Was für ein herrliches Zitat!
Did my parents abstain from sex before they were married? What an ugly expression it is, and misleading, too! They could no more abstain from “sex” than they could suspend the laws of gravity, as in a cartoon, and imagine themselves not-a-man and not-a-woman, or a half-man and half-woman, or whatever nightmare of unreality one may prefer. My father was a man and my mother was a woman—even a little child would know that. Sex is what nature provided them with. Did they then “abstain” from uniting in the marital embrace? Once you call things by their proper names, the names that reveal their reality, you see that the question makes no sense. To do what married people do, while not being married—to engage in the marital act without matrimony—to do the child-making thing, while denying it in intent, is to contradict yourself. It is to tell a lie. What they “abstained” from was the pretense, the lie. It is like saying that they abstained from painting graffiti all over a priceless statue. It is like saying that they held their itching fingers back from uprooting the roses in the garden. It is like saying that they denied themselves the pleasure of amputating a finger or hand; that they spurned the delights of self-betrayal, rationalization, and ennui. It is like saying that they refused the enticement to grow feeble before their time. Yes, I’m quite aware that the marital act is attended by great physical pleasure. All the more then should that pleasure be enjoyed at the right time, in the right way; just as one does not order a wedding cake for dessert unless there has been a wedding, or lavish presents on an irresponsible student who has failed his exams. My parents did not abstain; that’s what an athlete might do with beer to shed a few pounds. My parents kept themselves pure and whole for one another—for the other in his or her sexual being—which implies openness to generations past and to come. They wanted joy, not pleasure on the cheap. They wanted a feast filled with guests with something real and good to feast about, and not something sickly in a brown bag. They wanted more, not less.
Anthony Esolen. Defending Marriage: Twelve Arguments for Sanity. Saint Benedict Press, 2014. Pos. 79-84.