Apparently, America is of two minds about sex. You might say that it is a house divided against itself.
Victor Davis Hanson notes the seemingly incoherent mix of prudery and prurience:
Graphic language, nudity, and sex are now commonplace in movies and on cable television. At the same time, there is now almost no tolerance for casual and slangy banter in the media or the workplace. A boss who calls an employee “honey” might face accusations of fostering a hostile work environment, yet a television producer whose program shows an 18-year-old having sex does not. Many colleges offer courses on lurid themes from masturbation to prostitution, even as campus sexual-harassment suits over hurtful language are at an all-time high.
One might say that we are a nation of self-righteous hypocrites. But you knew that already.
The truth is, we are still living through our very own sexual revolution. We have been told that it is good to speak freely and openly about sex. More information absorbed earlier is better than blind ignorance. In the name of knowledge colleges sponsor symposia on the proper use of a dildo or on the best ways to find pleasure.
Prepubescent schoolchildren receive lessons in gross anatomy. People speak openly about anal sex at cocktail parties. In the name of knowledge people have learned far more than they want to know about female genitalia. And, let’s not forget, young men consume prodigious quantities of porn. To the point that young women feel that they have to compete against Jenna Jameson.
It has gotten so bad that modesty has become a joke.
How many young women still imagine that they have some power over whether a man can access the mystery of feminine sexuality? You cannot feel like a gatekeeper when what you are offering is available all the time for free.
It might not have been what the proponents of “free love” had in mind, but that is what it has come to.
So, women are now free to explore their sexuality as they wish. They are free to advertise their sexuality to whomever. They have a constitutional right to do as they please, when they please, with whom they please.
What’s the point of holding back? What’s the point of being coy and modest about sex?
Was modesty just a social construct that vanished with all those other anti-feminist injustices? Was it merely a form of patriarchal repression, designed to enslave women and prevent them from having more, better orgasms?
But, what happens when young women get involved in the hookup culture or the friends-with-benefits culture and feels ashamed?
Are women even allowed to feel shame or must they believe that if they feel badly about what they have done, the fault is with those who are saying bad things about them?
Obviously, the culture is militating against feminine modesty. Yet, most women are not very successful at numbing themselves to the anguish. When they follow the current culture’s dictates they do not feel very good about it.
Of course, this presents a choice. Surely, young women need to retake possession of their modesty and their self-respect. Considering the amount of sex talk and sexual images out there, it is not self-evident. Still, they do have the option changing the way they are conducting their romantic lives or shifting the focus to those who are failing to respect them.
They shift the blame to men. It is true that many young men today do not respect young women. In part, this derives from the fact that too many women act as though they do not respect themselves. In part, it comes from the fact that men have gotten their sex education from pornography. In part, it is a function of a culture that talks about sex all the time.
So, women do not like the way men look at them. They do not like the way men treat them. Yet,they fear that if they become more prudish they will never have another date. So, they find a fallback position: they overreact to the least workplace slight or the least sexual peccadillo performed by a public figure.
Let’s say that a modern woman who lives as the culture seems to think she should live will have to develop a thick skin. That means, she will desensitize herself. The culture dictates that she wears thong underwear and string bikinis and have lots of sex... what’s a girl to do?
Obviously, she is not going to feel very good about this. So, she will try to find emotional balance by becoming thin skinned, that is, hypersensitive about a man who makes an offhand remark at an office meeting or about a general who has cheated on his wife.
Do the extremes of thick and thin skin balance each other out? No, they do not. They produce a level of mental conflict that often requires psychiatric help.