The Failure of the Sexual Revolution
Out of the Darkness
I’ve recently been doing a lot of thinking about the horrible quagmire that modern dating has become. Fortunately, I’m out of that game now. I’ve spent the best decade of my life blissfully married to a wonderful man. Before that, however, I was admittedly a bit of a slut. I’m infertile and have been since I was 18. It’s a running joke that if I end up with an unplanned pregnancy, what I really need is a priest, because it’s a bit late to have a replay of the Virgin Mary. Between knowing for a fact that pregnancy from sex is impossible and a religious usage of condoms in any encounter that wasn’t preceded by exchanging recent STD test results, I saw no reason not to be. I was assured that this was healthy behavior for a young woman. Looking back on my experiences and looking at the world around me, I disagree with those assurances.
Let’s start with some background information. Women have stronger hormonal responses to sex than men do, in that we have a larger oxytocin surge in response to all physical touch, but especially orgasms. This is great for bonding. While the initial hit of serotonin and dopamine gets less strong over time, the oxytocin levels can be maintained with regular contact and your brain eventually ties the oxytocin high to the other person. This creates a deeper relationship bond. Men get vasopressin, which pushes them to protect the person their brain has tied to the production of the chemical. There you have the brain chemistry basis for a relationship. (Interestingly, oxytocin and vasopressin aren’t produced for every partner in men. This is probably why men are more capable of casual sex. Oxytocin only? Good lay. Oxytocin and vasopressin? Next wife.)
Also of note, there’s a an interesting physical phenomena in which male DNA can and does cross the female blood-brain barrier even if they don’t reproduce by a process called microchimerism. That actually means that every time a female has unprotected sex with a male, she stands a pretty decent chance of carrying around his DNA in her body forever, and it may express in her future offspring even with another man. Ladies, you should think really freaking hard about whether or not you want any part of a man’s DNA in you and your future children before you have sex with him.
What does any of that have to do with the sexual revolution? The more partners a woman has, the harder it is for the brain to tie the release of oxytocin to a specific partner, which interferes with long-term bonding. Sex becomes less personal, less intimate, and more about pleasure. Humans have more or less known this forever. We didn’t understand what the brain was doing, but we knew that a woman who slept with a bunch of men before she slept with her husband was a less devoted wife. Every culture on earth has had strong social mores against female promiscuity. Male promiscuity was frowned upon, but not as strictly. If a man made a child with a woman, in pretty much every culture on earth, he was responsible for both the child AND the woman. Shotgun weddings are the most classic example of this, but there’s mention of similar situations in the Bible. It’s not a new trend. The message is pretty clear: if a man doesn’t want to keep that woman for life, putting his dick in her is a pretty bad idea because he might get her pregnant.
Culturally, this translated to the development of marriage for the production and raising of the best possible offspring. Polygamy was acceptable in many cultures for a variety of reasons, but there was mostly the expectation that women would be faithful to one man. (I’ll note that every old religious text I’ve found encourages men to be close to their wives and treat them with affection. Even religions that encouraged men to discipline their wives encouraged a very affectionate relationship in a marriage. This translates into the encouragement of continued oxytocin production and the maintenance of the relationship bond.)
There is also a nearly universal theme in the pursuit of sexual relationships between males and females. Males pursue females. The often unspoken side of this is that women lead the pursuit. We entice a man to continue pursuit. Historically, a successful woman in this regard enticed a man to continue this pursuit all the way to the altar where a trade is made between the two sexes. He gets access to sex from her and to presumably father all her offspring. She gets access to his protection, resources, and affection.
This leads into the point of this little rant. Sex is a commodity. There’s an economic exchange going on at all times, throughout all of history, for this sought after commodity. Because men want sex more than women do, sex is the female commodity. (Because I can already hear the, “REEEEE!” F*ck off, feminists. You’re entitled to your opinions. You aren’t entitled to your own facts.) Commitment, however, is a man’s commodity. Throughout history, the social mores that encouraged women to be chaste have placed a hard restriction on how much sex there was to be had. If a man wanted it, he had to accept that he either had to share the same women everyone else had access to (prostitutes and loose women) or he had to trade commitment for sex.
This was an overall positive for women and for society at large. Women got security and partnership for raising their offspring. Single motherhood is an undeniable contributor to poverty. A requirement that men had to put up commitment to get sex reduced poverty for women immensely. It led to better quality offspring, which in turn provided for parents in their old age. The parent most likely to need care was the mother, because we statistically live longer. Society benefited from men working hard to collect enough resources to attract a prime woman for marriage. Men built civilization itself in the pursuit of getting laid, and women controlling access to sex was a huge part of that.
Enter the birth control pill and the sexual revolution. Suddenly, women were “free” from the consequences of sex (children). “Free love” made promiscuity a virtue. Sex was no longer tied to commitment, and men could get it for the price of dinner and drinks. Now, marriage rates continue to fall right along with the number of children produced. Meanwhile, the age of first marriage and divorce rates continue to rise. There are oodles of single mothers, and all the subsequent issues with poverty and poor outcomes for children. Why? Because women devalued their commodity and increased the value of men’s. Here’s a link to a video that explains what’s happening now in purely economic terms: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1ifNaNABY&feature=youtu.be
What happened in biological terms and how it relates to mate selection is even odder. This is a vast oversimplification of an immensely complex topic, but here’s the basic idea. Hormonal birth control works by convincing your body that it’s pregnant. This changes how women select for a mate. Our primal monkey brains signal off of different things to tell us, “This is a good man and you love him.” Instead of us selecting for particularly dominant, masculine men, regardless of other features, we instead look for a more passive man, as if we’re pregnant already and don’t want to be around a potential physical threat. That doesn’t sound so bad, but when you decide to actually make a baby and stop taking the birth control, your entire perception of the man you chose shifts as well. Sometimes he’s still a good candidate for a mate. Sometimes you end up thinking that he’s a little bitch and you need to get yourself a real man. Everything changes, and not always for the better.
This change in preferences for softer, more passive men is also dangerous to us. Take hard look serial rapists who’ve been caught. They aren’t typically big, threatening looking men. They’re smaller, more passive in appearance. Many of them are rather charming. There’s a wide variety of biological explanations for this, and it’s seen in many other species. A beta male will essentially rape a female and leave her with the kid. How many women have met a charming, pretty man, gotten pregnant by mistake, and had him take off to never be seen again? This shift in mate selection is making us chose less ideal men to mate with.”
None of this is good for society, and it’s worse for women. Women bear the hardships of raising children alone. We bear the poverty. We bear the neigh-impossible task of being both mother and father. If you believe feminist drivel, women have the worst parts in divorce too. (I would argue that fact, but that’s a wholly different rant.) Even more than that, men are less willing than ever to commit. They’re keeping the value of their commodity, and when women are “ready to settle down” in their 30s or 40s, they’re past the optimal age for fertility and men in their generation are looking at women in their 20s to trade commitment for sex with, especially if they want kids. Those mature women are stuck with their cats unless they’re lucky enough to find an acceptable man in an increasingly small pool.
The sexual revolution failed us. Feminists pushing the idea that bad “male” behavior was “equality” failed us. We failed ourselves. We’re failing the children being produced with no male to guide them. I don’t know that there’s anything we can even do to fix this mess now, but let us at least recognize that the whole experiment was a colossal cluster-fuck and we need to, as individuals do better.