Following up on the posting about in vitro fertilization, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) has also discussed pleasure seeking activities in relation to sex within his book Islam’s Response to Contemporary Issues. What’s interesting is how the biological basis of hedonic pleasure associated with sex is ultimately linked to social practices that deviate from moral behavior. I quote the following passage from pages 62-63:
“When societies begin to degenerate or become top-heavy and lopsided with over-sophistication, they begin to topple down and return to the same crude animal answer to their urges. This may not be visible in every social and cultural activity, but it is almost always pronounced in human relation and style in the pursuit of pleasure. A brief study of man in his responses to sex will demonstrate the case in point.
Around the basic instinct to reproduce through sexual regeneration, pleasures are associated by nature in the entire animal kingdom. What we find different in human society is a gradual departure from the mere satiation of crude desires to a gradually more refined attitude to the fulfillment of animal urges.
Nature never desires sex as an ultimate object. The ultimate object has always been reproduction and propagation of species. Sex was only secondary to it. When societies become decadent , the role is almost reversed.
The gradual development of the institution of marriage , the rites associated with this institution and the taboos regarding the interplay of male and female sexes, may be considered by a sociologist to be a phenomenon resulting from a natural growth of society and unrelated to religion. But, whether the growth is directed from on high, or a random phenomenon moving forward by itself, there is no denying the fact that gradually the responses to satisfy the fundamental urge become more and more sophisticated and involved.
Growing promiscuousness in male and female relationships is again symptomatic of the same malady. It is not just a permissive liberal attitude towards sexual relationship but there is, indeed much more with it to change the entire atmosphere of this extremely important sphere of human interest and activity. Debate about the legitimacy or illicitness of such relationship is looked down upon as a thing of the past. Of course, there are many staunch religious-minded groups which go on discussing this issue. But during their discussions on the media, one cannot fail to observe that such old-fashioned, rigidly religious-minded people are being reduced to a minority of insignificance.
It is becoming much more fashionable in the West to consider sex as a natural urge which should be responded to without any inhibitions. A traditional coyness associated with talk amongst women is becoming a thing of the past. Nakedness, exposure, display, unabashed discussion and confession are considered only as public expression of truth.”