Moral Confusion

Mary Eberstadt, speaking of the intellectual dishonesty that marks our contemporary discourse about sex, has this to say in the latest issue of First Things (February 2009):

For women, though, the fallout from the [sexual] revolution appears more immediate and acute. It is women who have abortions and get depressed about them, women who are usually left to raise children alone when a man leaves for someone younger, women who typically take the biggest financial hit in divorce, and women who fill the pages of such magazines as Cosmopolitan and Mirabella and liberationy websites like Salon with sexual doublespeak.

Just look at any one of those sources, or take in a segment of those women’s morning talk shows or a random ten minutes of Sex and the City. All reveal a wildly contradictory mix of chatter about how wonderful it is to be liberated by sex, on the one hand – and how impossible it has become to find a good, steady, committed boyfriend or husband on the other. It’s as if, say, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were to put out magazines that were half pitches for vegetarianism and half glossy pages of pork and beef and chicken simmering in sumptuous sauces. If something like that were to happen, people would notice the contradiction. But because of the will to disbelieve in some of the consequences of the sexual revolution, they don’t when the subject is sex.

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2 Responses to “Moral Confusion”


  1. 1 morningglories January 17, 2009 at 11:36 am

    That is an amazing analysis – and exactly on target.

    One of my friends calls the sexual revolution man’s best idea to get sex from women without strings or consequences. From the women’s point of view, I’ve never understood how it liberated women that much – in general, the woman ends up with the problems and the man walks away.

  2. 2 Mark January 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Oh yeah, it’s completely bizarre how willfully blind we are to the consequences of free sex. Elsewhere in the essay, Eberstadt talks about how those who promote the sexual revolution agenda (at least in the blogosphere) are often single men. Gee, I wonder why that is?

    In my experience the women who get caught up in this free sex lifestyle, even if it’s with a steady boyfriend, will admit it’s not ideal. But they think the ideal is unobtainable, so they go for the easy “love”. It’s really very sad, but I can understand how people just want to “fit in” no matter what the cost. It’s a weakness of our human nature.

    It reminds me of Christopher West’s analogy of eating out of the gutter. If that’s all you’re used to then it doesn’t seem that bad. But when viewed objectively compared to real love, it’s horrible.


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