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Are you a Victim of the Sexual Revolution?
This page helps complete Step 1:
We honestly Face and Embrace the Impact of the Sexual Revolution on our lives.
If you are not familiar with the “7 Steps to Sexual Peace,” go here.
We have identified twelve categories of people who have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution. This questionnaire explores Refugees from the Hook-up Culture. Use this check list to see if you are a Victim of the Sexual Revolution.
Our goal here is not merely to identify Victims. The goal is to help the Victims become Survivors, and the Survivors to become Activists for positive change.
If you are a Refugee from the Hook-Up Culture, you may benefit from these resources created or compiled by the Ruth Institute.
Posted on: Saturday, October 13, 2018
(October 13, 2018) Dr J is the keynote speaker at the Respect Life Conference in Meriden, Connecticut. She gave two talks; this is the first one, "Understanding the Sexual Revolution," on what the sexual revolution is, its underlying ideologies, and how it moves forward. Stay tuned for her second talk in our regular podcast stream.
Posted on: Wednesday, October 10, 2018
(October 10, 2018) Dr J gives her life in books she's authored as a 10-minute presentation at Business Network International. More information available in our store, but here's the list:
Posted on: Tuesday, October 09, 2018
By Tyler O'Neil
This article was first published October 4, 2018, at PJMedia.com.
In 21st century America, sex is all around us: on television, in movies, in classrooms, in politics, and even in churches. Sex permeates our desires, our expectations for relationships, even our identity. The Sexual Revolution goes far beyond the LGBT movement, and it has fundamentally reshaped American society. But few Americans actually grasp exactly where this revolution came from. An explosive new book reveals that government and wealthy donors, rather than impersonal historical forces or newly liberated women, propelled the Sexual Revolution.
"The State bears the greatest responsibility for the toxic sexual culture in which we live," Jennifer Roback Morse, founder of the Ruth Institute (RI), writes in "The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologues Are Destroying Lives And Why the Church Was Right All Along." She presented five other explanations for the Sexual Revolution, and found each one wanting.
Many have suggested that the Sexual Revolution came about through the inevitable and impersonal "march of history." This view does not work "because it robs us and our forbears of human agency." Even the over-hyped birth control pill "is just an inert piece of technology" that people could decide to use or not use, or use in different ways.
Morse also rebuts the feminist narrative, which suggests that "these changes have been one long string of victories for the benefit and advancement of women." Ironically, the very success of women's liberation "undermines the claim that women have been completely powerless and dominated by the patriarchy throughout all of recorded history." Furthermore, the author argues that "the pro-life movement is dominated by women," suggesting that not all women want more of the Sexual Revolution.
Perhaps the most common explanation for the Sexual Revolution is the "liberationist narrative," which posits that everyone is more free thanks to new sexual norms. This view also cannot explain how age-old oppression was immediately dissolved in one generation, Morse argues.
Furthermore, many people "have become less free, in fact actually oppressed, by the very forces that are supposedly liberating us. The breaking of family bonds has increased the size and scope of the State, including the intrusion of the State into the everyday lives of ordinary people." She mentions college sex tribunals, family courts — which even rule on which schools and churches children can attend — and higher taxes to pay for social workers who manage tough divorces and family breakdown.
Morse also rejects the "over-population narrative," which suggests that "too many people create ecological disaster and economic backwardness," so the State needs to control population through birth control and abortion. Interestingly, advocates of this narrative "haven't been able to adapt the narrative to the changing circumstances of population decline, which the Over-Population Narrative itself helped bring about."
Finally, the author turns to a "steal capitalist narrative," explaining the Sexual Revolution by pointing to the many people who benefit financially from family breakdown. Abortionists, pharmaceutical companies, the fertility industry, pornographers, divorce professionals, family court judges and lawyers, medical professionals who specialize in sexually transmitted diseases, and social workers all perversely benefit from family breakdown, contraception, and abortion.
Even higher education and employers benefit from women choosing to get married later, to go to school and to work, rather than raising a family. Morse claims that employers benefit from easy divorce as well, as women are less able to rely on their husbands to financially support them. She suggests that these factors cement the Sexual Revolution, but they do not explain it.
The author boils the Sexual Revolution down to three basic "ideologies:" the Contraceptive Ideology separates sex from childbearing; the Divorce Ideology separates sex and childbearing from marriage; and the Gender Ideology eliminates the distinctions between men and women that individuals do not explicitly embrace.
"The Sexual Revolution needs the State for one major reason: the premises of the Sexual Revolution are false," Morse declares. "Sex does make babies. Children do need their parents, and therefore marriage is the proper and just context for both sex and childbearing. Men and women are different." The Sexual Revolution requires "reconstructing society" around a rejection of these basic truths, so it involves a great deal of propaganda.
"If you can make people believe Bruce Jenner, the 1976 male Olympic decathlon winner, is a woman, you can make them believe 2 + 2 = 5. If you can make people afraid to say, 'Bruce Jenner is a man,' you can make them afraid to say anything," Morse quips. "The Sexual Revolution is a totalitarian ideology with a blind commitment to the implementation of its tenets, regardless of the human costs."
The book begins with a list of victims of the Sexual Revolution, a topic for a future article. Those victims include children of divorce, spouses who did not want to get divorced, women who waited too long to have children, young women who wanted to abstain from sex, and more. Suffice it to say, the Sexual Revolution has harmed many people.
Morse narrates how the state unleashed the Sexual Revolution, beginning with the Supreme Court contraception case Griswold v. Connecticut (1965). The Contraceptive Ideology predated this decision and played a large role in pushing the Court to change the law on contraception.
The author cites liberal attorney Leo Pfeffer and conservative historian Allan Carlson, who agreed that governments will consider contraception necessary once they have established welfare states — in order to prevent the subsidized poor from having children. Tragically, the U.S. government pushed contraception before Griswold, pushing contraception in post-World War II Japan and other foreign countries considered to be U.S. interests.
In the 1960s and 1970s, USAID started pushing contraception and abortion, thinking these "family planning" efforts would help other countries defeat poverty. These policies were also wrapped up with the ugly eugenics movement in America.
In order to downplay the ugly history of eugenics, contraception activists turned to the work of Alfred Kinsey, an academic who claimed that "up to" 67 to 98 percent of American men ha had premarital sex and that 69 percent of American males had at least one experience with a prostitute. His claims were shot down by other researchers, who exposed his shoddy methods. But the Rockefeller Foundation funded his research and sent his crackpot theories mainstream.
Planned Parenthood and its allies enjoyed connections to elites, and helped push the Court in the direction of legalizing contraception for anyone across the country.
Similarly, elite institutions and big donors pushed no-fault divorce, Morse argues. After Ronald Reagan signed the first no-fault divorce law in 1968, the American Law Institute (ALI), founded with support from the Carnegie Foundation, crafted model legislation to insert the state in between husbands and wives — and favor the spouse who wanted a divorce.
The ALI pushed for decriminalizing private sexual acts between consenting adults, a key plank that struck down states' ability to regulate obscene materials and contraception.
By 1974, all but five states had adopted a form of no-fault divorce.
Morse argues that no-fault divorce positions the power of the state on the side of whichever spouse least wants the marriage to continue. This damages spouses who are committed to the marriage, but it also damages children who do not grow up with both of their parents. It also empowers the government, which now mediates between divorced mothers and fathers.
The author argues that the claim "the kids will be all right" is propaganda. She cites the work of Judith Wallerstein, who found that divorce has a long-term impact on children — damaging their prospects for romantic relationships in adulthood. Similarly, the worries about husbands abusing wives are overblown, as studies have shown that women and children are more likely to be abused in cohabiting relationships than in marriage.
Finally, Morse argues that the government and elites pushed the "Gender Ideology" — long before transgender identity went mainstream — in order to encourage women to be "ideal workers:" "a person who never takes time off, is never sick, whose mental and psychological focus is entirely on the job."
"We've built a society around the premise that our educated women must be permitted to time their 1.6 pregnancies right down to the minute when it's most convenient. But convenient for whom? All too often, it means the convenience of the employers, or the interests of the career path, or of those who hold the student debt which the young woman or young couple must pay down," Morse claims.
The author does not lament the fact that women have entered the "managerial class," highly paid professions which do not involve manual labor. She herself is a member of this class. Rather, she suggests that the pressures of work and the benefits of this class enable people to overlook the obvious differences between men and women.
"People who do manual labor aren't deluded for a moment that men and women are interchangeable," Morse quips. For this reason, men are vastly over-represented in the dangerous professions.
Women's involvement in the workforce need not be connected to the Sexual Revolution's Gender Ideology, the author argues. "I claim the right to participate in the labor market as women, not as men in skirts." She suggests that "educated women would be better off if they accepted that their fertility peaks during their twenties and planned their lives around this fact."
Morse lays out a basic life plan: Women should go to college for a liberal education, not a vocational one. They should et married and have kids early, using their higher educations to be involved in educating their kids. "Let your husbands support you. Trust them. Be grateful for them," and when the children are older, go back for an advanced degree and work.
Tragically, activists are pushing on all these issues and more. Morse discusses same-sex marriage in a chapter on the Gender Ideology. She recalls the battle over California's Proposition 8.
"The 'Yes on 8' campaign was arguably the largest grassroots campaign in history," she writes, noting that California's secretary of state website crashed because there were over 5,000 pages of contributors to the campaign. Yet modern "progressives" "took Proposition 8 to court on flimsy pretexts and rich people's money."
After Proposition 8 passed and the people had amended their constitution, California's attorney general refused to defend it. The people's will failed thanks to an effective pocket veto. in the case Hollingsworth v. Perry (2013), the Supreme Court ruled that proponents of ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 could not defend such laws in court, enabling Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) to resume same-sex marriage in the state. Now-Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) performed the first same-sex marriage after this ruling.
As with Proposition 8, wealthy liberals continue to push Sexual Revolution issues, particularly abortion and contraception. George Soros and Warren Buffett continue to fund abortion groups, and they use their money to "shape political institutions so they can use the government to recreate the world in their own image and likeness," Morse alleges.
Importantly, the book notes that contraception carries health risks for women, and some studies have shown that hormonal contraception is as likely to cause cancer as smoking. "Smoking has been all but banned, tobacco companies have been sued, and smokers have been socially shunned," Morse writes. "By contrast, the government actively promotes the use of hormonal contraception while the media plays down the risks."
Abortion, often considered an alternative should contraception fail, also carries tremendous health risks to the mother, which medical associations keep secret for political reasons, the author argues. She also notes that wealthy donors funded abortion activists who convinced the Supreme Court to strike down Texas regulations treating abortion clinics like any other medical facility.
"When the people of Texas, acting through their duly elected state legislators, enacted health and safety legislation for abortion clinics, the elites of society knocked it down," Morse declares.
"The Sexual State" makes a compelling case that state power and wealthy elites pushed the Sexual Revolution, and people should fight back. While Morse does address LGBT issues, her book mostly focuses on the negative impacts the Sexual Revolution has had on family life, harming faithful spouses, children of divorce, and many others.
Morse, a Roman Catholic, presents a very Catholic view of these issues and champions the Catholic Church's approach. Her book was ill-fated to release shortly after the sexual abuse scandal broke, but her points still stand.
The book may be too polemical, but it raises important questions about the hidden harms of the Sexual Revolution and who benefits from this humongous social change.
"The Sexual State" is an important book for libertarians to wrestle with, as it presents a compelling case that big government benefits from the Sexual Revolution, and that marriage and family would help weaken the power of the state.
Posted on: Saturday, September 22, 2018
Commenting on the recently released report by the Centers for Disease Control, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, President of the Ruth Institute and author of The Sexual State, said, “Record rates of sexually transmitted disease are another tragic consequence of the Sexual Revolution.”
The CDC reports that in 2017, there were 2.294 million cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. This is the 4th consecutive year these numbers have gone up. In 2013, there were 1.75 million cases of these three sexually transmitted diseases. In 2014, the number had grown to 1.8 million. In 2015, the figure was 1.94 million, and in 2016, 2.094 million cases were diagnosed.
Dr. Morse comments: “Each of these figures was the highest ever reported in that particular year. Given the state of society, we can expect them to continue to rise, with no end in sight.
“The answer of the ‘experts’ is more funding for health care and more sex education – as if we haven’t yet reached the saturation point.”
As The Sexual State: How Elite Ideologies Are Destroying Lives and Why the Church Was Right All Along points out, the culprits include a hook-up culture, and the idea that “everyone is entitled to the sex life they want,” including sex outside marriage, casual sex, sex at an early age, multiple partners, etc.
Morse notes: “There was a time when we understood that the only ‘safe sex’ is abstinence before marriage and faithfulness in marriage. As long as we treat sex unseriously, as long as we try to divorce this most intimate act from morality, sexually transmitted diseases will be a growing disaster.”
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse has a passion for helping young people avoid the perils of the sexual revolution. She is a popular campus speaker.
For More Information, contact: Beth Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on: Monday, August 20, 2018
Did the "sexual revolution" adversely affect me? You bet it did. My parents emigrated from Ireland to NYC in 1958. They were "old school" when it came to matters regarding sex, which was basically never discussed, and was otherwise "dirty".
I came of age as the sexual revolution was ramping up. Even though I went to a Catholic grade school, and was surrounded by people who were mostly Catholic, the old faith was falling away fast. My parents’ generation was blind-sided by this, and rendered mostly impotent to do anything about it. I never stood a chance.
The first woman I had a relationship with had already have five (five!) previous sexual partners. Her parents went to church every week, too. This did not sit well with me, and I did not even understand why, at the time, it bothered me so. It took me years to get over it. But we stayed together and got married. Mistakes, on so many levels. But I was young and stupid and immature. And the sexual component was powerful. There was a lot of pre-martial sex and contraception. That these things were not aligned with Church teaching was not even entering my mind, I am so sorry to report.
This kind of thing was pervasive in the culture to the point where it seemed all too normal. You were, in fact, considered not normal if you were not "getting it on" in as little as three dates. In my own workplace, full of modern and hip twenty-somethings at that time, it was a regular practice to go out, on weeknights, to dance clubs, and such. I invited my then wife to come along, she wanted nothing to do with it. I went anyway. She caught a whiff of my impropriety and ended the marriage in shockingly rapid fashion. Her agenda to procreate was in jeopardy, and she was having none of it.
The woman I ended up with after getting that divorce herself, of course, had prior sexual partners. But worse, had an abortion when she was 17. This really sent me in a tailspin. It caused much friction in that relationship. Of course, I was continuing to be happy by engaging in extra-marital sex with this person. This tortured relationship would go on for 8 years before it mercifully ended (with her infidelity).
I was set on a lost path at that point, one I never wanted to be on. I would enter every relationship I took on with the "long haul" in mind, even if my partners in each case were not necessarily of the same mind. In the worst case, one young lady who was reaching the age of no longer being able to get pregnant safely, did get pregnant. Despite her professing that she would never have an abortion, she did. There is not much help for the men of post-abortion trauma. That relationship ended and she wanted no part of reconciling this tragedy. I carry the weight to this day, and will to my grave.
Some years after that, I got involved with a woman who was not happy with her marriage, even as she was trying to get pregnant via IVF (you can't make this stuff up)! She came after me in a big way, and eventually I relented. This was as close as I would come to a family of my own. I ended up loving that child, but when her mother’s hormones settled down, she was done with me, even as she lived under my roof and had an engagement ring on her finger. I was crushed.
All I can say is that my life went off the rails in a big way because of the "sexual revolution". The old ways were the right ways. Young people, please, don't ruin your life. God Bless you.
Submitted by JN.
Posted on: Friday, July 27, 2018
I have been healing from the effects of the sexual revolution for about 30 years now. If you had told me as a 24-year-old that my life would be marked by emotional and spiritual wholeness, that I’d one day celebrate 28 years of marriage and three beautiful daughters, I would have thought you cruel for holding out that kind of promise.
My life up to that point had been overwhelmed by the choices my parents made, which wounded me (divorce, father’s addictions and abandonment, mother’s horrible live-in boyfriend), as well as the destructive choices I started making for myself as a teenager (sexual promiscuity and regular drug/alcohol use). The more I engaged in these behaviors, the worse I felt, and the guilt drove me into evermore destructive choices. My broken family had no religious, moral, or parental guidelines to put limits on my behavior. My mom was completely wrecked by a horrible relationship with a man who I would later find out was a predator. At the tender age of 18 he proposed to me one day during a lunch, complete with a ring and his plan that I would have his babies, but my mom would raise them. This was the man who I had lived in the same house with since 5th grade, and tried to see as a father figure, even though he was never interested in being a father to either my brother or me. It was just one more big crack in my already terribly damaged self-image as a young woman.
I would go on to have lots more hook-ups and drunken, drug filled nights as I moved into my 20’s. But I was getting desperate to understand why I was even on the earth. What purpose could my crappy life even have, and how could I ever hope to be different? I read self-help books thinking that was my answer. It didn’t take long to understand that reading about what was wrong was much easier than fixing it. Those books became a trap for me because I could understand the problems, but knew I was powerless, no matter how many times I determined to start fresh, to get out of the pit I was in.
I was only sure of a few things at that point. I wanted more than anything just to have a family of my own, but I was also committed to never doing to my children what was done to me. It felt like a no-win trap, because I knew in my morally bankrupt lifestyle I would never be a good wife or mother, nor would I ever find a spouse the way I was living. By my early twenties I had become convinced nothing about my life would ever be different, and I would be stuck and alone.
But a kind Christian man would come along in my mother’s life and fall in love with her, though she wasn’t a believer. My brother and I thought she was so desperate for a man that she was willing to settle for a “Bible thumper”! It soon became obvious that he wasn’t like anyone we’d met before. He shared his faith with me, and told me for the very first time in my life that I had a Father in heaven who knew me, loved me, and had a plan for my life. As I listened I was undone. Was it true that the God of the universe really knew me, and not just knew me, but loved me, even the way I was? The offer of salvation, the need to repent of my sins, being washed clean from the stain of sin, and knowing Jesus would be with me always was an offer I could not refuse. (My mom accepted Jesus as well.)
