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Monday, May 24, 2004

View from a Counter

Some of you may have noticed I recently acquired a counter from Sitemeter. I really like it because it offers me some information to help track what people are looking for on my site, and has helped me to find some of the other sites that link to mine. What I hadn't counted on is how it helps me to know what I write about that people most seek.

What I discovered is that by far the thing that most draws people to Carmel Sundae is information about chastity.

It's ironic; chastity is something we all know about, so why are so many people seeking information about it? We all know that sex outside of marriage leads to unplanned pregnancies and the spread of disease. We all know that sex in non-permanent relationships leads to heartbreak. We all know that every form of artificial birth control has a failure rate, and that abortion causes lasting harm. Yet people keep on looking for information and encouragement on the subject of chastity.

I think the reason is that sex is a highly emotional thing. Even though we know that when it isn't used carefully it causes pain, it still tempts. It tempts us, it tempts those we love. It tempts adults, and it even tempts children. We are put on this earth to love God and one another, to love and be loved; and we long for signs of the nourishing love we so crave. When we are the loneliest is when we are most vulnerable to the temptation to fill the void with external expressions of the love we need. We get to be in a hurry for love, because the ache can get so bad.

And let's face it: for a lot of single people, the ache is bad.

It's worse for children than it ever was before, with more and more living apart from at least one parent, and more and more caring for themselves while their parents work outside the home. It isn't much wonder that more teens than ever are seeking intimacy.

That so many people are still seeking information on chastity does truly tell us something. Young people, especially, are vulnerable to misteaching about sex and its purpose, because they are vulnerable to that fear of not being loved. Let's keep counteracting the influence of those who teach wrong things about sex, yes; but let's also make a special point of letting the young people in our lives know that we love them. Let's not just give them the tools and information to fight temptation, but also make them less vulnerable to temptation in the first place. It's deep, soul-filling love that they are really seeking.