In psychoanalytic thought, libido (from the Latin: desire, lust) is the psychic and emotional energy associated with man’s instinctual biological drives (sexual desire). Though theoretically held in check by the ego and super-ego, in Freudian thought libido understands man as a sexual animal whose happiness derives from the unrestrained libido. The virtue of chastity in Freudian logic could only end in illness and unhappiness. Such thinking became normative in the United States in the 1960s, and it was not long before “the greatest of natural mysteries,” the marriage act, was reduced to an openly discussable “fun activity.”
Paul VI offered libido as one way Satan, the “malign, clever seducer” undermines man’s sexual morality with his “sophistry.” The Devil’s strategy here, as the Pope cautioned, is “eminently logical.” He approaches man with what amounts to a false reason in his mind, which, if dwelled on, can influence the will by rousing him to do something evil which seems to be good. Deceit is basic to his strategy. By way of one example, if one is gifted with a superior intellect, Satan will tempt to pride and sins of the mind. Thus it is not surprising that the notion that the Church is out of touch and unbending on issues relating to sex and marriage to this day is advanced by intellectual Catholic theologians the likes of Frs. Curran, McCormick, and O’Brien.
If one is worldly and hedonistic, Satan enters with temptations of the flesh. One hears often that the “liberation” of the human libido began in earnest in the United States in the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. Americans, troubled over repressive attitudes toward human sexuality, hoped for a revolution that would free them from outdated moral and social constraints. It resulted not in liberation but in license and a host of societal sexual crises. Since the onset of the sexual revolution, we have had to face an ever-increasing array of sexual problems. One has only to think of the tremendous increase in the number of post-1960s illegitimate births and abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, opposition to censorship of pornography (especially on the Internet), and the resulting sexual addiction (in some extreme instances resulting in murder). Consider too the tremendous blows to marriage and the family done by adultery, the battle over the homosexual lifestyle in the United States, Canada and Europe (now to the point of the redefinition of marriage under the law); the increasing incidences of sexual harassment, child pornography on the Internet, Internet predators, date rape, and of course, the divorce rate.