offered to them by the series, the discourse that encourages this consumerist mentality of sex, to which is added the force of gender ideology, which turns one's individual conscience or the subjective perception of one's sexuality into one's identity (I am what I feel, I am what I feel like, my body does not determine me), makes our children, together with the easy access to pornography since they have a cell phone, are subjected, no matter how humanist or Christianly they have been educated, to a brutal pressure of hypersexualization of their look, their way of thinking, of understanding love, of understanding interpersonal relationships".

On the other hand, he referred to the consumption of sex from a very early age. "The age of first access to pornography is already between 8 and 10 years old in children, and it is also estimated that at 13-14 years of age about 70 percent of Spanish adolescents are addicted to pornography. Not that they watch something from time to time, but that they are addicted. Pornography is very addictive, it is like a drug. In fact, it has been studied how the same brain circuits are activated in the brain, with the compulsive and addictive consumption of pornography, that are activated with the consumption, for example, of cocaine".

"The pornographic gaze generated by the consumption of pornography that leads to seeing bodies as something usable at the service of my pleasure; this culture of sexual exchange without consequences that have allowed contraception and abortion; and the progressive commodification of the body and sex, lead to what we call hypersexualization"; the speaker pointed out.

Like slavery in the first century

Consequently, "our children, all this world of trivialization and hypersexualization, will influence them, because they are people of our time. Just as a child of a Christian family of the first century was influenced by the trivialization of slavery in the Roman society of that time. It was difficult for Christian parents, I think, to convince their children that slaves should be treated with respect and affection, because nobody did it".

"Today we do not have to be afraid that our children, our grandchildren, are subjected to a pressure of trivialization of their sexuality and the sexuality of others, brutal, almost unbearable. This is what we have to manage. There is no point in complaining or crying, because our parents had others, but this is one of the problems of our time, without any doubt", he stressed.

"Sex education needs to be taken care of."

"First conclusion: today we must be concerned about sexuality," said Benigno Blanco in his speech, who warned of the risks of not doing so. "In other historical eras, humanity's basic convictions about sexuality were widely shared. But today they are not. Because there are many forces in the environment, economic, consumer, ideological, political, philosophical, scientific, or scientistic, that can deeply deform the perception of sexuality of our children and grandchildren."

"That is why today's parents must take care in a very special way, absolutely indispensable, of the affective-sex education of our children. Today, if we do not take care of the affective and sexual education of our children, our children will be corrupted. There will be exceptions. A rose can grow splendidly in a dunghill, but it is normal for it to grow in a well cared for, well watered and well tended garden".

Educating in human sexuality

How to educate in affective-sexual matters at home, asked the CARF speaker, adding that "what I say for the family is valid for the school, for the parish, for friendships, etc., with due adaptations. Because in the end, educating is nothing more than taking care of the immense potential for good that exists in the people we love, to help them to actualize it. I take care of educating my children, or my grandchildren, or gaining their friendship, because I love them, and because I love them, I want them to be happy. Therefore, I try to give them the idea that I have of what it means to be happy, to be a good person, which is to be happy. And that implies having clear ideas about sexuality".

At this point, the speaker explained in brief outlines what human sexuality consists of. "Today we have to know how to explain human sexuality. And it is not easy, because it is an obvious fact". Benigno Blanco summed it up in a few strokes, which we must necessarily cut down as well. Perhaps these brushstrokes are useful: "It is enough to look at human beings. Sexuality is what we are. If we look at human beings without prejudice, we see boys and girls, there is nothing else. There may be malformations, as in everything human. But there is no such thing as a human being in the abstract. The human being only exists as a sexed being, in male or female. Therefore, we are our sexuality. We are sexed in everything we do, we are not only sexed when we practice sex, when we love, but in everything we do".

"I am male when I practice sex, of course, and also when I think, when I look, when I pray, because I do everything in male because I can't do it any other way. Because I am a male. I am my sexuality. Hence the importance of this subject. We are not talking about an accessory, circumstantial, temporary facet of the human being, but about what we always are. And that is why, if someone is wrong about his sexuality, he is wrong about himself, he will not understand himself".

Masculinity and femininity, complementary

"To understand what to do with our life, we must understand what it is to be a human being. And sexuality is the GPS for that," he continued. "By understanding our sexuality, we have what orients us in our life toward happiness. From understanding or not understanding sexuality derives understanding or not understanding our humanity and, therefore, the possibility of being happy, which is what matters to me for the people I love, that they can be happy. That's why, when a parent deals with giving criteria on sexuality to his children, it is not to impose a moral or prejudices of another era. What I want is for him to be happy. And to be happy, you have to be clear about humanity, you have to be clear about sexuality".

