Most people will not think of the recent Census data on Parental Raising of Children in Different Family Forms as an illustration of “sex gone wrong”—- but it is. The child is the product of the sexual intercourse of the parents and the impact on the parents will last till the end of the lives of the parents… much better and benign effects when they “get sex right” in intact marriage, and much more onerous for them (and their children) when they don’t “get it right.” The chart below shows that the proportion of parents “getting it right” diminishes over time, from 63% at the birth of children, to 46% by the time the child is 17.
The second report is also about sex going very wrong for a very small, but extraordinarily influential, portion of celibate Catholic clergy. Fr. Paul Sullins, Research Associate at the Ruth Institute and retired Professor at the Catholic University of America, has reanalyzed the John Jay Institute data, United States Catholic Conference data and Los Angeles Times data to yield the clearest report to date on what happened, its extraordinary decline, and now a possible inching back up again among that few who cause disaster.
Here are three key charts from within the report for your study and your own conclusions.
The power to procreate is like nuclear physics of the atom: it is massively powerful when released — for good, or for evil. And as everyman knows, no one is immune from sexual corruption, it is time for us all to reform and turn from “defining deviancy down” on matters sexual, to raising the bar higher again.
The total population of North, Central, and South America is less than a billion. Europe’s population is much less. Africa’s population is about one billion.
In the last 100 years the world has eliminated one billion childrenthrough abortion. In other words, whole continents. World War II was a walk in the park compared to this. The US alone has aborted 58 million infants (the total population of the US as it came into the twentieth century, and almost the same as the total populations killed in World War II, the bloodiest war in human history. The “body-count” in the Holocaust pales in comparison to this, US-only “body count”. Clearly, we “do sex” wrong. Humankind has never, ever, “done it” so wrong.
In the US, for children who survive pregnancy and make it to birth, most of their parents cannot stand each other enough to live their lives together and raise their children to adulthood. Slavery has returned to the US—in the form of sex trafficking. Pornography addiction (to some degree or other) is almost universal among young men. Cohabitation is the majority’s choice despite the widespread knowledge of its bad effects. STDs are “through the roof” and are now mega epidemics — having been epidemic for decades. Motherhood is frowned upon in the academic world and most business put up with mothers only because they are forced to if they want female workers. The list could go on and on— and that is without going near what is being taught and not taught in churches— of all denominations!
As a society we have really lost our way. Leaders in all institutions have lost their way or their courage. There are some who know how to “do it” but most don’t, or are afraid, and public schools and academia are not only totally lost, they lead down the wrong and debilitating path — even in the face of overwhelming data. Proof? Just look around you.
Where do we start to rebuild?
This rebuilding starts with men — with fathers in particular.
The fundamental correction involves all fathers taking back from everyone else the sexual education of their sons. Mothers need to do the same for their daughters. However, the sine qua non is that fathers become the sexual tutors of their sons, because, given the nature of males, men have much greater and difficult task to achiever bringing their sexual impulses under total control.
The program is simple: Every father worthy of the title, wants his son to end up happily married to the girl of his dreams and wants to show him the way to pull that off. This is what fathers do: make men out of their boys.
Now that presents a difficulty because most fathers, today, have not achieved that status or have lost it: they aresingle or married to some other woman. Thus, they are quite handicapped in giving what they do not have. However, let us leave that major difficulty to the side for the time being and focus instead on what has to be achieved: Lifelong marriage of a boy to the girl of his dreams.
As a nation— as a culture— we either go for this or we break apart into factions, because sex — at every level of social organization, from the couple to the polis— either powerfully binds us together or powerfully splits us apart. Those who do not go for the gold of lifelong marriage, ultimately, are prepared that our nation be split into pieces. Too strong a claim? What happens to families after divorce? Multiply that by millions and then by two or three generations and then you have a nation and culture falling apart. The choice is not just and individual choice it is a political one (in the pure sense of the polis).
Feminists and lots of other women are clear on what they don’t want men to do sexually, and they are right! But they are NOT clear on what they want men to DO. And without a clear destination anyone is lost. So, feminists, though correct in their attacks on predation, are totally wrong on the nature of sex. There is only one destination that makes sense of sex: Sex is meant for marriage and procreation— procreation within marriage— both entwined. There are lots of secondary derivative purposes and benefits but these two, procreation within marriage, are non-negotiables if we are to avoid social chaos, and if justice is to be done to every child, and if we are to be a people who want justice for every child.
Maybe the biggest natural barrier to achieving this justice is a universal fact about being male: for every man a huge portion of females are physically attractive to him— and will remain so throughout his life, no matter his marital status. Men see, and immediately register, the beauty and attractiveness of every female before they know anything else about her. And if a man permits himself to pursue that attraction to its logical end (intercourse) he can be in big trouble for the rest of his life, and worse still, he will have caused chaos in the lives of the woman, her extended family, his own extended family, and in particular, and most disastrously, will have severely damaged the children that result from that intercourse (either eliminating them in abortion or leaving them with split parents for the rest of their lives – and the grandchildren’s lives.