Healing came slowly but steadily as I pressed into living life with Jesus, taking in His Word, surrounding myself with healthy Christian community in a church committed to making mature disciples of Christ. Learning to practice healing prayer where I brought the pain of the past to the cross and Jesus exchanged it for truth and wholeness was, and still is, how I live free in Christ Jesus. The Lord has given me so much more than I could have ever hoped or imagined in this life, the most precious being a deep knowing that I belong to Him.
Submitted by S.
Posted on: Wednesday, May 16, 2018
(May 15, 2018) Dr J is Steve Koob's guest on his radio show from Radio Maria, "Quest for a Culture of Life in America." They're discussing the Ruth Institute's work exposing the myths and untruths of the sexual revolution as well as this weekend's "Healing Family Breakdown" workshop to be held at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan this Saturday, May 19.
Posted on: Wednesday, March 14, 2018
(March 14, 2018) Dr J is speaking to Freedom Readers, a project of Grove City College's Center for Vision & Values. Her topic is "The Government's Duty to Marriage: A Not-Exclusively Biblical Approach." Check out our podcast stream if you missed yesterday's talk to one of Grove City's classes, and stay tuned for Q&A afterward.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 13, 2018
(March 13, 2018) Dr J is speaking to a class of students at Grove City College near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Her topic is "The Government's Duty to Marriage: A Not-Exclusively Biblical Approach." Stay tuned for Q&A afterward, and tune in for tomorrow's talk in the same vein to Freedom Readers, a project of the college's Center for Vision & Values.
Posted on: Thursday, January 18, 2018
(January 18, 2018) Dr J is once again Sheila Liaugminas' guest on Relevant Radio's "A Closer Look." They're discussing the Ruth Institute's work caring for survivors of the sexual revolution, specifically through our series of Healing Family Breakdown workshops.
Check out our upcoming workshop in Kansas City, Kansas on January 27th--more information over at our website: ruthinstitute.org/events/healing-family-breakdown.Listen
Posted on: Monday, January 15, 2018
(January 8, 2018) Dr J is speaking with John Rustin on his radio show, Family Policy Matters. The topic is healthy actions and expectations before saying "I do," and they touch on specifics regarding cohabitation, weddings, divorce, and marriage.
Posted on: Monday, January 08, 2018
Posted by Marc & Julie Anderson on in Archdiocese, Leaven News
What part will you play in the future of the family?
It is a question that is on the mind of more than a few Catholic leaders these days, as we see the primary institution of our society fracture under seemingly insurmountable stress.
But the Catholic Church is not the only institution unwilling to throw in the towel on the institution of the family.
The Ruth Institute, founded in 2008 by Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, is a global nonprofit organization aimed at ending family breakdown by energizing survivors of the Sexual Revolution.
And it’s a movement that is coming to the archdiocese next month.
On Jan. 27, the archdiocesan office of marriage and family life will host the institute’s “Healing Family Breakdown” spiritual workshop at the Church of the Ascension in Overland Park.
The event is open to all, Catholic and non-Catholic, and, according to Morse, is meant to accomplish three goals: (1) heal families; (2) help participants prevent family breakdown; and (3) help participants become agents of healing within society at large.
When families attend the workshop, Morse added, something important and life-changing happens to them.
“You realize you and your family are not the only ones,” she said. “For a lot of people, that is huge.”
That realization is an important first step in healing, she said, and is often made manifest to her in a tangible way in the seating arrangement of workshop participants.
“The Holy Spirit has a way of seating people at the table who belong together,” Morse said.
For example, at a past workshop, she witnessed a teenage girl’s perspective change as a result of a conversation she had with a man at her table.
The girl was the daughter of divorced parents. She blamed her father for the situation and did not want anything to do with him.
However, also seated at her table was a divorced man experiencing loneliness as his children would not talk to him. A conversation between the two, Morse said, led the young lady to consider the hurt and loneliness her father might be experiencing, a perspective the teenager had not considered previously.
And that’s just one type of healing and paradigm shift The Ruth Institute is trying to bring about in the world.
On the nonprofit’s website — www.ruthinstitute.org — Morse identifies a dozen different types of survivors of the Sexual Revolution, ranging from children of divorce and of unmarried parents, to a pornography addict or a post-abortive man or woman.
If you recognize yourself, a family member or a friend in one of the 12 survivor descriptions, Morse discourages you from trying to go it alone. Participate in the workshop and begin the healing process, instead.
“We need [survivors’] participation,” she said. “We need you to be witnesses to say the church was right all along [about its teachings on family and sexuality].”
Morse calls survivors “the secret weapon” to restoring the family to its greatness and its rightful place in society.
“All these wounded souls need to speak up,” she said.
“Many people leave the faith over sexual issues,” Morse explained. “I know. I stormed off in a huff.”
But just as people leave the faith over sexual issues, Morse said, countless people later realize the beauty of church teaching and return to the faith.
“I was completely wrong, of course,” she said of her departure from the faith.
Later, by studying the church’s teachings and by watching her adopted and biological children grow, Morse said she realized how much children need their father and mother as well as how much they want their parents.
“That’s how I got interested in the family and how the family fits into society,” said Morse.
As she has watched the family structure in modern society continue to deteriorate, however, Morse is not without hope.
“A lot of what society is trying to do is undoable,” she said. “We believe it is possible to make the family great again.”
Posted on: Friday, September 29, 2017
(September 29, 2017) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're discussing Hugh Hefner's "legacy" as the man who advanced the sexual revolution by mainstreaming pornography.
Todd also mentioned Issues's annual Making the Case conference that's coming up--check out Issues, Etc.'s website for registration details.Listen
Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2017
By Brandon Showalter, CP Reporter
This article was first posted July 5, 2017, at Christian Post.
Younger Americans are less likely to cheat on their spouses than older Americans are, and although culture has become much more accepting of loose sexual norms, adultery is still viewed with disapproval, according to the social science data.
Writing on the blog of the Institute for Family Studies Wednesday, Nicholas Wolfinger, a professor of family and consumer sciences and sociology at the University of Utah, explained that a notable gap exists between those over 55 and under 55 regarding extramarital sex.
The "adultery taboo" has endured throughout human history, Wolfinger wrote. And the number of Americans who admit to having sex outside of marriage has remained steady over the years, hovering around 16 percent, giving the impression that Americans have basically concluded that extramarital sex is wrong.
Yet, some shocking changes have occurred since the year 2000, he noted: older Americans are cheating more and younger Americans are cheating less.
Wolfinger derived this assessment from the past three decades of data from the General Social Survey which tracks social attitudes about a variety of moral matters. Since 1991, GSS respondents have been asked: "Have you ever had sex with someone other than your husband or wife while you were married?"
"Starting after 2004, Americans over 55 began reporting rates of extramarital sex that were about five or six percentage points higher than were being offered by younger adults. By 2016, 20% of older respondents indicated that their marriages were nominally adulterous, compared to 14% for people under 55," Wolfinger said.
While the majority of Americans are committed to monogamy, "the mounting age difference is noteworthy and statistically significant," he added.
Wolfinger further underscored the role of the sexual revolution in the 1960s and 1970s as a driving factor in shaping the attitudes of people toward sex. For the generation who came of age during the sexual revolution — people who are now in their 50s and 60s — "it's understandable they are more likely to have sex with someone without their spouses," he said. These people are also more likely to have had more sexual partners in their lifetimes than their older or younger peers.
"They may have firsthand experience with 1970s-era experiments with non-monogamy. A few people born in the late 1950s may have had swingers for parents, leading offspring to question taboos surrounding infidelity."
After reaching a peak in 1990, sex among teenagers has fallen significantly, the data shows.
"Collectively, this sexual biography makes it understandable that products of the sexual revolution would be most predisposed to extramarital sex. If people just aged into outside love affairs, presumably as they grew bored of their marital beds, we could expect that the oldest GSS respondents would be the most likely to report extramarital sex," Wolfinger said.
But the data suggests that is not the case. The sexual revolution continues to produce fruit today in the generation who grew up in its wake, he observed.
Although the rate of divorce overall has dropped in the past few decades, "gray divorce," that is, divorce among the middle aged, has seen a surge.
"Part of that story seems to be a corresponding increase in midlife extramarital sex," he said.
Even as increased chatter about "open" marriages and other forms of consensual non-monogamy like polyandry have appeared on the scene, with the declines in extramarital sex observed for younger Americans, "barring any unforeseen developments, we should anticipate a future of more monogamous marriage," Wolfinger said.
Americans by and large "still disapprove of sex outside of wedlock, but we disapprove less strongly than we used to," the scholar noted, suggesting that society is witnessing a growing "sexual inequality."
GSS data also reveals that while some Americans have more sex out of wedlock, others have become even more disapproving.
"Indeed, perhaps some of this disapproval reflects the comparably high rates of extramarital sex 50-somethings and 60-somethings have been observing in their peers."
His analysis seems to comport with the findings in other related studies.
The Christian Post reported in August that contrary to conventional wisdom and a sex-saturated culture, young people are actually not having much sex.
In a study published last year in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, researchers Jean M. Twenge, Ryne A. Sherman, and Brooke E. Wells discovered that young people born in the 1990s were "significantly more likely to have no sexual partners" than Gen Xers. The only generation with a higher rate of sexual inactivity than today's 20- to 24-year-olds was the one born in the 1920s when controlled for time period and age.
"I think a lot of them are watching the adults around them and concluding that sex without limits is not making people happy. Parents with multiple marriages and divorces, etc.," said Ruth Institute founder Jennifer Roback Morse in a statement to CP, suggesting that younger generations were becoming wiser.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 04, 2017
by Bettina di Fiore on watchingthewhirlwind.net. Posted July 3, 2017.
“ And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” –John 8:32
There was a time not so terribly long ago that I did not believe in God and practiced no religion. I had various reasons that seemed compelling at the time—anyway, they’re not particularly relevant.
I believed my lack of faith gave me an abundance of freedom compared to all the strictured, structured religious people around whom I grew up, with all their rules and behavioral regulations. Indeed, I believed that hedonism was categorically liberating. So I indulged my impulses; if it felt good, I did it.
There was only one problem with my theory: it ruined my life.
At age 30, I found myself without a respectable job, significant family ties, a meaningful romantic partnership, coping skills, or a dime to my name. What I did have was a mile-high pile of debts and bills I couldn’t pay, a string of broken-off affairs with people I never would’ve considered marrying (some of whom were already married), two pregnancies but no children, and a tendency to seek chemical solutions to my problems. I also had a massive supply of prescription painkillers and other heavy-duty medications, so, as was my habit, I turned to them to solve what I came to consider my biggest problem of all—that of being alive.
In sum, I took over 500 pills. The hospital staff tasked with untangling the aftermath of my actions agreed that my survival was nothing shy of miraculous.
* * *
I now look back on that time as my period of enslavement.
I was enslaved to my impulses—it wasn’t a matter of choosing to indulge them, rather, I felt compelled to do so. When one doesn’t believe there is anything bigger, better, or more powerful than oneself, one deifies one’s own desires, and becomes addicted to one’s vices. If life begins and ends with my own experience of it, then my whims are imbued with the gravity of divine decrees; there are no apparent eternal consequences for indulging them, nor is there evidently anything more sublime to pursue in their place. Thereby, in rejecting God, one makes little gods of one’s vices and oneself.
At first, these gods seem benevolent. Take, for example, the tribute paid to lust in the form of a one-night-stand. When you exchange those first few glances with your quarry, everything is mystery, intrigue, and the challenge of the hunt. Your heart beats faster; your brain turns cartwheels scheming up potential plotlines. And when the deal’s been sealed, and you’re on your way to the rendezvous, you feel triumphant, as though you have captured a rare animal for your own private zoo. And your thoughts, still spinning, sound something like this: This time, I’m really going to let go and just have fun. This time is going to be the best one yet.
And then, the transformation begins. This rare animal you believe you’ve captured is his own personal god with his own deified desires and his own private zoo. You can “let go” all you want, but you’ll never have “fun” the way you hope to, because you mean just as much to him as he means to you—precisely nothing—and he, like you, is only there to indulge his own impulses.
Posted on: Tuesday, March 14, 2017
For immediate release:
“Families don’t just ‘break down.’ Marriages don’t just ‘fall apart.’ Somebody sins! So, go to Confession!” –Ruth Institute President, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse
Ruth Institute launches ‘Go to Confession’ Campaign
(March 14, 2017, Lake Charles, LA) During this season of Lent, The Ruth Institute has launched an online and billboard campaign encouraging people of all faiths to make things right with God. “Families don’t just ‘break down.’ Marriages don’t just ‘fall apart.’ Somebody sins!” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse stated in announcing the campaign. “That is why have launched a series of billboards and social media messages urging people to go to confession!”
Even in cases where one person has the major responsibility for fracturing the family, all family members can benefit from going to confession. “The injured parties may need help with bitterness, anger, emotional paralysis and many other issues. The grace of confession can help them,” Dr. Morse explained. “And of course, it goes without saying: if you have injured your family through addiction, abuse, adultery or desertion, go to confession. Jesus is waiting for you in the confessional and wants to forgive you. If you can’t tell him, in the person of the priest, that you are sorry, how are you ever going to be able to face your ex-spouse or your children?”
“Our ‘Go to Confession’ campaign reminds people that God is merciful and He will forgive us. What better time than during Lent?” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute said.
The Institute launched a billboard campaign in Lake Charles, LA, with messages: “Jesus is waiting for you,” “Sin makes you stupid,” featuring St. Thomas Aquinas (who loosely said that), and “Party’s over. Go to confession,” with an image of Mardi Gras debris. “Lake Charles is in the heart of Cajun Country, the Catholic buckle on the Bible belt. If we can’t publicly urge people to go to confession here, where can we? And the world desperately needs this encouragement.”
Dr. Morse added. “Guilty consciences make it harder for us to move forward and to resolve the issues caused by our sins, or the bitterness we’ve held onto from the sins of others.” Find the Ruth Institute’s ‘Go to Confession’ images on their website here, here and here.
The Ruth Institute is a global non-profit organization dedicated to finding Christ-like solutions to the problems of family breakdown. Founded by world renowned author, speaker and academic, Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Ruth Institute has accumulated decades of research to support individuals and families harmed by divorce, the hook-up culture, and other forms of family breakdown.
Reply to this email if you’d like to interview Dr. Morse further about this unique and beneficial ‘Go to Confession’ campaign.
Posted on: Thursday, March 02, 2017
by Penna Dexter
This article was first posted February 24, 2017, at pointofview.net.
A new study commissioned by the dating service Match.com shines a light on today’s hook-up culture, and it isn’t flattering. Match.com recently announced the results of its survey in which a shocking 34 percent of young adults report having sex before even going on a date with someone. Millennials — people between the ages of 18 and 34 — are 48 percent more likely to have sex before a first date, so they can “see if there’s a connection,” than all other generations of singles.
It’s a way to size someone up before committing time and energy to a relationship.
Match.com’s survey, that encompassed 5,500 people of all ages, also found that millennials are increasingly using Internet dating apps to meet people. Many of these apps are for the specific purpose of finding sexual partners.
But you can’t blame the apps. What has happened in the culture that makes this so commonplace?
One explanation for this phenomenon is hard to swallow: It says that young adults looking for love are simply too busy even to go out on first dates with people they have not already tested out as sexual partners. C’mon.
Another reason that’s been floated is that millennials are under so much pressure to get married. I hate to tell you girls but some things never change. This is no way to attract ‘Mr. Right.’
In reporting on this phenomenon, USA Today spoke with one sex therapist, Kimberly Resnick Anderson, who says the millennials who are engaging in sex before dating have inverted the relationship process. This, in a culture that has already destigmatized sex before marriage.
Jennifer Roback Morse is Founder and President of the Ruth Institute, an organization that deals with the fallout from the sexual revolution. Dr. Morse reminds young people of “the natural biological result of sex, bonding, and babies.”
Sex does create an emotional bond. That’s a positive if the couple is going to stay together. But when people treat sex as sort of a screening process for relationships they deny and distort that bond.
Sex is really a gift God has given us and, inside a marriage, the bond it creates enhances the relationship. Casual sex with multiple partners is really an abuse of the gift of sex. Jennifer Roback Morse says casual sex inflicts long-term damage on a person’s ability to form lasting, stable relationships. When young people do marry and have kids, these poor bonding skills will affect their children.
Dr. Morse says millennials respond better to real life stories than statistics. There’s a story that’s breaking my heart. The child of someone dear, barely 30, is ending her second marriage. Both relationships started out with sex early on, then cohabitation, then — bad marriages.
Sex before dating, even if the chemistry is great, means the parties are blinded by attraction. The couple that marries on this basis really has no
idea if they are well-matched.
Posted on: Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Number of sexual partners and duration of first marriage.
Regular readers of Faith and Family Findings are familiar with the data on family structure and its impact on everything important to a functioning society. On every outcome measured, for adults and children, those in an intact family do best on all the positive outcomes we desire for ourselves and our children (education, income, savings, health, longevity, happiness, sexual enjoyment, intergenerational support) and have the least incidence of all the negatives we hope never afflict our children (crime, addictions, abuse both physical and sexual, poverty, illiteracy, exclusion, ill health, unhappiness, mental illness, lack of sexual fulfillment).
Thus family structure is exceedingly important to society and a return to intact marriage is a sine qua non for a nation or for families set on
Given that, consider the implications of the following chart on the intactness of marriage at the end of the first five years of marriage:
What this chart shows is the probability of intactness of family after the first five years of marriage-- given the number of sexual partners of the spouses have had in their lifetime. Using rounded numbers: 95% of those who are monogamous, that is only one sexual partner in their life time ---i.e. only their spouse--95% are still in an intact marriage after the first five years. But for the woman (national average) who has had one extra sexual partner other than her husband (almost always prior to marriage) the percent drops to 62% and with two extra partners it drops almost to 50%. Thereafter it plateaus. For men it takes five sexual partners to reach the same level of breakup.
