In our time moderation is dying. Self-restraint, the close cousin of moderation, is nearly dead too. Our culture is one of impulse and need, scraping the plate clean and asking for seconds before dinner has been placed on the table. Because of our consumerist habits and our inability to avoid sex in the public eye, we have become a society of carnal desire. Love and true value are no longer respectable norms. Sex has become more casual than dunking Oreos into milk. As a society we have to reincorporate connubial love into sex, to reanalyze our values, and to practice a method known as continence.
Continence is defined by any dictionary as self-restraint or moderation in sexual activity. Continence is essential not only to love but to living responsibly in general. The view of sex in modern society has become alarmingly casual, invading TV, radio, literature, billboards, and the like. Sex dominates the media; one can hardly get through the day without hearing about Paris Hilton and what new rock star she may be hooking up with today, tomorrow, or every day for the next three weeks. The result has been the slow deterioration of society into a tangled mass of sexual chaos.
As a result of viewing sex as a body without a person to go along with it, America has begun to reap the repercussions caused by her baseness. STD's such as the HIV virus are rampant, as is homosexuality, to the point that support groups and clubs for homosexuals are now forming as early as middle school; meanwhile girls as young as thirteen years of age are giving birth to their own children.
Teaching our children about sex at a young age isn't wrong, as long as we do not lose sight of why we are teaching them about sex. We should teach our children about sex to show them the beauty of creation, the importance of creating new life. Sex is beautiful, but it is also dangerous when we do not respect and cherish it within the domain of marriage.
As adults, we must practice continence and set an example by restraining our urges and resisting temptation. If our children see us as sexual deviants with no regard for modesty, then how can we expect them to view casual sex as anything but acceptable? Even the sexual urge in itself is completely normal; continence does not mean we must repress our natural longing for the opposite sex. It simply compels us not to reduce ourselves to the level of untamed animals that do not know any better than to mate with the first available object simply because of urges.
Human beings are not untamed animals, and the act of continence solidifies this fact. By acknowledging our urges and having the power to overcome them, we raise ourselves to a higher level that is beyond an impulsive reality. Humans are far more than urges and impulses; they are beings with dignity and purpose, bestowed upon them by the Almighty.
When married couples practice continence, they respect the union of marriage and the natural course of life by rearing children. Society as a whole should practice continence. I feel that abstaining from sex and mastering our urges should not just pertain to marriage, but to daily life. In letting our bodies do as they please and not respecting the act of intercourse as a gift from God, as it should be, we have let this nation become a cesspool of immorality. The lack of continence produces real disease, and this disease is the corruption of human worth that has successfully infiltrated, corrupted, and is slowly killing our society.
Samuel Bryant is a college student in Tennessee.