The only way that sexual attraction can be properly handled is by channeling it towards one person only — the future bride. Finding her is a long and delicate process for which a good father is the best guide, by far.
The journey to the bride starts in childhood. It used to start in adolescence for most of human history but now, with pornography being universally and aggressively obtrusive, it starts for boys around age seven or eight, because with his first exposure to it he is beginning to go down the right path or the wrong path.
(By the way – I am all for the death penalty for pornographers. The human suffering unleashed by pornography is so large it is beyond comprehension.)
Back to the task: fathers now have to begin tutoring early if they are not to be too late. By age 7 or 8 it is already urgent and assumes a good level of affection between father and son for this next phase to be successful.
The good father lets his boy know (despite his son not yet being interested in girls) that he wants him to end up as a great young man with a beautiful young wife who will be his companion and best friend for life. Even the father who has failed to achieve this for himself can lay this out for his son.
Gradually – and differently for each son – he leads him to understand the fundamental complementarity between male and female; that this complementarity between his mother and father brought him into existence and an even greater complementarity and unity between them is needed to raise him to be a great young man. The father reminds his son that he exists because he, his father, used his sexuality to bring him into existence! (This is a most powerful lesson each modern boy needs to hear from the lips of his father. Without this exchange a father is neglecting the growth of his son). He lets his son know that his father, and he alone, is the one to guide his son in teaching about sexuality and that his son should take it from no one else unless his father says it is OK. He even goes so far as to teach his son how to demand this as his (the son’s) right in the classroom and any other place. He teaches his boy how to be a modern warrior — and gentleman — in these sexually hostile times.
The father paints, repeatedly, the goal of the great woman to be won over – by his son being a great man. He teaches him that in this domain “like attracts like!” He cannot have a great woman without being a great man. It is impossible. (At the same time the boy’s mother is teaching the same lesson to his sister).
The father teaches his son that along the way there are many traps and snares for every man; that there always has been and always will be. The first snare that modern boys confront is pornography — new, modern and powerful in its intrusiveness and alluringness (that is what makes it a snare). The father tells his son (at the appropriate time) how he combats his own temptations to look at pornography. He does it in a way that invites the son to lean on his father for help whenever that struggle is present – and it will be. The father promises to protect him within the home and at school but tells him he has to learn how to protect himself when his father is not around. And he reminds him constantly that all this is for the sake of that wonderful girl he is going to win some day. The purer his heart the stronger it will be and the more easily she will sense it and be attracted by it. And he in turn will be able to recognize a woman with a similarly pure heart – ready to give it to the right man but only to the right man and only to one man!
Anybody with an ounce of sense will agree with the above. Anyone who does not is an enemy of children. Harsh? Yes — but true and fundamental to a just and peaceful society.
In all my years working with couples and families, with data and research, with evaluating programs and trying to figure out how best to help couples and families, I have concluded that nothing is more fundamental in the cycle of life and of nations than that the father be the one to induct a boy into sexuality. No one else. All else is fraud — dressed up no doubt, but fraud.
Given this, I think it is time for another Revolutionary War. This war is not fought with guns (though, if it is not won there will be a war with guns). It is the revolution by which fathers take back from everyone else, no matter who they are (teachers or clergy), the sexual education and formation of their boys.
We all love appropriate battle cries, such as New Hampshire’s “Liver Free or Die”. The one every father needs close to his heart (and on his lips when need be) is “Keep your hands off my son’s sex!”
If we get enough fathers taking “sex ed” (it really is sexual malformation) back out of the schools (public and private, denominational or secular) we can change America. If we don’t we lose it.
Too simple? No, no matter the difficulty of doing it. I see nothing more foundational than this in the cycle of human existence, handed on from one generation to the next.
(By the way, this is the ultimate reform the Catholic Church needs to rectify its own house on sexual ethics for all vocations—for marriage, priesthood, religious celibacy or single lay life. It was the “program” proposed in plenty of time by Pope Pius XII back in the 1950’s. It is a pity of historical proportions that Catholic bishops and religious teaching orders did not take that to heart.)
May fathers take back the formation of their sons’ sexuality from everyone else! It belongs to no one else. If anyone wants to do any “sex ed” let them help fathers and mothers do it — and most of them will need help to do this well. But any other forms of sex ed is only adding to the problem. Proof? Just look around you.
It is already very late. It is time to start this New Revolution.
(With apologies for the length.) As Russell Hittinger wrote earlier this year in First Things, there are three primary societies to which people most naturally belong: Our family, our religious community (church, synagogue, mosque, or temple or meeting house), and our political community (nation or state). He emphasized that all three, for the first time in history, are in deep crisis. In the past when there was a crisis in one, or even in two, the other(s) corrected it.
The simultaneous crisis today in each of the three has the same cause: the sexual gone wild. The fallout within the family is now boringly evident: Most first births out of wedlock, minority of children reaching adulthood without their biological parents married, a norm of multiple sexual partners prior to marriage — even for those who worship God weekly, cohabitation prior to marriage, abortion and divorce.
