“Ask a Priest: Did God Create Sexual Desires?”

Q: I am a 19-year-old women who came across this site when I desperately needed it. Although I am not a Christian, I agree with many of the Christian sayings. I am always looking for truth in how I should live and think in order to stay on the right path of good and justice. My question is, is the flesh evil? Does it belong to Satan? Or did God create the flesh? Furthermore, did God create bodily desires such as sexual desires for others, even though you have a lover? I am just so sick and tired of my sexual desire that I’m at the point where I want to get rid of it. Because of this bodily desire, I am already cheating in my mind, which would of course hurt my partner, as well as myself. I just don’t know what to do. Please help me. I need to change. — Anna

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: That you are searching for the truth is a good sign. It seems as though God is leading you on a path closer to himself. This is good. This is something you want to pursue.

Let me offer an overview of what Christians believe. This will help with your individual questions.

First, God created everything. And everything is good. “God looked at everything he had made, and found it very good” (Genesis 1:31).

But things went wrong at the start of human history. Man sinned, and because of that, pain and suffering entered the world.

Another result — and this is a bit mysterious – is that we share in what is known as original sin. Think of this as a defect in our human nature.

Original sin has three consequences: It darkens the intellect, weakens the will, and distorts the passions.

The result is that we are often wrong about things. We misjudge situations or people. Or we are swayed by prejudices.

Displays of weakness might take the form of laziness or a lack of resolve to speak up in the face of injustice.

Distorted passions surface as lust, gluttony, greed. Unchecked, the passions can run wild and drag down a person.

As for sexual desires: God created sex, and therefore it is good. It is meant for married couples who are committed to each other for life and who are open to the possibility of new life. Any use of the sexual facilities outside this context is a misuse of them. This is where the effects of original sin can surface in us in a forceful way.

The way to master these sexual desires is through prayer, asceticism and a positive effort at the virtue of chastity. Physical exercise, a tight work schedule, and being careful about use of media all help, too.

Some of the challenges you are facing personally will diminish considerably as you learn to live more in God’s presence. The effects of original sin stay with us, to some extent, throughout our lives. But as God’s grace grows in our souls, those effects influence us less. And we begin to experience more and more the fruits of the Holy Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

If you want to learn more about the Catholic faith, you might want to read the Youth Catechism (of YouCat) or the Compendium of the Catechism (available online).

For more reading about chastity, see How to Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul.

Try to read a bit of the Gospels each day and learn about the person of Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God who took on human nature. He is the redeemer of mankind, the central figure in history. He is the way, the truth and the life.

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