The Usefulness of Sex
Here’s what Rick Santorum said about contraception in an interview with a Christian news outlet:
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act …
Santorum is part of a small slice of the American population who are against contraception. Even most Catholics (85 percent, according to Pew) don’t believe it’s morally wrong. Because it’s a view held by a relatively tiny minority no one usually bothers to make an argument for non-procreative sex. But because Santorum is a serious presidential contender, at least at this exact moment, maybe it’s worthwhile.
Santorum gives a nod in the quote above to the conjugal benefits of sex, though later in the same interview he implies that once you eliminate the possibility of producing offspring, sex isn’t “special.” I wonder how he would account for a study that looked at the sex lives of people in their sixties. It found that these subjects were, on average, having sex 1.7 times a month and concluded that sexual expression “remains a significant aspect of intimate relationships in the seventh decade of life.” Likewise, in a study of people between the ages of 50 and 92, everyone who had a partner deemed sex important to some degree “with many rating sex as ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important.”
Is the act diminished in these cases if there’s no chance of pregnancy?