The crisis in the church is related to sex as well, starting historically, with the Lambeth Conference in 1930, during which the-up-until-then universal teaching among all Christian denominations was ruptured by the acceptance of contraception ingrave circumstances for the protection of the life and health of the mother, which — hardly had the ink dried on the decree — immediately morphed into (without debate) the commonly accepted moral doctrine across Protestant denominations, of the use of contraception to limit family size. By 1950 this was a deeply entrenched pattern. By the 1960’s the crisis on the same erupted in the Catholic Church with a division for many, at almost all levels of the church (but not at the top) between praxis and doctrine.
The children born to all these contracepting parents saw no logical nor practical reason to contain contraception within marriage and, taking it outside, gave us the sexual revolution of the 1960s. That revolution was not only a sexual revolution, but fostered by the cultural Marxists, was a revolution against “authority.” Many churches complied with the zeitgeist, changing, first praxis and then doctrine on divorce, abortion, and cohabitation. With the logical dominoes falling, homosexual sex had to be, and was, logically accepted. Now with multiple religious-moral options, more and more people moved their religious affiliation to less demanding denominations, ceased worshiping frequently while their children ceased worshiping at all.
The emerging recreational sex, naturally led to an abandonment of the worship of God by young adults, and to a loss of attachment to any religious community. It also resulted in the steady erosion of marriage. Thus, the crisis within the family and within religion, are the same: The sexual.
That there is a crisis in the polis – – – the political community of which we are all members – – – is now obvious in the overt refusal of cooperation by the more revolutionary party in Congress. One might say it is akin to a civil war though confined — for the present — to the realm of words (and legal actions). Civil discourse is almost impossible to find. This breakdown is most evident in the debate over the nomination of judges to the Supreme Court and to the Appellate Courts. But this non-cooperation is evident in other areas that impinge on matters sexual, most evidently so, in the issue of abortion but now even at the highest court levels of legal action in matters related to homosexuality. The most publicly forthright, organized display in Congress of a refusal to seek even minimal political cooperation was the behavior of liberal female congressmen and senators during the incumbent president’s First State of the Union speech shortly after his election. These women set themselves apart and aside by an ostentatious show of uniform dress code — white coats — so as to be visible to the nation on television, as pointedly flaunting their refusal of minimal respect when all strive to maintain some semblance of national unity. The day prior, this refusal was presaged in “The Women’s March” whose iconic headgear vulgarly forced all to contemplate the politics of rebellious sex — again with a dress code — this time, not white coats but, pink “vulva hats”.
Any part of Washington that impinges on the sexual has become a nasty place to work, nowhere more than at the Office of Population Affairs at Health and Human Services. The office that runs the family planning/sexual programs of the government. God help anyone who works there who does not comply in their minds and hearts with the radical sexual agenda. They are under intense constant scrutiny and harassment.
In sum, nothing is more contentious at universities, in corporate boardrooms, in bureaucracies, in courts, and in legislatures than the appearance of any item that impinges on the sexual. Everywhere, pollical division and non-cooperation divides the polis.
Why has there never been a crisis in all three societies ever before in history? Never before have so many in powerful places been so insane on matters of sex, family, love between fathers and mothers, parents and children.
Sex, life, love, marriage, children and God are all so intimately linked or decoupled in the thriving of man or in his debilitation, that all functional civilizations and cultures — all — have put tremendous energy, throughout all their institutions, into bringing as much harmony on the society-dependent, foundational issues. In our day instead, we have many in positions of leadership throughout the major institutions (family, church, school, marketplace and government) devoted to deliberatelyincreasing the discord on these issues. A society so divided on these fundamentals cannot stand, as the elite leaders of this revolt understand very well, and have for decades as they worked to this point.
As always, it is the poor who suffer most, and who will suffer even more. For all family life today is much costlier, less productive and less enjoyable than it should be, but especially so for the poor — even as they are used and show-cased as victims by the same elite leaders of the revolt.
Our national fertility — a big sexual issue — is far removed from that of a well-functioning society. For instance, if were no abortions there would not be a Social Security financial crisis today, nor a looming Medicare crisis. Over the next 10 years these programs will gradually shrivel, if not suddenly implode (economists seem to lean towards implosion, barring some global reform in global currency standards). The contraction has already begun as the elderly on Medicare can tell you. And, they have already been flagged that less will be forthcoming and that they must become accustomed to picking up more of the tab (which they had pre-payed).
More than most nations throughout history, we were blessed with the freedom to choose, but we were never free to choose the consequences. Consequences are built into the nature of the choice made, into the sexual and relational nature of man, as the demographics of America — Mapping America — repeatedly illustrates.
To thrive man needs two great loves: The love of his closest neighbor (spouse, and children— sexual love in its fullest expression) and the love of God (minimally expressed in weekly worship).
Is a crisis correction possible?
Of the three societies that we all occupy, the one with the capacity for quickest reform is the religious. Despite all its bad press, some of it, and more to come, no doubt, well deserved — but by no means all, particularly the latest — a close observer will notice the pace of reform within the Catholic Church in this country. It has been gathering steam, not in a way that makes front-page headlines, but more hidden in its deeper reaches. Hopefully the same currents, driven by the same issues (dysfunctional sexuality and its fallouts), are bringing about similar reform within other denominations and faiths.
