Why “sexual freedom” has made young people miserable

By Jonathon Van Maren

We are rapidly approaching an era when there will be nobody left living who remembers what life was like before the sexual revolution. 

Even those who grew up in religious communities where biblical standards were still the norm inhabited islands of relative sanity surrounded by the roiling seas of sexual chaos and liquid modernity – and with the arrival of digital porn, these islands have been swamped, as well. Chastity has become the rarest virtue and – in a culture where sexual smog blankets everything like second-hand smoke – the most difficult to attain.

When I discussed hookup culture with my peers at university, what struck me was that none of them had rejected the idea of chastity – they had, almost with a few exceptions, never encountered it. The idea of delaying cohabitation or intercourse until marriage had simply not occurred to them. Most came from families who had now been post-Christian for several generations and encountering someone who actually believed these things was an anthropological experience. Their questions were usually curious and (unless the LGBT issue came up) rarely hostile.

I had similar experiences after joining the pro-life movement. During outreach near a high school, I vividly remember one high school girl telling me that abortion needed to be legal because she couldn’t raise a child on her own, as if the absence of the father was a foregone conclusion. 

I asked her why she wouldn’t consider delaying physical intimacy until she found someone she actually wanted to have a baby with. She looked thoughtful, then wistful. “That would be nice,” she said. The option had clearly never been presented to her. The stereotype of young people has them bragging about their sexual encounters – but I’ve heard far, far more stories of regret and feelings of worthlessness. 

All the available data indicates that sexual liberation has brought much misery, particularly for girls and women who inhabit a world where sexual appetites have been deformed by pornography, with a generation of young men wired to be aroused by degradation. Many grow up in homes scarred by divorce and watched their parents enter and re-enter the sexual marketplace while the progeny of previous relationships muddle about and make their own mistakes. For many, the idea of monogamous, lifelong marriage as the norm is family history from several generations back. They never rejected this lifestyle themselves. They were simply given every option except for that one that, when it is discussed at all, is laughed off as unattainable – despite previous generations having attained it, over and over again, for centuries. 


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