the Sexual Revolution
the demise of the double standard for sexual behavior have been greatly
exaggerated. We need look no further for evidence than Father-Daughter
Glamour Magazine recently published a story about these events. The
conservative Christian organization behind these balls is part of the
sexual abstinence movement that began in the 1990s. During the evenings,
fathers pledge to protect their daughters’ purity and the girls vow to
remain chaste until after they marry.
Why no such
similar protection for and purity promises from boys? After all, if we
expect young women to be virgins on their wedding nights, why not young
men as well? (An e-mail requesting a response to this question, which I
sent to the purity balls’ founder via his group’s Web site, remains
unanswered after two weeks.)
the same when we obsess over unwed teen mothers and never seem to
mention or even notice the males who helped put these girls in their
predicament. It’s as if these teens became pregnant all by themselves
and not with some male’s only-too-eager assistance.
In an age
of hyper-sexed everything, when the Internet instantly exposes millions
of viewers to images of panty-less celebrities flashing their genitals,
Father-Daughter Purity Balls seem like a quaint anachronism.
balls and ubiquitous sex, however, are the two sides of the same flawed
premise, encapsulated in the double standard. The root of a different
sexual standard for each gender is our underlying belief that human
sexuality is shameful. No matter what culture we live in – even the
supposedly advanced and more enlightened West – we cannot seem to
reconcile our sexual and spiritual natures. Even if we don’t admit it
openly, we continue to regard sexuality and spirituality as inherently
in conflict, instead of acknowledging that they are equal facets of the
multidimensional beings that we truly are.
addition, the straight men whose viewpoint still predominates continue
to fear and resent the powerful pull of sexual attraction literally
embodied in women. That is why straight male sexuality remains society’s
standard, and why anything different, whether it’s straight female
sexual behavior or homosexual, bisexual or transgender sexuality, is at
best not quite as good or downright suspect/perverted.
also why society continues to dump the onus on women to keep men in line
when it comes to sex. Men are always forgiven while they cajole,
wheedle, beg, plead, grovel and otherwise agitate for sexual favors. In
fact, such behavior is expected from them, because it presumably proves
their masculinity, although it really encourages them to behave in
childish and selfish ways. (A truly “manly” man exercises a little
self-restraint and does not dump responsibility for his sexual behavior
popular culture continues to slam sexually active women with labels like
“bitches and ho’s.”
trying to turn back the clock with purity balls, it’s time to complete
the sexual revolution. The wave of sexual change that occurred with the
advent of oral contraceptives in the 1960s was not a revolution by any
stretch of the imagination, despite its moniker. That women could now
have sex without fear of unwanted pregnancy simply gave men license to
lean on them harder.
real sexual revolution will take place only when we free ourselves of
our judgments against sex and the resulting shame that fosters such
extreme reactions to it in the first place. An aggressively sexualized
society is every bit as dysfunctional as a puritanical society that
denies sexual activity altogether. Only when we at last become
comfortable in our own sexual skins will we be capable of treating both
genders and all sexual orientations as equals in the world and before
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