gluttonyDiana Adams is an attorney in Brooklyn. I imagine there are a lot of those. But Ms. Adams’ work focuses on attaining marriage rights for people like herself: those living in polyamorous living situations. To get a sense of this:

Along with her primary partner Ed, she is currently romantically involved with several other men and women.

An interview with Ms. Adams is currently featured in The Atlantic. She was asked, after stating that we humans have a “hard time with monogamy,” what the consequences of a traditional married lifestyle are.

I think it’s interesting to see the way that when people get into a monogamous couple dynamic, they often have to neuter their sexual desires.

“Neuter” is an interesting choice of words. It’s not the one I’d choose, although I tend to agree with Ms. Adams here: marriage requires holding our appetites in check. This, then, brought to mind a show featured on TLC, “My 600-lb Life.” The show focuses on morbidly obese people struggling to lose weight. Often these folks are bed-ridden, literally trapped in their own flesh. They’ve completely lost control of their appetites.

Christina is a young married woman who weighs over 650 lbs. She eats about 7,000 calories a day – mostly fast food. She cannot walk more than a few steps at a time. The food she eats is provided by her mother and husband. The doctor treating Christina gives her some good old fashioned advice: “When they bring you that food, you have to say no.”

Well, where’s the fun in that?

Christina and Ms. Adams highlight our culture’s inability to say no. Three slices of pizza? Don’t mind if I do. Three lovers? Sure, sign me up. There’s nothing new here, of course; we’ve been dealing with the seven deadly sins for a very long time. The Christian faith has plenty of remedies and suggestions for overcoming the seven deadly sins, but one writer (echoing the doctor’s dictate to Christina) sums it up: “It demands common sense.”

Ms. Adams is working hard to figure out how to deal with a kid who has three parents, how to get healthcare proxy for two husbands of one woman. Christina is struggling to figure out how to get healthy food when all that is offered to her is high caloric junk. Ms. Adams says we are suffering from having to “neuter” our desires, but there is a more positive (and healthier) way of looking at this: we have to – in order to preserve our health, sanity, and our society – rein in our desires. We cannot simply have everything we want, whenever we want it. It creates chaos, illness, dysfunction; in short, we sin ourselves to death. This isn’t “neutering;” this is health, sanity and salvation. It’s common sense. It’s self-preservation. To lose control of our appetites brings us to the Gates of Hell, as Dante knew:

I am the way into the city of woe,
I am the way into eternal pain,
I am the way to go among the lost.

Justice caused my high architect to move:
Divine omnipotence created me,
The highest wisdom, and the primal love.

Before me there were no created things
But those that last forever–as I do.
Abandon all hope you who enter here.

Dante’s “Inferno”