Sexuality refers to a fundamental component of personality in and through which we, as sexual beings, experience our relatedness to self, others, the world and God. Sexuality involves the whole person. Education in sexuality is not to be limited to talking about sexual intercourse, to sexual attraction, or to 'the flesh'. Sexuality is a powerful force for emotional and spiritual union housed in the physical body. A wholistic understanding of human sexuality flows from the idea that human beings are created in the image of God, the Imago Dei, as unique individuals who are loved and called by God. Living wholeheartedly looks to the integration of the multiple dimensions of the human person, including one's sexuality, in a way that contributes to one's own flourishing and the flourishing of the community. There is a sense in which sexuality is identifiable with the principle of life itself. Here, sexuality is associated with our drive for love, communion, community, friendship, family, affection, wholeness, consummation, creativity, self-perpetuation, immortality, joy, delight, humour, and self-transcendence. It is about overcoming separateness by giving life and blessing it (Rolheiser, 1999 pp. 195, 198). Sexuality, when fully embraced as a gift, touches all aspects of the human person and manifests its deepest meaning in leading the person to the gift of self in love (John Paul II, 1981).
Sexuality must be grounded in respect for the power of sexuality to either enrich or diminish life. While sexuality is good and central to the unity of body, mind and spirit, sexuality can also be distorted and misused. The human sexual condition includes sexual abuse, sexual torture and sexual exploitation of the vulnerable by the strong (Callahan, 2007 p. 79). The results of fractured sexual relationships are often experienced as terrible heartaches, family breakups, and violence (Rolheiser, 1994 p. 199). Sexuality in the context and conviction of the Christian vision is situated within loving and just relationships and the enhancement of the human vocation. On the basis of a positive vision of sexuality, we can approach the entire subject with a healthy realism. It is, after all, a fact that sex often becomes depersonalised and unhealthy; as a result, 'it becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts'. In our own day, sexuality risks being poisoned by the mentality of 'use and discard'. The body of the other is often viewed as an object to be used as long as it offers satisfaction, and rejected once it is no longer appealing. Can we really ignore or overlook the continuing forms of domination, arrogance, abuse, sexual perversion and violence that are the product of a warped understanding of sexuality? Or the fact that the dignity of others and our human vocation to love thus end up being less important than an obscure need to 'find oneself'? (Pope Francis, 2016 Amoris Laetitia)