This is Gonna Leave a Mark: The Hookup Culture

Screen-Shot-2013-07-14-at-9.28.27-PM-e1373851764641What is the “hookup culture”?  It is not, as some might say, the liberation of women’s sexuality as much as it is women losing control over their sexual choices.  Does that sound absurd?  Every psychological measure tells us that when women use sex the same way men traditionally use it (low intimacy – low commitment – pleasure only) it leads to poorer long term emotional states for them.  Sex in any context is the mantra of post modern America and has been for a generation; long enough for the shine to come off the apple and for people to stop claiming that women only feel bad about their sexual activities because of social stigma.  There is no social stigma.  The problem is that men and women really are different and experience sex from completely different perspectives.  Pornography has driven the cost of sexual experiences down to little or nothing for men who use it regularly (and the majority of college aged men do use it regularly).  Real women are messy and expensive and, because of the proliferation of high speed digital porn, no longer necessary for men’s sexual satisfaction.  Women who want any relationship with men are up against porn stars who perform on demand and look perfect all the time.  Men’s sexual appetites and expectations are warped and their patience is thin.  Women who don’t conform to these sexual expectations are discarded.  The belief that everyone is having fun and it all doesn’t matter unless you let it matter is a lie that eventually wears thin for both men and women.

Watch this video of college aged men and women talking about the hook up culture and you will see evidence of sexual deception throughout.  Watch what the one man says about who he wants a long term relationship with in the end.  Watch the one woman tell us that she wants her daughter to know she is worth more than rubies so she can navigate this sexually liberated sea of confusion.  Watch it till the end of their segment and see the answer to the million dollar question: Do you want to have a life long committed relationship in marriage?

Someone should write a book to help these people…

This Sexual Revolution Thing is Working Out Great… if You’re a Man

“When we examine simple connections between recent and lifetime sexual partnering, frequency of sex, and a variety of emotional-health indicators—including depression scales, self-reported episodic crying, life satisfaction, depression diagnoses, and current use of prescription antidepressants—it quickly becomes apparent that having more numerous sexual partners is associated with poorer emotional states in women,
but not men.”
Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying by Mark Regnerus, Jeremy Uecker)

A good thirty years into the sexual revolution, the throwing off of “traditional” views of sex along with how we view gender roles, is working out great; if you are a man.  Men who used to pay a much higher price in terms of commitment and stability in order to gain access to sex, can now have sex for little or no commitment.  Women, who were encouraged to view their sexual decisions in a “liberated” way (ie to have sex when they wanted with whoever they wanted) are not faring so well by putting that into practice.  In the traditional view of sex, women were the gatekeepers who could demand relational security in exchange for sex, and men were the pursuers exploring the market for the price they had to pay for sex, and trying to have as much of it as they could get for the lowest cost.  As more women adopted these liberal attitudes toward sex, the market slowly started to flood with lower cost sex in terms of commitment to the point where a woman who withholds sex from a man is no longer an obstacle for him – he has plenty of options readily available.  Now men can have sex for next to nothing with many partners – literally a school boy’s dream, and they are doing it with abandon, and, evidently without causing themselves much long term damage.  Women on the other hand, are not faring so well.

Even getting married—deciding to settle down with only one sex partner for good—doesn’t erase the emotional challenges for women who’ve had numerous sex partners in their lifetime. While no association with depressive symptoms is apparent among now-married young women who’ve had up to four sex partners in their lifetime, problems appear among those who’ve had 5–10, and even more among those who’ve had more than 10 partners.  [Such] women display more intense emotional difficulties. Among those who’ve had more than 10 partners, 41 percent report being depressed at least some time in the past seven days. Just over 14 percent are actively taking antidepressants, and only 79 percent say they’re satisfied or very satisfied with their life. So while the security of a marital relationship can diminish sex-related emotional-health problems, it doesn’t often take them away.

