Young women don’t have to look very far to get a view of what the world think of women. Magazine covers parade skinny models in risqué clothing with cover blurbs promising, “proven methods to satisfy your sexual partner” or the “top ten ways to turn your guy on”. If young women listen to the world, they’ll get the message that sex is free, easy, with no strings attached. They’ll believe that sex can get then whatever they want and they’ll be taught that sex potentially can lead them to love, but love isn’t necessary to have sex.
Sadly, young women are misinformed about how the Church views sex. The general misconception is that the Church teaches sex is wrong, bad, and not to be enjoyed – EVER! It is no wonder young women feel torn and confused about their sexuality these days. All young women what to live the fairytale love story, and in the rush and confusion to find true love, young women often make choices that jeopardize their purity and integrity. In this session we discussed how the world often lies about sex and how women should behave and think drastically different from the lies and in line with what God intended for sex to be. Sex is a wonderful gift from God, one he has given not only for us to enjoy but also to guard and protect. There is always hope and new life in Christ regardless of where we are in our journeys.
Chastity isn’t just about sex
Chastity is a virtue of purity and integrity. It isn’t just about sex; it incorporates all that we are as women – how we talk, carry ourselves and how we dress. We live in a world that gives many mixed messages about what it means to be a woman. A problem all women have at some point is comparing themselves to the women in magazines. The world has distorted women’s bodies and sex.
Discussion: What does it mean to be a woman?
- Tenderness: women handle most things with tenderness, care and love.
- Sacrifice: women are often seen to sacrifice their needs and wants for the life and benefit of others.
- Capacity: capacity and resilience to handle almost everything that comes her way.
- Responsibility for the future: developing children and their mindset towards life
- More than just a sex tool: Women are often portrayed as only useful for sex or only attractive because of their ‘sexual physical features’. But there is more depth to women than that.
Who we are in Christ
Young women should know who they are in Christ; all of us were created with dignity and love. Christ made us and he has called us into a intimate relationship with Him. If a girl doesn’t have that relationship with Christ, she’ll start looking for it in sex and dating. Our intention in how we dress, as women should not be to have a man lust after us. Christ came to show us what love is so we can love as Christ loves. Everything we do should be in line with who we are in Christ. We need to pour ourselves out as a gift for another.
Discussion: We read a summary of Daniel 13 (found in Catholic bibles. During the reformation, primarily for doctrinal reasons, Protestants removed seven books from the Old Testament: Tobit, Judith, 1st & 2nd Maccabees, Wisdom, Sirach & Baruch and parts of two others, Daniel and Esther).
What are the virtues of Susanna? Was it easy or hard for her to do what she did?
- She stood on the truth and stood her ground even in the fear of death. She was brave and full of courage. It was hard to do what she did and it is inspiring as she is an example of how we need to not give into peer pressure.
- We discussed the dangers of rape in Lagos, how we need to be careful. We discussed the verbal assaults some of us face at work and different places in Nigeria and the importance of men standing up to other men to defend/protect girls in certain situations with wisdom.
- Another topic we discussed was changing the mind of the ‘hunter’, which refers to guys who see women as ‘prey’ and only want sexual interactions with them. We concluded the best we could do is starting we ourselves, understand the real dignity of women and then teach our friends and family what we’ve learnt.
God Created Sex
Everything we do should be in line with who Christ, including sex. The Catholic Church teaches that sex is good and created by God. Love is total, faithful, fruitful and free. Christ demonstrated this love on the cross. This kind of love is also present in marital love. When you have sex outside of marriage, what you’re saying with your body is a body lie. God created our sexuality as a visual witness to marriage.
Discussion: Where do you see that total, faithful and fruitful love in your own life?
- Family life
- This love cannot be found in humans except the love is founded on God because God is love. The qualities of the heart are made only for God, “Our heart is restless until it rests in you,”- St Augustine.
The importance of guarding and protecting the gift
God has a plan for our sexuality and its revealed in Marriage. As women, were called to guard and protect the wonderful gift of our sexuality that God has given us. St. Maria Goretti was a martyr for chastity. She was assaulted and murdered at a young age because she refused to give in to a sexual advance. In our over-sexualised culture, women know what it feels like to have their innocence taken away. We’re created for a life-giving love, for sexuality that is full of goodness. Whatever your past, Christ comes into your wounds and conquers them to bring new life.
Discussion: In our over-sexualised culture, in what ways have you personally felt as if some of your innocence has been taken away?
- So many sexual visual images in music videos, songs etc
- Over exposure in the ‘western world’ when some of us went to further our education.
- Returning back to Nigeria and how infidelity is accepted for men, like matter of fact and we don’t talk about it.
- Priesthood in certain places: i.e. Brazil where nakedness is part of the culture
- Comedy: Laughing at sexual innuendos in popular tv shows such as friend, sex and the city etc.
The session was ended with one more video to watch for the next session.