You Can’t Have it Both Ways

How Sexual Liberation Demeans Sex

by: Lea Palmer

Despite the efforts of women’s liberation movements throughout history, such as the Suffragists, women are still portrayed by the media and popular society as the member of the family who cleans the house, cooks their husband dinner, and watches over the kids while the men are out working their jobs.  They have been degraded and objectified by the media, as well as those men that view them as nothing less than submissive sex-objects.

As a way to equalize the playing field for men and women, feminists today are advocating the sexual liberation of women everywhere.  Women will no longer have to worry about the stigma placed on them by society by being promiscuous and will have the same repercussions as men for this kind of behavior: a friendly slap on the back and a hearty “congratulations!”

Sexuality, once viewed as a beautiful way of biologically and psychologically bonding two people together through the truest expression of love possible, has been turned into a cheap struggle for subjective dominance between men and women that, nevertheless, continues to objectify the latter.  As we all know, however, over the years, sex has played an important role in society and should be protected.

Monogamy is the force that connects a husband and wife together, is the only way for children to be created in a non-artificial way, and ensures that children will have a stable family environment to grow up in. It is also a safeguard against the transmission of STDs.  Many people argue that sexual liberation was brought about by the development of different types of birth control, which reduced the risk of pregnancy and the spread of STD’s. More importantly, however, contraceptives and other forms of birth control allowed women to take control of their own sex lives.

However, one of the things that makes sex so dangerous and so damaging are the emotions that are attached to an action that bands two people together, especially when it is exploited.  Although the physical results (conceiving a child) of fornication were diminished, birth control did nothing to limit the emotional and social effects of precarious, casual, and unmarried sex.

UNC freshman Rebecca Igleheart puts it succinctly: “Women are raised on this idea of a fairy tale life where ‘Prince Charming’ is going to ride in and romance us. We’ve been taught to tie all these emotions into sex, and men simply don’t see that side of it.  I don’t understand how telling women to have sex more often with different people actually helps us become liberated or free from these emotional bondages”.

The sexual liberation of women is presumed to have been propelled almost entirely by the development and wide-spread distribution of these various contraceptives. This yielded two consequences.  First, women could now begin to control their sex lives without some of the social or physical consequences usually tied to promiscuity. Secondly, it has produced a rape culture directly from this modern reconstruction of the purpose and  the availability of sex.

To explain the first consequence a bit more, sex no longer needed to be guarded, marriage and children could be postponed until later in life, and women were supposedly liberated and “equal” to men and could engage in the same sexual behaviors as them.  As this idea of sex became more mainstream, the legality of abortion shortly followed and feminism began grasping at these new proponents of sexual liberation and freedom of sexual behavior as a basis for their continued advocacy of women’s rights.

The production of a rape culture, although completely unintended, is exactly what can be expected when sex is removed from a private, personal, and intimate context.  Even the way sex is defined has changed.  It used to be known as “making love”, now sex is nothing more than a casual action that entails little to no emotional involvement between two people.  Love has been removed from sex and replaced with immature and base vulgarities, although one of the main purposes of sex is to show one’s physical affection for another.

This new sexual behavior does little to liberate women; in fact it harms them more than anything else. When sex is something that anyone can do with anyone else, at any time, without regard to any of the consequences, all we do is cheapen sex and women, and destroy what little is left of love.

“I think that people have overlooked the sacred bond that sex creates between a man and a woman, and I personally feel that sex should be taken more seriously in today’s society, even though it’s more acceptable to have multiple partners.” said UNC freshman Kristina Parker when asked about her feelings on the way sex is viewed today.

As sex continues to be demeaned, men will presumably have less responsibility in being reasonable and respectful adults, especially to the women in their lives.  Male college students are largely a part of this phenomenon, as can be seen in the majority of campus social activities. It is because of this behavior that various obscene or bizarre terms are now used to describe sex, such as “hit that”. Although, in the absence of love, it would seem that these expressions are indeed appropriate.

This understanding of sex does nothing but harm men, women, and children. Sex is not morally wrong; however, what is morally wrong is the separating sex from the love that it ought to express, and thereby exploiting and cheapening it. The more promiscuous women are, the more men will see women as sexual objects and use them only for sex.  Although this idea of sexual liberation was supposed to equalize men and women, it in fact makes women even less equal than before and continues to paint them as these things to be objectified.

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