I’m thinking of becoming a stripper to make extra money on the side for college and eventually medical school, so I can help the poor. The job only entails dancing behind a glass wall and there’s no sexual touching involved. Is this morally objectionable?

The Catholic Church teaches that human sexuality is a beautiful gift from God. It allows us to love others and, in a special way, to truly give ourselves in love to one other person. Through married love a couple unite themselves to each other and open themselves to the precious gift of life, literally becoming co-creators with God if they are blessed with the gift of a child. This may seem like a lofty ideal, especially because it is so counter-cultural today. But it is the standard to which we hold all our expressions of human sexuality. Other expressions become more and more objectionable the further they stray from this ideal.

Even though you say the job involves only dancing and no sexual touching, you are nevertheless engaging in a sexual expression (and encouraging those who watch you to engage in a sexual expression) that deviates from the intended purpose of human sexuality, which should be expressed as a loving, intimate union between two people who are committed to each other for life. Genuine sexual intimacy is meant to celebrate the dignity of the human person and to call a person into deeper relationship with his/her spouse. Erotic dancing in front of strangers, by contrast, is an objectification of other human beings and encourages self-centered expression focused on mere gratification. No matter how noble your goals – and I hope you do succeed in college and medical school and go on to make a difference in the world – you should not sacrifice your own human dignity and integrity, or that of others, in order to achieve them.

Neela Kale

Neela Kale

Neela Kale is a writer and catechetical minister based in the Archdiocese of Portland. She served with the Incarnate Word Missionaries in Mexico and earned a Master of Divinity at the Jesuit School of Theology. Some of her best theological reflection happens on two wheels as she rides her bike around the hills of western Oregon.