CS Lewis on Contraception. Part Two
When the user becomes the used…
A friend of CS Lewis, Sheldon Vanauken in his autobiography A Severe Mercy included many letters written to him by Lewis. Including letters which pour scorn on Vanauken’s decision never to have children with his wife and instead to contracept. Lewis reprimanded Vanauken for his ‘voluntary sterility’, and for not letting his wife become a mother. Lewis illustrated the matter with allusion to the Gospels, "Christians…would of course agree that man and wife are ‘one flesh'…. But surely they would add that this One Flesh must not (and in the long run cannot) ‘live to itself' any more than the single individual. It was not made…to be its Own End. It was made for God and (in Him) for its neighbours — first and foremost among them the children it ought to have produced."
In his academic work (that is oh-so accessible and easy to read) writing in 1960, after societal acceptance of contraception had grown throughout the fifties, CS Lewis describes a world with indiscriminate use of contraception; where sex exists more for satisfying lust, than loving the other person or begetting babies. In discussing Eros (The Four Loves) CS Lewis observes ‘we use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets that he “wants a woman”. Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want. He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes).’