When I first saw this phenomenon in the 1995 data (the above is 2006-2010 data) my immediate reaction was “Those Mediterranean cultures that had chaperoning during courtship knew something about human nature, family life and intergenerational stability.” They ensured Mediterranean family was on the three-love diet.
Chastity and monogamy are foundational to the intact married family, and thus to the prosperity and success of a nation. Hence my conclusion that this chart is the most important chart in all of the social sciences.
A culture of monogamy is critical to a thriving nation or a thriving culture.
A culture of chastity is foundational to a culture of monogamy.
Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture. Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.
For the impact of monogamy at a more causative level check out the work of JD Teachman on Google Scholar or his CV and you will be able to thread the impact of monogamy in an admirable corpus of cumulative scholarship that is one of the great contributions to research on the family.
Though the above chart is purely correlational – it is demographically descriptive of America, of what is happening between our couples who get married. One chart cannot prove chastity is causative (go to Teachman and others to tease that out) but it sure indicates where causal strength (or weakness) can be found.
- See more at: https://www.mercatornet.com/family_edge/view/the-most-important-correlation-in-all-of-social-science/19344#sthash.EsUGM0kQ.dpuf
Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2017
'We are separating ourselves from our bodies'
A new survey detailing the extent of casual sex among singles shows many are having intimate relations before the first date, a development that can be blamed in part on technology but leads to tremendous regret and permanently damaged relationships.
This week, the dating service Match released a new survey on sex and singles conducted by Research Now. Included in the data are the revelations that 34 percent of singles have had sex before a first date and that millennials are 48 percent more likely to have sex before a first date than all other generations of singles in order “to see if there is a connection.”
In a USA Today story on the survey, sex therapist Kimberly Resnick Anderson suggests millennials have inverted the relationship process, using sex to determine if they want to pursue anything further with that person.
“We used to think of sex as you crossed the line now, you are in an intimate zone. But now sex is almost a given, and it’s not the intimate part. The intimate part is getting to know someone and going on a date,” Anderson is quoted as saying.
Ruth Institute Founder and President Jennifer Roback Morse says the discrepancy between millennials and other singles is that the older ones know better.
“The reason older generations are not [having sex before a first date] is because they have figured out already from experience that this is not a good idea,” Morse told WND and Radio America. “What we’re doing is just one generation of young people after another are having to figure out for themselves that hopping into bed with somebody is a lot more complicated and potentially hurtful than we’re led to believe by the media and stories like this one.”
Morse also said smartphone apps for the explicit purpose of casual sex are contributing to the trend.
“It’s a new thing when you have dating apps or casual sex apps on your cell phone and you can find out if there’s somebody close by who wants to have sex with you. That’s a new thing,” she said.
“The desire to be sexually active has been with us forever obviously, but this way of going about it and the way the culture is pushing people toward sex without any kind of intimacy or friendship, that is something new and, I think, uniquely destructive,” Morse said.
“What we’re trying to do is get away from this message of airbrushing away all the problems and allowing people space and time to say here’s what really happened. ‘Here’s how I really felt after casual sex. Here’s the next step after the first time you have that kind of encounter and then you get kind of swept away in it and are having one encounter after another and they’re not really satisfying you. Here’s where that leads,'” stated Morse.
She said her work shows that personal stories resonate best with young people.
“I think millennials particularly want to hear stories. They don’t care for data. All these numbers aren’t going to touch them one bit,” Morse said. “But if someone who is 35 years old stands in front of them and says, ‘This is how my heart was broken by doing what you’re standing there thinking about doing,’ they just might listen to that.”
Perhaps worst of all, Morse said, is the long-term damage casual sex inflicts on future efforts at meaningful relationships.
“The results of sex are bonding and babies. That’s the natural biological result of sex, bonding and babies,” Morse said. “If people don’t know how to bond with one another, they’re going to have trouble creating lasting, stable relationships for when they do finally want to have babies. Then they’re not going to be ready to really care for their children and give the children the kind of security and attachment that they need.”
She said the impact of poor bonding is also is also felt by the children.
“The kind of damage that’s going to happen to children of people who can’t form relationships is really hard to predict just how bad that can be,” Morse said. “Honestly, I don’t see a floor under this elevator. We’re still going down.”
Posted on: Friday, February 10, 2017
(February 10, 2017) Dr J is interviewed by Greg Corombos on Dateline: Washington, Radio America's nationally syndicated news magazine. They're discussing a new survey on sex and singles released by Match.com that details the degree of casual sex among singles in today's culture.
Posted on: Monday, January 30, 2017
Five tips to get you started on the path to a happy marriage.
If you are a take-your-vows-seriously type of person and believe in “till death do us part,” your life will be much simpler if you marry the right person to begin with. For some this seems a difficult task. Here are five tips to get you started.
1. If you’re dating someone to the point where things have crossed over that indefinable line into a “serious relationship,” stop and ask yourself if this is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Can you see this person as the mother or father of your children? If not, why are you wasting your time? Don’t put off the inevitable. It will only be harder later on for both of you. Meanwhile, the person who is right for you is out there still, waiting to meet that wonderfulness that is you. Or perhaps you already know him or her, but you’ve just been unavailable. Don’t stay with someone who isn’t right for you out of fear of being alone. Instead, get yourself one step closer to lifelong happiness—with the right person.
2. Ask the opinion of your mom or best friend
when it comes to your relationship with this person. They know you better than anyone and have an outsider’s view of your relationship. Does that person think you two are a good match? Do they like your significant other? If not, why? The tricky part here is to be open to the other person’s objective opinion. You may be filled with warm fuzzies just at the thought of this person, but those feelings will not last and will not sustain a marriage. There needs to be something backing the emotion. A person on the outside can see if your relationship has substance. Listen to that person.
3. Discuss children, finances, and in-law involvement. These are all issues that can cause conflict later on. If you truly love this person, learn to compromise. If you’re truly right for each other, you will agree on important areas such as these. If one of you wants seven kids and the other wants zero—you’ve most likely got a deal breaker. If one of you is a penny pincher and the other a spend-thrift, you may have conflict in your future life together. If one of you wants your mom essentially to live with you, while the other thinks a week-long visit every five years is sufficient, you’d best work that out now. Men, especially, have trouble saying no to their mother, but once the ring is on your finger, gentlemen, your wife becomes the most important woman in your life. She takes precedence. Your mom will need to understand that.
4. Once you’re engaged, take the marriage preparation seriously. Listen to the experts whose mission is to help you be sure you’re making the right decision and to have the best marriage possible. Engaged couples break up. It happens all the time, but better now than years, and children, down the road. Are there any nagging issues that you’ve been repeatedly pushing to the background or rationalizing away? Do you think he or she will eventually change, or that the grace from the sacrament of matrimony will fix everything? If that’s what you’re hoping for, you should know that it doesn’t work that way. Use this as a test: when you haven’t seen the other person for an extended amount of time, how do you feel when you do see him or her again? Does your heart sing or does it flop? Does it feel nothing at all? Take a hard, honest look at how you truly feel about this person. And do it now before it’s too late.
And finally and most importantly, if you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s when it comes to all the tips above, don’t blow it now by moving in together before the wedding. Cohabitation greatly increases your chances of divorce. What you don’t realize, and what society doesn’t tell you, is that living together means you don’t fully trust each other. “Playing house” is a mere rehearsal for those who don’t love or trust each other enough to do things right the first time. Instead, it’s using one another.
Real love cares about doing things right, in the right order. If you really love one another, and want to be together for the rest of your lives, don’t sabotage your future now. What’s waiting a few more months when you have a lifetime ahead of you? If you don’t believe me, keep this in mind: research by the National Marriage Project showed that “no positive contribution of cohabitation to marriage has ever been found,” and if you take the time to look, you’ll find lots of research stating the pitfalls of cohabitation—the stuff no one dares to talk about even though the evidence is overwhelming. Think you can beat the odds? So does everyone else. What makes you any different from them?
Remember that love is doing the right thing for the sake of the other person’s happiness and well-being, even, and especially, when it’s inconvenient to you. That may mean making the hard decision to break things off, or to wait to live together even though society may mock and misunderstand you. The greatest reward, a lifetime of married happiness, belongs to those who do the difficult, but honest and selfless acts. Best of luck to you!
Betsy Kerekes is Director of Online Publications at the Ruth Institute and co-author with Dr Jennifer Roback Morse of a new book: 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do.
Posted on: Tuesday, January 17, 2017
by Ben Johnson
This article was first published August 3, 2016, at LifeSiteNews.
Think Millennials are the most sexually active generation in history? Think again, say the authors of a new study released on Monday.
The number of young adults born in the 1990s who report they are not having sex is more than twice as high as it was for the Baby Boomer generation, a sign they have learned from the fallout of the sexual revolution, experts tell LifeSiteNews.
The study found that 15 percent of Millenials aged 20-24 said they had not had sex since age 18, more than those born in the late 1960s (six percent), 1970s (11 percent) or 1980s (12 percent). That is lower than their fellow Millennials born in the previous decade.
The definition of “sex” is left up to the respondent to define. However, the number of women who were sexually abstinent as young adults tripled since the 1960s, while the number of men doubled, according to the study, which appeared in the Archives of Sexual Behavior.
"I think a lot of them are watching the adults around them and concluding that sex without limits is not making people happy," particularly "parents with multiple marriages and divorces,” Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse of The Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews.
The study concludes that “the new sexual revolution has apparently left behind a larger segment of the generation than first thought.”
"The idea that these kids are 'left behind' by the sexual revolution is quite strange, as if they've somehow been sealed in a bomb shelter and never knew it happened,” Rebecca Oas, Ph.D., the associate director of research for the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), told LifeSiteNews. “More likely, they've seen that experiment running its course and decided they'd rather learn from someone else's mistakes instead of their own.”
The finding dovetails with CDC figures that show a majority of teenagers are choosing not to have sex. Only 41 percent of high school students reported sexual activity, a 13-point drop since 1991. Millennials also have a lower average number of sexual partners (eight) than either Baby Boomers (11) and Generation X (10).
Valerie Huber, the president of Ascend, told LifeSiteNews that her group – formerly the National Abstinence Education Association - “commissioned the Barna Group to survey 18 and 19 year olds and found similar results. The majority did not like the idea of ‘hooking up,’ and most of those who were not sexually experienced were waiting for a committed relationship."
Some do not know what to make of the results. The Washington Post wrote, "Delaying sex is not necessarily bad, experts say."
Numerous studies show having sex at a younger-than-average age leads to negative results, while delaying sexual activity and reducing the number of partners has positive outcomes.
Dana Haynie of Ohio State University found that early sexual activity increased delinquency by 20 percent. Experts have warned that earlier sexual activity can increase anxiety and negative psychological reactions, such as feeling used, especially for girls. A study in Pediatrics last year concluded that troubled children were more likely to begin having sex earlier in life, reinforcing the vicious circle.
Those who had sex later than average had higher incomes, educational achievement, and satisfaction in marriage, according to a 2012 report from Dr. Paige Harden of the University of Texas.
A 2014 report found that having multiple sexual partners and cohabitation before marriage decreased marital happiness after couples eventually tied the knot.
“We know that early sexual behavior tends to set a pattern for later behavior. The fact that more and more emerging adults are avoiding sex suggests they recognize that casual sex can compromise their life goals,” Huber told LifeSiteNews.
One young person told The Washington Post that, having seen so much sex depicted in pornography, "there really isn't anything magical about it” anymore.
Those who attend religious services are more likely to be abstinent, as well. "There was a significant increase in sexual inactivity among those who attend religious services once a week or more compared with those who do not,” Oas noted.
Huber said the most common reasons young people reported to Ascend for delaying sex were personal values and a focus on attaining their goals. She encouraged schools to teach Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education - as opposed to Sexual Risk Reducation (SRR) or Comprehensive Sex Education, which present teen sexual activity as more normative.
The study notes, “abstinence-only sex education and virginity pledges became more popular (and federally funded) after the 1980s, especially between 1996 and 2009, when abstinence-only programs received large amounts of federal and state funding.” Studies have found that abstinence-based education reduces the overall teen sex rate.
“This new research suggests that our students have caught a positive and healthy vision for their futures,” she said. “It also means that we must, as a society, be more intentional on reinforcing this same healthy behavior for young, single adults."
Posted on: Monday, January 16, 2017
It all probably started in high school when I became bulimic. I thought I was the only one in the world with this terrible compulsion. Now I know that 4 of the 6 daughters of my family engaged in bulimia during their teens. I also now know that my father was engaged in porn and put enormous pressure on us to look slim and perfect.
Later at the University of Wisconsin in Madison in 1971, I had a nervous breakdown at the end of my sophomore year and sought psychiatric care. The psychiatrist told me "the problem is that you are still a virgin." Until then, I had resisted the sexual revolution because of my morals and belief in the teachings of the Catholic Church. Suddenly I rationalized that since I was suicidal for so long, I was obligated to try anything to try to save my life.
Three months later I had slept with 4 different guys. I was headed to a life of promiscuity. I convinced a guy from my old high school that we should live together and then that we should sleep together. In 1973, this man became my husband, two months before our first son was born, and fathered 5 children with me. We divorced after 29 years.
He was unfaithful most of the marriage, perhaps because I had been promiscuous before marriage. I was faithful to him though. I was too busy and too blind to see. I still blame myself for seducing him in the first place.
I came to see that I had been wrong, because I was using men to lift me out of a suicidal depression. Sure sex can distract you from the pain, but not cure the underlying dysfunction. It has taken me 45 years of growing self awareness to appreciate that I survived and have been active in the prolife group ever since Roe vs. Wade, January 22, 1973.
In 1973, before my ex and I got married, I went for a pregnancy test at the Blue Bus free health clinic in Madison, WI. They gave me the positive results with a list of 5 doctors that would do my abortion. They knew I was single and poor. I quickly ran out of the bus and hid from the pro abortion atmosphere in Madison my entire 9 months. I felt like a spy for the prolife movement.
Every year though, I was able to become more vocal and active until I stopped hiding. I have been to two March for Life events both in D.C. with 3 kids and in Chicago with a grandchild. Now I am happy and God has just blessed me with Grandchildren #12 and 13. My family is prolife and good Catholics. My 3 sons have wonderful Catholic wives and are leaders in their churches. I am grateful that I didn't abort. I am grateful that I forgave myself and my ex and can love my whole family now.
Submitted by J. B.
Posted on: Friday, January 13, 2017
by Erika Marie at onesimplemama.com.
101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do by Betsy Kerekes and Jennifer Roback Morse.
After reading and reviewing 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage: Simple Ways for Couples to Grow Closer to God and to Each Other , Betsy emailed me last Fall and asked if I’d like to read their newest book, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person. I really enjoyed the layout from their first book with a very short one-page reflection for each tip, it was very easy to read and the tips were simple and easily applicable. After reading through this new one, providing 101 tips for those who aren’t married yet, I enjoyed it just as well for the same reasons as their first.
Obviously I’m married already and don’t have to worry about dating anymore (thank goodness!), I still found the tips very interesting and helpful. I lent it to a single friend who said that while she’s not really ready for a book like this quite yet as she’s not seriously dating anyone right now, she still enjoyed the ease of reading the tips and could tell it could be useful to someone in a more serious relationship.
I’d recommend this book as a gift for a single friend or family member – as long as they are open to it!
Posted on: Friday, January 13, 2017
(November 21, 2016) Dr J was invited to speak at the Altar Society in Lake Charles on the work and history of the Ruth Institute.Listen
Posted on: Tuesday, January 10, 2017
(January 10, 2017) Dr J traveled to Phoenix to participate in the Courage Conference, a Roman Catholic organization dedicated to helping persons with same-sex attraction live chaste lives and seek holiness. Her topic was "Understanding the Sexual Revolution."
She also fielded a brief Q&A session after the her talk; that's available to listen to as well.
Posted on: Monday, December 19, 2016
This article was first published at The Christian Post on December 6, 2016.
by Brandon Showalter
A new Centers for Disease Control study examines teenage health behaviors in connection to their self-reported sexual activity and shows those who remain abstinent are much healthier on many fronts than their sexually active peers.
The report, titled "Sexual Identity, Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12, United States and Selected Sites," showcased the results from a 2015 survey that monitored several categories of health-related behaviors like tobacco usage, drug and alcohol use, sexual habits, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence.
The report concludes "that students who had no sexual contact have a much lower prevalance of most health-risk behaviors compared with students" who had sexual contact.
In a Monday interview with The Christian Post, Jennifer Roback Morse, founder and president of the Ruth Institute, said, "this study is remarkable because it asks questions and reports the answers, rather than avoiding questions or assuming answers."
As Glenn Stanton noted last week in The Federalist, the results from those questions and answers are remarkable.
With regard to smoking, teenage virgins are 3,300 percent less likely to smoke daily than their peers who are sexually involved with someone of the opposite sex, Stanton computed from the report's data. Teen virgins are 9,500 percent less likely to smoke daily than their peers who are sexually involved with someone of the same sex or in a bisexual relationship, he added. Chaste young people are also extremely less likely to use indoor tanning beds, binge drink, smoke marijuana, ride in cars as passengers with a drunk driver, and get into physical fights than their sexually active peers. Abstinent youth are also more likely to get a solid eight hours of sleep every night and eat breakfast daily.
"Our children should know there's very compelling scientific evidence on so many levels showing how saving the precious gift of their sexuality for the safe harbor of marriage is nothing about old-time moralism or unhealthy sexual repression. Just the opposite is true," Stanton wrote.
And the advantages of refraining from sex during teen years are not just physical, Morse said.
"I've noticed that the chaste students we have worked with over the years at the Ruth Institute do not have the angst that one so often attributes to young adulthood," she explained. "I think it is because avoiding sexual activity avoids a lot of psycho-social drama that goes along with it. 'Does he still like me?' 'What is she really doing with that other guy, and do I really care?'"
