The sexual revolution has taken its toll on an entire generation, but the biggest losers have been women. Despite all the feminist nonsense that men and women are identical, they are not. Women are as different in their sexuality as in any other area. By trying to be just like men, especially in terms of their sexuality, women have let themselves down big time.
Despite the hype and propaganda of shows like Sex and the City, women are not primarily free-wheeling sex machines. While many women may enjoy the one-night stand just as much as men, most long for something more: for relationship, for commitment, for intimacy.
(Saying all this in no way lets men off the hook. Male sexual predators are no role model, and promiscuity of any kind is to be condemned. But it does seem that women by nature are more likely to seek monogamy and committed relationships than men are. The anthropological and sociological research tends to confirm what we already know by common sense.)
Thus the sexual revolution of the sixties has unleashed untold damage on us all, but especially on women. At least that is how one former groupie and free-love addict tells it. Writing in the January 14, 2007 Sunday Times, Dawn Eden argues that morality, chastity and monogamy are far superior to casual sex, free love and unrestrained hedonism.
She begins with these thoughts: “The Sixties generation thought everything should be free. But only a few decades later the hippies were selling water at rock festivals for $5 a bottle. But for me the price of ‘free love’ was even higher. I sacrificed what should have been the best years of my life for the black lie of free love. All the sex I ever had – and I had more than my fair share – far from bringing me the lasting relationship I sought, only made marriage a more distant prospect. And I am not alone. Count me among the dissatisfied daughters of the sexual revolution, a new counterculture of women who are realising that casual sex is a con and are choosing to remain chaste instead.”
She gives a bit of biographical background: “I am 37, and like millions of other girls, was born into a world which encouraged young women to explore their sexuality. It was almost presented to us as a feminist act. In the 1960s the future Cosmopolitan editor Helen Gurley Brown famously asked: Can a woman have sex like a man? Yes, she answered because ‘like a man, [a woman] is a sexual creature’. Her insight launched a million ‘100 new sex tricks’ features in women’s magazines. And then that sex-loving feminist icon Germaine Greer enthused that ‘groupies are important because they demystify sex; they accept it as physical, and they aren’t possessive about their conquests’. As a historian of pop music and daughter of the sexual revolution I embraced Greer’s call to (men’s) arms.”
She describes her life as a groupie and a “liberated woman”. But it was not all sweetness and light. “But in all that casual sex, there was one moment I learnt to dread more than any other. I dreaded it not out of fear that the sex would be bad, but out of fear that it would be good. If the sex was good, then, even if I knew in my heart that the relationship wouldn’t work, I would still feel as though the act had bonded me with my sex partner in a deeper way than we had been bonded before. It’s in the nature of sex to awaken deep emotions within us, emotions that are unwelcome when one is trying to keep it light.”
The free sex philosophy is a lie, says Eden: “Whatever Greer and her ilk might say I’ve tried their philosophy – that a woman can shag like a man – and it doesn’t work. We’re not built like that. Women are built for bonding. We are vessels and we seek to be filled. For that reason, however much we try and convince ourselves that it isn’t so, sex will always leave us feeling empty unless we are certain that we are loved, that the act is part of a bigger picture that we are loved for our whole selves not just our bodies.”
“Our culture – both in the media via programmes such as Sex and the City and in everyday interactions – relentlessly puts forth the idea that lust is a way station on the road to love. It isn’t. It left me with a brittle facade incapable of real intimacy. Occasionally a man would tell me I appeared hard, which surprised me as I thought I was so vulnerable. In truth, underneath my attempts to appear bubbly, I was hard – it was the only way I could cope with what I was doing to my self and my body.”
She continues, “The misguided, hedonistic philosophy which urges young women into this kind of behaviour harms both men and women; but it is particularly damaging to women, as it pressures them to subvert their deepest emotional desires. The champions of the sexual revolution are cynical. They know in their tin hearts that casual sex doesn’t make women happy. That’s why they feel the need continually to promote it.”
Part of her way out of the sexual wilderness was a conversion to Christianity, via the writings of G.K. Chesterton. She concludes with these words:
“One night last year I had dinner with a male friend, a charming English journalist I would have dated if he shared my faith (he didn’t) and if he were interested in getting married (ditto). He peppered me with questions about chastity, even going so far as to suggest that maybe, given that I’d been looking for so long, I might not find the man I was looking for. ‘That’s not true,’ I responded. ‘My chances are better now than they’ve ever been, because before I was chaste, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s only now that I’m truly ready for marriage and have a clear vision of the kind of man I want. I may be 37, I concluded, ‘but in husband-seeking years, I’m only 22’.”
This article is part of a new book she has just penned, The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On (Thomas Nelson, 2006).