When human beings experience strong sexual desire or become aware of the power of the sexual urge within, it is important to distinguish whether that desire is oriented toward a person or merely a physical attribute of a person.
Karol Wojtyla has firm words against the latter. He writes, “If it is (the sexual urge) directed towards the sexual attributes as such, this must be recognised as an impoverishment or even a perversion of the urge.”
The sexual urge, which provides the framework within which love can arise, must always be ordered toward a concrete human person and not merely at his or her attributes. If we experience the sexual urge merely toward a psychological or physical attribute of a person, then we would always be able to find someone that possesses those same attributes or even those same attributes in a superior way.
This would naturally produce a similar intensity or even a stronger urge toward the other person. If we measure love by the feelings of intensity to another person’s bodily appearance, should we then dismiss the first person and pursue the second? If we follow this principle, there would naturally be a third and a fourth and a commitment to loving one person would be impossible.
This is why the sexual urge must always be oriented toward the entirety of a person and not merely their repeatable attributes. Of course, it is only natural that we will desire to love and be loved by a person with certain attributes, but the attributes must lead to love of the entirety of the person, not merely toward their attributes.
Madeleine possesses many beautiful attributes that I love and admire. Although other women possess similar attributes to her that I love and admire about her, there will never be, and can never be, another Madeleine. Madeleine is not a collection of attributes, as much as she is a person I am committed to loving forever.
When I met her, I was deeply drawn to her psychological and physical attributes, but these quickly led to my love for her as a unique, unrepeatable and irreplaceable person. Only when you love a person like this; as a unique, unrepeatable and irreplaceable person, will your love for them never die or be overshadowed by another with similar attributes.