"Also, one has to say: no one has ever died from not having sex," she added. "But people sometimes feel as if they are going to die without sex. If you feel that way, it may mean that you are addicted. After all, that is a primary indicator of addiction: you think you'll die without the endorphin rush that comes from the activity or substance."
The CDC report also included findings from 25 state surveys, and 19 large, urban school district surveys conducted among students in grades 9–12 which took place between December of 2014 and September of 2015.
Rebecca Oas, associate director of research at the Center for Family and Human Rights in New York City, thinks a significant problem driving the sexual dysfunction among teens is the wrongheaded approach and perspective many parents and teachers have regarding sex education.
"One can talk about the risks associated with sexual behavior among adolescents and the question of how to mitigate that," Oas said in a phone interview Monday with CP.
But far too often the operative assumption is "that adolescents will inevitably engage in these behaviors and so what you have to do is pump huge amounts of money into trying to mitigate the costs and the harmful effects of [those behaviors]."
"And yet, we have also seen data that more students are remaining abstinent than before, so the idea that this is somehow an impossible standard is just not true. The problem is that a lot of the people educating the children in the schools and even their own parents have taken on this fatalistic attitude. So they are not encouraging them and demonstrating to them that among their peers they would not be alone," she continued.
"The other question that I don't see anyone asking is: Is there anything beneficial at all to adolescents who engage in these activities?"
"And the answer is clearly no," she added.
"Maybe what we really need to be doing is educating parents how to parent rather than trying to encourage sexual experimentation among adolescents, assuming they are going to do it anyway."
Valerie Huber, founder and President of ASCEND, a Washington D.C.-based abstinence advocacy group, told CP that she has a question of her own: "Why aren't we placing a higher priority on encouraging youth to wait for sex?"
"In light of the fact that 90 percent of all federal sex ed funding goes to programs that normalize teen sex, it's evident that our priorities are all wrong," Huber said. "In addition to revealing that risk begets risk, the CDC report also showed that the majority of teens are waiting for sex. And that those numbers have increased 28 percent in the past 25 years."
"The next Congress and administration have a real opportunity to change course in sex education policy in 2017. Let's hope they take it. Youth deserve the skills to achieve optimal health," she said.
Posted on: Tuesday, December 13, 2016
This article was first published at Fathers for Good on November 23, 2016.
New book outlines Catholic plan for marriage
If the “101 Tips” of this handy little book could be summed up in a few words, they would be: Know thyself. The wisdom of Socrates holds true today, though the modern dating scene may cause him to add: Know the other person, too.
Authors Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes, of the Ruth Institute, have culled a wealth of social science, psychology, common sense and personal insights in 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person (Ave Maria Press). The book serves as a sort of prequel to their 2013 release, 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage. But it would be simplistic to assume that if you read their latest book on dating you won’t need the earlier one on marriage. We all need help in getting our relationships right.
The authors are clear from the start: “Basically, the young adult Catholic dating scene is horrific.” A brief chat with young Catholics will confirm this statement. There are no rules, even the chaste and faithful are afraid to commit, and parents, parishes and priests – three strong forces for matchmaking in the past – have pretty much left young people to find their own way. Thus, this book is not only for the young Catholic searching for love, it is also for older folks who want to have some ready answers and advice for the young ones in their lives. It would also make a nice Christmas gift for those of dating age.
You can read these 122 pages in one night, skipping around the different topics. Tip No. 8 caught my eye: “Pray for your future spouse.” This is exactly what my future wife’s grade school teacher in the Philippines (a nun) told her class of girls one day. My wife followed the advice and sensed that she was not called to marry a man from her country, and thus was not at all afraid when the opportunity came for her to get a master’s degree in the United States. You never know where God will lead if you give him your heart in prayer.
Under the chapter “Best Practices,” there are these little gems: “Be friends first” and “Ladies: Let him be a man. Gentlemen: Be a man!” Under “Potential Pitfalls,” you will find warnings not to “think you can change him or her into the perfect image of your future spouse,” or “waste your time on someone who won’t commit to you.”
Here are more tips, randomly flipping the pages: “Keep your head. Guard your heart.” “Don’t expect a fairy-tale romance.” “Don’t expect love at first sight.”
There is a helpful section on the common practice of cohabiting that includes research and common sense on why couples should avoid it, and a practical guide on wedding planning if the relationship gets to that point.
This is an excellent, extremely readable book that a dating couple could easily read together, having a few laughs as well as some serious discussions. Fathers could also use this little volume to start a conversation with their son or daughter on some topics they probably should discuss before the kids leave home.
Posted on: Monday, November 21, 2016
by Betsy Kerekes
This article was first posted at Catholic Lane on November 17, 2016.
It seems many people have marrying an idiot as their goal. The amount of couples getting divorced proves to me that many have already become experts. Sadly, there are still those hold-outs who insist on taking their vow of “till death do us part” seriously even when they get bored with one another or a more interesting/exciting/attractive person comes along.
To those old-fashioned people who care that divorce harms children in drastic, life-altering ways, or who still think difficulties in marriage are worth overcoming rather than throwing in the towel, this article is not for you. You need to get with the times. To the rest of you who wish to join the cultural norm of marrying an idiot and eventually getting divorced only to marry yet another idiot, please keep reading. I will help you find fulfillment.
Here are five steps to get you started:
Who cares about Mr. Right? Just go with Mr. Right Now. Your biological clock is ticking! Sure, you could break up with this person, stop wasting time, and go find your perfect match, but why take the risk? Do you want to be an old maid for the rest of your life? Ignore that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach that’s telling you you’re making a huge mistake. You can rationalize away all his or her flaws. Besides, you can change this person. People always change, especially people with addictions of any kind. They’ll get better once you’re married. Just wait and see.
As in do you both want them and/or how many? Talking about how you’ll raise them and educate them is a total mood killer. So what if you find out later that one of you wants to homeschool them while the other insists they’d be better off in public school? Or if one of you wants to protect their innocence, while the other says you ought to throw them to the wolves because it will make them stronger! Sheltering is bad for children. Let them make their own choices, form their own opinions. At least agree that you will not form the consciences of your children. That is not your job as parents. But in order to marry an idiot, be sure you don’t agree on these issues. Or better yet, don’t discuss them beforehand at all.
Yes, they have an objective outside opinion, but you’re right in there! The warm fuzzies and exciting newness is all you need. It will last FOR EVER. It’s all about your emotion. If you feel good being around this person, that’s all you need. People on the outside looking in just don’t get it. They don’t know you!
Doodling while the experts speak or checking your Facebook page is a definite must. That lady going on and on about the importance of finances and how you ought to have a plan for who is doing what and how you’ll handle money—she knows nothing.
And that little test they give but insist isn’t really a test but just a measure of your compatibility—it’s totally a test. What right have these people to question your fitness to marry one another? Their little test will tell you nothing. In fact, just copy each other’s answers. That’ll show those priests and marriage counselors to try to find any areas that you two need to discuss before the wedding. Can’t they see how in love you are? What more do you need? You’re totally ready!
How else will you find out if you’re compatible? Clearly, playing house is a good warm up for the real thing. It doesn’t in any way mean that you don’t fully trust one another to take the plunge. Sure, there are countless studies saying that cohabitation is bad for your marriage, and that you’re chances of divorce increase drastically. Yes, the National Marriage Project stated “no positive contribution of cohabitation to marriage has ever been found,” but what do they know? You can beat those odds. So what that that’s what everyone thinks and is clearly wrong? They’re not you. You’re special. You’re different from everyone else. Do what feels right and nothing else matters.
Congratulations, faithful readers. If you have followed these five easy steps, you too can marry an idiot.
Betsy Kerekes is co-author of 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage (Ave Maria Press 2013) and 101 Tips for the Marrying the Right Person (Ave Maria Press 2016). She also blogs at Parentingisfunny.wordpress.com.
Posted on: Friday, November 18, 2016
(November 17, 2016) Dr J is once again Molly Smith's guest on From the Median. They're discussing her latest book, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person, and interrelatedness of the marriage and life issues.
Posted on: Tuesday, November 15, 2016
By Barb Szyszkiewicz, OFS
This article was first posted
Two marriage-and-family writers have teamed up to put together a book of tips for Catholic singles seeking marriage. Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes compiled 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person. Subtitled “Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage and Say I Do,” the book is divided into several sections (depending on what point in a relationship you’re in at the moment):
Faithfully Catholic from start to finish, this book is designed to help young adult Catholics at all stages of relationships. Some tips are designed for solo reflection; others will provide good and necessary conversation-starters for couples. In the introduction, the authors note that our culture places many significant hurdles in the way of singles discerning marriage. They go on to state that they included two chapters on cohabitation because this is “one of the most significant marriage-preparation challenges faced by churches today;” the authors present solid advice without casting blame, and encourage couples to seek–and follow–pastoral advice.
These 101 tips are short, none longer than a page, but they are candidly challenging and surprisingly substantive.
Posted on: Monday, November 14, 2016
This article was first published at atxcatholic.com.
Today’s review is of a short book, so this will be a short review. Following on the heels of their successful book 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage , Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes have released a guide for getting to marriage in the first place. This new title basically begged me to read it: 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do. Yes, please! In this tiny tome, I found much to support my previous thoughts about important premarital decisions and a few new points to ponder.
As the authors note, it’s much easier to have a happy marriage when you’ve married the right person in the first place. Thus, most of the book is given over to how to improve yourself as a single, how to date wisely, and what to look for when the possibility of marriage pops over the horizon. They’re definitely on the right track there. I have never been married, but I used to do marriage prep (for other couples, not for myself), and I have a personal interest in improving the way marriages begin. Starting off on the right foot sounds like a good way to set yourself up for marital bliss.
Photo by Billy Quach
Some standout tips are:
16. When the relationship begins to get serious, seek the opinion of an objective third party, with emphasis on “objective.”
They suggest parents or siblings. When you marry someone, you marry their family, too, and family will still be with you even if the romance ends.
25. Do not date someone you wouldn’t consider marrying.
This wanders into an unclear zone. Similar advice has caused many people to not date at all, insisting that they have to know someone well enough to know they’d marry them before they will go on a date. How, then, do you get to know someone? Most people are worth one date, but I agree that you shouldn’t stay in a relationship unless you see it going somewhere.
45. Does the other person care enough to help cheer me up when I’m down or commiserate with me when I’m upset—whichever I prefer?
This is crucial. I am a commiserator. Pollyannas drive me crazy. I know they mean well, but it’s quite difficult to already be feeling down about whatever my stressor is and then also be upset about my partner’s failed attempt at stress relief!
Posted on: Tuesday, November 08, 2016
(November 8, 2016) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're discussing domestic violence against children, specifically in situations involving a live-in boyfriend or other unrelated adult.
Posted on: Friday, November 04, 2016
(November 4, 2016) Dr J is a guest on The Kristine Franklin Show. This morning, she and Kristine are discussing the modern world's abnormal separation of sex and procreation--and the fallout of the sexual revolution generally.
Posted on: Thursday, November 03, 2016
The expression, "I've been to hell and back," is a perfect description of my life, and the hell was mostly self-inflicted through my abuse of alcohol.
Even though I came from a loving, supportive, Christian family, I always felt like an outsider and “less than.” That all changed when I discovered alcohol. As a well-known A.A. Speaker once said, “I was a duck until I took a drink and then turned into an eagle.”
Alcohol took away my moral compass, and everything I learned growing up disappeared into the deep recesses of my mind. It also gave me a sense of indestructibility, which turned into carelessness and made me extremely vulnerable. I ended up being gang raped after one night of partying. (Feeling I deserved it, I didn't call the police).
My promiscuity resulted in three pregnancies. One pregnancy ended in miscarriage but the two others I terminated by abortion. After the rape and abortions, my drinking and promiscuity escalated. I acquired a nickname, “Pass Around Patti." I tried settling down thinking that would help but ended up with two failed marriages. It was at the end of my second marriage that I hit bottom. At around six o'clock in the morning, I called in sick to work because there was still beer in the fridge. After downing a few, I was hit with an indescribable feeling of self-loathing and despair. I went to the bathroom and got a bottle of prescription medication, grabbed another beer and sat at the dining room table. I had pills in one hand and a beer to wash them down in the other when “something” compelled me to call for help. As I was being admitted to a psychiatric hospital, the psychiatrist asked me why I wanted to die. I told him I was already dead inside and just wanted to finish the job.
After I was determined no longer a danger to myself, I was transferred to alcohol rehab. It was through A.A. meetings at rehab that I was reintroduced to God. It took some time but I eventually realized He did the intervention at the kitchen table. He wanted me to heal and to clean up the mess I had made of my life. It wasn't easy. In fact, coming to terms and making amends for the damage I had caused myself, family and friends was excruciating. My family and some of my friends forgave me but it took time to rebuild the trust. Forgiving myself was another story.
Although I had reestablished a relationship with God, it wasn't that strong, and I still carried feelings of unworthiness and self-loathing. A few years ago, He once again intervened and guided me to a healing retreat for post-abortive women. He knew I had finally reached the point of emotional and spiritual readiness to face my past and fully accept not only His love, mercy and forgiveness, but my own as well. I also learned that even though I turned away from Him, He never turned away from me. He was there all along, but I was too blinded by self-will to see.
Some have said, “It's a shame you wasted so much of your life,” and before that retreat I would have agreed, but now I consider those dark days a blessing.
If it weren't for the darkness, I would have never seen the light of His love and mercy. If it weren't for the darkness, I would not be able to share
the light of hope with others.
Submitted by P.S.
Posted on: Friday, October 28, 2016
In the film, Demolition Man, the year is 2032. The characters of John Spartan (played by Silvester Stallone) and Lenina Huxley (played by Sandra Bullock) are about to have sex having known each other less than a few days. John Spartan in fact is only a day or two living in this “brave new world” having been cryogenically frozen as punishment for manslaughter, back in 1996.
To the confusion of Spartan, Huxley asks him to put on a Virtual Reality headset. Spartan is unaware he is about to have “sex”. As both begin to reach orgasm, Spartan pulls off the headset and begins a rant that what they were doing was not real sex. In this version of the future, to keep STDs at bay, sex is done exclusively by V-R except for the rejects of society who live in the city sewers.
Rewind to 2002 and the real world, a male Catholic called Richard, played by me, is trying his best to act out the role of a secular atheist male with no Catholic or family history. He sees himself as liberated from the truth and love offered him by his family and Church.
Richard is in a worse state than the “Prodigal Son” when in his rebellion, since the latter we are told used his own inheritance. Whereas Richard finances this life through the State, using the student loan the UK government has given him to study 100 miles from home. This is where he meets “Anne.”
Within a few days Anne tells Richard she loves him and a year-long relationship ensues that is eventually ended by Anne. Pre-marital sex begins almost immediately but the inner life of Richard is beginning to already experience difficulties regarding this.
It is clear he has what has been looking for: Anne is a talented student, funny, caring, chatty and down to earth. She “ticks most boxes” and yet an inner struggle is present straight away, with Richard’s body, mind and soul altered forever.
Condoms are used each time. The most sensitive area on the male body is being wrapped in a man-made rubber fibre. For the duration of being sexually active and afterwards, the genital and lower-abdomen area feel tight and uncomfortable. The lack of scientific research means this is more a “hunch” but Richard feels a chemical imbalance has entered his body.
Richard notices too, that in the act of having sex, he can smell the rubber. Every time he smells it his lower abdomen pulls tight. Wearing rubber gloves brings him out in rashes too. Would it not be reasonable to think, that were he rubbing man-made fibres vigorously on sensitive parts such as the mouth or nose or eyes, that toxins would enter and create imbalances?
There is a change in mental health too. Although mental health issues were present already since eating marijuana as a 16 years old, a gulf exists between Richard’s inner longing for romantic love and lots of children, and this secular model he is playing out. This despite being in a loving relationship.
This realisation properly surfaces when playing a love song by Nick Drake called “Thoughts of Mary-Jane.” A deeply idealistic and romantic soul though Richard has, he cannot stop the tears as he listens, since his innocence and idealism has been exchanged for a lie. But it is the accompanying confusion that perpetuates this, since this is everything that had been proposed by Hollywood and the romantic poetry Richard had consumed since a pre-pubescent as the way of achieving inner-happiness.
Later reading of St John Paul II’s theology of the body, albeit a superficial reading, gives some confirmation to these feelings. As with the characters in the novel “Brave New World,” Richard has been prioritising sex over love. The model of love proposed in the media is a version that is rooted first and foremost in sexual pleasure and has no roots in Truth.
As the relationship comes to an end in, Richard is desperate to re-enter the Catholic Church. He goes to a priest for Confession who has a reputation as a very strict Confessor. The priest listens as Richard recounts his relationship and the lack of love he feels in his heart. The priest is gentle.
The priest asks Richard if he received the Eucharist at all whilst in this relationship. Not knowing Church teaching, the answer is yes. The priest bends over as though in pain, like he has just been stabbed in the stomach and asks that if Richard decides to have sexual relationships outside marriage, that he refrain from having the Eucharist. I get absolution and begin a new life in Christ.
It remains the mission of the Church to posit a positive view of marriage and family and the pro-life movement, that will attract others. For example in the March for Life rally in Birmingham, England, in 2015, a young woman seeing the joy and happiness of the people on the march, decided to cancel her forthcoming abortion. She brought her baby to the rally the year after, thanks be to God in Christ Jesus.
Submitted by R. F., England
Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2016
by Marcia Segelstein
One of the first sermons I heard at the Catholic parish where I would eventually be received into the Church was on the subject of marriage. The priest spoke about the relationship between a husband and wife as being indissoluble. Like siblings or parents and children, he told us, spouses formed a different, but equally permanent, bond with each other. It was as though a light bulb went on for me. “Of course,” I thought. “That makes perfect sense!” It was, simply put, the Catholic definition of marriage.
So while I firmly believe that commitment is the most critical ingredient for a marriage as it’s meant to be, choosing the right partner is pretty important, too.
