Sex Matters

Rarely have I read in so few pages a book as thought-provoking and compelling as J. Budziszewski’s On the Meaning of Sex.  Budziszewski, a Yale Ph.D. and professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas, has grappled for years with the sad effects of our era’s shallow understanding of sex on the lives and psyches of the young people he teaches.  This book represents his effort to convey the significance of the sexes and of sexual relationships to young people largely persuaded (but not satisfied) that sex is a momentarily intense but still casual kind of pleasure.

While the author is a confessed Christian, God’s presence discreetly occupies the background through interspersed quotations from the extraordinary verses of the Spanish mystic Saint John of the Cross.  In the forefront, Budziszewski presents arguments largely drawn from natural law and set out in a finely honed adaptation of the Socratic method.  Clearly this is the method he follows at the University of Texas in Austin, where his students for the most part (judging from their reactions as recorded here) have trouble thinking clearly on a topic that does not so much concern as obsess them.

Budziszewski’s book is an attempt to restore to sex what has been tragically and shortsightedly lost by our culture, and that is meaning.  Lacking any significance other...

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