Addressing the issue of church reform, John Garvey, president of The Catholic University of America, in a recent letter to the university community, quoted St Catherine of Sienna, who was the major stimulus for a reform at another time of deep crisis: “Eliminate the stink of the ministers of the Holy Church. Pull out the stinking flowers and plant scented plants, virtuous men that fear God.”
The road ahead: First the reform of the religious institutions leading in turn to the reform of marriage and the family (all freely undertaken by free adults), which reformed over time, will alter our political behaviors and lead to a reform of the body politic.
The sooner the better for every child yet to be born, every one of whom will thrive or wilt depending on how much a diet of the two great loves he is fed.
Picture a 4-year-old black boy walking down the street holding his father’s. He is asking his father a question and the back and forth is clearly animated. His father is obviously enjoying it.
This boy is rich.
Picture a 7-year-old black girl helping her mother who is sweeping the porch and asking her to move piece of furniture. The mother is cracking a joke and her daughter is laughing.
This girl is rich.
Picture this girl teaching her younger brother how to play checkers. She lets him beat her and enjoys his yelp of triumph. She lets him know she won’t let him win anymore.
These are rich kids.
Picture their family dinner. It always starts with a short prayer from each member of the family. Each one gives thanks to God for a blessing they experienced that day.
This is family is rich.
Picture the father and mother waving goodbye to their daughter and son as they walk down the sidewalk, going out on their monthly date night. The mother has cracked a joke that has her husband overcome by laughter.
This is a very rich couple.
Their kids are some of the richest children in America.
How many black kids are that rich?
Can we dream of every black child having a father and mother like that? What would it take to have that dream for every black child?
Can we dream really big? Can Black America dream? Can America dream?
What does it take to dream that big?
Can a great nation dream? Can liberals dream? Can conservatives dream? Can religious people dream that dream? Can atheists dream that dream? Can “nones” dream that dream?
Let us have a nation of rich black kids!
Despite declines in religious practice and in marital rates, these two institutions continue to be instrumental to attaining educational, economic, and relational security.
Alternative practices and family structures do not yield the same outcomes.
For the good of the black, the Latino, and the child of every race- the future of America,
“Patriarchy” has become a” dirty word” because of Marxist Feminist political correctness. If one searches for what is meant by patriarchy (or what is included in their definition of patriarch) is the intact married biological family. Marriage is seen as patriarchy! And that has become an evil to be banished. We live in insane times — literally, not metaphorically speaking.
The fullest relationship between male and female occurs in marriage. When they engage in sexual intercourse (at minimum an action at the bodily level) they have the capacity, frequently, to generate the fruit of this physical relationship: a new human being —( the one-celled zygote the first stage of all of the developing human being they have just brought into existence).
This new being is hypersensitive to the relationship between itself and its mother. This latter relationship is more intimate at the physical level than any other physical relationship in human experience.
For nine months the new being grows in harmony with his mother’s body, and its mother’s body adapts to nurture and develop the new human being within her. Once the new human being exits the womb its first experience of external reality normally is (and always ought to be) the warm embrace and the affection, now external to the womb, of the same mother. Thus the mother in those first moments welcomes her new child into the external world of human reality be first letting it experience its first external human relationship as warm, loving, welcoming and nurturing .
By bonding fast and deep and accepting and enveloping it in love and affection way, the new human being feels affirmed warmly in its new external existence. This welcoming by the mother is the most profound experience of its life because it is the first experience of the reality it will inhabit for the rest of its life in this external world. One could say that nothing is more important for this new being than that the mother be prepared and ready to accept and envelop in affection and love and nurturance, her new child so that, right from the beginning, she reassures her child that it is loved, because she knows it is made to be loved, just as she experiencing now for the first time in a most profound way, she also is made to love (as well is to be loved as deeply as this).
This exchange of deepest loves between her and her new baby will be made most possible for her by the loving attention and care of her by her husband at these moments — assuring her by his silent, attentive presence, of his personal dedication to her and their child, even as she totally attends to that child’s needs in those first moments and hours. Her deepest needs being met at this most existential of moments in her life — are made possible by a husband, who at this time has no thoughts whatever of his needs but is fully consumed by his wife’s and his baby’s needs. His reason for existing right then is to sacrifice anything and everything for the needs of these two beings who are his family, even if their existence were to demand his sacrificing his life. All men would expect that of him (even as they wish it did not have to be so at all).
Thus, the human family is a family of deepest relational needs — fulfilled by each other for each other.
In these first moments of the new family a child is affirmed by the mother through her love, care, nursing, affection and attention. At the same time the mother experiences an affirmation of her motherhood in the satisfied response of her child to her care and nurturing. At that moment she is affirmed in her femaleness in a way she has never experienced before in her life. She feels fulfilled in her existence. That feeling of fulfillment is made possible by her having a nurturing environment around her and that environment is her loving, protecting, caring husband.
