An Orthodox understanding of sexuality is clear in the patristic tradition of the Church. This tradition is primarily associated with the origin of human sexuality, the purpose of marriage, and the role of virginity . When discussing the acceptable avenues for sexual interaction, one must also analyze the contemporary issues which threaten the Orthodox interpretation of healthy human sexuality; these threats are namely adultery and masturbation.
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Provactive lines as the above, find their way onto the cover pages of many popular magazines. In most cases, they become headlines of internet sites and in return, knowingly or unknowingly, become the gauges for some people for measuring success and happiness in their life. Society’s infatuation with sexual pleasure has reduced the sanctity of conjugal relations making sexual fulfillment a temporary answer to many problems. In some cases, the sex drive of an individual becomes an uncontrollable beast, which destructs families, careers, and most importantly the spiritual lives of it victims. Most of these social catastrophes would not exist if sexuality was understood in terms of its origin and purpose.
Contemporary society reduces sex to an instinctive act used solely for the purpose of sexual gratification and entertainment. Sixty-four percent of all shows on television include sexual content, and only fifteen percent mention waiting, protection, and the consequences of these types of acts (TV Sex Getting ''"Safer."'' Kaiser Family Foundation. [http://www.kff.org], 2003).
Tom Clancy once said, ' '"I believe that sex is one of the most beautiful, natural, wholesome things that money can buy" '' (L’ Estrange, Julian, The Big Book of Sex Quotes 1001 Quips & Quotes. Newington: Cassell, 2002, 35).
Sex appeal in modern society means everything and is everything! Seventy five percent of prime time television in the 1999-2000 season included sexual content (Sex on TV: Content and Context. The Kaiser Family Foundation, 5 February, 2001). With television surrounding families with sex and nudity, it is no wonder why these types of secular philosophies have brought about the faithless understanding of human sexuality. Society has managed to break down the Christian understanding of this act, therefore making it acceptable for all to hoard outside of marriage. For Orthodox Christians, however, ''" sexual relationships outside of the marital relationship violate the inherent nature of things for a person growing toward Theosis" '' (Paramythiotis, Dositheos. Telephone interview. January 31, 2007). Sexual relations in marriage are not the only Orthodox way of life to attain Theosis. The Orthodox Church honors and highly reveres virginity, the state of Adam and Eve (hereafter referred to as ''"the protoplasts"'' ) before their Fall. Contemporary society however, gives such a state second-class honor. Celibacy and virginity are even labeled as ''"unnatural,"' ' despite, the witness of patristic tradition; it is the natural state of the protoplasts before the Fall. In this essay, the patristic understanding of sexuality in terms of the origin of humanity’s sexual nature, the appropriate manifestation of sexual acts only within marriage, and the restoration of the sexual aspect of the fallen nature through consecrated virginity will be explained.
== Origin of Human Sexuality ==