Monday, March 25, 2013

Sexual Libertarianism: Can it Deliver the Goods?

 Western culture is sex-addicted. Perhaps instead, it is addicted to the idea of maximizing sexual pleasure by removing any limitations or taboos. When actress Kristen Davis was asked about her role in Sex and the City, she commented that the purpose of the show was to “demystify the whole sexual thing,” making it as normal as eating a Big Mac.

Another indication of the Western thrust towards the demystification of sex comes from the universities, where sex is given center-stage. In 2012, Harvard extended official recognition to a new student group – Harvard College Munch:

  • Munch is not about midnight snacks. It is a coy term for kinky sex, principally…bondage…and sado-masochism. (Salvo, Spring 2013, 11).
The group’s founder explained, “It’s tying people up, telling them to do stuff, and hitting them with things.” One Harvard female undergrad explained to the student newspaper, “I like being told that I’m a slut or good for nothing but sex” (11).

Ironically, at the same time, so many university campuses are trying to ban Christian groups. In contrast, these groups promote a much higher view of humanity – that we’re good for far more than sex. However, Western culture’s vision and commitment is for normalizing and promoting all forms of sexual gratification, even if it is degrading and imposes tremendous personal costs.

However, does sexual libertarianism (SL) lead to sexual gratification? Well, it must! Why else would it be promoted so vigorously?

However, there are sound reasons to question that SL can deliver the goods. Robin Phillips cites research showing that “people who have the most sex, the best sex and are the happiest about their sex lives are monogamous, married, religious people”:

  • Women without religious affiliation were the least likely to report always having an orgasm with their primary partner – only one in five … Protestant women who reported always having an orgasm [had] the highest [percentage], at nearly one-third. In general, having a religious affiliation was associated with higher rates of orgasm for women. (The Social Organization of Sexuality, 115; quoted by Salvo, Spring 2013, 35)
This is consistent with previous studies. A Redbook Magazine survey of 1970 found that:

  • The more religious a woman is, the more likely she is “to be orgasmic almost every time she engages in sex.” Conversely, irreligious women tended to be the least satisfied with the quality and quantity of their intercourse. (35)
Phillips cites two other studies that were consistent with these findings. Many have speculated about these surprising findings. To explain them, some have cited the negative costs of the demystification of sex, while others have associated casual sex with violating the moral standards of the participants, even when they denied having them, thereby depriving them of sexual fulfillment. Writing for USA Today, William R. Mattox:

  • Suggested that “church ladies tend to be free from the guilt associated with violating one’s own sexual standards” – a factor that a University of Connecticut study found to hinder sexual satisfaction among unmarried college students. (36)
Meanwhile, others suggest that over-exposure can lead to apathy. Phillips cites a 16-year-old who confessed, “I’m so used to it, it makes me sick.”

C.S. Lewis adds an important piece to the puzzle, reflecting the words of Jesus (Mat. 6:33):

  • Look for yourself [and your own fulfillment], and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look to Christ, and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in. (Mere Christianity; cited by Phillips, 37)
Far from being a cosmic kill-joy, the Bible gives us a portrait of a God who understands what we need and gives us the necessary guidelines to satisfy these needs. After all, He created us and truly loves us!

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