Another virtue chart.


This one is pretty straightforward.

Lust” is not quite the right word. Lust is an inner vice.  Immorality might have been a better choice.  For pedants, sexual immorality.   But immorality by itself would have been fine, because immorality has come to mean sexual sin in one of its senses.   Not that we lack words for sexual sin.  It’s just that they are more specific.  Sex is such a powerful mainspring of being human that one way to sin with it is not enough.  Adultery, fornication, sodomy, deviancy, masturbation, pornography, rape, slut, cad, whore, john . . . .  We lack virtue words that are specific counterparts to some of those vices.  In some cases that is a pity.  There should be a word for the proud and lonely virtue of not doing porn.  In others it is simply that we take the virtue so for granted that we hardly perceive it as a virtue.  What is the opposite of a rapist?  Dunno, a continent man?  It hardly matters.  One note on sodomy, while we are at it.  Sodomy refers to second-class sex acts, primarily to include oral sex and anal sex.  I regret the degree to which conservative Christian’s witness against same-sexual relations over the last few decades has included limiting the word sodomy to that context, which has allowed them to ignore their previously clear consensus view that  heterosexual sodomy was sin, and to handwave away their growing use and even embrace of porn, fornication, slutting, cadding, masturbation, and deviancy.

There is no real good word for the virtue of healthy sexuality.  Morality does not clearly connote sexual morality to the degree that immorality does.  And in any case, “sexual morality” is a negative virtue.  It means not having sex when you’re not supposed to.  But healthy sexuality is a positive virtue.  Sex is good.  Male and female he made us, and the mystery of sex is part and parcel of the mystery of marriage, which is fundamental to our exaltation.  We all know already that our society is bad with sex, but the lack of a good word also points to it.

Chastity is the right word (I could have also said “sexual morality”).  But we mainly use chastity to mean abstinence, which is the virtue of chastity outside of marriage, or celibacy, which is a neutral term for not having sex.  Being celibate could be virtuous in some contexts, but vicious in others, like inside a marriage.  Inside marriage we call it fidelity, which is a more generic term.  I think the lack of a good understanding of what chastity means also points to some of our culture’s deficiencies.

Frigidity is what it is.


The complements are interesting.  Lust and frigidity sound like one of those contradiction in terms, like Screwtape’s Materialist Magician.  And yet, our college campuses are full of joyless bacchanals endlessly dissected in subsequent bureaucratic sexual harassment procedures.  Screwtape would be pleased.  Our entertainment industry is run by sexual predator shrill feminists.  We are puritans fanatically acting degenerate.

Chastity and healthy sexuality are a natural complement.  Those who abstain from fornication and adultery have happier, stabler marriages and better, deepening sexual relations.

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