The process began with the father’s sperm travelling up to her egg – and that first stage ends with the father standing to the side loving, caring, and protecting the two — his spouse and his child. Thus, it is one of the most evil projects on earth, to pry the father apart from the mother of his child and from his child. This is a crime against father mother and child. This is a crime against the human race.
If culture is a tapestry of affirmations of the different relationships that make us human society, of relationships that can be ranked in importance and centrality, then those relationships that begin new life, the next generation of that society and culture, are the most to be treasured and protected.
That protection falls most to the father because his spouse is engaged in the intense around-the-clock nurturance of the new fetus or new child. This protection begins even before they become a family. As he selects his future spouse and as she selects him, though it is not foremost in his mind, it is deepest in his obligations even as he forms and nurtures from potentiality to reality, the relationship between him and his future, hoped-for, spouse. He protects her and their future children, by protecting all of them from those who would pry him from his spouse and his children: those enemies of the family who are set against patriarchy, for patriarchy, as used by these enemies of the family, means the married father with his spouse and his children. To these enemies every married father is a patriarch, is the one to be pried apart from his family.
If the destruction of patriarchy was the strategy of destroying society then the rebuilding of patriarchy is the strategy of rebuilding a family-centered culture.
In such a culture the woman is admired and honored especially for her motherhood. The man who wants to “have a woman in his life” is also bringing a child into his life, for woman is most made woman in that moment of childbirth, and a man is most man at the same moment: selflessly dedicated to a project of the common good.
All human beings are made male or female for purposes of reproduction – for the purpose of the child, the next generation. But within these very complementary differences is a common humanity. Humanity’s most common need is to belong or be understood. These are not synonyms in language but they are synonyms in human experience. We belong where we are understood and to whom we belong we most want to be understood. To be understood is the greatest form of affirmation. Thus male and female, husband and wife are most affirmed by each other when they are understood by the other.
But affirming does not come naturally to either male or female: it is an acquired disposition, skill and habit. But it is foundational to the couple and is the essence of culture. And children need their parents to be affirmers of each other.
The wife who has a man who understands her, who provides for her and protects her when she needs it is a well-fulfilled (not perfectly fulfilled but well fulfilled) woman. She will let him know her fears, and he will protect her.
Married women took to contraception because it alleviated one of life’s “dangers”: the “loss of self” in raising many children. However, there is a vast literature (and we at MARRI likely have the biggest collection of findings from that literature) now illustrating the dangers of contraceptives for many women. Frequently, one or more of her bodily functions and systems breaks down under a medication designed to suppress a woman’s fullness of female bodily maturity. A significant number of biological systems are in danger of severe injury and trauma, occasionally life threatening.
A protector husband would not want his wife to be subject to those dangers or suffer the frequent-enough consequences of using them. However, it is clear from the natural family planning research literature, that not many men have enough sexual self-control to abstain from sexual relations during the fertile days of his wife’s fertility cycle. Thus, if she does not use the pill he is a danger to her when she does not want to conceive. She then views her husband, not a protector, but as a big danger.
Thus, if a couple are to use natural family planning the husband has to be trusted by his wife, and known by his wife to be a man quite capable of the required level of sexual self-control that is necessary if natural family planning — working in total harmony with the woman’s biological systems — is to be the method by which couples choose whether to bring their next child into existence at this time in their marriage, or not.
What if their husbands were not only to be trusted but — at one and the same time and by the same level of necessary self-control — were to be the great lovers every woman wishes her man could be. That would quickly change the attitude of many women towards the pill. Both capacities: to abstain and to pleasure well are based on the capacity for self-control. The chaste man has that control in spades. Most modern men do not.
This sort of male is the one who is needed if we are to have a culture-building sexual counter-revolution. This time it must be the men who lead.
Affirmers, providers and protectors of women —men who provide for their wives and children, understand them deeply in a way no one else ever has, which gift of understanding yields the companion gift of unity between them, and to have such sexual self-control they have children when they want to and avoid conception when they are not ready for another child together; and lastly, she has greater sexual satisfaction that most women only dream of (and eventually forget about as unattainable from men).
To achieve this quality a man must learn:
To communicate well (to listen deeply so as to understand well, and thus affirm where affiration is most needed);
To provide sufficiently (get enough education to work at the job he is prepared to do to bring in the income his wife will be happy with);
Become a man of sexual self-control so that the pill is not a temptation for either of them and his capacity to satisfy his wife is what both dream of.
If the culture is to be restored we must learn how to grow men like this.
Most ordinary fathers ensure their sons are capable of being providers. However, on the other two necessary capacities (the capacity to understand and affirm; and the capacity for sexual self-control at the level discussed above) most ordinary fathers do not develop these capacities in their sons, or even broach the topics with them. Thus, it behooves men to begin this change in capacity-development as soon as possible.
The most fundamental skill needed to achieve all three is the first: the capacity and skill to communicate a deep understanding of the other person (and of oneself). This is the key skill to everything else. And this capacity is quite developable!
Men skilled in communicating and affirming can mentor other men in acquiring the same capacities. Overtime a cascading network of mentoring men can have huge effects.
