Here are a few of the main points:
- NATURE'S MEANING: Whether we attribute extra meaning to humans or not, we are at least animals, sharing this planet with many other kinds of creatures. From that perspective, the “meaning” of sex is pretty obvious. It’s reproduction. Every living creature has two primary drives: first, to sustain its own life (which includes seeking food, shelter, and safety), and second, to pass on that life to a new generation.
- FACE TO FACE: This is shown by another way humans are unique. We’re one of the very, very few mammals able to have sex face-to-face. Seeing each other’s faces means something—not just during sex, but all the time. We are dependent on reading each other’s faces; in fact, we can’t resist looking at faces. We seem to be programmed that way. Researchers have found that if a newborn baby is shown a set of different geometric shapes, his eyes will always go back to one that shows an oval with two dots toward the top—that is, a very rudimentary face with eyes. The baby will stare at those dots, those “eyes,” and ignore squares, triangles, and rectangles placed alongside it. Consider this: The baby has been in a womb all his life, and has never before seen a face. But the minute he comes out, he knows what to look at. We’re made that way.
- SEX FOR A LIFETIME: Let me say something about “for a lifetime.” That’s a leap. Why not just have a relationship for a little while? After all, it only takes a few minutes to conceive a child. Why should the father stick around at all? Most mammals don’t form families that include monogamous dad. Bambi never saw his father until he was nearly grown. Most mammals mate and then part, and the mother raises the child alone, or as part of a herd. There’s evidence for why this isn’t best for human babies, however. It has to do with how very, very premature human newborns are, in comparison with the children of other species. A newborn deer struggles to its feet and goes over to its mother to nurse. But a newborn baby won’t walk for a year. He won’t talk for much longer, and can’t provide for his own food and safety for many years after that. This heightened vulnerability means that a human newborn requires more intensive parental care than other mammals do, and for a much longer time. You have to keep in mind that the task of reproduction isn’t finished at the moment of birth.
- SITTING TOGETHER: Years ago, I was up in a theater balcony looking at the crowd below, and it suddenly struck me that there was a pattern all through the audience. This is one of those things that’s so obvious you don’t notice it. What I saw was that everywhere a man and a woman were sitting next to each other. These couples were of all different ages; many had gray hair. I think that brings us back to the mystery of faces: the need to connect, the real “meaning of sex.” The initial impulse of sexual attraction is physical pleasure. It’s an inborn impulse, like grabbing a candy bar because it’s sweet. But deeper levels of resonance are also involved. Humans are different from other mammals. We don’t just want someone for a night. We’re looking for someone we can spend a lifetime with.
Another good article in the same issue is found here and it is "Designed For Sex: What We Lose When We Forget What Sex Is For" by J. Budzizsewski.