Jennifer Roback Morse and her colleague at the Ruth Institute, Betsy Kerekes, have just released a new book called 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do. It’s an easy read chock full of great advice.
I’ve narrowed their tips down to my top ten favorites, in some cases combining a few.
1) Pray. Pray for encouragement, guidance, and consolation. Pray that you find your future spouse. Pray for him or her. And, as Morse and Kerekes put it, “If you have no prayer life, get one. Right away. For real. You think life is tough now, searching for the right person? Wait until you have to put up with each other – and kids.”
2) Be friends first. My husband started out as my best friend, so I can attest to the wisdom of this advice. It is, as the book says, “an excellent, no-pressure way of getting to know each other without stress or expectations.” It’s also a great way to avoid the pitfalls of the hook-up culture, where physical intimacy comes first, and emotional intimacy not so much.
3) Keep your expectations real. Fight the inclination to expect fairy-tale romance or love at first sight. Or, as Morse and Kerekes write, “This is real life. Your Prince (or Princess) Charming will not magically appear as you sing to the wildlife in the forest.” Nor will your perfect soul mate magically bump into you at Starbucks. You might find your future spouse there. But there’s no such thing as a perfect soul mate.
4) Don’t waste your time. It’s OK to want commitment. If the person you’ve been dating for months doesn’t exclusively want to be with you, ask yourself if he or she is worth it.
5) Try to imagine the future. Specifically, try to imagine the person you’re dating as the parent of your children. Ask yourself if you can picture him or her as a role model for them. “If not,” say Morse and Kerekes, “move on.”
6) Picture introducing your potential future spouse to friends and family. Would you be proud? Or would you find yourself embarrassed or ashamed of some aspect of his or her character? If so, some reevaluating is in order.
7) Take parents into consideration. Or, as the book suggests, “Evaluate your significant other’s relationship with his or her parents as well as your relationship with your own parents.” Most people have some unresolved issues with their parents. Try to determine if you’re ready to live with the consequences of your loved one’s, and take a hard look at your own.
8) Stay chaste. Sexual activity releases hormones that cause feelings of bonding, especially in women. Your ability to think clearly and rationally about what may be the most important decision of your life will be clouded by a hormonal fog otherwise.
9) Don’t live together. Study after study has shown that cohabitating before marriage is not a good idea. The authors put it bluntly: “Ignore the hype from popular culture: couples who live together prior to marriage are more likely to divorce than those who don’t.”
10) When the time comes, focus on the marriage, not the wedding. Keep Bridezilla in check and take this advice from Morse and Kerekes: “Take a deep breath, relax and go with the flow. This one day, though extremely important, is not as important as the rest of your lives.”
Posted on: Monday, October 24, 2016
by Terri Kimmel
This article was first published on October 24, 2016, at CatholicLane.com.
In today’s electronic world of tweets and status updates, communicating with brevity is everything. 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person: Helping Singles Find Each other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do by the Ruth Institute’s Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes speaks to the internet generation in a language and format that keeps up with the frenetic pace.
Being in my mid-40’s I don’t consider myself technically (pun intended) part of the internet generation. Still, even my middle-aged brain has become accustomed to absorbing information in short spurts. 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person conveys timeless wisdom to a time-crunched world. I loved this about the book. It is ultra-concentrated, but penetrates and enriches in a way that is fresh, relevant, and relatively effortless for the reader. It also has a wonderful list of additional resources at the back for those who would like to delve deeper into a subject.
The objective of the book is (from the book’s cover) “Helping Singles Find Each Other, Contemplate Marriage, and Say I Do.” Written as a kind of prequel to an earlier book by the same authors, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person impresses me most by the way it fearlessly goes into the dark places that our culture takes single people and meets them there with light, truth, and tenderness.
I am a child of divorced parents. I remember how my past created anxiety for me when I was preparing to get married. Jennifer and Betsy, the authors, tackle this issue head on. “The long-term effects of divorce crescendo in young adulthood. . . . Don’t be discouraged if either of you is a child of divorce. Instead, give this risk factor the seriousness it deserves. Get some help for whatever issues you may have.” Such candor and clarity would have been a comfort to me as I was preparing to get married.
Boldly addressing topics that our politically-correct culture often overlooks or ignores, the authors meet the reader where he/she is on the issue, explain the pitfall, and give friendly and easy-to-understand advice. There is no hesitation to “go there” on the tough questions. They even acknowledge that men and women are different! Scandalous, right? Who does that anymore? Tip #82 in the book says, “Be aware that a long-term cohabiting situation often puts women at a disadvantage compared to men.”
It’s a fascinating read even for someone like me who has been married almost a quarter century. Having read the book I feel better equipped to mentor the people who frequently ask me questions about marriage and/or parenting. (Having nine kids makes me a default resource in the minds of a lot of people.)
One of the sections is a list of “Do Not’s” followed by a brief explanation. Here’s a sampling of topics: “Ladies, Do Not: Dress like a floozy”; “Do Not: Date Someone Just to Annoy Your Parents”; “Do Not: Agree to marry someone because it’s expected.” It’s the kind of book that I could pick up, browse through for just a few minutes, learn something valuable, and then put down until later. I think this format will appeal to those in marriage preparation ministry, both priests and lay people. It’s the most user friendly marriage prep book I’ve ever seen.
The book is divided into several sections, starting with tips on finding the right person. It moves through discerning while dating/courting, into considerations about cohabitating, followed by a section on what to do if you’re already cohabitating. It ends with questions to ask yourself right up to the wedding. “Ask yourself one last time: Do I feel at peace with my decision to marry this person?” Every step provides insight based on the combined wisdom and experience of forty-five years of marriage of the authors who represent two generations and two very different sets of life experiences.
Jennifer Roback Morse, the founder of the Ruth Institute, has a Ph.D. from the University of Rochester and taught economics at the university level. She tells us in the book that she cohabitated with her husband before marriage saying, “Not all my expertise in this area is book learning. I can attest that the research I report in this book is true.”
Betsy Kerekes is a homeschooling mom of three young children, a graduate of the Franciscan University of Steubenville, and the editor and director for online publications at the Ruth Institute. The two very diverse points of view, joined by fidelity to truth and the common objective of mentoring those seeking a strong marriage, combine to create a depth of strength and wisdom that is valuable to anyone seeking a long-lasting, holy, happy marriage.
I truly loved everything about this book. I plan to recommend it to my pastor and the director of family life in our diocese. It’s also now on my list of books to give engaged couples, along with books by Christopher West, Gregory Popcak, and Natural Family Planning information. If you know of a couple wherein one or both do not like to read self-help books, this book is exceptionally easy to read and stuffed with good information. I think it’s an appropriate alternative resource to longer, more involved reads.
My favorite thing about 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person is that it is thorough without being tedious. My daughter married two years ago. I remember her telling me that she was disappointed with marriage preparation. She wanted topics to talk about. She also told me that she felt the priest who was leading her preparation was at a loss because my daughter and her fiancé were chaste and not already living together. The priest told her she and her fiancé were anomalies. The beauty of 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person is that it covers all the bases. My daughter would have found it useful.
I highly and enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone interested in helping marriages succeed.
Posted on: Wednesday, September 28, 2016
The idea that you can enjoy life without having sex is catching on.
by Nicole M. King
This article was first published September 13, 2016, at Mercatornet.com.
The News Story: Less Sex Please, We’re Millennials—Study
The British Guardian reported recently on an American study revealing—to the surprise of everyone involved—that millennials are having less sex than previous generations.
The study found that “the percentage of young adults aged between 20 and 24 who reported having no sexual partner after the age of 18 increased from 6% among those born in the 1960s, to 15% of young adults born in the 1990s.” The Guardian reports that in Britain, data is hinting at similar changes. According to Cath Mercer of University College, London, “In Britain we have seen a decline in the age at first sex between those born in the 1950s and 1990s but around one in five 16-24 year olds don’t report a sexual partner, challenging the stereotype that all young people are sexually active and from a young age.”
And given new research out of Sweden, this is good news for more reasons than one.
(Source: Nocola Davis, “Less Sex Please, We’re Millennials”—BBC, July 29, 2016)
The New Research: Saying No to the Sexual Revolution in Sweden
In the mid-twentieth century, Swinging Sweden commanded the global spotlight as a leader in sexual daring. But in the second decade of the twenty-first century, researchers are finding evidence that the young Swedes now responding to the Sexual Revolution with a firm No (Nej in Swedish) enjoy decided advantages over those who say Yes.
Assessing how sexual abstinence affects young Swedes was the purpose of a study recently completed by a team of researchers from three Swedish Universities: Lund University, Linnæus University, and Linköping University. In carrying out their investigation, the researchers parse data collected from 3,380 Swedish 18-year-olds, focusing their attention on those who were still virgins.
After carefully weighing their data, the researchers conclude that sexual abstinence comes linked to social and psychological benefits. The data indeed indicate that when compared to peers who have engaged in sexual activity, chaste young Swedes manifest “lower pornography consumption, lower alcohol and tobacco consumption, less antisocial behavior . . . lower sexual desire . . . and fewer experiences of sexual abuse.” All of these contrasts satisfy the analytical tests for statistical significance, but the disparity in reports of sexual abuse is truly striking (adjusted Odds Ratio of 25.5). Though it is the gap in vulnerability to sexual abuse that is particularly remarkable, the researchers calculate “increased O[dds]R[atio]s for sexual abuse and physical abuse” for the sexually experienced compared to the sexually continent.
Though the authors of the new study do not identify it as such, exposure to pornography understandably looks like a kind of psychological sexual abuse
to many conservative thinkers. So it is perhaps not surprising that the Swedish scholars find that the sexually abstinent 18-year-olds in their study
were decidedly less likely to have viewed pornography than were their sexually experienced peers. The researchers report that “the O[dds]R[atio] for
never having watched pornography was more than double for the males in the [abstinent] group and six times higher for the females.”
Posted on: Saturday, September 24, 2016
I am a survivor of the sexual revolution. I wasted my entire child bearing years on sex. It started in the early 70’s when I was 16 and lost my virginity to a 22-year-old. I got high and gave away my heart and wept. It started a whirlwind of relationships. Sex was powerful! I was exposed to porn. I was literally looking for love in all the wrong places and lost count of the bodies. I got pregnant at 18. We lived together to my angst. I wanted to be married, but he said it was just a piece of paper. I felt that he was rejecting me and our son and had a shameful whirlwind affair with a married man who divorced his wife to be with me.
I ran away within weeks of the whole mess. My son's father came back, but still no marriage commitment, no trust, but why should there be? I had another sexual relationship. My son's father’s last word to me was “Whore!” as he threw all of my son’s belongings on the front porch of my mother’s house and his stroller through the front door.
Sometime during then, my early 20’s, I realized that my body was beautifully and wonderfully made. I heard the Lord call me. I was a beautiful creation, but to my great sorrow, knew in my heart that I had aborted my future children with birth control. My mother backed me up when I was pregnant. She wouldn’t let me be shamed like she was when she had me out of wedlock. I cherished the life within me more than myself. My mother had a very unfulfilled marriage, but was open to having a grandchild, but we had fights. When I tried to voice my feelings, she said “you just need to get laid!”
I wanted to give him up for adoption to a man/woman who could get him what he needed to get to heaven. She thought I was trying to keep him away from her. I just wanted him to get to heaven. Someone showed me a picture of Jesus of Divine Mercy. I called on the Lord to forgive me and He did. I could see the Father and his love for me, the prodigal child, but it was just starting. The war raged on. I ended up in a psych ward and suicidal. It was hell on everyone around me. I was back living with my parents and son. I had terrible shouting matches with my mother. I had no control over anything and was in a corner alone. I just kept crying “I have no control over him!”
I was back to zero self-worth and had other affairs. I was worthless now. What difference could it make? My life was shattered all around me. I had been sexually “off the rails” since I was a teen and it spiraled to the destruction of me. My son was cutting himself and using drugs/drinking, and I lost my 1st grandchild to abortion when he was 16. He was so confused and angry and had no compass, no male figure to guide him, except for my dad, who became his surrogate. I will always blame myself for his eternal welfare. He was never baptized, but I gave him to God in my heart. I ask for mercy all the time and pray for him/us. I don’t know what else to do. I have two beautiful grandchildren now. Maybe God works with crooked lines and it will be okay.
Women’s lib is a lie. You can’t have it all. We are sold lies, and I devoured them. I was so angry once I knew the truth, but learning/hoping/asking/wanting mercy. It’s all any of us have. Thank you.
Submitted by C.L.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 20, 2016
I get angry at the lies I was told by my culture. The 'sexual revolution' is about selfishness. It promotes selfishness. It denies the truth of what love is. Love is more than a feeling. Real love, for a lifetime, is a choice, a commitment, and not one to be frivolously played with.
When my parents' marriage dissolved, it was then that subliminal messages were received. Those little deceits, the subtle nuance that sex outside of marriage was permissible given certain circumstances. It was the yeast that worked through the dough in my case, the little lies that came from the culture of the times (it was the 60's and 70's). The first lie that I believed was that we could be alone together but would not 'do anything wrong'. And when we did cross that boundary (losing my virginity at 19), the little lies we tell ourselves, that God will forgive because we love one another and we plan to be married one day.
Somehow I missed the part that the act of intimacy we engaged in was the marital union, the commitment to one another before God. I bought the world's lie that I had other choices, and that I should explore my other options before committing. I entirely missed the fact that I had already committed with my body to this person. Anything outside of that in God's eyes (and, as I would not understand until later, also in my own heart) was adultery. So of course when one day did not happen, and there was a new relationship, and then another, I ended up with less and less of my heart to give. The little lies that lead us one small step at a time down a wrong path.
I found the turning in my path when I did marry, and this was due to God in my heart and remembrance of Him and the things I had been taught. I found my strength in God from that point onward.
I'd known that with each successive partner I'd felt less of a connection and the bond was not as strong, but it wasn't until I began reading my Bible in earnest that I came to really understand the meaning of the one woman/one man union and bond of God. I came to understand the adulterer that I had been. I came to understand what I had lost. The only true marriage was that first intimate commitment I had made. 'No man may put asunder what God has joined'. That first bond is a lasting bond for life.
The beginning of the lies, the subtle deceptions that the devil uses--I came to believe that it was safe to be alone in intimate situations without committing acts that are meant for the sanctity of marriage. When it finally did happen I told myself that God would understand because we loved each other and I knew that marriage was what was in the back of both our minds.
But when the subject of engagement finally did come up, I realized I wasn't sure I felt secure in the thought of being married to this person for the rest of my life, and the thinking of the world, the 'culture', supported this notion of free dating with no consequences. This is the devil's lie, because you don't become aware of the consequences to your life, until too late.
When I began to read the Bible I became amazingly aware of how all the answers were written right there, if only anyone had ever bothered to read to me,
and teach me, the scriptures. The stumbling blocks in my life became very clear--The people who tripped me up by allowing my mind to believe that what
they did was acceptable and doable. I also came to see the people to whom I had unintentionally, but never the less, also been a stumbling block. I
understood God's words to 'avoid even the appearance of evil'.
Yes, I get angry at the lies my culture fed us, mostly through media, that removed God's standards and made the world's lies look desirable, and I get angry at what those lies cost me.
Submitted by C. L.
Posted on: Monday, August 29, 2016
This book is great - simple, achievable hints for a better relationship.
by Tamara El-Rahi
This article was first published August 16, 2016, at Mercatornet.com.
It’s not often that couples are in unhappy relationships because of big things like star-crossed fates or the fact that their families are feuding. More often than not, it’s the small things that come between two people – and isn’t that a shame?
Sometimes I observe a couple and wish they knew certain simple things that would really enhance their relationship. Which is why I am a big fan of the book 101 Tips for a Happier Marriage by Jennifer Roback Morse and Betsy Kerekes: because it’s literally 101 little and achievable things that make a big difference if implemented in a couple’s day-to-day life.
The different chapters offer a handful of hints that come under various topics, such as “Adjust Your Attitude,” “Get It Done Without Drama” and “Appreciate Your Spouse.” I can’t list all of my favourite tips as there are just so many good ones, but here are a few that stood out to me, as well as my thoughts on them:
Tip #5 – Enjoy the warm fuzzy feelings, but don’t feel cheated if they go away. Feelings are fleeting. “I like the way I feel with this person” is not enough to sustain a marriage for a lifetime.
A common mistake that people make is assuming that the way they feel in a moment is all that matters - but feelings change from day to day. I can’t tell you how frustrating it was to catch some episodes of the latest US season of The Bachelorette; seeing her base her decisions so much on the way someone made her feel over their other qualities. My feelings towards people can change when I’m hungry, for goodness’ sake! Feelings are good of course, but love more than anything needs to be an act of the will.
Tip #10 – Take responsibility for your own happiness. Your spouse does not really have the power to make you happy or miserable. You have a choice about how to react to what your spouse succeeds or fails to do.
This is something that many people struggle with – I sure have! I think that after the joy of falling in love, people expect that it’s their spouse’s job to always keep them that euphoric. Talk about pressure! No-one is perfect, so expecting your spouse to be will just leave you disappointed. Owning your happiness (or seeking it in God, for those who are religious) is so important for your relationship satisfaction.
Tip #35 – Practice giving to your spouse. “I’m getting up to get a cup of coffee. Can I get something for you?”
I love this one! No-one is happy with contributing 50-50; or counting how many good deeds they do in comparison to their spouse. Happiness comes from “100-100” – both giving their all and thinking of the other first; instead of focusing on what they’re getting: which too often becomes a focus on what they’re not getting! I know I always feel cherished when my husband brings me a snack or a drink when he went to get one for himself.
Tip #37 – Always speak well of your spouse, both in private and in public. Badmouthing your spouse to others makes you look either disloyal or foolish, or both. Say nothing if you can’t think of anything positive to say.
