Venery is when a human, prompted by the mating instinct, acts intending to arouse themself genitally.
The English words "venery" and "veneration" both derive from the Roman goddess Venus, but their meanings are entirely different, denoting respectively the activity she represented and the respect she received.
Venery is often (misleadingly) called "sex" or (slightly better) "sexual activity".
Healthy venery generally arises from interaction, prompts coupling, and culminates in eruption.
Venery is a form of (human) action, while the instinct that prompts it is a factor of (animal) behaviour. The instinct prompts the action, and the prompting may be strong, but the action is a choice.
For a choice to be venereal, both elements must be present: it must be prompted by the instinct, and also it must have the specific intention. For instance, for a man to decide to arouse himself so as to sell a sperm sample would not be venereal.
In legitimate marriage shared venery is a duty, because it is needed for both of the main ways in which marriage serves our pursuit of our task under the cultural mandate.
1. The unique kind of accord that rises from it is essential for the development of an intergender cultural union.
2. It is necessary for the production of children.
For any other pair to share venery would be harmful. However casual they may want the liaison to be, it would inevitably create a mating bond, that is, a marriage, with corresponding duties. To then suppress that bond, instead of allowing it to grow, would coarsen erotic sensibility.
"He who joins himself to a harlot is one body. For, as it is written, The two shall become one flesh."
Paul of Tarsus, 1st Corinthians 6:16. Paul interprets Genesis 2 to the effect that "becoming one flesh" is an outcome, not of any specific intention the couple may have had (however far-reaching or limited), but of the mere venery in which they expressed that intention. Hence his claim that the union occurs even in the most casual liaison. "Harlotry" in this sense, what used to be called "fornication", includes all extramarital venery.
The cultural union of husband and wife, the heart of the cultural mandate and therefore necessary for the full development of any self, involves an asymmetry of genders so depends for its full functioning on an underlying asymmetry of sexes. As homosexual venery cannot provide this, a homoerotic inclination is a hindrance to healthy development, and those with such an inclination should try to correct it, not reinforce it by homosexual venery, in marriage or otherwise.
Animals sometimes form same-sex marriages, but usually only in emergencies (the most obvious of which being a shortage of potential mates). I know not what research shows about whether any animal is ever born with a homosexual inclination.
Solitary venery, metonymically known as "masturbation", has some bad effects on ethoic development, but these may be outweighed by its soothing effect, just as the ill-effects of a poison may be outweighed when it is used as an analgesic drug.
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