Love and Pleasure

For the human person, love leads to the most complete fulfillment possible. It's the greatest, most intimate, and only thing that can completely fill us. When a person falls in love in a pure and sincere way, he becomes enthusiastic about giving himself to and living for the other. It's one of the greatest things that can happen to us.

The pleasure that a person experiences in conjugal love is perhaps the most intense pleasures he can experience in his body. When pleasure and love are united to a mutual giving of oneself, a person can experience immense happiness and pleasure. On the other hand, if physical pleasure is sought on its own, the pleasure converts into something momentary and fleeting, and leaves a mark of deep dissatisfaction and emptiness. This is because sexual pleasure is only a part (and the less important part) of the big picture, which really is about the joy of giving oneself in body and soul to the other in a total self-giving. And this can only find its full expression in conjugal love.

Reducing things to mere pleasure is use. And when this happens, there's neither love nor respect because you're degrading a person's intimacy.

Sex is meant to express our capacity to love and therefore, reaches the very core, the most intimate part of a person. This implies the totality of a person. Since it has such a high value and dignity, when sexuality is perverted or corrupted, it's especially harmful.

It's necessary to learn how to love and this begins with the most important kind of government: the government of ourselves. If a person doesn't dominate himself in the area of sexuality, he lives like a tyrant inside. Love between a man and a woman isn't just an instinct. We have to learn to dominate our body so that it isn’t controlled by immediate and selfish pleasure-seeking. Our body should be at the service of love.

Training ourselves in our sexuality is like training ourselves in a sport. It's difficult and requires a lot of effort if we’re serious about it, but the end results are well worth it. We're not only fit and in shape, we apt for victory.

If, on the other hand, we refuse to train ourselves, we run the risk of allowing our capacity to truly love to deteriorate entirely. That means losing one of the greatest treasures that we can possess. We have neither pleasure nor love. We end up viewing others in a purely selfish way and are unable to form profound and pure relationships.

Learning to love and train ourselves will bring us closer to who we're meant to be and will lead to fulfillment. Then, we will be able to experience the truth that “none are so full as those who are emptied of themselves.”