I’m afraid you don’t understand my objection, Andy

Again, the “scratch an atheist, find a fundamentalist” syndrome is at work. I don’t think sex is dirty. I think sex is sacred. Interestingly (and rather typically for postmodernity), both he and Jo speak of sex as a medium of power and self-assertion, rather than as a medium of love. Power in the “equal pursuit of pleasure”, but power all the same. A marriage (and that is what sex is for) based on “I’ve got my rights!” rather than “I love you and give myself to you” is a marriage that is based on legalism, not love. In America, which is obsessed with “I’ve got my rights” chatter, an epidemic of marriages (particularly since the 60s) result in appeals to lawyers (those high priests of legalism) for a divorce. Duh.

(But hey! What does the pursuit of pleasure as the highest good hurt? Right? The kids of such divorces are “resilient”! I read all about that in Cosmo!)

I regard sex as the supreme expression of self-donating love: as sacramental. I have zero objections to sexual pleasure per se. Sex and sexual pleasure are both good gifts of God. But there is something coarse about these parties: like groups of people getting together to play tiddly winks with the Blessed Sacrament, or using oil of chrism to fry chicken. Even more though (and this was the real point) there’s something pathetic about people wanting so much to abase their own local cultures before whatever NY or LA tell them they should like and care about.

I’ve never much thought about the morality of the various apparatuses Rod describes. Insofar as they give pleasure I doubt there’s much of anything wrong since pleasure is a good. The trouble comes in the attempt to make it the highest good. Insofar as they reinforce the already extremely strong belief in our culture that the highest purpose of sex is pleasure, not union and fruitfulness, or the healing, exaltation, and perfection of the spouses, I think their use is an evil. Particularly if they reinforce the conviction in each spouse’s heart that the other person is primarily there as a sort of bio-apparatus for the Imperial Autonomous Self to experience a particular physical reaction to which “I have just as much right as s/he does!” In short, if they are used to truly increase each partner’s choice for self-donating love (and I am highly skeptical they usually are), I have no objection. If they are primarily there to increase each partner’s sense of selfish entitlement, I’m agin’ ‘em.