Monday, January 5, 2015

The Downside of the Sexual Revolution

Obviously, the new dating apps did not invent promiscuity. In our time, widespread casual sex dates to the sexual revolution.

Yet, Tinder and Grindr are not really dating apps. They are hookup apps. They allow you to find a partner for sex… right here, right now. It’s a little like prostitution, but it’s free.

As it happens, gay men have, in the past, been noted for their willingness to engage in random, anonymous sex acts. With the hookup culture and the new hookup apps, the practice has spread to heterosexuals.

One should emphasize the originality of it all. In the past, some people chose to keep their sexual acts within the confines of marriage. Some others—both male and female-- chose to supplement their marital sex life with adulterous love affairs. Finally, some men preferred to purchase sexual favors on the open market through the various forms of prostitution.

Adultery—in the sense of having a mistress-- involves a relationship, so it does not count as a hookup. Prostitutes are being paid to provide a service. At times, the service is sexual; at times, it is not. And men have been known to develop relationships with high end prostitutes. At the least, the women who are involved in prostitution are not giving it away for free in the name of mental hygiene.

With hooking up, we have created a sexual custom that has a certain originality to it.

Some would say that we could do so because we have easy access to better birth control.

This suggests that men and women in the past reserved their sexual activities to relationships, presumably because they understood the pregnancy risk. Women, in particular, avoided promiscuous sex because they wanted to find men who could provide for their children.

But, traditional forms of sexual behavior were better designed to promote good sexual health.

Whether it’s prostitution or hookups, more sexual partners increases the risk of the transmission of infections. Men have always been more likely to avail themselves of sex workers, but they could easily have brought their infections home.

Thus, women have always looked down at sex workers and other loose women.

Advocates of free love act as though condoms will immunize people from the unwanted side-effects of promiscuity, but, truth be told, even when condoms work exactly as advertised, they are not foolproof.

It is sometimes reported in the press, but the sexual revolution has produced epidemic levels of sexually transmitted diseases. Strangely enough, people are so afraid of being seen as sexual Puritans that no one pays much attention.

There are roughly 50,000,000 million cases of herpes in America. One is seven American women will contract pelvic inflammatory disease.

As for the larger picture, CNS reports:

Approximately 110 million Americans – more than a third of the entire U.S. population - were infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) as of 2008, the latest date for which figures are available, the CDC spokeswoman confirmed. That includes more than a million Americans living with HIV.

CDC estimates that nearly 20 million new STD cases are contracted annually, including gonorrhea (334,826 new cases reported in 2012), HIV (47,500 new cases reported in 2010), and primary and secondary syphilis (15,667 new cases in 2012).

Recent studies suggest that the new hookup apps have contributed the trend. They have significantly increased the likelihood that young people will contract one of these illnesses.

The Daily Mail reports on the situation in Great Britain:

The increasing popularity of dating apps on mobile phones has fuelled a surge in cases of sexually transmitted diseases, say doctors.

Tinder and other match-making firms have proved explosively popular, especially among those in their 20s and 30s, providing users with lists of potential sexual partners nearby.

But sexual health experts say 'hook-up' apps are leading to rises in sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

Gonorrhoea cases in England jumped 15 per cent between 2012 and 2013, according to official figures, from 25,577 to 29,291. Syphilis cases went up nine per cent, from 2,981 to 3,249.

Peter Greenhouse, of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, said: 'You don't have to be a genius to work out that these sorts of apps make having casual sex a damn sight easier.

Of course, many, but not all of these infections are treatable. But, many of them put women at greater risk of infertility than they do men.

Thus, it makes sense that women, more than men, are disgusted by promiscuity. As a survival mechanism, it signals that women instinctive distance themselves from dangerous substances.

And yet, some serious thinkers insist that we should overcome our disgust at certain sexual practices. By their light of these thinkers, disgust produces an unwarranted prejudice against certain groups of people.

Dahlia Lithwick summarizes Martha Nussbaum’s argument against disgust:

The philosophical question for Nussbaum is whether disgust of this sort is a "reliable guide to lawmaking." She cites Leon Kass, head of the President's Council on Bioethics in the George W. Bush administration, who has argued that it is; that visceral public disgust contains a "wisdom" that lies beneath rational argument. Then she proceeds to annihilate that argument by offering example after example of discarded disgust-based policies, from India's denigration of its "untouchables" to the Nazi view of Jews, to a legally sanctioned regime of separate swimming pools and water fountains in the Jim Crow South. Time and again, Nussbaum argues, societies have been able to move beyond their own politics of disgust to what she calls "the politics of humanity," once they have finally managed to see others as fully human, with human aspirations and desires.

I note Lithwick’s, and Nussbaum’s rhetorical sleight-of-hand. Nussbaum does not annihilate anything with the argument thus stated. She shows that disgust may be misused by certain politicians or cultures.

The notion that we should see other people as “fully human” sounds good on paper. The only problem is that people belong to social groups, to communities and to nations. There is no such thing as a human being that does not belong to a group and does identify as a member of that group.

It happens that all human groups identify non-members or outsiders as foes.