Women will notice the difference. Such men will be so valuable to them and the need for contraception will dissipate.
Recently, for a talk in Chicago to parents of high school boys, I had to update my knowledge based on a 2009 review of the effects of pornography. On this issue the world has changed a lot in less than ten years: the use of pornography has escalated and the effects are alarming.
The most telling effect, I think, is the epidemic of erectile dysfunction (ED) among men. For all of human history this was mainly an older man’s problem. As recently as 2002 the rate of ED for men aged 40–80 was about 13% in Europe. By 2011 rates reached 28% for men aged 18–40. As reported above, a 2014 cross-sectional study of active duty, relatively healthy, 21–40 old males in the US military, found that one third (33.2%) suffered from ED.
Unaware of these changes, for the last year or so I had thought that the drop in high school students’ rate of sexual intercourse was good news and that, since 2007, abstinence ideas were winning, but given the above data, all of the causes may not be good news. Increased pornography use among teenage boys, resulting in decreased interest in girls, may be the cause. This also serves to put in context a disturbing experience I had a few weeks ago while driving through a wealthy Washington D.C. suburb during rush hour: I noticed (as must several other drivers waiting for the traffic lights to change) a 12-year-old moving along the sidewalk, intently looking at his smartphone in one hand while his other hand was engaged in self-abuse. I had not yet reviewed the new research on the prevalence of pornography viewing and was quite taken aback. No longer. At age 12 he was already so addicted to porn and had no shame. The average age of a boy’s first viewing of pornography has dropped to 10 years of age. Fathers be aware.
75 percent of porn-watching is done on smart phones. 25 percent of all internet searches are for pornography. Tablets and computers make up the rest, computers being the smallest percentage. The average length of stay on a porn site is about 10 minutes. 70 percent of US college students watch porn — alone, with others, or in couples. 45 percent of women now accept it in their relationships. 10 percent of women refuse to view it themselves but accept it in their husbands or partners.
A decade ago women viewed pornography at about one sixth the rate of men. Today, depending on the country, it varies from only one third the rate of men (US) to one half (the Philippines and Brazil).
Estimates of production range up to 4.2 million websites (12 percent of the total sites worldwide) with 420 million web pages. Every single day, worldwide, there are more than 68 million search engine requests for pornography (which is 25 percent of all search requests).
What are the negative effects for those who become habituated and especially for those who become addicted? Changes in brain size (diminished); the younger boys start the greater the effects on their brain, and the more difficult to overcome the addiction; men see women as sex objects not as persons, have greater interest in pornography than in the company of women or girlfriends; they suffer increasingly from erectile dysfunction, become more aggressive in their relationships with spouses or partners, are more likely to believe the ‘rape myth’ (that women enjoy being sexually abused), and progress to more and more deviant pornography to attain sexual arousal, leading in turn to greater sexual deviancy; teenagers will be more likely to engage in same-sex sexual activities. It is no wonder that American young adults and college students are less and less interested in marriage and may be on the way towards the “Japanese disease” of widespread withdrawal from interest in sexual matters among 30-year-olds.
This is a calamity of monumental proportions. Combined with contraception and abortion, we now have a ‘society-collapsing’ conception and practice of human sexuality.
Given the borderless nature of the internet, pornography is difficult to control. However, there is not a nation on earth for whom its effects are not massively deleterious. This is one public health hazard on which the governments of the world should cooperate. Without that cooperation it cannot be stamped out. And, given the rate at which porn movies are made, the industry would have to be a major source of the sexual exploitation of women, with probable links to sex-trafficking.
In the meantime, savvy parents — and even savvy teenagers — will switch to dumb phones. Giving a teenage boy a smart phone is installing a porn-shop in his pocket… and a very alluring shop it is too: cheap (free) porn, immediately available, and anonymous. In ten minutes a teenage boy can see more and more beautiful undressed women than the greatest sultan harem-owner in history ever saw in a lifetime. Who could resist? Not many.
One father, a friend of mine who took great care in introducing his boys into a gradual and full understanding of male sexuality and its foundational role in marriage, came up with a savvy way of helping his boys avoid pornography: He told them that, if any boy at their school showed porn to them on a smartphone, they had his full permission to grab the phone, smash it on the ground, stomp it into bits, and then tell that classmate to have their father call his father. One can imagine their glee but, so far, they have not had the joy of following through. Their school now forbids smartphones during school hours on school property. Maybe the practice will spread. ‘Dumb phones’ work fine for communicating with parents, family, and friends. The world is different when dumb is smart!
Many people who have absolutely nothing to do with the family are deeply involved in the sexual formation of the family’s children. They seek not to educate them as virtuous, monogamous adults, deeply committed to their future spouses and their future children, but instead, as continuously polymorphous sexual beings at ease with what ordinary folk, for eons, called grave sins. The names and forms of these practices now multiply by the year and are even infused into the kindergarten.
But the child does not belong to anyone in the education system, not even to their most devoted teachers. The child belongs only to the parents, just as the parents are the only ones who belong fully to the child. And parents, through their marital relationship and their devotion, are the ones who most shape the child’s sexuality. When children are given these two ingredients they develop into fine sexual adults.
