Irish columnist Breda O'Brien on why gay people should abstain from having sex

'If you are looking as nature intended, I think that sex is very bound up with having children.'

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The Independent Online

Breda O'Brien has spoken out against gay sex, saying that homosexual couples should abstain just as any unmarried couple would.

O'Brien is a columnist and teacher with staunch Catholic views, and argues that while sex is supposed to be for pleasure, it's mostly for procreation.

"I think that obviously sex is there for a lot of reasons," she told The Irish Independent. "It's there for pleasure, it's there for bonding and it's there to have children and I think it is really good to keep those three purposes together."

She promised gay readers that: "if you can live up to this very demanding thing, I think it will make you happy [to abstain]. It will be excruciatingly difficult - I think you will need huge support, huge help, lots of very strong, loving relationships."

The interview was part of the discussion surrounding the Irish Marriage Equality Referendum taking place this year.


O'Brien added that the reward for living a life of chastity would be happiness, and added that abstinence was the sign of an altruistic person. "Sometimes giving something up can lead to other kinds of happiness. You would have to be a very unselfish person to do that and I think very good people have great capacity for joy and happiness."

When asked by the reporter whether she believed that gay sex was natural, O'Brien said: "To be sexually attracted to people is obviously completely natural and gay people can love as much as anyone else. But if you are looking as nature intended, I think that sex is very bound up with having children."

The journalist pointed out that O'Brien was past childbearing age, and asked whether the fact she had sex purely for pleasure meant she was contradicting herself.

"Because I think that there is a complementarity… I really hope you report this fairly… I think there is a complementarity between men and women that.. that is, you know, it is everywhere," O'Brien explained. "It is in eastern symbolism, you know the Yin and the Yang, the male and the female and there is a 'uniqueness' about that relationship."

O'Brien added that she did not wish to judge anybody, and that she was just expressing her personal views.

Catholic catechism says that, while homosexuals must be accepted, gay sex is immoral and that they should remain chaste. However, beliefs vary from person to person, and last year Pope Francis said that gay marriage should not be dismissed.