It makes you wonder who’s idea the sexual revolution was in the first place, and what were they hoping to accomplish.  One name above all others attaches itself to this: Hugh Hefner.  Hefner is the living image of the beginning and shriveling up of the sexual revolution; a man of small physical and moral stature who lacks the generally valued masculine qualities which would attract and hold the attentions of a real woman.  A man who has everything to gain by tearing down the traditional sexual structures in order to gain access to what he wants.  It was all couched in such inclusive terms from the start – why shouldn’t we all stop feeling guilty about sex and relax?  Why shouldn’t women be able to have as much sex as men are having?  The truth was (and still is) that men were not having more sex than women; that single men always had (and still have) less and less satisfying sex than their married friends, and that women enjoyed sex much more when they had a greater power over the sexual market place by rejecting casual sex and waiting for sex in an emotionally stable relationship. What will happen in the next 30 years?  Given what I know about women’s character and ability, I predict they will tell their daughters and sons what a disaster the “sexual revolution” has been, and begin to teach them to reject it.  The generation raised by the victims of the sexual wars will raise a generation who will reassert sane and workable sexual practices that work for both genders.  When they do, many will be surprised at how “traditional” it looks.  I won’t, because to me it isn’t tradition, it is truth written into the fabric of the universe by our Creator, and rejecting it always wreaks havoc.  Maybe we can help get things started by putting posters of the original Playboy in every dorm room of America…


10 (counterintuitive) Ways to Have More and Better Sex

1. Get Married (yes this is a statistical fact)
2. Become a Christian (another statistical fact)
3. Stay Married
4. Talk to your spouse about stuff; any stuff that is on your mind
5. Listen to your spouse when they talk about stuff
6. Read the Bible to get good tips about sex (much better and more explicit than Cosmo)
7. Be generous with your possessions (sex is about giving and stingy people make bad lovers)
8. Plan spontaneity (fun things happen when we make room for them to happen)
9. Wash the dishes, clean off the desk (an ordered living room makes for a free bedroom)
10. Practice (no one does anything perfect the first time and every good thing takes practice to perfect)


A Man’s Take on a “Gentleman’s” Take

An article titled “A Gentleman’s Take On Why Women Should Never Settle For Less Than They Deserve” showed up in my Facebook feed today.  I don’t know what is more funny/sad; the article itself or the commentary it is accumulating.  Go read it for yourself ladies and see what it makes you feel.  Guys go and read it too and ask yourself if you downloadwant this man around your wife, sister, daughter, grandmother…any female you actually love and respect.  Does this sound like a gentleman?  The author obviously believes he is a gentleman, many of the commenters agree, both male and female, and over 27k people shared it so far.  Why is this getting so much traction?  This article’s take on women is so demeaning as to be a bad joke; a parody I’d expect out of Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake.  The author unknowingly illustrates his own point.  The reason so many women lower their standards is that the standard is so low that he can seriously pass off patronizing womanization as gentlemanly!

Earlier this week I wrote an article about the effect of more and more men using pornography.  Ultimately that effect is the objectification of women; reducing women to things rather than beings.  A Gentleman’s Take shows you the result of a porn saturated male mentality.  Not that the author himself is a porn user, I have no idea about that, but he writes from a culture where porn has dumbed down both men and women to the point where a man can assign himself not only the title of gentleman, but can purport to speak for all gentlemen on a web site that calls itself “The Voice of Generation Y,” in an article so silly, immature, and condescending as to be written by a horny 13 year old boy in any high school freshman english class.  The picture accompanying the article itself contains specifically pornographic elements intended to do what porn does; titillate and attract.  And the content reveals that gentlemen read poetry, roll their r’s, and like to get a few vodkas into a woman before they gently and oh-so-politely invite her into their bedroom (which is probably in his parent’s basement).  Evidently gentlemen are not very humble because other men are just “losers” who are “not worth the squeeze.”  The author ends by suggesting that women go out there and find a hopeless romantic (like him) because they are men not boys.

To the porn saturated mind, women are primarily objects of desire.  Men and women alike adjust to this reality.  Men maneuver to obtain the object and women maneuver to become more desirable.  Men who lack one tool to obtain their desired objects will find others.  The same with women.  The interplay between the sexes has always operated like this to one extent or another, but porn amplifies it by making sexual satisfaction of desire so readily images (1)obtainable that men can get whatever they want out of a digital woman without opening a door, buying a dinner, or meeting her mother.  Women are competing with cheap digital hookers for the attention of men.  This is how an article written by an obvious womanizer gets widespread acceptance.