At times, they take it too far, exaggerating the difference in order to assert a false sense of group coherence, one that is not based on custom, ritual and ceremony … but that is based on blood.

Compare this to the psychopathology of phobia. Aaron Beck pointed out that most of the things that people are characteristically phobic about—snakes, spiders, heights, crowds, germs, blood—are effectively dangerous. When an individual suffers from a phobia he has an excessive and exaggerated fear of an object that should provoke some fear and due caution.

This does not mean that we should completely overcome our fear of those objects. One might exaggerate the risk posed by germs or by dead bodies or by feces but it is a bad idea to persuade people to repress their sense of disgust altogether. It is also wildly unrealistic.

We no longer practice the forms of xenophobia that Nussbaum identifies, but that does not mean that human beings should not have a survival mechanism in their DNA that draws them to those who are like them and that tells them to keep their distance from those who are not. Even if we do not like the survival mechanism, we cannot just wish it away.

If we wish to overcome the excess called xenophobia we should not, as Nussbaum says, fly off into the gauzy abstraction of everyone’s fully human humanity. If we want to overcome it, we should do business with other people, build relationships with them.

All of this to pose a question.

If women are naturally disgusted by promiscuous sexual behavior—for good reason, it seems—how did it happen that in the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty-first century so many women threw caution to the winds and performed actions that they were emotionally and genetically disinclined to do.

Clearly, these women overcame their sense of disgust and overruled the instincts that told them not to do what they were doing. Did they believe that their revulsion at certain sexual acts or certain kinds of sexual relationships was a neurotic vestige of a more Puritanical time?

Or, did they do what they did in order to ensure that no one would ever think that they were prudes?


Leo G said...

Well Stuart, we know that men pay prostitutes not for the sex, but for them to leave after the sex. Also, in regards to condoms. Most men and some woman swear that if the man is wearing a condom, it takes away from their pleasure. As a comic put it years ago, (paraphrasing).

"So if you really believe that this thin layer of latex stops you from feeling the other person, come on up here and let me put this thing on my fist and punch you in the head!"

Ares Olympus said...

Lots of good questions here. STD risks seemed like the best reason for my youthful prudence. Having statistics out there is good, but apparently not good enough.

I do think disgust is a somewhat unintuitive experience, that is subjective and variable, and it apparently can be overridden by other drives, perhaps a trick of evolution, since individuals who felt too much disgust were too sensitive reproduce?

I'd guess alcohol is a part of the explanation for women. Alcohol reduces inhibitions, and maybe disgust feelings as well?

We tried prohibition in 1920 and we got the excesses if roaring 20s. I think we do better now with steep alcohol taxes, but its still surprising to me how much people are willing to pay to lower their inhibitions.

Oh what can we do to keep women in a constant state of disgust to reduce immoral activity? Men seem to try very hard to be disgusting, but it just doesn't seem to work.

Sam L. said...

Feminists seem to be urging all women to have sex like men, or as they think men do; it's their. RIGHT as Woe Betide He or She who Says Them NAY.

I personally would be suspicious of an invitation for sex with anyone I did not know (robbery, disease, blackmail), and pretty much (I'm guessing 99.999%) of anyone I did know. As I don't know 100,000 people, that's effectively 100%.

n.n said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
n.n said...

They're doing their best to debase human life, beginning with casual abortion of wholly innocent human lives, continuing with selective normalization of dysfunctional and fetish behaviors. Perhaps a degenerate human being is easier to manage and exploit.

They're also emphasizing a narcissistic faith devoid of accountability to anything greater than human rulers. Who in turn feed their subjects an opiate that promises dissociation of risk.

I guess this is what some people want, and are deliberately propagating a perception of degradation that does not reflect the actual disposition of most men and women.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

I agree with n.n, and (as usual) he exposes a key point...

If you don't think that uncommitted, serial, recreational sex is an "opiate," you don't understand the definition of pleasure and its habitual, perhaps obsessive, draw. It progressively degrades pleasure, perhaps leading to addictive qualities. Result = no joy, no intimacy, no dignity. The human being reduced to an object of stimulative pleasure (even if there's mutual consent). Debasement of the sexual act as a means of bonding and procreative capacity. In short, death of any human connection or possibility.

Can I stop you? No, I cannot. We all make choices. We potentially learn from choices. But no human society has had the level of civil freedom and sophistication of communication to facilitate such diverse, disparate, long-distance, kinky or "made to order" carnal options.

Does this make human life better? What do we have then? To my knowledge, no one has a satisfactory argument beyond materialistic exchange of pleasuresome bodily fluids and separation following what is clearly a transactional event.


The Left loves to talk about "sustainability." Tell me how this is a recipe for sustainable relations between two (or, with further debasement, more...) human persons. Only if the offspring (whose potential form is sanitarily referred to as the "fetus") is collateral damage. If it gets that far, given modern contraceptives.

If the contraceptives fail, oops. No bother. We all know plan B.

Hedonism is real. Does it produce anything of longstanding worth? Well, that depends on the woman who becomes pregnant as a result of said encounters and her decision to abort or deliver at term. The statistics are not encouraging...