"We are sexual beings," emphasized Benigno Blanco. "Masculinity and femininity allow us to understand a form of interrelation between male and female. Because it so happens that the masculine and the feminine are corporeally and psychically complementary. Boy/girl, penis/vagina, sperm/oocyte, child. Of course, sexuality has a meaning. It is self-evident. Because we are binary sexed, male and female, putting together these respective masculinity and femininity, we can become fathers and mothers, to do something as wonderful as creating another human being. It is incredible to have that power. That sexuality can be used for other things, of course. But that it consists in that, in the potential to be a father or a mother, is evident. That's not a Christian doctrine, not a philosophical doctrine, not an Aristotelian or Thomistic doctrine. That is how we human beings are.

Educating the body to love: chastity

The speaker left aside at that point the fact that we are free, that is, that we can do diverse things with our sexuality. "That's another story," he commented. "One thing is what we are, and another what we can do with our freedom. This is good affective-sexual education. It's not explaining kamasutra, etc. to children. It is to understand the wonder that we have a sexed body, what sense that has, what potential it has to articulate our life in a structure of love. Because human beings, apart from being sexed, we are chronological, biographical beings, not instantaneous".

"Everything human has to be built and educated over time," Blanco pointed out. "We educate our intelligence through study, reading, to optimize our possibilities of knowing. Or for example in sports. For the same reason, our capacity to love with our body must be educated over time. We must put our body in optimal conditions to be able to love. That educating the body to love, in the moments of fullness, when it is mature enough to be a father or mother, is what the old wisdom of the West always called chastity. Chastity is not a set of arbitrary rules about what to do or not to do, that would be stupidity; it is human wisdom about how to help our body to be in the best conditions to win the gold medal of love".

"That implies studying, practicing sports, a certain accessibility, there are things that don't help and others that do. Therefore, to compromise our freedom with that possibility of loving that we want to optimize in the future. This is what we have to teach young people. It is not to transmit a rule of forbidden or allowed. It is to transmit what we humans have learned in millions of years. If you want, you can put your body in unbeatable conditions to give yourself, to love and to be loved. And there are things that help to be master of one's own sexuality to give it to the other person, and things that do not help".

"Wanting generates happiness".

The final part of Benigno Blanco's exhibition had a lot to do with happiness.

"We must try to educate our young people, and this goes for the elderly, to a sexuality that is not centered on ourselves, on our satisfaction, on our pleasure, but on the capacity to give ourselves to others. And love generates happiness. This is something that young people are not clear about either, because they lack life experience, and it is logical. When you become a venerable old man, like me, you realize that there are people who have made a reasonable effort, even with their blunders, to invest in loving, or to put themselves at the service of the love of others, and in sexual matters of your wife, and the women of her husband".

"Invest in loving."

"And when you reach this age, those who have invested in love, normally (in everything human there are exceptions), have been generating around them a warp of loves that make them deeply happy. You live loved and being loved. But that is not improvised. That is because you have invested in loving. In putting your sexuality at the service of giving life, of loving, not at the service of your pleasure alone," the speaker pointed out.

And on the contrary, the lecturer put on the sore spot of "casual and frivolous weekend sex", which is "like having a drink, what difference does it make. Having a drink is no more, but getting drunk is more. Making a mistake in matters of sexuality does not give more. We ask for forgiveness. To internalize a way of understanding sexuality that puts oneself at the service of oneself, does give more. Like alcoholism. It has consequences."

Before concluding his speech at the CARF, Benigno Blanco asked himself how to explain this to young people. His answer focused on example: "There is only one effective way, apart from words, to tell what I am telling. If they see that you are happy living as you say it is worth living. Our age, in a phrase of Paul VI that I make my own, because it is a great truth, does not need doctors so much as witnesses. It is the main thing that we old people, fathers, mothers, teachers, can bring to our children, so that they understand this marvel of human sexuality. It is worth educating in responsible sexuality. If they see that we, trying to live as we advise them that it is worth living, we are happy, because all human beings want to be happy. There is no human being who does not want to be happy".

La Brújula Newsletter Leave us your email and receive every week the latest news curated with a catholic point of view.