Given the advanced revolution that is underway in many schools it is more than time for fathers to step up to the plate and claim their rights. Protecting their sons is a natural first step. Imagine this opening to a conversation down at your local school:
“This is my boy, not yours. I gave him life. From my sexual act he came into existence. From his sexual act my grandchildren are going to come into existence. One half of the DNA in every cell in his body comes from me, the other half from my wife. By the most complete, intimate and loving of all sexual acts my wife and I brought him into existence. This domain belongs to no one else. I, the male who gave him life, am the one to teach him how to be a man so that he in due time with a good woman, his future wife, can bring another child into existence this way. A quarter of the DNA of those children will be my DNA. Nobody — and I mean nobody – has the right to come into this territory that is exclusively mine and MY BOY’s.
“I am the one to guide him along this path. For this task I was created. The school had nothing to do with it. It is not your right; it is mine (and my obligation too —not yours). Except for my wife, no one else has any rights in this matter. No one!
“For this my wife and I married. This is our most prized “territory”. This is our life. It definitely is not yours. Stay out! And keep your hands off my boy’s sex and off my daughter’s sex!”
“If we want someone’s help I will ask. But first take care of your children and let us all see how well you are doing in shaping the sexuality of your children. If I like what you have accomplished you will be a candidate for helping me should I need it. And by the way, that help will be for me — how to teach him.”
When fathers start speaking this way to school teachers, principals and boards, the good sexual revolution will have begun. And, by the way, loads of teachers will love it!
Scratch anyone from the South and they bleed regional pride. But the South is cause for some real heartburn: It is, simultaneously, both the most religious-worshiping section of the country and the most family-broken section of the county as this map of American family structure makes clear. The whiter the state (in color below) the less intact the family.
Think of the archetypal Southern man and strength and straight shooting (metaphorically speaking, though the other straight shooting come to mind too). He is honest, tough, clear-speaking and loyal to his friends. But the reality is most Southern men are not loyal to their children. They don’t give them the family they need. And even if there is a rifle in the back window of every truck shot gun weddings are as much an ancient memory in the South as anywhere else.
The fault may lie deep in the cultural icon of frontier American manhood with its ambivalence about chastity, especially for the single man. Out of wedlock births are common, almost normative. Even pastors seem to think nothing of it, and say less.
We can have all the cultural debates we like about sexual norms and changing attitudes but the inescapable reality is our present patterns leave boys without fathers present, which gives us more young men without chests who are also cursed with small hearts. And they in turn will sire more young men with even smaller chests and smaller hearts. And their daughters: with absent fathers they will quickly find absent fathers for their own children. So we get double barreled single parenthood among their children.
Such is the reality of the white states in the map above.
The South needs a new culture, a new infrastructure: the man with a big heart who has the strength to make friends only with other men who are intent on bedding only one woman: the one each will marry, who will be mother to all his children, and who will likely bury him after a long and good life together.
Is the South capable of producing such men? Are Southern public schools capable of shaping the minds of boys in that direction? Even more: are Southern pastors capable inspiring young men to such strength, or are they too without chests even in their own churches. Can any of them talk about chastity as love and strength? Reality screams for this course correction, else the South will die a natural death — a natural cultural death. Where are these modern strong men? We all need their stories but young boys need them most.
All that religious worship needs to be harnessed. Surely there are enough real men in the South to do so.
Last week we saw the powerful effects of two great teachers: the church and the state and the need for both to be fundamentally aligned if one is to have a peaceful and prosperous society. But in terms of power and influence, nothing compares to parents in shaping their children’s view of life and capacity for life.
From the moment of birth the mother has the capacity to orient her child positively to “reality” by making those first moments, days, months and even years enjoyable and welcoming. Dying young soldiers often give testimony to this by calling on their mothers, instinctively harkening back to the great welcome into life even as they exit it. By contrast, very troubled mothers can lay the foundation for psychosis if, rather than welcoming their child, they make those first experiences horrendous, and the child protectively retreats to a safer place within itself, cutting itself off from this dangerous world it has just entered. Therapists later do their limited best to draw the person back out again.
Increasing attention has been drawn to the influence of fathers. They shape the sexuality of their children by the way they relate to the mother of their children, for that is the primary sexual relationship in the family. We know all sorts of other good effects such as the more they read to their children the quicker they come to read and love books. The more time he spends with his children the more they thrive. President Obama talked of this a number of times.
But what nobody talks about in the media is the effect of the parent’s marriage on their children. A good marriage is more powerful than a good mother or a good father taken singly, much more.
But the most powerful marriage is the one that includes weekly worship of God. Such a marriage is the most powerful teacher and educator of children in every measured aspect of human life. The following is a snapshot of the national picture for the US, by family structure and frequency of worship.
Forget about Japanese schooling or German schooling or British schooling. They are all good but don’t hold a candle to the father and mother who are married and worship God weekly. They are the “tiger mothers” and “super dads” all wrapped up in one loving package. They are the most powerful educators on earth. And they can be found across the globe. But talked about nowhere. Strange.
