Last updated 6/18/09

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Sex and Candy

And interesting observation. I haven't been able to read the article yet, as I always have trouble loading Catholic Exchange from Japan for some reason...but I will keep trying.


Jeff said...

To sum it up, the article points out how some people are very careful about what they eat, but may not be as careful to follow Catholic rules on sex. The article quotes a couple of researchers; one believes that we, as a society, are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone, so we try to find morality with the food we eat instead. The other researcher quoted has a similar opinion - that we all have this inner desire to define "right" and "wrong," and choose food as a way to exercise this desire.

Not surprisingly, I find the article to be interesting, but ultimately hogwash. People (not all, obviously) are careful about what they eat because there are a plethora of other options available. Go to a supermarket...they're HUGE. People (again, not all) are more promiscuous because there aren't a plethora of options. If you're not having sex, that leaves masturbation or abstinence, and I think some religions even find the former to be immoral.

I take offense to the article referring to people like myself by the term "unsaved," as if there's something wrong with me, instead of someone who has simply choosen another path.

Blue Shoe said...

I won't defend the article as I haven't been able to successfully load it, but I do think there's something to be said for morality of the body (including sexuality), and it's not a purely Catholic ideology. For example I know that you're not a man-slut, and I've known other atheists who believe it's ideal to postpone sex until marriage, and to then be exclusive to your partner.

And don't worry, Jeff. It's not my belief that only Catholics or Christians can get into heaven. Heh.

Jeff said...

Oh, sure, there's something to be said for morality of the body, but to think we watch what we eat because of our confusion over the sexual revolution? Balderdash! If I want to eat steamed broccoli, it's not because I'm counterbalancing the decline of's because steamed broccoli is delicious.

And, here, since you can't link the article:

Imagine inviting some new neighbors to a dinner party. The first couple tells you they’d love to come. But, they warn, they think it’s immoral to eat animals, so please—vegetarian options only.

The second couple also wants to come, but—they’re almost embarrassed to mention it—they only eat locally grown food. No strawberries from Chili, or shrimp from Asia. Importing food from faraway countries damages the environment, they explain.

Couple number three also wants to attend—but, they ask, you aren’t serving genetically enhanced vegetables, are you, or meat produced by industrialized breeding practices?

At this point, you might be tempted to cancel the party and go out for a cheeseburger, followed up by a banana split—made with bananas from Ecuador. But you might wonder, as you bite into that greasy hunk of beef, just why it is that people have become so moralistic about food. Especially when so many are immoral in other areas—like their sex lives.

One person who has wondered about this is Mary Eberstadt, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. In her article “Is Food the New Sex?,” Eberstadt notes that food is cheap and plentiful in the West. The same can be said for sex. Technology has tamed many of the dangers associated with sex, like pregnancy and disease. Moreover, social and religious strictures have all but disappeared.

Which leads to an interesting question: What would happen, Eberstadt wondered, when, “for the first time in history . . . [people] are more or less free to have all the sex and food they want?” Would they pursue both food and sex with equal ardor?

Oddly enough, they don’t. Instead, many engage in a sexual free-for-all—but put stringent moral strictures on anything to do with food. A modern young woman might think nothing of living with several different men, and having abortions when she gets pregnant. But she would not dream of eating anything from a factory farm. That would be immoral.

In effect, some people have reversed the “moral poles” of sex and eating, Eberstadt writes. They are engaging in “mindful eating and mindless sex.”

Why is this happening? As Eberstadt writes, “It is hard to avoid the conclusion that rules being drawn around food receive some force from the fact that people are uncomfortable with how far the sexual revolution has gone.”

“Not knowing what to do about it,” she says, “they turn for increasing consolation to mining morality out of what they eat.”

Or, as my former colleague Jim Tonkowich notes, “For all our relativistic talk” about encouraging people to make their own moral choices, “we cannot get away from an inner sense of right and wrong and the desire to codify [it].”

Jim is right. As the apostle Paul put it, God’s law is written on our hearts. We can deceive ourselves into believing it doesn’t exist, but when we do, we find our God-given sense of morality breaking out in other forms. In this case, in food—though it would be better the other way around.

This is what we ought to lovingly share with our unsaved friends—maybe over dinner—people who may think nothing wrong with living together out of wedlock, but who wouldn’t dream of eating mandarin oranges from Spain.

Jeff said...

And whoa, whoa...who said I was an atheist? Or not a man-slut, for that matter? My name is being dragged through the mud via blog! That's the worst kind of via there is!

Blue Shoe said...

Thanks for the link!

I wouldn't have approached the topic in the same way this writer did. I do think it's interesting that people find more morally objectionable practices in eating these days than in sex, and I would have focused on that without asserting a "role reversal" between food and sex.

You're an agnostic, aren't you? I didn't mean to lump you in with the atheists. And I said you're NOT a man-slut, Jeff. NOT. No harm, no foul?

Jeff said...

Ehhh, not quite agnostic. I believe that there is/are a higher power(s) that created the universe, but it may not necessarily be some dude in a white robe and sandals; and I certainly don't feel us lowly humans were created specifically by this higher being. While agnostics believe you can't prove OR disprove God, I just feel you can't prove WHAT this 'God' is, or what he/she/it looks like.

And I said "not" too. So much for that joke
; )

Blue Shoe said...

Ooops. Yeah, sometimes I don't read certain words. "Not" is one of them. What the heck? What's wrong with this keyboard? "Not." Not. Not. What the? N. Ok. NO. Ok. NOT -- where did it go?!