Should love be a sin

Lust: Can love be a sin?

Masturbation can be fatal, sex is dirty, sexual intercourse is lawful only to take place in marriage and should serve the conception of children - these are the cornerstones of traditional Catholic sexual morality. Lust is condemned as the devil's cunning. If we live it out freely, it drives us to mental and physical ruin.

Carnal desire, the lust for the purely physical, sex without love: with lust, the main focus is on the drive. The body takes command, pushes the mind back.

Desire must therefore be suppressed in Catholic sexual morality. For centuries, the Church has devoted a great deal of attention to combating the deadly sin of lust: In order to have a say in what happens in people's bedrooms, clergymen have spread horror scenarios about the consequences of lust Century of the rising excitement over the supposed health endangering effects of masturbation.

STDs on the Rise

How lust and sexuality are lived today no longer has much in common with church morals. The sexual revolution, especially in the second half of the 20th century, freed us from overly strict moral norms. Pornography and sex toys have become easily accessible, masturbation and partner swapping are no longer a taboo. In one point, however, the Church's prophecy of the consequences of the sinful lifestyle seems to be true - namely when it comes to sexually transmitted diseases.

Vaginal, oral or anal: some diseases can be transmitted through sexual contact. Above all, diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea are on the rise again in Austria. While syphilis was rather rare in the mid-1990s - there were 124 reported cases in Austria in 1993 - 450 cases were registered in 2011.

Resistance as a problem

Antibiotic resistance makes the treatment of bacterial diseases increasingly difficult. In the case of gonorrhea, cases of untreatable infections are already known internationally.

Experts agree: Above all, the dwindling fear of infection with the HI virus has led to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, as specialists explained at this year's World Congress for Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Vienna.

Compulsion to lust

Not only does the body struggle with the consequences of lust, the soul can also suffer from time to time. Morals that have been conveyed for centuries are still present in the minds of many people: "Feelings of guilt regarding the subject of sexuality are still relevant," says Christina Raviola, clinical psychologist and chair of the Institute for Clinical Sexual Psychology and Behavioral Therapy. Shame, fear and insecurity are feelings that some of their patients associate with sexuality. Especially in the minds of older or religious people, sexuality is still more of a means to the end of procreation. The fun factor is not in the foreground here.

Those who no longer understand lust as sin are put under pressure by the constant presence of the subject. "Sexuality has to be constantly available, today there is a real compulsion to lust," says sexual and couple psychologist Nicole Kienzl from her everyday work. Your patients are often confused about what "perfect sex" should look like and how often it should take place. Raviola has had a similar experience: "Many believe that it is not okay if they do not like certain things and feel obliged to work off all imaginable sexual practices."

Lack of desire

Not everyone is up to these high performance requirements and so more and more people suffer from loss of libido. In addition to physical causes, emotional stress can also be the reason for a lack of sexual desire. Or listlessness is an unconscious defense mechanism: "Out of disgust for certain sexual practices desired by the partner, sexual acts are then avoided entirely," says Raviola.

The clinical psychologist also attributes a lack of desire to the emancipation of women: In the area of ​​sexuality and relationships, women nowadays take an active part, often have concrete expectations and say no if they don't like something. "In the past, however, women often endured sexual acts in marriage, and no performance requirements were placed on men," says Raviola.

Sex as medicine

Despite venereal diseases, impotence and loss of libido, one aspect is often overlooked: sex is healthy. It relieves headaches, strengthens the immune system, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and relaxes.

"Satisfying sex is extremely important for health - and of course the feeling of pleasure," says Raviola. (Wol-) lust itself is an important part of sexual life. Sex therapist Kienzl adds: "It's not about the quantity of sexual intercourse, the important thing is the quality". (Sarah Dyduch, derStandard.at, 25.10.2013)