Children are deeply relational beings–and depending on how that dimension is fulfilled for them by their parents they become competent human beings–or not. Nurturing relationships early on makes “being a human being” a happy experience for them. A mother, in the very close, comforting and warm nurturance of breast feeding, the foundational experience on entering a world that it is a good and nice place to be in. This anchors a child in reality. If a child is cursed with this early experience being a harsh one that child will retreat into life-long psychosis or milder forms of damaging self-defense from a harsh world.
Plenty of belonging leads to plenty of thriving. A good culture, and a good nation devotes massive energy to ensuring plenty of belonging for its children: it is the sine qua non of its continued thriving as a culture and as a nation.
The core of such a culture is the marriage vow “till death us do part”, that vow by which fathers and mothers have bound themselves in perpetual belonging so that the children who will come have total reassurance as to whom and to where they belong. That vow gives everyone a norm and a structure around which to build a highly functional society. It absence indicates a body without a spine.
The other end of the spectrum which has belonging on one end is rejection. The norm and the “structure” around which rejection is built is sex outside of, or before, the marriage vow. Its results are a national and cultural wilting instead of a thriving. Rejection comes in many forms but for the building or, in this case, the deconstruction of society, rejection deep within the family is the natural and most common consequence of sex outside of marriage: out of wedlock births where most parents eventually end up rejecting each other; cohabitation with similar results for a large portion; and of course infidelity within marriage. Abortion also is most frequently the product of out of wedlock sex (roughly 80%).
No matter which way society goes on matters sexual there are high costs for the two different pathways.
The costs of the pathway of traditional intact marriage are high for the individual requiring chastity (see last week blog); requiring that one pushes through the difficulties of marriage, no matter the burden; requiring fidelity (and in the process, requiring continued personal struggle and growth towards an even greater maturity lasting all the way their sixties and beyond – to the end). The demands on the individual are high — but the benefits for them, their children and society are enormous. The price of their struggle is more than well repaid.
The pathway of rejection does not make these demands on the individual; it is premised on avoiding them, on personal autonomy and “free choice”. But it does demand a price: the aborting of children (and America has, in the last 75 years, aborted the equivalent of one sixth of its present population); divorce and all its attendant consequences on adults and on children; out of wedlock births and all of its consequences , which for our inner cities, are now compounding through the fourth and even fifth generation. For society at large the price is high in more school failure and drop out; more crime and addictions, more ill health and disease; shorter lifespan; much higher health costs; much higher education costs; much higher policing and criminal justice system costs; more poverty and less income; less savings; harsher old-age; more loneliness and suicide. Even though the individuals who choose this pathway pay their own heavy price in the longer term, the premise of this culture is “I will make my choice – others can pay for the consequences.” At its core this sexual pathway is anti-community, anti-child, anti-marriage and ultimately anti-cultural and, ironically, destructive of the individual who chooses that route.
A macro cost/benefit comparison between the two pathways leads quickly to a “slam dunk” winner.
Because these two different pathways demand very different cultures and, ultimately, very different political orders, we pay another price: civil strife and a growing gap between those who hold to the first pathway and those to the second.
Trying to make these two pathways work together causes one to daydream about solutions such as political geographies that permit one culture to work and pay for its way and the other to work and pay for its way.
But in such solutions one pathway would have to give up its foundational premise “I make my choice, the state (meaning everyone else, all the taxpayers) can pay for it.” If the rejection pathway had its own political order and geographic community structures they would have to shoulder their own costs, and five minutes reflection by anyone, liberal or conservative, shows that is not possible for they would be bankrupt within a generation – in twenty five years or less.
But within that dilemma lies the seed of reform: achieve more and more ways of making folk of the second pathway aware of the cost to themselves and their children. I bet that most single parent grandmothers in the inner city wish their grandchildren could take the “belonging till death us do part” pathway, the pathway of faithful marriage, even if they cannot see the way for that to happen.
It is from such grandmothers that the seeds of a “belonging America” can sprout. On these issues no one has more authority, for they have the authority of suffering and pain, the authority of the victimhood of their grandchildren – should they learn how to harness it. Betty Williams and Mairead Corrigan of Belfast started the healing in Northern Ireland by harnessing similar suffering among mothers. Is there a Betty Williams in one of our inner cities who could say for marriage in America what Williams, in her Nobel Laureate speech, said for peace in Northern Ireland:
“A deep sense of frustration at the mindless stupidity of the continuing violence was already evident before the tragic events of that sunny afternoon of August 10, 1976. But the deaths of those four young people in one terrible moment of violence caused that frustration to explode, and create the possibility of a real peace movement. As far as we are concerned, every single death in the last eight years, and every death in every war that was ever fought represents life needlessly wasted, a mother’s labor spurned.”
Can the price that our American children are paying, particularly our inner-city poor children are paying, draw forth that brilliant Black grandmother hidden somewhere in one of our cities? That grandmother has a moral authority no one else can aspire to … and hundreds of thousands will follow should she give proper voice and they can begin the end to our American stupidity.