American Culture Has Divorced Sex from Love, Procreation, and Morality. Is That Really an Improvement?

One of the things we’ve run into again and again during America’s cultural decline is the choice to take a functional, albeit imperfect system, and tear it down only to replace it with something worse. This is certainly what has happened to the way we approach sex in America.

When I was growing up, sex outside of marriage was considered to be a sin and generally inappropriate for kids under 18. People didn’t automatically assume that because a high school couple had been together for a year, they’d had sex. Porn existed, but you could only access it by making the shameful walk into a convenience store or pornography shop and paying a real human being money so you could carry it home. The Internet wasn’t available to the public, TV and radio weren’t throwing sex in your face every two minutes, and there was actually a difference between what hookers and women out for a fun Saturday night were wearing.

A lot of questions we seem to struggle with today had cut and dried answers when I was growing up. For example, should you have sex outside of marriage? No. Should you have sex after the third date? See the part about not having sex outside of marriage. What if your boyfriend insisted on sex or he’d dump you? Did I stutter? Should you have sex for money? No, duh! What sort of teacher had sex with a student? Obviously, they were a monster. Should sex work be legalized? Seriously? What gender are you? How could that confuse anyone? Look into your pants. Now you know what gender you are. How about drag queens reading stories to kids? Not only was that a “no,” anyone trying it was likely to catch a beating.

That world, imperfect though it may have been, was far healthier than the one we currently live in, but we made “the trade” instead. We’d get rid of those restrictive, old rules and in return we’d have a lot more sexual fun without the shame and consequences. Unfortunately, statistics show we had a lot less “fun” than most people thought we would. The median number of lifetime sexual partners among sexually experienced men and women is still only 4.1 for women and 6.4 for men. Meanwhile, according to a 2020 study, 1 in 3 men in the US between 18-24 had no sex at all in the last year. There are certainly plenty of outliers, but most people don’t actually sound like they’re having all that much “fun.” The consequences were a lot more than anyone bargained for as well.

Today, pornography is so ever-present that in some cases, researchers have had difficulty studying it because they couldn’t find a control group full of people that haven’t seen it, a majority of Americans now favor decriminalizing sex work, and Forbes ran an article called, “Prediction: Sex Robots Are The Most Disruptive Technology We Didn’t See Coming.” A library in England recently got into trouble for bringing a “Rainbow dildo sex monkey” in to entertain the kids. Not so long ago, there was a big controversy over a “conservative” porn star getting kicked out of the TPUSA Event for teens. In all fairness, I have never read (or seen) Brandi Love’s work, but it does seem fair to wonder how “conservative” an active porn star who has performed in films like “Incestuous,” “Unfaithful Wives 9,” and “Moms Lick Teens” happens to be. There are now young men whose girlfriends are TRANSITIONING TO OTHER GENDERS who don’t know what to do because they’re afraid they’ll be looked at as transphobic if they’re no longer attracted to their “girlfriends” who are now claiming to be male.

There’s an awful lot of weird ambiguity in dating as well. If a woman is clearly interested in you and willing to have sex, is there anything morally wrong with doing it even if you have no long-term interest in her? If a man and woman both get drunk and have sex, is it just a “that’s how human beings are” moment or sexual assault? If a woman you just met makes out with you at a club and heads back to your apartment, is that a clear, unambiguous sign she wants to have sex? Is a “cougar” who sleeps with much younger men a great example of a liberated woman embracing sex for her own personal pleasure or just a sad woman with few options trying to buff up her ego with guys who have no interest in her for anything other sex?

What expectations do we even have of each other at this point? Because sometimes what we say and what we do is a little contradictory. Most men today, if given the opportunity, would sleep with a porn star or stripper, but they wouldn’t marry those same women. In fact, ideally, most men would prefer to marry a woman who’s a virgin or at least close. Meanwhile, many of those same men will assume that a woman that doesn’t sleep with them after three dates is signaling her disinterest. Many women today dress like they’re auditioning for a rap video, but genuinely want nothing more than lots of validation from guys smashing the like button online. It’s pretty weird if you stop to think about it. We have many women that dress in a way that’s essentially the equivalent of carrying around a sign that says, “I am looking for sex” when they are not, in fact, looking for sex.

There’s even an increasingly fine line between dating and sex work. Take sugar babies. If someone is paying you to be in a dating relationship, is it dating or a long-term prostitution arrangement? Would it change your mind if you knew that at least SOME of the sugar babies get paid, but don’t have sex? What about women on OnlyFans, who get paid to get nude for guys? How much of a difference is there between them and what happens on Instagram? For example, perhaps the most famous OnlyFans girl is Belle Delphine. However, she also has nearly 700,000 fans on Instagram.

