Many of you may not have been alive, or weren’t hip to the jive, or were too busy raising babies during the reign of mega-group Salt-N-Pepa. Well, “mega-group” may be a little over the top, but they were a pretty big deal for a while in the late 80’s and through the mid-90’s. One of their many hits was a song called “Let’s Talk about Sex.” As this is what we’re going to be discussing today, I found myself singing it in my head…and now it’s stuck. I will now attempt to exorcise this from my mind while working through this article.
For many years, our society has been participating in a so-labelled “sexual revolution.” By “sexual revolution” I mean we have decided, as a society, that we can do whatever we want, with whomever we want, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. The problem? That isn’t what is actually happening; it’s actually the opposite.
In order to illustrate this, I have employed a good, old-fashioned pros and cons list, with “it” being able to have sex liberally. The list is hardly complete, but I think you can see my point:
- It can indeed provide pleasure; and contrary to some people’s beliefs, pleasure is a good thing!
- It can lead to beautiful babies being born. Human flourishing is a good thing, right?
- It can lead to sexually transmitted diseases, and the strain of STD’s on families and the healthcare system is considerable.
- It can result in “unwanted” babies, leading to their abortion. I am going to assert that killing innocent children is a bad thing, not to mention the negative impact on the mother and father who then have to live with their decision.
- It can result in babies being raised in one-parent families and this is not ideal. Thinking that one parent can raise a child as good as two is optimistic at best. Some two parent homes are actually detrimental to nurturing children, but generally these situations are the exceptions.
- It can lead to terrible self-image. Have a conversation with a girl who has allowed men to treat her like the town bike and see how highly she thinks of herself. In some ways this is the worst outcome of them all. It breaks my heart to see people treating themselves and others in this way. In the spirit of transparency, my own story includes habitual promiscuity. I thought that sexual encounters with random women would fill the intimacy void that was situated in my heart. I was wrong. All it did was perpetuate self-destructive habits that gnawed at my soul, leaving me all the more susceptible to self-harm and ridicule. It broke me, and no doubt left others hurting too.
The comparison of pros and cons is pretty lopsided. The benefits of sex can easily be enjoyed within the confines of monogamous, lifelong relationships; whereas the negative outcomes of liberal sex typically aren’t. So what does this all mean for our present society? Essentially, we find ourselves in a long line of societies that also thought that “sexual freedom” was a right. If we choose to examine those societies, we could have the benefit of hindsight. We could examine ancient Greece. Or Rome. Or even modern-day Europe, in whose wake we are currently living. How well did it actually work out for them? The consequences have been shown to have negatively impacted society; because they negatively impacted families; because they negatively impacted individuals. See the line of dominoes?
Why, then, does this sexual revolution continue? Perhaps we’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that it’s “no big deal,” or that “those things won’t happen to me.” And perhaps, we’re not thinking about the big picture at all.
I don’t believe the answer is to abolish sex. We need to take some advice from Salt-N-Pepa and “talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be.” In its proper context, sex is a wonderful thing! But to regard it as something I can just “do,” irrespective of the consequences to myself and others, is problematic.
Sex isn’t wrong, but it isn’t a right either.
To hear more discussion on this interesting topic, check out this week’s Apologetics Canada podcast. You can listen here.
 As a starter, you can check out this Q&A session with sociologist Gabriele Kuby.