I’m sure you’ve experienced it – socialising with a couple as one lists the other’s bad habits in a passive-aggressive manner, as you awkwardly try to laugh it off or change the subject. Or catching up with a friend to hear her complain endlessly about her husband – not in a constructive way where she’s looking for advice, but rather in a “men are so stupid” way. Let’s be honest: these scenarios are pretty cringe-worthy. Unity is so important for a couple’s relationship to be strong! If you have something critical to say, it should be dealt with behind closed doors, and then you should move on instead of hanging onto resentments. Not to mention that the way one speaks and thinks of their spouse is how they end up relating to them – hence best to keep it positive!
97 more great tips like this to be found in the book! And for those who aren’t yet espoused, 101 Tips for Marrying the Right Person is due out this October.
Posted on: Friday, August 05, 2016
by Ryan C. MacPherson, a Ruth Circle of Experts member
Book Review: On the Meaning of Sex, J. Budziszewski
ISI Books, 2011; 145 pages, $27.95
Reprinted with permission from the author from The Family in America.
Noah Webster was no intellectual slouch. Proficient in the languages of the ancient Near East as well as of modern Europe, he painstakingly compiled the etymology, orthography, and signification of 70,000 words for the great American Dictionary of the English Language published in 1828. A product of his times, but also a product of one of the best intellectual traditions humanity has mustered in all of time, Webster did not hesitate to follow the guidance of natural law when defining terms that refer to humanity in its personal, social, and political manifestations. Webster defined sex as “the distinction between male and female,” male as “pertaining to the sex that procreates young,” and female as “noting the sex which produces young.” And marriage? “The act of uniting a man and a woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and a woman for life . . . for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.”
Two centuries removed from Webster, many people now reject his definitions as being too morally restrictive, too narrowly traditional, too out of step with the hodgepodge of Facebook status updates, YouTube videos, and MP3 downloads that shape personal identities today. Indeed, for college students such as “Harris,” the question no longer is whether Webster got the definition of “sex” right, but whether “sex” has any meaning at all.
Harris is certain that sex is meaningless. And yet, Harris is just as certain that the factories for human reproduction depicted in Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World are appalling. In the opinion of Harris’s philosophy professor, J. Budziszewski, Harris must be confused. How can the student say that sex has no meaning and nevertheless find it appalling that procreation has been separated from sexual intimacy and performed by a factory in the absence of parents? With this puzzle Budziszewski begins a book of philosophical inquiry, entitled On the Meaning of Sex.
Although Budziszewski does not turn to Webster’s Dictionary (he does not even cite it once), the conclusions he draws align with such wisdom from the past. Making such conclusions palatable to a postmodern audience is, however, a formidable challenge. Professor Budziszewski might be one of the last people on earth crazy enough to attempt just that—and with a fair amount of success.
For starters, the account of Harris demonstrates that “sex means something to us even if we don’t admit to ourselves that it does.” From this modest foundation—to which even the Harrises of the world find themselves assenting, however reluctantly—the good professor proceeds to build a case for three other claims: meaning is not arbitrary, human nature is not an oppressive construct but the “deep structure of what we really are,” and “human will isn’t something separate from human nature.” The course is thereby charted to discover what human nature is, to discern how human nature relates to the meaning of sex, and to conclude how the human will ought rationally to approach the topic of sex.
Of course, an author must first ask whether anyone else cares—for whom would it be worth writing on such topics? Budziszweski has three audiences in mind. He writes first for his own generation, the sexual revolutionaries of the 1960s, with the hope that “perhaps we can do better with our children’s children than most of us did with our own.” He also writes for the current generation coming into power, which has begun to recognize, for example, that divorce and cohabitation put children at risk, whereas lifelong marital fidelity provides children with the best upbringing as gauged by a variety of statistical measures. Finally, Budziszewski hopes to alleviate the burdens that his own generation has placed upon today’s young people. His philosophical style, however, makes the book accessible especially to broadly read individuals who have a grasp of the liberal arts, sufficient at least to appreciate his allusions to Aristotle, Dante, and Freud. Readers who shy away from such erudition will at least appreciate some cameo appearances by Katharine Hepburn, Mother Teresa, and Naomi Wolf—a diverse crowd to be sure.
In two simple sentences, Budziszewski conveys his straightforward thesis: “we aren’t designed for hooking up. Our hearts and bodies are designed to work together.” Or, more positively stated: only in celibate singleness and faithful marriage do the heart and body truly maintain integrity. Budziszewski defends his appeal to the natural design of human sexuality with an analogy from medicine:
Consider the young glue-sniffer again. How should we advise him? Is the purpose of his lungs irrelevant? Should we say to him, “Sniff all you want, because an is does not imply an ought”? Of course not; we should advise him to kick the habit. We ought to respect the is of our design. Nothing in us should be put into action in a way that flouts its inbuilt meanings and purposes.
What, then, are the inbuilt meanings and purposes of sexual union? The Harrises of this world, once they come around to admitting that sex has meaning after all, generally settle upon pleasure. Budziszewski disagrees. “Sex is pleasurable,” he acknowledges, “but there is nothing distinctive about that.” What, then, distinguishes sexual intercourse from other pleasurable experiences? Objectively, sexual intercourse unites two persons as one and has the potential to generate a third person, their child. Therefore, the inbuilt meanings and purposes of sexual intercourse are unity and procreation. And if this is the case, then traditional sexual mores serve as rational, and preservative, commentaries on human nature: “Honor your parents. Care for your children. Save sex for marriage. Make marriage fruitful. Be faithful to your spouse.”
Budziszewski goes a step further. Not only does he find a rational basis for the traditional values of chastity and fidelity that maintain a tight connection between marriage, sex, and childbearing, but he also claims a natural rationality for the distinctions between men and women that were taken for granted in times past but now are everywhere denied. Summarizing physiological research conducted over the past few decades, he concludes that men and women differ in far more than just their genitals. “Our brains are even more different than the rest of our bodies,” accounting for cognitive and emotional distinctions that enable an individual man and an individual woman to form a complementary pair. As for the old nature-nurture debate, Budziszewski sides strongly with nature, while acknowledging that each culture adds nuances to how men and women live out their gender differences.
Regrettably, Budziszewski says next to nothing about homosexuality, potentially rendering his argument out-of-date amid the rapid accommodation to same-sex “marriage” that several state legislatures and public officials have made during the two years since On the Meaning of Sex was published. On the other hand, what the book does discuss has relevance to the controversy over the public status of same-sex relations. For example, a chapter on love articulates the connections among objective meaning, human nature, and human will rehearsed earlier by noting that “although we are more than bodies, we are never less than bodies [and] . . . the distinctive thing about sexual love is that it desires the joining of polar, corresponding bodies.” Only one man and one woman can truly unite as one flesh, and only such a union has the potential for procreation. The unitive and procreative dimensions of sexual love thus have a specifically heterosexual orientation.
Recognizing that love may (and often does) involve strong feelings, Budziszewski finds a particular exercise of the will even more intrinsic to love, namely, “Marriage rests on a . . . radical assumption: that promises can be kept.” Marital love is “a permanent commitment of the will to the true good of the other person.” That commitment manifests itself in the bodily union of a man and woman as one flesh and in their mutual fidelity, which protects not only each other as spouses but also the children whom they thereby might conceive. Indeed, the commitments of individuals to remain celibate while single and of married couples to remain faithful to each other protect the entire society from a host of emotional and immunological traumas while also providing the best possible foundation for the maturation of children.
So far, Noah Webster would have agreed. Why, then, does Budziszewski seem to be among such a minority today? (By his own admission, he could lose his university job for teaching in the classroom what he has published in this book.) The final chapter suggests that as a culture becomes farther removed from Christian theology, it loses its understanding of human nature and the meaning of sex. “Human love,” concludes Budziszewski, “makes sense only in light of divine love.” The imperfections of human sexual love suggest a more perfect model toward which we fumbling mortals strive. More particularly, the existence of love itself testifies something of God’s nature: if God’s love is eternal, and love is relational among persons, then God must eternally exist as a plurality of Persons, namely, the Holy Trinity confessed by Christians.
Budziszewski’s final claim in favor of Trinitarian Christianity risks alienating other partners in the broad Judeo-Christian and natural law traditions. But self-alienation, argues Budziszewski, is precisely what the Harrises of this world already have, for they lack a genuine knowledge of their own nature as sexual beings. If the unitive and procreative nature of human sexuality points not only to marriage but also to God, then let it be so, says Professor Budziszewski.
Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D., is author of Rediscovering the American Republic (2 vols.) and Senior Editor of The Family in America. He serves as chair of the History Department at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, Minnesota. This article is republished with permission from The Family in America, the Journal of the Howard Centre for Family, Religion & Society.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 03, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published July 23, 2016, at The Blaze.
Earlier this week, the Ruth Institute sent a letter of commendation and 24 white roses to Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Our letter thanked him for “his clear teaching on marriage, family and human sexuality in the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
With all the excitement of the political conventions, why would we spend our time sending flowers to an archbishop? We want to shine the spotlight on the positive things people are doing to build up society.
The archbishop’s guidelines restate the Ancient Teachings of Christianity regarding marriage, family and human sexuality. These teachings are obscured today. No less a theological heavy weight than the mayor of Philadelphia castigated the archbishop, saying the Guidelines were un-Christian!
To be fair to Mayor Jim Kenny, we have to admit that the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, has caused worldwide confusion over Catholic teaching on marriage. Yelling at the pope has become a new cottage industry among tradition-minded Catholic writers. Pulling his words into a sexually indulgent direction has become a cottage industry among progressives of all faiths. And trying to parse out what he really meant has been a full employment guarantee for everyone.
Rather than getting involved in all that, we want to call attention to people who are implementing the unbroken teaching of the Church in a vibrant manner. Focus on what we know to be true and good. Archbishop Chaput’s Guidelines provide a clear and practical statement of ancient Catholic teaching, in the spirit of genuine mercy, incorporating language from Amoris Laetitia.
I believe that these teachings are correct, good and humane. I founded the Ruth Institute for the purpose of promoting those teachings to the widest audience possible. I don’t believe these things because I am a Catholic. On the contrary. It is precisely because I came to believe in these teachings that I returned to the practice of the Catholic faith after a 12-year lapse.
Let me discuss just one issue that has caused a lot of hand-wringing in the past 2 years. Jesus told us very clearly that remarriage after divorce is not possible. If attempted, it amounts to adultery. Why? According to Jesus, Moses only permitted a man to issue a bill of divorce because of “the hardness of your hearts.” (This is the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19, in case you were wondering.)
At that point, he could have said, “So, I’m going to eliminate this appalling male privilege and allow women to divorce their husbands, exactly like Moses allowed men to divorce their wives.” However, he did no such thing. He didn’t extend the male privilege. He eliminated it entirely. “From the beginning it was not so,” referring back to God’s original plan for creation. “I tell you, anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” One of the “hard sayings” of Jesus, no doubt. But pretty darn clear.
(And please: don’t trouble me with that so-called loophole, ok? The real innovation in modern no-fault divorce law is that it allows an adulterer to get a divorce against the wishes of the innocent party. No sane person can argue that Jesus provided that “loophole” to allow the guilty party to validly remarry.)
The Church teaches that civilly divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive communion because she is trying to implement this teaching of Jesus. A civilly divorced and remarried person is living with, and presumably having sex with someone, while still validly married to someone else. If the first marriage is still valid, the second attempted marriage is not valid, and is in fact, adulterous. What is so hard to understand about that?
You know who really understands this concept, who intuitively “gets it?” Children of divorce. Kids look into their parents’ bedroom and see someone who doesn’t belong there. “Who is this guy in bed with my mom: my dad is supposed to be there.” Or, “who is this woman in bed with my dad? My mom is supposed to be there.”
At the Ruth Institute, we know there are situations in which married couples must separate for the safety of the family. But we also know that those cases are by far not the majority of cases. No-fault divorce says a person can get divorced for any reason or no reason, and the government will take sides with the party who wants the marriage the least. The government will permit that person to remarry, against the wishes of their spouse and children.
This is an obvious injustice that no one in our society will talk about. The children of divorce are socially invisible. In fact, I bet some of them felt like crying when they read my paragraph above quoting with approval, what might have gone through their little minds. Many of them have never heard an adult affirm their feelings that something dreadfully wrong and unjust took place in their families.
Jesus knew. Jesus was trying to keep us from hurting ourselves and each other. And the Catholic Church has been trying to implement Jesus’ teaching. You may say the Church has been imperfect in her attempts and I won’t argue with you. But I will say that no one else is even seriously trying.
Political campaigns come and go. Political parties come and go. In fact, nations themselves come and go. But the teachings of Jesus are forever. What we do about marriage and children and love reveals what and whom we truly love.
That is why we congratulate Archbishop Charles Chaput for his guidelines. We wish the Archdiocese all the very best. Make Marriage Great Again.
Posted on: Wednesday, July 27, 2016
Petition to: Archbishop Charles Chaput of PhiladelphiaThank you for the wisdom and clarity in your Guidelines. We are praying for you!
For the Petition:
Posted on: Thursday, July 14, 2016
An alert reader of the Ruth Institute newsletter pointed out a financial connection between the Kinsey Institute researcher on the latest "study"and the sex lubricant industry. I'm not making this up.
The "study purported to show that virgins are too old-fashioned to have any friends or marriage prospects. I took down that study here. The home page for the Researcher, Amanda Gessleman shows that she has received a grant from KY Brand Power of Touch., a product of the Reckitt Benckiser corporation. They are evidently, also working on a project called The Touch Initiative.
Now, I am well aware of the power of touch. My first book Love and Economics, was about attachment disorder, which showed the power of touch in the lives of infants My second book, Smart Sex: Finding Lifelong Love in a Hookup World, had a whole section on oxytocin, and its power to build bonds between sex partners.
However, I think that accepting a grant from a lubricant company, that is promoting a massage oil product is going just a touch too far. From the company's press release:
The survey was the result of a partnership, called the Touch Initiative, between the Kinsey Institute and K-Y, a leader in sexual well-being and intimacy for nearly 100 years. The survey was a first step for K-Y towards achieving its vision to build intimacy in and out of the bedroom by creating special moments between couples. “We’re very proud to partner with The Kinsey Institute on The Touch Initiative, which is committed to better understanding the power of touch and how it impacts couples’ connectivity and overall well-being,” says Rachel Sexton, Senior Brand Manager for K-Y. “We look forward to leveraging our collective heritage to understand how a little touch is all it takes can help inspire couples to gain more intimacy in their lives.”
As part of getting couples to connect more, K-Y is also introducing new K-Y® Touch®, a 2-in-1 massage crème and pleasure gel. The touch-activated massage crème and pleasure gel is designed to magnify the skin’s sensitivity and deliver a gently warming sensation that builds with every caress, so that couples can slow down and truly feel their partner’s touch. The K-Y Touch product is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $14.99
To be clear, the Touch Initiative does not have anything directly to do with the "study" I critiqued, which was called, "Has Virginity Lost Its Virtue? Relationship Stigma Associated with Being a Sexually Inexperienced Adult." However, the Kinsey Institute cozying up to commerical interests kind of makes you wonder about their integrity, doesn't it? As if we needed any further reason to wonder....
h/t Regular Ruth Reader: Ken Hydinger
Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2016
by Fr. Mark Hodges
BLOOMINGTON, Indiana, July 5, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — A new study from the Alfred Kinsey Institute claims premarital sex is so universally accepted and practiced that virgins are considered social misfits stigmatized as undesirable relationship partners.
Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Sex Research, the study, titled "Has Virginity Lost Its Virtue? Relationship Stigma Associated With Being a Sexually Inexperienced Adult," found that most participants would be less likely to consider entering into a marriage or committed relationship with a virgin.
"While virginity prior to marriage has been historically valued, changing sociosexual scripts in the United States have made premarital sexual activity the norm for young adults," the authors summarized.
Study co-author Amanda Gesselman says the social mores of abstinence vs. promiscuity have undergone a "generational shift," which she considers healthy. "People are becoming more sex-positive as a culture," she explained.
Because the authors assume "sexual debut" occurs "in late adolescence," they characterize those who remain chaste beyond late adolescence as "being developmentally off-time with first coitus (i.e., not yet engaging in coitus when most same-aged peers have done so)."
Kane Rice, the University of Sydney's Chair of Gender and Cultural Studies, praised the study. "Prior to this time, notions of virginity indicated a woman’s value and respectability and purity before marriage." However, "These seem like fairly antiquated notions in today’s more egalitarian climate."
"Sex is more likely to be understood in terms of … developing emotional maturity,” Rice explained, adding, "Sexual inexperience may indicate that a person is not ready to settle down or that they don’t have the life and relationship skills one might look for in a sexual or romantic partner."
Jennifer Roback Morse, who founded the Ruth Institute (RI) as an outreach of the National Organization for Marriage, told LifeSiteNews that immediately upon a cursory review, she saw through the authors' intentions.
"The first thing to notice is the study is from the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction, where the stated mission, 'to advance sexual health and knowledge worldwide,' served as a blueprint for the promotion of promiscuity and perversion, a precursor to the sexual revolution," she said. "This is where Alfred Kinsey masturbated, took photos of his and others' genitals, and basically firebombed his students' natural wall of modesty."
Morse then dissected the study's abstract in less than one minute. "Notice the goal is for individuals and society to become 'more sex positive.' What does that mean? It's a made-up word, meaning, 'Have no conscience about promiscuous sex.' That's your tip-off that this ‘study’ is really just propaganda for the sexual revolution.”
The pro-marriage champion explained, "You see, in order to promote and expand the sexual revolution — in order to make what is harmful and demeaning look normal and even good — proponents need to deliver a steady diet of propaganda to their victims."
Morse then took on the study's characterization of virgins as "developmentally off-time." "This basically tells the gullible that since everybody is having sex at the age of 10, if you wait until 12, there's something wrong with you. You're 'off.' You need to change your value system to conform to the norms of the sexual revolution.”
"While it is true that young people who are virgins often feel out of step with many of their classmates in terms of experience, the Kinsey Institute puts a spin on that, like being a virgin is a bad thing," the pro-family leader said.
