In random wandering today I ran across an article by Frederica Mathewes-Green in Christianity today with the rather provocative title "What to Say at a Naked Party". The article opens as follows:
Anyone who's been on a college campus lately will confirm the depressing report delivered by Vigen Guroian in this essay. As someone who does a lot of campus speaking, I've seen my fair share of posters announcing sex-toy workshops, transgender celebrations, and, on one Ivy League campus, an open invitation to a "naked party." What's a naked party? Anybody who wants can attend, but you have to take off all your clothes to stay.
It makes you want to weep for the children, for girls in particular, who deserve to be protected from this carnival of leering and molestation. Guroian hits the target in his demand that colleges do more to provide such protection. But what about the students themselves? How can we help them resist this expectation?
Once you get past the author wanting to "weep for the children" that apparently go to such (college) parties, the article is in its own way quite interesting. The author discusses the three arguments she can think to make to dissuade young healthy college students from having sex. She then notes that none of these are terribly pursuasive:
There are three typical strategies, and I don't think any of them works. The first is practical: We tell students to abstain because immorality leads to misery. But the libertines in the audience don't see evidence that this is so; they're having fun, for the most part, and it doesn't look like anyone is harmed.
In other words she admits that it is hard to convince them that having sex leads to misery when basically it doesn't.
The second is romantic: We tell students that marriage is glorious. Once again, they don't see a lot of evidence of that, not in the lives of married people they know, perhaps especially in the lives of their parents. What they saw at the breakfast table for the last 18 years doesn't look that great, and what they did last night didn't feel that bad.
She has a good point here too in a way. I would add though that having sex hardly precludes having a happy marriage in the future.
The next point is where she really won points with me:
The third is our foundational premise that it's a matter of "objective morality." We regularly complain that young people have no absolute values; that, in Guroian's words, "There is no right and wrong." But this message is likely to strike hearers as irrelevant, speculative, and quaint. Not only that, but flat-out wrong. These students have an objective morality. It's just different from ours. It's wrong to have sex with someone who isn't willing. It's wrong to transgress any one of a hundred subtle etiquette cues about who may sleep with whom under what circumstances. There is plenty of objective morality on their side, and they think it's better than ours. As far as they can see, theirs is working and ours looks pointlessly difficult. Why should they switch? This argument sounds like nothing more than "because I said so."
At this point having reflected that the rational arguments are not going to win out, instead of perhaps considering well she should rethink whether this sex thing is so bad she is as convinced as ever that it is so bad.
What we really mean, of course, is "because God said so." And indeed persevering in chastity is so difficult that no other motive except self-abandoning love of God is sufficient. All the warnings about the dangers of promiscuity, all the vaunted bliss of marriage, can be irrefutably countered by somebody's experience. Doing the right thing is not guaranteed to make you happy, and the wicked sometimes thrive. But because the love of God constrains us, because our bodies are not our own but bought with a price, we persevere in a difficult path, pressing on toward the light ahead.
The problem is she has utterly failed to show chastity is in fact the right thing to do, and she knows it. She is hopeful though that chastity will win out :
Chastity has been such a fixture of human history that the current situation is wildly anomalous, and I expect it will eventually right itself, probably due to women realizing that promiscuity doesn't make them feel empowered, but endangered.
Except she concedes above that there is morality to the sexuality she complains of and part of it is "Not against ones will" How will it make women feel endangered and why should it. In the end she believes "promiscuity" (which appears to be anything other than chastity) is bad because it is bad.
It is interesting that she talks about Hollywood :
I say "currently" because I think there is long-term hope. Look at It Happened One Night. While that excellent film exhibits good sexual morality, it also displays behavior we consider unacceptable today: drunkenness, smoking, threats to "sock" the female star. Hollywood wouldn't include such elements today, because the culture changed. It got better. Bad behavior hurts, and eventually this becomes undeniable.
I guess it would be inconceivable to her that coming to the conclusion that sex is not bad and it is not bad for women to like it and for society to accept homosexuality and these are also examples of culture getting better.