Rollo says you need sex. He admits you don’t strictly need it in order to stay alive; it’s not a need like air, water, or food. But he does continue to refer to it as “the need men (and by association women) have for sex.” And Rollo is certainly not alone in modern society in viewing sex as a need.
Here’s my problem. The word “need” is meaningless without the follow on “in order to.” I need air in order to breath, and thereby stay alive. I need money in order to buy things. I need strawberry milkshakes in order to satisfy my craving for sugar. But if I just said “I need air, money and strawberry milkshakes,” then the word need is stretched beyond all usefulness.
So, what do we need sex in order to do? Well, we need it in order to satisfy our physical urge for it, but that seems circular. We need it in order to propagate the species, but given the way Rollo and most moderns are addicted to contraception, it doesn’t seem like that is really their goal in sex. Let’s see what he actually says in defense of our need for sex:
The unhealthy disconnect here is that human beings do in fact need sex. We can attach other ephemeral aspects to the sex act (or masturbation if that’s the only recourse), like love, emotion, commitment, etc., but on a base level your body needs sexual release in one form or another. Yes, you can willfully override the need, just like you can overcome hunger while you’re fasting or on a hunger strike, but the need is still the operative in that act of will. Once hunger, breathing and thirst are satisfied, sex is the single most influential drive the human species (really, most any species) is motivated by. Society is driven by sex, cultures evolve around it and personal achievements, as well as horrible atrocities are the result of our inborn prompt to satisfy our sexual urges.
I still don’t see an “in order to” explicitly laid out, so I’m left to conjecture on my own. Maybe I’ll be totally wrong about what he actually thinks we need sex for, but I don’t think that my remarks will be too far off from what the average dude nowadays thinks.
Moderns think we need sex in order to be happy. Sure, Rollo goes to great lengths to show us how sex isn’t super meaningful for him, but still, the underlying current of his whole essay is that, without sex, you will be miserable. So, maybe a rephrase is in order: Moderns think we need sex in order to avoid misery. “Sex may not make you happy, but lack of sex will definitely make you miserable, so you do need sex,” they seem to say. This is just a more moderated form of hedonism. Duh, moderns are modern. Modernity assumes hedonism. Moderns are hedonists.
However, given that Rollo places sex right after air, water, and food, it seems like a pretty universal claim that humans need sex. Which means that any exceptions would contradict his theory.
There are a lot of exceptions.
Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas, and literally hundreds of thousands of monks and priests and nuns throughout the last two thousand years. Sure, not every monk was celibate. Not every monk was happy. But plenty were, and are. Sex was clearly not necessary for their happiness. So what gives? Is the litany of saints just a litany of people with defective sex drives? Or is sex maybe, you know, not a need in the way that Rollo thinks it is?
Basically, Rollo assumes hedonism to be true, and then reasons that hedonism is necessary for happiness. Well, I assume hedonism to be false, and then reason that hedonism is not necessary for happiness. But Rollo paints himself as some “just the facts, maam” reporter giving us emotion-free logical analysis, when really he’s just another modern under the delusions of his own false ideologies.
Does Rollo make many good points? Yes. Should people read his stuff to understand basic male-female dynamics? Probably. Is he neutral and impartial? Ha! Not even close. Is sex necessary? Not in order to be happy.