Narcissism is at the heart of all this. It's purely transactional. It's "I" and "I". No room for "we." In fact, "we" is the antithesis of the entire event. "We" is meddlesome. "We" is inconvenient. "We" gets in the way of "MY" fun.


JP said...

"If women are naturally disgusted by promiscuous sexual behavior—for good reason, it seems—how did it happen that in the latter part of the twentieth and early twenty-first century so many women threw caution to the winds and performed actions that they were emotionally and genetically disinclined to do."

You do realize that history is littered with examples of large groups of people doing really stupid things, right?

The potential for massive group stupidity is a feature of humanity.

I'm pretty sure that people are emotionally and genetically disinclined from doing things like *DEFORMING THEIR OWN FEET FOR INANE CULTURAL PURPOSES."

"Foot binding (also known as "Lotus feet") is the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls to prevent further growth. The practice possibly originated among upper-class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in Imperial China (10th or 11th century), but spread in the Song Dynasty and eventually became common among all but the lowest of classes. Foot binding became popular as a means of displaying status (women from wealthy families who did not need them to work could afford to have their feet bound) and was correspondingly adopted as a symbol of beauty in Chinese culture."

JP said...

"We tried prohibition in 1920 and we got the excesses if roaring 20s. I think we do better now with steep alcohol taxes, but its still surprising to me how much people are willing to pay to lower their inhibitions."

Prohibition was a rather successful cultural-spiritual movement that I suspect worked far better with respect to it's intended target than generally understood.

The excesses of the "Roaring 20's" had little to do with prohibition and much more to do with longer-term economic cycles and technological development.

It's analogous to the more recent 1995-2008 period. No prohibition this time, I note.

JP said...

"But no human society has had the level of civil freedom and sophistication of communication to facilitate such diverse, disparate, long-distance, kinky or "made to order" carnal options."

Is now a good time to mention how people absolutely loved watching gladiators actually slaughter each other in the Colosseum back in the day?

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

JP @January 5, 2015 at 5:52 PM:

By "carnal," I didn't mean chili con carne, nor butchering combat slaves for entertainment in the Colosseum. Gladiatorial combat has nothing whatsoever to do with what we're talking about here. So no, now is not a good time.

For the sake of the same period, Roman male citizens had lots of sexual options with boys and female slaves, and could make unilateral decisions with regards to any pursuant offspring.

But it's not status privileges that we're concerned about here. Those have been available to men since the beginning of time, right up to Jeffrey Epstein's lurid adventures in his Palm Beach mansion.

What I was talking about is instantaneous, consensual, quick-order sexual trysts, like Ashley Madison, etc. It's the new way to get sexual needs met, and Stuart was pointing out that women were "emotionally and genetically disinclined to do so" until very recently. My point is that technology has facilitated this in a way that is so impulsive, instantaneous, specific/categorical, and boundary-less that someone can order up an encounter in Los Angeles with a Native American lesbian from New Mexico for noon tomorrow if he/she wants, provided these's a match. I highly doubt a male Roman citizen had the option/means of ordering-up such a consensual dalliance from a redhead soprano from Gaul back in 23 B.C. The transportation alone would've been problematic, and the Roman might have reconciled with his wife or found a new wife by the time the rehead showed up to perform.

This is how things have changed so much with the combination of modern telecommunications, robust database technologies, and (most importantly) reliable birth control. There are few limits to the human imagination of what's possible. There are countless possibilities and combinations for any sexual appetite. That is what's new.

Still, the truly remarkable thing is that the number of these encounters is accelerating... one would not be unreasonable to think that traditional female emotional or genetic proclivities would a noticeable impact on the supply side. It has not. This is also new, if not surely unexpected... to say the least. The big question is: why? And I suspect that's what Stuart is pointing to: this is yet another downside of the sexual revolution, and the STDs bear that out.

I would go further to say that the STD numbers are suppressed in sexual education, reducing concern about health consequences in favor of sexual liberation of the female as an act of power. That's the tie-in with feminist ideology. Libidinous liberation, if you will. The Pill and the condom solve everything! Clearly this is not the case. Culture trumps public health every time, just as culture trumps everything.

Dennis said...

What we are doing is changing "Monika No Name" into "Molly Five Fingers and getting "Typhoid Mary" as a results. Sadly driven by feminism's desire to be something they are not. This does not make women more valuable as human beings, but less so.

Webutante said...

I recently went to the movies with two women in Sarasota. They couldn't wait to see Reese Witherspoon's 'Wild.'

I was underwhelmed to say the least and would have walked out of this heavy, dark film had I not been tethered to friends.

When asked by another friend what I thought of 'Wild' and the sex scenes, my exact words were that I found much of it 'disgusting.'

I was truly disgusted and depressed by the graphic sexual content as well as the non-stop foul language. I am embarrassed for Reese for being such a pathetic role model to upcoming and impressionable young girls. I told my friends that even as a hiker who loves the idea taking a long pack trip for healing, I do not give this movie a free pass.