By J E SOLOMON
Two young lovers, Maria and Philip, have parents and grandparents who are strict disciplinarians of the old breed. They were instructed by their parents to consult with their pastor every two weeks. The meetings were to instill in them moral discipline through counseling and admonitions to enable them to avoid fornication and all lascivious tendencies. Specifically, they were enjoined to practise sexual abstinence as a way of life until marriage.
Maria and Philip were told that a truly virtuous woman is the woman who would go into marriage with her virginity protected. Such a woman must not even have tried masturbation ever in her life because that, too, is considered sinful in the eyes of God. Her husband-to-be is also expected to be morally clean.
Two years into the counseling sessions, Maria, aged 18, explained to Father Joseph that it had not been easy trying to suppress the natural, physical demands of her youthful body and that sometimes she felt intense desires to have sex. She confessed that she occasionally tempted Philip with acts intended to make him vulnerable. She said Philip, however, never yielded and always reminded her of their obligations to stay away from all forms of sexual practices.
Maria said during such difficult moments, she would go through periods of uneasiness. She alleged that in the privacy of her room she often struggled with the temptations of self-arousal, something she said her close friends claimed they did in their efforts to protect their virginity. She told Father Joseph all about her monthly experiences of restlessness, times when she would spend long nights in bed with her mind full of fantasies. She also complained that such conscious repression of normal sexual inclinations frequently resulted in headaches and feelings of moodiness for a couple of days.
At another time, the 19-year-old Philip also confessed to Father Joseph that there were times when he had difficulty trying to control his raging passions of love for Maria. He said such tense moments excited strong longings to make love with Maria even before they were ready to be blessed as husband and wife. Philip also commended Maria for being steadfast enough to always resist his immoral advances during those times.
As usual, Father Joseph praised the two young lovers and congratulated them for their strong morals and unwavering efforts to stay clean. He encouraged them to remain faithful to the cherished ideals and doctrines. For their commitment to the doctrines, he gave them gifts intended to boost their morale as they continued a premarital relationship devoid of unrighteous sexual acts.
Then one day, during their regular meetings with the Father, Maria asked the pastor, her voice almost trembling, “Father Joseph, considering that we are very normal young adults endowed with the vibrancy and vitality of youth, dealing with the challenges of hormonal changes is not quite easy. What if both of us get tempted at the same time, and we both eagerly want to have sex? How do we overcome such mutually inspired temptation? Who will be there physically to restrain us?”
Father Joseph exhorted Maria and Philip to remain strong willed. “Your will power shall get you out of any temptation,” he said, adding, “Woe to the world for temptations to sin. For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!” (Matthew 18:7)
Maria shyly lowered her head, unable to look at Father Joseph in the face. She wanted to respond, as did Philip also, but somehow they didn’t have the courage to speak further.
On their way back from the vicarage, Maria turned to Philip and asked, “Do you think these men in priestly garments really understand the workings of the human body? Are they immune to the body’s turbulent hormonal influences?”
Philip shook his head, and with a contemptuous smile, he said to Maria, “Either they’re super humans, or just a bunch of hypocrites. It’s hard to believe these preachers, especially the younger ones, truly abide by all of those religious doctrines related to sex and all forms of sensual pleasures?”