"Rather than tell the truth that Kinsey et al. started an extremely harmful movement, which promises enlightenment yet delivers only lies and disillusion — much like a certain serpent in a certain garden — the message is that virgins should be ashamed of their honor, and hurry up to find someone — anyone — to have sex with."
"They are promoting the negative stigmatization of virtue," Morse summarized.
After debunking the study, Morse exposed the true idea behind its conclusions. "The abstract admits, 'Although abstaining from sexual activity may bestow some health advantages, our studies show that being a sexual “late bloomer” may result in negative interpersonal consequences such as limited opportunities for romantic relationships.' Yeah, health advantages like no STDs, no sterility … So, in short: 'Hey all you guys and gals dragging your feet, you need to get on with losing your virginity!'
"That message is ridiculous."
Posted on: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted at The Blaze on June 1, 2016.
The image from the Huffington Post staff meeting created an immediate backlash for editor Liz Heron’s rhetorical question: “Notice anything about this Huffington Post editors’ meeting?”
Unlike many of the internet commentators, I am not interested in the ethnic diversity or ideological hypocrisy of the Huffington Post. All these editors appear to be twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings at most, with the possible exception of Heron herself. To me, this photo illustrates the most poignant sociological fact of our time: Delayed child-bearing is the price of entry into the professional classes.
Look at these eager young faces. These young ladies have high hopes for their lives.
An editors’ meeting at Huffington Post. Editor Liz Heron tweeted: “Notice anything about this Huffington Post editors’ meeting?” (Twitter)
They believe that by landing this great job, they are set. Once they are established in their careers, then and only then, can they think seriously about marriage and motherhood. They do not realize that they are giving themselves over to careers during their peak fertility years, with the expectation that somehow, someday, they can “have it all.”
They are being sold a cynical lie.
Here is the bargain we professional women have been making: “We want to participate in higher education and the professions. As the price of doing so, we agree to chemically neuter ourselves during our peak child-bearing years with various types of birth control. Then, when we are finally financially and socially ready for motherhood, we agree to subject ourselves to invasive, degrading and possibly dangerous fertility treatments.”
I am no longer willing to accept this bargain. These arrangements are not pro-woman. They are simply anti-fertility. Any woman who wants to be a mother, including giving birth to her own children, taking care of her own children, and loving their father, needs a better way. Until now, we have been adapting our bodies to the university and the market. I say, we should respect our bodies enough to demand that the university and the market adapt to us and our bodies.
We cannot expect much help from establishment publications like Huff Po, establishment institutions like the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools, and certainly not from the government.
Huffington Post is a consistent cheerleader for the sexual revolution. They have a whole page devoted to divorce. They have a regular Friday feature called “Blended Family Friday,” in which “we spotlight a stepfamily to learn how they’ve worked to bring their two families together. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!” And they are enlisting twenty-somethings to sell their propaganda.
I wonder how many of the young ladies seated at that Huff Po editors meeting have ever heard of abortion regret or considered the topic worthy of their attention? I wonder how many of them believe that hooking up is harmless, as long as you use a condom. I wonder how many of them have ever heard that hormonal contraception – especially implants and vaginal rings – increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
I wonder if any of them wish for a guy who would dote on them, and act like he really truly cares. I wonder if they have ever chided themselves for being too clingy when a relationship ended, without realizing that bonding to your sex partner is perfectly normal.
I wonder how many of them realize how unlikely childbirth after 40 really is? A recent study of IVF in Australia looked at the chance of a live birth for initiated cycles. Don’t look at the bogus “pregnancy rate:” IVF pregnancies are 4-5 times more likely to end in stillbirth. And don’t be taken in by the “pregnancy per embryo transfer.” Plenty of women initiate cycles but do not successfully make it to the embryo transfer stage.
The average Australian woman aged 41-42 years old had a 5.8 percent chance of having a live birth per initiated cycle. And women over 45 have a 1.1 per cent chance of having a live birth per initiated cycle — which is almost a 99 percent chance of failure every time.
Yes, Huffington Post is an opinion-making and opinion-leading organization. And yes, it is not right for a bunch of white, privileged childless twenty-something
women to be having such an outsized influence on public opinion. But for now, let’s give a thought to these young ladies themselves. They are being
sold a bill of goods. It is up to us, as adults, to warn them.
Posted on: Monday, June 20, 2016
Suuprize, Suuprize, Suuprize!
A recent study (behind a paywall) looked at schools that gave out condoms vs schools that did not. Lo and behold. Giving out condoms, without any counseling, was associated with an increase in teen pregnancy. Vox, that bastion of social conservatism reports. (And no, I don't think that is literally what kind of condoms they gave out. However, I do think that is what the kids see.)
Posted on: Monday, June 20, 2016
For those who may not remember, Gomer Pyle, USMC was a sitcom featuring Jim Nabors as a dumb but loveable Marine private. One of his most famous lines was "Suuprize, Suuprize, Suuprize." He would utter these words when he was about to do something to irritate the Sargent or say something obvious.
I've decided to use this phrase when I encounter a study that tells us something obvious that we should have known all along.
Today's edition comes from my friend Valerie Huber of the Ascend organization, which among other things, "represents and equips the Sexual Risk Avoidance field."
She put together a press release showing that the Obama Administration's favorite Sex Ed program is not working:
No Suuprizes here!
Sex ed is government-funded propaganda for the Sexual Revolution. Get the kids hooked on sex before they are old enough to have mature judgment. Convince them that self-command is impossible, and possibly unhealthy. The kids become participants in and supporters of the Sexual Revolution.
Parents of school-aged kids: get them out of sex-ed programs. Grandparents, get yourselves organized to get these programs out of the schools in your community.
Posted on: Friday, June 17, 2016
(June 16, 2016) It's that time of year again--Dr J is at Acton University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She's been with the conference since the beginning, and yesterday she gave one of the foundational lectures designed to orient religious leaders in basic economic concepts. This lecture is on "Making the Case for Marriage." Check out our Ruth Refuge for the Q&A session afterward, too.
Posted on: Wednesday, June 15, 2016
(June 15, 2016) Dr J is once again Drew Mariani's guest on his show on the Relevant Radio network. They're discussing the effects of the sexual revolution on women.Listen
Posted on: Friday, June 10, 2016
(June 9, 2016) Dr J fields questions after addressing law students participating in the Alliance Defending Freedom's Blackstone Legal Fellowship. If you missed her talks on the family as the foundation of society and the agenda of the modern sexual revolution, check out our podcast stream.
Posted on: Monday, June 06, 2016
By Jenet Jacob Erickson, a Ruth Inst. Circle of Experts member
Published: May 1, 2016 at the Deseret News
Feminism swept into American culture during the 1960s in the name of women’s equality. While much has been said about feminist efforts to alter gender roles and workplace dynamics, scant attention has been paid to the dramatic changes wrought in response to inequalities in sexual relationships. Feminism sought an end to the double standard that winked at promiscuity in men while condemning it in women. But in response, society made a tragic misstep.
Rather than seek an equal standard by demanding sexual fidelity from men, the feminist movement encouraged women to “imitate the promiscuous tendencies of men.” Sexual relations outside of marriage became a mark of women’s independence. Natural feelings of commitment and relational interdependence, often associated with female sexuality, were condemned as outdated norms that subordinated women and made them dependent on men. No more. As Steven Rhoads aptly summarizes, women were told to negotiate sexual relations for personal desire and pleasure, rather than for love and familial bonding.
Their arguments worked. In Jean Elshtain’s pithy expression, “the new woman” became “the old man” Though premarital sexual relations began to be more common after World War II, it was still socially frowned upon. And sexual relations between people who did not plan to marry was unacceptable. But from 1943 to 1999, with widely available contraception and abortion, attitudes toward premarital relations changed dramatically, particularly among young women, whose approval increased from 12 percent to 73 percent (young men’s increased from 40 percent to 79 percent). This trend has continued, with millennials holding the most sexually permissive attitudes of any generation.
Such dramatic change has little to do with equality. Rather, it represents a fundamental shift in how our society sees sexuality itself. Human intimacy had long been respected as the power to bond men and women and create new human life. That power demanded boundaries to protect those who could be victimized by it and to channel it into the formation of families that are the building blocks of communities and nations. But in the wake of the 1960s, sexuality was socially transformed from a respected power that demanded boundaries and responsibility to a personal right that demanded free expression.
And there begins the irony of so called “sexual liberation.” Perhaps nothing has brought more devastation to modern family life than the dramatic changes in social norms around sexual behavior. In 1960, the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate was 5 percent — in 2014, it was 41 percent. In the same period, the rate of cohabitation increased more than 17 times, with 50 percent of women today between ages 25-39 currently cohabitating or having cohabitated sometime in the past. This has had significant implications for marriage. Premarital sexual relations with someone other than one’s spouse have consistently been linked to divorce.
And it is children and their mothers who have borne the brunt of the negative outcomes associated with these changes. Children of single mothers “have negative life outcomes at two to three times the rate of children in married, two-parent families.” Children whose parents divorce don’t fare much better, even when their parents remarry. Children living with cohabitating biological parents are at a similar risk for negative outcomes, in part because cohabitation is associated with high breakup rates (50 percent within five years), lower household incomes and higher levels of child abuse and domestic violence. Mothers in cohabitating, step- and never-married family structures are also at much greater risk for poverty and unhealthy and unsafe relationships. Among college women, one in four undergraduates last year reported being physically forced, or threatened with force, into unwanted sexual contact.
Feminist Sally Cline concludes that what the sexual revolution achieved was “not a great deal of liberation for women but a great deal of legitimacy for male promiscuity. …” That legitimizing of promiscuity has left many victims, including men.
Turning back such a tide might seem impossible. But there is one influence that consistently stands out as making a difference: religion. Weekly church-goers are much less likely to have premarital sexual relations and, for those who do, to restrict those relations to their future spouse. Adults who attended church weekly during adolescence, as well as those who consider religion to be “very important,” are eight times more likely to be abstinent compared to those who do not.
This influence should not be taken lightly. To a culture that says there is no way to proscribe sexual behaviors, religion provides an alternative, channeling the sacred power to procreate into the formation of families, and protecting those who would be victimized by its misuse.
Jenet Erickson is an affiliated scholar of the Wheatley Institution and a former assistant professor at Brigham Young University.
Posted on: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Blaze on April 12, 2016.
Non-Catholics may be wondering why Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” or “The Joy of Love,” has Catholics in an uproar. Has the Pope changed Catholic doctrine? Has he left the doctrine officially intact, but changed pastoral practice so much that the doctrine is annulled? Now that I have taken the weekend to read it, I am convinced that Amoris Laetitia is a gift to the Church and the world.
What the Catholic Church does is important to everyone, no matter their faith. The Catholic Church is the largest institution still standing against the ideological fraud known as the sexual revolution. Everyone who is trying to deal with the fallout from this massive social upheaval has a stake in what the Catholic Church says and does. If Pope Francis were to change Catholic teaching, the purveyors of the revolution would be dancing in the streets.
And meaning no disrespect, but speaking bluntly: If the revolutionaries take down the Catholic Church, they will squash the rest of you like bugs.
So let me assure you: There is no change in official Catholic doctrine in Amoris Laetitia.
As for pastoral practice, Pope Francis is encouraging pastors to treat the lost, the wounded, the confused with as much sensitivity as possible. He intends it as an open invitation to the millions of souls who have been harmed by sexual sin, whether Catholic or not, to come home to the Catholic Church and draw closer to Jesus.
I can relate to the need for something like this document. Let me share a bit of Catholic “inside baseball.” I am what we call a “revert.” I was raised Catholic but left the Church for a period of time, and came back. So, I can’t be called either a “convert” or a “cradle Catholic.”
When I returned the Church after my prodigal period, my canonical situation was pretty simple. (By “canonical,” I mean what “canon law” or church law, would say about my situation. More inside baseball.) I was only on a second marriage.
But I had a whole pile of sexual sins. Like the Prodigal Son, by the time I finally came to my senses, I was desperate. I confessed having an abortion to Fr. Bob Cilinski, the chaplain of the campus ministry program at George Mason University at that time. (By the way, priests are not permitted to tell what we say to them in confession. But we can say anything we want! Let me say, how grateful I am to Fr. Bob and all the other confessors I’ve had.)
Fr. Bob was the first person who understood why I was upset about having an abortion. I had spoken to numerous therapists. Not one of them even considered the possibility that abortion was related to my emotional distress.
During that first confession in 12 years, Fr. Bob did not go down a checklist of possible sins. “Now, I cannot give you absolution unless you are sorry for all these sins.” I shudder to think what would have happened if he had. I would have freaked out and run out of there, more upset than before. And I certainly was in no position to have a theological discussion about each and every aspect of Church teaching.
I didn’t ask. He didn’t ask. He gave me absolution for the big sin I came in to confess.
He did tell me I should come to Mass, but not receive communion. He helped me seek an annulment. But I could not go to Communion, unless and until I received a declaration of nullity. (A declaration of nullity is an official finding by a church tribunal that my first attempted marriage had never been a valid marriage.)
In other words, he did not move the goalposts to make it easier and more “pastoral” for me. He stood by the Church’s teaching in every particular way and he set me on the path to a closer encounter with Jesus. Along that path, I eventually came to see that the Church was correct about premarital sex, cohabitation and contraception too. I confessed those sins too, in due course.
By the way, this confession took place in 1988, during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. According to the sexual revolutionaries, those were the dark days of doctrinal rigidity and all-around Catholic meanness. The fact is, Catholic priests have been quietly accompanying people in a pastoral manner for quite some time. Priests know better than anyone the wreckage left in the wake of the sexual revolution. Even the ones who don’t preach about it as much as I would like are still guiding people toward Jesus.
While I do wish Pope Francis had been more clear on some points, I consider Amoris Laetitia a gift to the Church and the world. No matter your faith tradition, I urge you to read the document. Start with chapters 4 and 5.
You will find Pope Francis to be like a wise grandfather or great-uncle sitting across the kitchen table. You can imagine him sharing a cup of coffee or bouncing a baby on his knees. He invites all of us to love one another, and teaches us how. That is gift enough.
Posted on: Wednesday, April 06, 2016
“…the one that you have now is not your husband...” John 4:18
I’m ashamed to contribute to this blog. Other contributors are genuine innocent victims of the Sexual Revolution. I was one of the destroyers of the family.
I was a good Catholic girl. The Church and the truth mattered, and I was fortunate to have teachers who taught what the Church taught. In eighth grade I learned that Truth is immutable, and that if the Church ever changes her fundamental teaching, she was never a teacher of the Truth. Then came the hipsters of the post Vatican II era, of whom one priest told us that theologians now say that Catholics don’t have to believe in Papal Infallibility, even on matters of faith and morals. I drew the conclusion that the Church was a fraud, and that life was ultimately meaningless. Many theologians were liars in backward collars, but I didn’t know that.
When undergraduate school was nearly ended, and I was very serious about a man who was married, had a child, and wanted me, I chose the path of unbelief, of despair, and of unLove. I married him, bore his child, and battled depression for over twenty years. Then, as if by accident, while satellite surfing with my family we lit momentarily on the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy. I started going back to EWTN at every opportunity. This was 1993, and Mother Angelica was already handing it to the Liars in Backward Collars.
O My God. Now what?
I had a family to raise, but a husband who wasn’t mine. I chose to marry him when I believed that morality was an illusion and there was no Truth. There is Truth.How would I face Him as my judge? How could I say that I did what I thought was true? Victim or perpetrator, I had the responsibility to get right.
My solution came in Confession. I learned that to return to the Sacraments, I had two choices: I could leave my husband, or I could live with him like brother and sister. I ultimately chose the second, and I made that choice alone. I made it clear that I could not do what I knew was a sin, but I understood if he wanted to leave. He stayed with me on God’s terms, even though he didn’t believe in God and had no intention of seeking a nullity proclamation. Sixteen years it took that man to go to Confession and receive Communion. It was worth the world to me because, even though our marriage was invalid, our love for each other is real.
This has not been a holy walk in the park. My stepchild died after years of drug and alcohol abuse. My child has fought depression and health problems. I blame myself for a lot of that.
Twenty-two years I had been away from God, and I’ve had twenty-two to be back. Every day I feel like the stray cat God let in. I really don’t belong here, but I don’t want to be anywhere else.
Now we have a Year of Mercy, and bless Pope Francis for wanting to bring everyone home. Now, more Liars in Backward Collars want to paper over the damage
of divorce and remarriage and admit us to Communion. No one wants to say this, but I have nothing to lose:
THERE IS A WAY BACK. IT’S HARD, IT’S NOT WHAT YOU HAD IN MIND, BUT IT IS POSSIBLE. MANY PEOPLE WHO TOOK THIS ROAD OF OBEDIENCE AND TRUST HAVE BEEN GREATLY REWARDED, EVEN IN MANY CASES, BY A CONVALIDATED UNION.
Jesus didn’t guarantee that last part. I’m not asking for it. Sometimes He surprises me. My child married, and after five years of trying to conceive, they nearly gave up. The Bible says that the child of an unfaithful bed shall die without issue, so that seemed one more thing to endure. But Good St. Anne has a way with her Grandson. We have a beautiful grandchild who is an unmerited mercy to us.
Who is St. Photina, and why is she in the title? Remember the Woman at the Well who was married five times, and the one she had then was not hers? That is St. Photina. She was a missionary in the Eastern Mediterranean, and she and her five sons were martyred under Nero. The “St.” in front of her name says that she has a place in the Church, and no one can take it from her.
Submitted by R. W. April 2016
Posted on: Saturday, April 02, 2016
The headline over at LifeSiteNews says this is a story out of the gay lifestyle. And so it it. But it is first and foremost an inspiring story of forgiveness and repentance. Any Survivor of the Sexual Revolution, any person seeking peace, can benefit from this article.