How can we all, men and women, escape the lowering standards?  Go on a war against pornography?  Root it out of popular culture?  Men need to become men and women need to become women, not within the confines of a romantic relationship, but before the eyes of God.  Kierkegaard said there was only one “sin unto death” – one sin that would kill us as dead as dead can be – and that it was trying to become a self outside the presence of God.  Ladies, if you try to become your self merely in the presence of a man, even the best man, a true gentleman, you will never be all you were meant to be.  Your standard is too low.  Gentlemen, if you try to shape your self in a way that makes you acceptable to a woman, even the most lovely and worthy lady, you will not become all you were meant to be.  Your standard is too low.  God’s opinion of us is so high that every other opinion is not only a low opinion, it is a life-stealing opinion; it is death unless it is taken in relation to his opinion.  Don’t think so?  Try consoling your daughter when the boy she is dating decides someone else is better than she is.  Watch her wither.  What will you do for her?  Tell her another boy will come along?  His opinion will restore her to life?  For how long?  The best boy may grow into a man and give his whole life to her, but there is a helping-handsday coming when sweet lips cease to speak and a gentleman’s touch is cooled by death.  And that opinion is forever lost.  She must have a higher opinion and truer opinion, a permanent opinion.  There is only one man who gives this and gave it and promises to keep giving it.  The gospel is God’s opinion of us.  It is the promise not to hold us to a higher standard, but to lift us to an impossible standard.  This is the answer to our pornographically broken world; to accept his elevation.

“And now, with God’s help, I shall become myself.” – Soren Kierkegaard

So What if Men Use Porn? (as long as it’s not my man)

As the use of pornography continues to grow I’ve heard more and more women say things like this:  It doesn’t bother me if my (man) uses porn, as long as he’s true to me and treats me good – OR – my (man) told me he used to look at a lot of porn, but he doesn’t anymore, so it doesn’t make any difference to me if men use porn.

I put “man” in parenthesis here in place of relationship status, such as son, boyfriend, fiance’, or husband because it is at the point of relationship with a man that women mosthidden-agendas often begin to consider whether a man’s use of pornography affects them.  The truth is that men’s use of pornography is affecting every relationship women have with any man.  Even if “your man” never viewed/used pornography, men using pornography affected him, and it affects you.

Women and men live in the sexual marketplace, like it or not, and sexual economics affects all our relationships, intimate or business or family.  Sexual economics is not a description of john’s, pimps and prostitutes, but a recognition of a basic truth about how commodities are valued and traded.  Sex is a commodity most people want.  When there is a steady supply of a relatively high quality commodity the market is flooded and the cost of that commodity goes down.  Think about it like this: if you lived in a place where every one had an orange tree in their back yard that produced great oranges, the price of oranges would be very low.  In the case of pornography the effect on the marketplace is radical because porn is an instantly available substitute for sex with a incomparably low price as compared to the real thing.

When a majority of men use a cheap substitute for sex, the value of real sex plummets towards the value of pornography.  Think about that.  When you see things in the media that are increasingly sexually explicit and when you see and hear people expressing increasingly casual attitudes about their sex lives, it is not just the results of the sexual revolution that set us free from our hangups about sex,  it is sexual economics playing out in the marketplace.  In the early 80’s cocaine was the drug of choice for only the very wealthy due to its high price.  Around 1984 a cheap substitute, easily made from over the counter ingredients hit the American market.  It was called crack cocaine, and suddenly anyone could get a cocaine high for next to nothing.  Now crack is used in epidemic proportions.  Pornography is sexual crack cocaine.

The sexual marketplace of today is flooded with virtual women with impossibly perfect bodies performing any fantastic act a man could want, and they do it on demand.  When men enter the sexual market their expectations for what kind of sex they can have with what type of woman and at what cost are shaped by their use of porn.  When real women don’t look or perform the way these men want them to, and/ when those women ask a higher price for sex than they want to pay (like three dates instead of one), men can choose sexual crack instead.

