Ruth Speaks Out

This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.


101 Tips for a Happier Marriage

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.

 

 


Does Sex Have Meaning? (And Who Can Really Say?)

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.


 


It’s Time to Make Marriage Great Again By Redefining Divorce

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.


Petition: Archbishop Chaput

Petition to: Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia

Thank you for the wisdom and clarity in your Guidelines. We are praying for you!
 

 
The Ruth Institute and its global network of followers congratulates and thanks Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia for his clear teaching on marriage, family and human sexuality. The Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia are the work of a compassionate pastor who loves the souls under his care. These Guidelines will assist the priests, deacons and laity in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to reach out with genuine mercy and justice to Catholics, and to the wider community, who are hungry for the truth.
 
The publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, has caused worldwide confusion over Catholic teaching on marriage. Archbishop Chaput’s Guidelines provide a clear and practical statement of traditional Catholic teaching, in the spirit of genuine mercy.
 
We are particularly encouraged that these Guidelines are comprehensive, dealing with all the major issues encountered in pastoral care of the family. The Archbishop addresses the problems of 1) married couples, 2) those who are separated and divorced but not remarried, 3) those who are separated and divorced and have a civil remarriage, 4) those who are cohabiting and finally, 5) those who experience same sex attraction.
 
The Ruth Institute dreams of the day when every child will be welcomed into a loving home with a married mother and father. We believe every child has the right to a relationship with both natural parents, unless some unavoidable tragedy prevents it. We believe every adult without exception has the right to know his or her cultural heritage and genetic identity. The Philadelphia Guidelines represent an implementation of the ancient teachings of Christianity and of Jesus Christ Himself.
 
These teachings protect the interests of children, as well as the interests of men and women in lifelong married love.
 
The Ruth Institute sent a letter of commendation and 24 white roses to the Archbishop as a sign of our support. We join our prayers with these roses in a spiritual bouquet of appreciation for the Archbishop and blessings for all the people of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
 
Read the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia here.

For the Petition:

Dear Archbishop Chaput,
 
We thank you for the wisdom and clarity shown in your Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We pledge to pray for you, your priests, deacons, seminarians and all the people of Philadelphia as you go forward to implement these guidelines.
 
Sincerely yours in Jesus Christ,
(your name)

 


Kinsey Institute's Commerical Connections

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

 

 


Study claims premarital virginity is now ‘antiquated’

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."


Young Women Are Gambling On a Losing Game

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.

Inline image 1

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.

 

 


Another non-surprise: giving kids condoms doesn't help.

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.)

 

 


 


Suuprize, Suuprize, Suuprize! Sex Ed doesn't help teens.

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: 

  • Sexually active students in 2009 (at the conclusion of the Bush Administration) were more likely to use a condom than in 2015. 
  • The use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), largely underwritten by the Affordable Care Act, is increasing. But LARC offers no help in reducing the acquisition of STDs. However, fewer teens use a condom when they use birth control pills, or LARCs.
  • Young adults (ages 15-24) only account for about 25% of the sexually active population, they account for nearly 2/3 of all reported cases of chlamydia and gonorrhea.
  • Fewer communities are comfortable with the brand of sex education funded through the Obama administration’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention (TPP) program.

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.


 

 

 


Turning back the tide of sexual promiscuity through religion

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.

 

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