I do not know enough to answer this moral and philosophical statement but I will be quoting someone who does.
What I do know is what I hear in my 40+ years of ministry. And what so many studies keep figuring out. Like this new study that found having multiple sexual partners during the dating years leads to higher divorce rates in future marriages. But that’s not all. “Sexually inexperienced” individuals, or those who have only had sex with their spouse, are most likely to be flourishing in marriage. These “sexually inexperienced” individuals report the highest levels of relationship satisfaction, relationship stability, sexual satisfaction, and emotional closeness with their spouses. Source.
The broken-hearted stories I pastorally counsel and these many studies tell me that our casual attitudes about sex are having negative ramifications on our souls and our bodies.
We know this in our souls and our bodies but the culture doesn’t affirm this. You keep pushing through the way our “sexually active” culture says it is supposed to be. You wonder if perhaps something is wrong with you and not the culture. So you shut down what your soul and body are saying to you.
Someone who has wrestled with this failure of the sexual revolution is Louise Perry. She published a surprising successful book called, The Case Against the Sexual Revolution. Louise Perry was raised in an agnostic environment and believed the culture got it right. Until she decided to think deeper.
This article is leading you to listen to this thoughtful interview with Louise Perry and Justin Brierley.
Note: This is a scripted podcast series with interviews from many people all making this case. Enchanting.
Here are some bullet-pointed moments to peak your interest:
- “We have a deep intuitive feeling that sex is special for some reason. It may be that has evolved in us for some reason. Regardless, that’s how human beings feel about it. And if you go around trying to pretend otherwise you will generally make yourself miserable and other people miserable. There are some women for whom they really can enjoy casual sex like that, who can ‘have sex like a man’ (that’s the expression used in Sex In The City). But the vast majority of women actually don’t feel like that. What they will normally end up feeling is deep instinctive feelings of discomfort and distress which are very difficult to articulate.”
- “I think the real losers from the sexual revolution in particular are poor women. There are some ways in which women are inherently more vulnerable than men in all times and places. We are smaller physically than men; we are more vulnerable to violence; we get pregnant, which is a joy and a wonder but also bring with it all sorts of pain and vulnerability. Poor women are particularly vulnerable because the sex industry has always been the terrible threat hanging above poor women’s heads. What we see in the sexual revolution is not an attempt to protect women from that fate, but a repackaging of it–‘sex work is empowering’–and all that liberal gloss over what is actually any ancient form of exploitation and oppression.”
- Louise Perry has wrestled and realized that there have in fact been two sexual revolutions. The revolution of the 20th century in which technology such as the pill broke the link between sex and childbirth, and changing social mores did away with the requirement for monogamy and marriage. For all its advantages in breaking stigma and shame around women’s sexuality, Perry says that the consequent enormous rise of the porn industry, the commodification and de-personalized nature of sex, and the subsequent rise of the surrogacy industry has also come at a huge cost for women, men and children. She has been increasingly arguing that we need a return to the first sexual revolution–when Christians changed the Greco-Roman culture, insisting that sex was not just about recreation or the powerful exploiting the weak–but was something sacred that required consent, love and faithfulness and was aimed at raising children within a family unit.
- “The idea that a slave woman’s sexual violation is abhorrent. That’s an idea that comes from Christianity and was absolutely not universally recognized in the ancient world or many other cultures. I really do think that feminism comes out of Christianity and is completely reliant on Christian moral principles.”
(All quotes from Justin Brierley email, January 31, 2024)
Somehow 51% of adults under the age of 30 believe that open marriage is acceptable. Source. Would this opinion change when we realize that open marriage is only good for the one who has the power? Have we been sold this lie from those who want to keep their power? Listen to the podcast.
Listen to your soul. Listen to your body. Have a little vanity. Recognize that you are worth more than the compromising you are doing to have lukewarm sex just to “get it over with.” Recognize that you do want a secure connection that is a love for a lifetime. And recognize that the God of our Bible got it right. There is a reason the first sexual revolution brought human dignity to the world, which was a new thing. This Judeo-Christian ethic has permeated the world and it is based on a value of human dignity.
This “Jesus way” is good for your soul and body and for those who have lesser power. The “Jesus way” is good for all.