Women who are on the market for a man find themselves compared to cheap fantasies with which they can’t compete.  Those who “hold out for a good man” or who have convictions about participating in sex that present a high cost to a potential partner (like agreeing to a life long commitment in marriage) are not just swimming against the current, they are swimming against a tsunami of women who are underselling them, giving away sex at pornographic prices because they believe they can’t compete in the sexual marketplace if they don’t.  Men who “hold out for a good woman” or who have convictions about sex face the same marketplace pressure. Relatively inexpensive sex and very inexpensive porn are available, and the majority of their peers obtain one or the other or both. It is very difficult to keep valuing sex at levels so far above the market.

Before any woman considers how porn use affects her specific relationships, men using porn on the scale they are using it has already made a difference.  We’ve already touched on the most talked about affect of porn upon man/woman relationships: comparison of real women to porn-plastic women.  Comparison is no doubt a huge issue, but the biggest difference widespread use of porn makes is in the objectification of women and men.  Sometimes we joke about men or women being nothing more than “sex objects,”  but no one wants to be reduced to a bodily function; only good for having sex with and not much else.  Porn is the ultimate tool in reducing women to sexual objects, turned on and off at the whim of their digital master. This would be damaging enough if it stayed in the bedroom, but it cannot. (further reading on this in another article here) We are sexual beings all the time; in the boardroom and the bedroom and the bakery. We are sexual beings whether we have sex or not.  Enough men spending enough time using porn creates a critical mass of men habitually objectifying women.  These men begin treating all women like objects, no matter where in life they encounter them. Women begin accepting their objectification as normal, and start acting like objects.  Men and women who never use porn are drawn into this cycle of playing by porn’s rules because they interact with those who are playing on the pornographically objectified playing field.  We are all touched.  We are all reduced.

The next time you are tempted to accept the thought that porn only matters if it happens in your relationships, remember this:  It is happening in your relationships when it happens in your community, your country, your culture. Don’t accept it as “normal” or “liberated” or “victim-less.”  Even if you don’t feel abused by it, you are, and your friends and family are.  People are not healthy when we are reduced to mere bodily functions.  We were made to love and be loved radically, regardless of our functionality.  We are not just useful; we are beautiful.  All of us.  The gospel released us from the need to perform. It says loudly and clearly that we are not useful to God, we are beautiful to God.  That is a high opinion and it is either true or it isn’t.  If it is true, Jesus provides us with a powerful tool to fight the tyranny of pornographic reduction; he gives us irrevocable love beyond function or performance.

Waiting for Sex: What Difference Does it Make?

We already know people are having more sex sooner in relationships than ever before, but did you know this:  a recent study revealed that waiting only a month or two to have sex boosts longer term relationship success rates to 26%?  And 35% of people who wait just six months before engaging in sex are still in that relationship a year later.

What is the correlation?  Why does waiting to have sex make any difference at all?  The answer is that sex is the flavor of a relationship, not its substance.  This is the opposite of the message our culture insists upon.  Sex does not connect us if we are not connected – sex expresses a connection.  Waiting to have sex means there is a greater chance of knowing someone – making a substantive connection – before putting on sexual blinders.fingerprint.heart-4476

Is this really so hard to believe?  How many of us have a friend who started hanging out with someone you and all your other friends knew was a bad fit in about 15 minutes?  Then your friend started sleeping with the misfit and insisted on staying with them in spite of all the evidence it was not going any where.  What finally broke the spell?  Usually one of two things; either (a) your friend or the misfit started sleeping with someone else or (b) for whatever reason your friend and the misfit couldn’t have sex for a while.  It’s like a fog lifts isn’t it?  Your friend emerges from the cloud.  All of a sudden the misfit is a Misfit.  What happened?  The sex was masquerading as connection.  Sex insisted the two were compatible.  Sex has a loud voice.  It is hard to ignore when it speaks up.  But we are not made for temporary physical connections, we were made for permanent whole person connections and our true selves will eventually cry out with a voice louder than the best sex.  Why?  Because we want to be known fully and accepted completely. Sex at its best falls woefully short of expressing our full self or assuring us we will not be rejected.

Waiting on sex turns out to be the smaller issue.  Wait on it as long as you like and it still won’t give you what you need.  But if you discover that the gospel offers you a lover who waits for you, who knows you utterly, and accepts you unconditionally…then sex isn’t so loud anymore.  Then you can take it or leave it, and if you take it, you can relax and enjoy it more completely than all the breathless unhinged desperate souls trying to milk a few moments of being known out of mere sex.