A post shared by @belle.delphiny

Is what she’s doing really all that wildly different than what the much more mainstream Kim Kardashian does to keep her 236 million Instagram fans coming back?

It seems less like a difference in type than in kind. The same goes for a lot of women on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re looking for married women or “good girls” that post pictures on social media that would have been considered unambiguously “slutty” fifty years ago, most of us know more than a few women with shots like that up. Yet, I also have no doubt that those same women would be highly offended if anyone suggested what they were doing was immoral. Is it even immoral? Unquestionably, almost everyone today would say, “no.”

We reserve complaints about “morality” for the most egregious examples involving sex. Porn stars. Strippers. Adultery. But a large portion of the public has gone even further than that and has completely disassociated sex and morality. If a man and a woman both CHOOSE to willingly have sexual contact of any type, for any reason, who is anyone to judge? Sex is healthy, normal, and natural! That sounds nice at first glance, but it’s just that mentality that destroyed the old functional system and led us to “drag queen story hours” for kids. We have created this cultural havoc because we’ve thrown out the old rulebook and are now expecting everyone to just figure out the new one on the fly.

There have been some attempts to solve this problem, but inevitably, they’ve only made things worse.

For example, we now have colleges running Kangaroo courts where young men are basically declared guilty until proven innocent and then heavily handicapped in defending themselves from charges of everything from sexual assault to having sex with their girlfriends without getting explicit permission. Many of these cases are so ridiculous and poorly handled it would be almost comical except for the fact 20-year-old men are having their lives ruined over sketchy charges that aren’t even being put in front of the police and few people seem to care.

Similarly, we’ve seen some people embrace the whole idea of “affirmative consent,” which is so bizarre and contrary to human nature, that it basically sounds like something space aliens would come up with to solve human mating problems. The idea behind affirmative consent is that each partner specifically nods off on each sexual escalation from beginning to end, each time they have sex. “May I kiss you? May I kiss your neck? May I put my hand on your breast? May I unbutton your jeans? May I… ugh” It’s tedious just writing that. Imagine trying to shoehorn that into a sexual encounter in the back seat of your car.

The next monstrous mutation of this whole unworkable idea was the #Metoo movement. The idea was that women just don’t lie about this sort of thing, so if they make an accusation, the man must be guilty! Except, women do lie about this kind of thing and they do it a lot. Yet, we have people willing to take the most ridiculous leaps to pretend that this is untrue. For example, Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s trial turned into a circus as a woman claimed that while he was in high school he tried to sexually assault her. She didn’t know the location, wasn’t sure of the year it happened, and all the people she claimed were there said it wasn’t true. Yet, it was still taken seriously. A new witness was produced who even falsely claimed Kavanaugh RAN A GANGBANG ring. Again, the whole thing would be a joke if there weren’t so many real-world consequences.

It would be a better world if we could just go back to the old system and I suspect that if we had a secret vote where people got to choose between today’s sex-drenched, porn obsessed, figure it out as you go along society, and a world where divorce was rare and everyone understood the rules, most people would prefer the old ways. However, since Roe v. Wade and advances in birth control have come along, sex and procreation are permanently detached from each other and that’s important because more than we’re willing to admit, morals tend to spring up to prevent real-world consequences. The fact that any sexual encounter could lead to a woman getting saddled with a baby she’d have to take care of while society disapproved of her getting pregnant out of wedlock was that kind of consequence and it drove a lot of the morals around sex.

That being said, if you dig into what men are starting to say online, you can see how it may be possible that similar consequences could spring up from that direction. Certainly, more and more men seem to be becoming disillusioned with single mothers. There are also more voices flat out telling men, “You can use single mothers for sex, but don’t get in a serious relationship with them under any circumstance.” For example…

If this movement were to really take off and become mainstream, it would almost inevitably lead to more marriage, less sex outside of marriage, and less divorce. In other words, it might not be good for single mothers, but it would be incredibly healthy for society and would lead to fewer single mothers in the future.

Something else that might help would be bringing our divorce laws into the 21st century. Rather famously, women initiate 70% of divorces, which shouldn’t surprise anyone because we’ve created a system that often incentivizes them to do just that. That wouldn’t be the case if almost no one was getting alimony, child support could only be spent on reasonable expenditures for the child’s basic needs, joint custody was the default after marriage, and nobody could turn a divorce into a major payday. If someone wanted to get a divorce, great, but they should expect to take away what they brought into the marriage and earned during the marriage, not what their partner earned or brought into the marriage. Implementing changes like that would lead to much less divorce and more stigma around divorce, both of which would be good things for our culture.

Will ideas like that ever come into play on a wide scale? That’s unknowable and they wouldn’t fix all of our problems in this area if they did, but they would be big steps back in the right direction, which is more than you can say for 95% of what’s happening with issues concerning sex in America.  

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