In the Theory of Balanceology, sex is viewed as an inherent need that humans at some level must satisfy. I am going to get myself into trouble here from some of the readers, but being an ex-Catholic I need to say what I need to say. What I am about to say I should have said a long time ago. I start by asking the question, “What does it take to live a truly celibate lifestyle?” According to Bishop Spong, "those who know anything about celibacy know that true celibacy is a rare and unique vocation to which few are called." (1990) First, a celibate lifestyle is an unnatural lifestyle. Period! In order to live such a lifestyle, a person is repressing their natural primal need for sex. Attempts to live a celibate lifestyle is the pride of battling Mother Nature, and I assure you that in one way or another Mother Nature always wins this battle. The Catholic Church’s rule of celibacy for its priests, monks, and nuns has profoundly crippled it morally, spiritually, and financially. Celibacy is one reason the Catholic Church is internally ripping itself apart. To think that at one time, during my early forlorn sexually repressive and obsessive younger days, I seriously thought of becoming a priest. To have become a priest, I would have entered a repressive rat hole that would have sadly robbed me from the great gift of sex. Such an unnatural lifestyle would have robbed me from exploring, experiencing, and connecting with other human beings my deeper needs for sex, love, morality, emotions, and various levels of consciousness. Referring to Ancient Greek mythic character Orpehus’ decision to take a vow of celibacy, Barnard Simon said it was “an unfortunate act of self-denial that opened the door into darkness.” (2004) A celibate lifestyle makes for a benighted darkness related to intimacy, morality, emotions, and psychological functioning. A denial of our sexuality is a denial of our humanity. The developmental delays generated from a celibate lifestyle sets the stage for a priest, monk, or nun to have a lifetime of juvenile sexuality. Sex affirms life - celibacy avoids life. Really, the fictionalized vow of celibacy places a person in a no win situation: 1.) breaking the vow of celibacy often makes for guilt, shame, and self-loathing. Those priests, monks, and nuns who respond to their primal sexual need, either periodically or continuously, it surely must take a huge amount of cognitive dissonance to continue their “celibate lifestyle,” and 2.) keeping the vow of celibacy, in my estimation, is by far more tragic for it means a life of repression, preoccupation, and permanently delayed sexuality. Psychologically and emotionally a tremendous amount of a defense mechanism such as regression, acting out, displacement, denial, substitution, etc. must be taking place in any attempt to dampen this human primal need. For example, and trying not to be too offensive or Freudian, I suggest that the Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan’s excessive obesity is probably related to an oral sexual fixation that he attempts to satisfy through excessive food intake. I strenuously argue that those sad repressed individuals who have never explored and experienced their sexuality for themselves, and with another human, for at least some period of time in their life, that it is impossible for them to be emotionally, psychologically, behaviorally, and yes spiritually healthy. Impossible!
Attaching a negative moral stigma to sex is perhaps religion's most devious and effective control mechanism. Since, as you say, everyone needs sex, presto! Everyone has a "problem" that only religion can fix.
When sex outside the heterosexual marriage contract or that can't lead to conception is outlawed, only outlaws will have non-procreative sex outside the heterosexual marriage contract.
And notice how bent out of shape they get when you tell them, "I will have sex as I please and with whom I please!" Deny them their presumed authority and they go batshit insane!
To borrow from Dan Barker's analogy, religions that condition their adherents into seeing sex as usually dirty and evil are indeed offering to solve a problem of their own making. They don't even have to cut someone before offering them a bandage for their imaginary wounds!
(Even Orthodox Judaism, which celebrates sex between a wife and her husband as a positive and joyful thing, wraps sex and sexuality in restrictions that may have been understandable in an ancient patriarchal society without reliable contraception--mixed with "be fruitful and multiply" and "don't do as those horrible evil pagan neighbors do!"--but have no place in a modern, (aspiring to be) egalitarian world.)
Here's to plenty of safe, sane, consensual, joyful, exhilarating, satisfying, non-procreative sex, in whatever varieties the people involved enjoy it!
(And some procreative sex too, when the partners are sincerely and thoughtfully trying for a baby. There's something to be said for the idea encapsulated in Bill (350.org) McKibben's book title Maybe One: A Case for Smaller Families, suggesting how many children a couple should think about conceiving.)
Well put, Grinning Cat.
Asexuals don't fit the primal need.
Do the religions which exalt celibacy see people who are asexual as uniquely gifted (perhaps not touched by "the devil" in the same way as most of us), or as "cheating" and not deserving of the same credit for repressing their primal urges?
G.C., to my knowledge the major religions do not even recognize asexuality.