I embarked upon an incredible journey of forgiveness, having many people from my past, and especially men, that I needed to forgive. The therapy and prayer sessions I now regularly engaged in never focused solely on my being sexually attracted to men, but I was encouraged to look every aspect of my present and past in the eye. This included the painful process of accepting that I had been consistently sexually abused by a number of men as a child over a three-year period.
Much of my spiritual journey became concerned with recognizing where, during my infancy and childhood, my little soul had chosen to build walls within myself against significant others in my life, especially against my parents, siblings and other prominent people from my past.
He faced the wrong that was done to him (child sexual abuse) and at the same time took responsibility for the ways he had built walls around himself. Eventually, he became able to forgive those who had wronged him.
Survivors of all sorts: please study this!
Posted on: Monday, March 28, 2016
Chastity, not just a list of "don'ts" but a positive "to-do" list, with serious benefits.
So says, Samantha Schroeder, a 2012 graduate of ITAF= "It Takes a Family to Raise a Village," The Ruth Institute's national student leadership conference. I'm so proud of her!
In an age when morality is known more for its rules and regulations than for the beauty of a morally excellent life, our focus should be not on what chastity forbids but on the positive human values that a chaste life affirms: personal discipline, a confident sense of self-worth, psychological wholeness, freedom from disease and fear of pregnancy, and an increase in marital stability and satisfaction, to name only a few.
Posted on: Friday, March 04, 2016
(March 4, 2016) Dr J is one of the speakers at this year's Catholic Answers Conference: "Restoring Marriage Today." Her talk was entitled "Keeping the Family Together: Public Policies and Personal Strategies."
Posted on: Tuesday, February 02, 2016
The uproar over the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court, as well as over the Planned Parenthood videos of aborted infants, has brought to light in my heart the brutal, circular journey I myself have made from devout Catholic school boy of the 50s to passive, liberal “hippie” of the 60s and 70s, and back to recommitted catholic – a gradual process that started in the 80s and continues to this day.
Specifically here I feel called to reveal the mindset that allowed me to rationalize my participation in two abortions of my own children with two separate women during my 20’s – not in the form of a confession, but to illuminate how pernicious this type of thinking has become in our culture, and how difficult it can be to overcome without a foundation in faith.
I was in the mid 70’s a young man attempting to make a living as a songwriter and musician in Los Angeles. I met a young Hispanic woman who was bright, articulate and as totally engaged in the whole drug culture and sexual revolution as I was. We began an intimate relationship that resulted in the conception of a child. When she gently notified me of this event I did the typical male prevarication thing and we ended up deciding to seek an abortion. I say “we”, although I’m pretty sure in retrospect that was not the solution she was hoping for. So I gave her the money, she had the abortion and our relationship ended rather abruptly.
I eventually met my future first wife around 1977, a woman who had grown up in an abusive family environment as the only daughter of a pedophile father and violent mother. We moved in together and in a very short time she became pregnant. I remember the look of disappointment in her eyes as we discussed the inconvenience this child would place on our lives. This time I was an active participant in the murder. I clearly remember sitting outside the door and hearing the whirring and sucking sounds of the machinery as our child was removed from her womb and disposed of like so much trash – or possibly, as we now know, sold off in pieces to some research lab. I saw the raw effects on the mother immediately as she came out of the recovery room to be driven home by me, her accomplice. She was absolutely devastated by the experience and for several days nothing I could say or do was any comfort to her.
Eventually we moved on, got married and had two beautiful boys, although the marriage was very stormy and ended several years later in a bitter divorce. As I began to recover from my profligate life and tried to guide my children through the treacherous rapids of the post-divorce world, I started to feel the tug at my heart every time I became intimate with a new woman. But I eventually realized that my behavior was inconsistent with my beliefs, and I struggled with celibacy, slipping many times before falling in love with a woman who understood my dilemma and was willing to support a Christian courtship.
I am now over 30 years clean and sober and married to that same wonderful, faithful woman, who is a Catholic convert. We are active in our church and community and have started a very successful bible study in our parish. I have at long last accepted that human sexuality is not the ultimate physical/spiritual experience I formerly thought it to be, but only a dim reflection of man’s participation in God’s unending creative glory. Used morally, a very great good – used immorally, a very great evil. But the tale bears telling if for no other reason than perhaps the chance to stir the consciences of other folks like me who were led astray and now find their lives empty of meaning as they pursue the gods of mammon – yet may still hope to find the one God of the universe ready and waiting to love and forgive them.
My constant prayers go with them.
Posted on: Tuesday, October 27, 2015
This article was published October 13, 2015, at ReligionNews.com.
SAN FRANCISCO – The 1960s women’s rights movement has had a profoundly adverse impact on women throughout the United States, including Sue Ellen Browder, a former ardent propagandist for sexual liberation who wrote stories meant to soft-sell unmarried sex, contraception and abortion as the single woman’s path to personal fulfillment as a longtime freelance writer for Cosmopolitan, one of the most highly regarded and influential women’s magazines.
Browder’s personal story of how she helped the sexual revolution hijack the women’s movement — and its effects on her life and the future of America — is chronicled in her enthralling new book, SUBVERTED.
She recounts why, as a Cosmopolitan journalist — her dream job — she was a dedicated follower of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger and fabricated numerous stories, with the approval of her editors, to sell the casual-sex lifestyle to millions of single, working women.
Browder admits she was guilty of promoting a distorted feminism, and exposes how women were turned into commodities during the profane alliance between the women’s movement and the sexual revolution through in-depth research, probing analysis and honest self-reflection. Browder’s determined search for truth, integrity and justice for women that led her into journalism in the first place eventually led her to find forgiveness and freedom in the place she least expected to find them, the Catholic Church.
“SUBVERTED offers a window into our uniquely disturbed historical era,” says Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute. “Generations of readers will turn to SUBVERTED when they want to know what turned the tide.”
Posted on: Monday, October 26, 2015
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted October 22, 2015, at crisismagazine.com.
Let’s face it: The 2015 Synod on the Family is a mess. I was one who gave Pope Francis the benefit of the doubt. I now have my doubts about him. And I have no doubt at all that some of the men surrounding him are either heretics or lunatics or both.
The real question for us as lay people is this: what exactly can we do about it? We do not have full information about what is going on over there. Giving advice to cardinals and bishops is not likely to work. Screaming at them even less so.
As faithful lay people, we believe all that the Church has taught about marriage, family, and human sexuality. We do not want to see the Church water down that teaching, or surrender to the Sexual Revolution. It would be tragic indeed, if she did so now, right at the moment when the wisdom and beauty of her ancient teaching is becoming daily more evident from experience.
So what are we, as faithful lay people, to do about this? What has the best chance of cutting through the noise and having an impact?
To answer this question, let’s back up a minute. The Sexual Revolution has harmed millions of people. Just to take one of the issues most immediately before the Synod: divorce and unmarried parenthood.
We now know that kids are not “resilient.” They do not “get over it.” We know this from decades of careful research. We know if from experience. In fact, according to Judith Wallerstein, author of a 25-year study on the long-term legacy of divorce, the impact of divorce on children does not diminish with time. It “crescendos” in young adulthood, as they try to form relationships and marriages and families of their own.
Kids need their own parents. I learned from my experience as an adoptive mom, a foster mom, and a birth mom, all kids want the same thing. They want their parents to be there for them, and be appropriate parents. No matter how old the kids are, no matter what their parents have done, all kids of all ages, long for their parents to get it together and be good parents.
The Sexual Revolution has taught us that adults are entitled to have the sex lives they want, with a minimum of inconvenience. What we never hear anyone come out and say is: “And kids have to accept whatever the adults chose to give them.” You don’t usually hear people blurt out that last part, because we would be too ashamed of ourselves.
The Sexual Revolution promised fun and freedom. It delivered hurt and heartbreak. With the possible exception of a handful of predatory Alpha Males, everyone in society has been harmed: men, women and children, rich and poor alike.
I will let you in on a secret: the reason kids keep getting separated from their parents is because the victims, the kids, are not allowed to speak for themselves. As children, their parents expected them to accept whatever was going on around them, without complaining. And children, eager to please their parents, fearful of losing the parents’ love, kept quiet. Even as adults, the children of divorce and the children of unmarried parents, are expected to keep quiet, and go along with the program.
Silencing the victims has been crucial to the success of the Sexual Revolution. If you doubt me, consider these facts:
The solution is for all the victims of the Sexual Revolution to speak up, and tell the truth about how they were harmed. Telling that truth is the first step away from being a victim, to becoming a survivor. Anyone of us can take that step.
What does this have to do with the chaos over at the Synod? Most of the bishops know perfectly well that the Church’s teachings are good and humane. But they too, have been reluctant to speak out, and to preach this good news. Why? Because they are afraid of us, the laity!
True enough, many faithful people have been trying to support them all along. But look at it this way: if the souls wounded by the Sexual Revolution were visible, we wouldn’t be having this fight at all. All decent people would abandon the Sexual Revolutionary ideology in a heartbeat.
While it is awful that so many people have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution, we are undaunted. We are turning that very horror into an advantage: millions of us can testify about the false promises of the Sexual Revolution.
The elites in media, academia, law, and government cannot silence all of us. If everyone who has been harmed by the Sexual Revolution spoke out about it, we would change the world.
And eventually, even the most reluctant of the Catholic bishops might get the hint that the Church has been right all along, and find the courage to say so.
(Illustration credit: Sturt Krygsman)
Posted on: Monday, October 19, 2015
I am gratified to see that so many people have been interested in joining the Ruth Refuge. We get new sign ups just about every day. I am interested to know something about you, and why you have chosen to join us. I know why we started this, so I know why I'm here! We passionately believe that too many people have been harmed by the Sexual Revolution and that too few people have felt free to talk about it. We believe it is an issue of justice for the wounded to have acknowledgement and support. And we believe that ending the silence of the victims is the best hope for positive change in our society.
So, let me refer you to our 12 Survivors concept. Are you a Survivor of the Sexual Revolution?Take a look at this list. Which ones apply to you? As for me, I fit into several categories: Heartbroken Career Woman, Post-Abortive Woman, Refugee from the Hook-up Culture, and Cohabitor with Regrets.
I'm not proud of this. But I know from experience that facing the truth is the first step toward healing.
What about you? Why are you here? Which of these categories apply to you? We are here to listen, and to support each other.
Posted on: Tuesday, September 08, 2015
An interview of Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse by Austin Ruse
This article was first published at breitbart.com on March 23, 2015.
Sex in her 18-year marriage had gone routine and stale. What’s more, forty-something “Robin Rinaldi” wanted a baby, something her husband was adamantly against. So she proposed a limited open marriage, a 12-month sexathon with strangers, and she has written a book about it.
In The Wild Oats Project, Rinaldi writes, “Stuck in a rut — our once-a-week sex life was loving but lacked spontaneity and passion — I was craving seduction and sexual abandon.”
Since motherhood was closing for her, Rinaldi rushed toward what she calls, “this whole other outlet of heightened female experience — taking lovers.” She and her husband came to an arrangement. She took an apartment where she lived and cavorted during the week and on the weekend came home and lived as a wife.
She placed an ad on a hip sex site called nerve.com where she made it clear she was not interested in any kind of lasting relationship, only action and plenty of it. No more than three encounters per guy, and even a few gals. She got dozens of responses in the first few hours.
Rinaldi took workshops at something called OneTaste, a “sexual-education center” that she calls “a sex-friendly yoga retreat” where she learned “orgasmic meditation.” She says, “The lessons I learned weren’t purely physical. They were about growing up, making mistakes, learning to live without so much fear, owning up to my dark side and, eventually finding out the difference between being a ‘good girl’ and a good person.”
In a video, now blocked, attached to her column in the New York Post she insists the reader will be surprised at the ending to her 12 month sexual odyssey.
What she found was that coming back to her full-time marriage after a year “proved more difficult than I had thought.”
She found out her husband wasn’t playing the sexual field like he was supposed to; he had found one person to be with sexually for that year. And Rinaldi found herself drawn to one of the men she met through her original nerve.com ad, a writer with whom action “in the bedroom was mind-blowing.”
The big surprise — that she and her husband both found other lovers and divorced after 12 months of an open marriage — is likely not a surprise to anyone except Rinaldi.
Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, an economist who runs the Ruth Institute in California, writes frequently about what she refers to as the “victims of the sexual revolution” and she would include Rinaldi and her husband as among those “victims.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Roback Morse, says: “I knew people back in the 70’s who experimented with open marriage. I know of no one for whom it actually worked. I know of an out-of-wedlock child that wasn’t supposed to happen. I know of a suicide. I know of several divorces. No surprise that the ‘Wild Oats Project’ ended in divorce.”
“I am appalled that the elites of this culture continue to encourage ‘experimentation,’ when the experiment has already been conducted and has failed,” she said.
Roback Morse points to the results of the sexual revolution, including an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases that come from unbridled sexual experimentation, the hook-up culture in colleges, the commonality of out-of-wedlock births and the poverty that come with it, and the general degeneration of family formation and divorce.
She dismisses Rinaldi’s Wild Oats Project as “so twentieth century.”
Posted on: Tuesday, September 08, 2015
(September 8, 2015) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're concluding their 6-part series on the sexual revolution: this one touches on the stigma of abstinence, the effects of the hook-up culture, and the West's war on fertility, among other things.
Posted on: Friday, August 07, 2015
(August 7, 2015) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're continuing their 6-part series on the sexual revolution: part 4 touches on the related themes of cohabitation and divorce. Check out our podcast stream if you're joining us in the middle of the series, and stay tuned for the rest of it.
Posted on: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
(July 21, 2015) Dr J is once again Todd Wilkin's guest on Issues, Etc. They're continuing their 6-part series on the sexual revolution: part 2 examines the nature of freedom in the context of the sexual revolution. Check out our podcast stream if you missed part 1, and of course stay tuned as the rest of it comes up!
Posted on: Tuesday, July 14, 2015
My first step to help others is sharing my untold story.
I was born in 1969 and grew up outside of Boston, Massachusetts. My life as a child was not without tribulations but it was rich in memories of playing
outside, spending the summers on beautiful Cape Cod and spending time with family and friends. I live now in Canton, Georgia with my husband of thirteen
years and four beautiful children. Anyone who sees me and does not know my story would not see me as a victim or a survivor of anything, but I am a
refugee from nearly two decades of the Hook-Up Culture. The ideology of the Sexual Revolution, the belief that casual sex is harmless as long as you
use a condom, the notion that it is empowering for a woman to be free sexually, nearly killed me. I am moving into the realm of being a survivor. This
is my untold story.
Despite the bright and shiny veneer, my life for nearly two decades prior to meeting my husband of now 13 years and prior to us having our four beautiful children, was wrought with an ever-increasing darkness, degradation and hopelessness. For two decades my life was marked by alcohol abuse, sexual misconduct and sexual abuse. This dark time, while not my fault, is my responsibility to share with others to expose the deceptions at work in my life through the culture.
What really crushed me spiritually and physically were my college years. Already partying and abusing alcohol in high school, I set off to Penn State “the party school”. At Penn State, I completely abandoned my faith and any notion of a spiritual life as I delved into Women’s Studies and other liberal academic pursuits. I learned that hooking up was not only acceptable but expected. One particular Frat Party during my Sophomore year marked the beginning of my spiral downward. I met a cute guy who really took an interest in me. We talked and I remember he had a great sense of humor, one that matched my sarcastic New England humor. He kept giving me beers and the sad thing is that his “generosity” did not even register as a “red flag” for me. That night he raped me in his room. I was intoxicated almost to the point of my usual black out. The next thing I knew a Rape Crisis team was whisking me to the ER or somewhere where I was given a physical exam. The doctor attending to me said that I sustained injuries and that this was no act of love. I met with a kind campus detective who showed me different pictures of suspects. The man I identified was in fact a serial rapist soon to be on trial from another victim. After that trauma, I became more sexually promiscuous. I blamed myself for the rape, living in shame and self-hatred. I slept with so many men I lost count after thirty.
My journey into survivorhood came when I met my husband. My husband was a devout Catholic who introduced me to the best and most highly skilled healing doctor in the world, Jesus Christ. My husband loved me into wholeness with acts not just words. He did sacrificial things for me that I never knew or even understood until after they were completed, things like fasting 40 days for my sobriety, praying over me in my sleep. You see my husband’s faith allowed him to see me as Christ sees me: spotless, without blemish. Then I began to see myself as being worthy of love. But the secret of my story is that his love brought me to my greater love: Jesus Christ. Only through Jesus Christ was I able to discover my true identity as an overcomer, a redeemed, beautiful, chosen, renewed, temple of the Holy Spirit. My one prayer is that God will use the transformation of my scars to help women reclaim the truth over their bodies, their lives.
Submitted on July 14, 2015.
Have you been harmed by sexual choices you made? Have you been harmed by the sexual, marital, or reproductive choices somebody else made? Please consider sharing your story. Go here to learn how.
Posted on: Thursday, June 25, 2015
I'm Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse, the Founder and President of the Ruth Institute. I was blessed to have married parents who stayed married. They were not particularly happily married, so I did not appreciate the gift they had given my siblings and myself.
I was a full participant in the Sexual Revolution: I was married and divorced by the time I was 24. I fit into the Cohabiting with Regrets, Refugee from the Hook-up Culture, Heartbroken Career Woman and Post-Abortive Woman. Is there more? Maybe, but that is all I can think of right now.
I am so glad you are here. I am really hopeful that we can help one another to grow past all the toxic issues created by the Sexual Revolution.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
(May 31, 2013) Welcome to ITAF, Ruth Institute's annual student conference! We're in the midst of podcasting the lectures from the event. Up next is Dr. Mark Regnerus's talk, "Pre-Marital Sex in America: The Social Science Evidence on Why Hooking Up Doesn't Make People Happy." Q&A session is available on our Ruth Refuge.
We are adding to our library of resources all the time. If you know of an organization that provides assistance to a Refugee from the Hook-Up Culture please share that information with us. Click here to submit a link. Or submit an article, podcast or video with helpful information for a Refugee from the Hook-Up Culture.