We spend so much time here talking about chastity in the context of homosexuality, I thought we’d give the heterosexuals a good treatment for once. A non-member friend of mine, who is herself devoutly religious in her own faith, which has similar standards of sexual purity of ours, was living with her boyfriend. This was as frowned on in her faith as it is in ours, so she was doing it on the downlow, hiding it from her parents and family. She had a pretty stormy relationship with her boyfriend, who was not fit to be a husband let alone a father, and they had a nasty fight which led to a breakup. Two weeks after her breakup, she found herself pregnant, despite having taken all the usual precautions to prevent such an occurence. So now she is looking at two very bad options: abortion, or single motherhood.
I decry double standards that wink at sexual indiscretions in men while condemning them in women. But it is nevertheless a biological fact that women will always pay a heavier price (in this life at least) for sexual immorality. They bear a disproportionate share of the burden with unplanned pregnancies, they bear a heavier financial burden upon divorce, greater infertility from venereal diseases, and they suffer more emotionally with the “hookup culture” that is supposed to remove the commitment from sex.
The sexual revolution was supposed to herald a new era of freedom, of pleasure, of free love. It was supposed to free women, and men, from the chains of unhappy marriages, give children loving homes, and allow everyone to share themselves sexually with no consequences. The unrestricted right to abortion is supposed to be a “woman’s issue”, but its availability hurts as woman as much as a man, because it makes it more easy for a man to evade his responsibilities. When in the past a shotgun wedding would have been hurriedly arranged (or at least requirements for providing for the child), now, a man can just as easily say, “I don’t want this child. If you want to have it, you pay for it. I’ll pay for the abortion, but that’s all” and evade his responsibilities. It’s hard to see how this is an improvement, or how (for women at least) this is more freedom than before.
Meanwhile, 40 years after the advent of no-fault divorce laws, the returns are in, and divorce appears to be a pretty serious catastrophe for children.
The effects of pornography are much more controversial, but I think it can only add to marital dissatisfaction when you are comparing your spouse to an (airbrushed, surgically-enhanced)playmate model.
Isn’t all this sexual freedom great?There are over a million abortions a year, almost a million families broken up over divorce a year, and many children abandoned or born out of wedlock. True, many of these trends are going down, which is a wonderful thing.
More subtle effects are perhaps just as significant, like postponing childbirth and women delaying childbirth for their careers. These have consequences of higher infertility and less parental involvement at home. These are more subtle, but much more common even than divorce.
It kind of puts what we argue about here a lot in perspective. Since there are only around 7 million people who are homosexual, there are many millions more people affected by heterosexual unchastity than there are by homosexual unchastity.
But it should also give us pause. Any of us may in certain moments yearn for a way to gratify our emotional and sexual needs with someone else. We wish, as people have wished for since ages past, for this to be free of consequences. But for all of us, gay or straight, it remains a wish. Back in the real world, much as Satan would like to mask it, the choice to be unchaste has real, and often permanent, consequences. The law of chastity is as important in our age, with birth control pills, no fault divorce, abortion, mountains of porn available at the click of a button, as it has been in any other.