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sexual revolution

sexual revolution

Saving the life of the country: the dangers of “demographic suicide”

family, human capital, marriage, sexual revolution, world population No comments
Kevin J. Burns, Intern
Ever since Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 best-selling book The Population Bomb, there have been widespread concerns about overpopulation. But overpopulation is a myth, especially in western society. As Alejandro Macarron Larumbe argues in his recently-published article in Expansión, a Spanish economic newspaper, western populations are quickly shrinking and western economies are shrinking with them.
In developed countries, a fertility rate of 2.1 children per woman will ensure population status quo. Larumbe’s article seeks to bring attention to Spain’s paltry fertility rate of 1.35. Across Europe, the native population is quickly shrinking, with an average fertility rate of 1.5. Even in the United States, the fertility rate is expected to bottom out at a 25-year low of 1.89 for 2012, down from a high of 2.12 in 2007.
Falling birth rates in the west should come as no surprise. In the wake of the sexual revolution – with the advent of no-fault divorce, cohabitation and legalized abortion – Americans have consistently chosen to put off having children until later in life, or even to avoid having children altogether. Even Carl Djerassi, one of the scientists who helped to develop the birth control pill, has protested against the devastating effects of this trend, warning that there is no longer any “connection at all between sexuality and reproduction.” One can make moral arguments about this phenomenon, but in this case moral arguments are unnecessary to prove the disastrous long-term consequences of our spiraling birth rates. With the decline in our fertility rates and population, our economic stability and viability are at stake.
Larumbe warns that the trend of “demographic suicide” in Spain may have massive economic repercussions on the country. Although he admits that Spain’s economy grew for roughly 40 years after her birthrates began to fall off – as a result of women working instead of staying at home with children, less capital spent on child-care, education and the like – Larumbe points out the blatantly obvious fact that this trend cannot continue into perpetuity.
We face the same harsh reality in the United States. Through the post-World War II era, the United States expected roughly four percent annual GDP growth, mostly from human capital (those skills, capacities and know-how contained in the human person and valued in the labor market). However, since the decline of the family and the nation’s fertility rates in the 1960s and 1970s, human capital’s contribution to GDP growth has been more than halved.
What is happening in Spain and the U.S. has global implications. The United Nations’ Population Division reports, “Perhaps the most significant demographic change over the past three decades has been the substantial decline in fertility in all areas of the world. Since 1970-1975 world total fertility has declined by 37 percent: from 4.5 births per woman to the 1995-2000 level of 2.8.”

Be careful what you wish for…

marriage, sexual revolution, sexuality, youth 1 comment

Betsy Huff, Intern

The issue of the oversexualisation of girls in our modern culture is one frequently written about in both popularand scholarlypublications.  It is a concern of parentsand psychologists alike.  In 2006 the American Psychological Association released a reportregarding this subject.  The report lists the many causes of the unhealthy sexualisation of young girls, most of them pertaining to media images in television, movies, and music. It also cites merchandise that is inappropriately suited for young girls, clothing such as thongs that are sold for girls as young as 7, toys that display scantily clad women, and advertising that creates an unattainable physical ideal. The APA encourages parents and teachers to be aware of the societal messages they are sending to their children, particularly in regard to physical attractiveness and self-worth.  APA reports that one of the most dangerous ways girls sexualize themselves is through self-objectification: “Psychological researchers have identified self-objectificationas a key process whereby girls learn to think of and treat their own bodies as objects of others’ desires… girls internalize an observer’s perspective on their physical selves and learn to treat themselves as objects to be looked at and evaluated for their appearance.” 
While I agree that the media can have toxic influence on women’s body image and sexuality, particularly young girls, I do not think it is the only place of blame. The sexual revolution has had a detrimental impact on sexuality in the nation as a whole; MARRI’s Family Trend Linesreflect some of these consequences. The sexual revolution has also caused the oversexualisation of young girls. The ideals it promoted,free love, sex outside of marriage, and the uninhibited use of contraceptives to allow for a lifestyle of promiscuity minus the physical consequences or risk, have not given women freedom in their sexuality, but have only created bondage.  Choice and freedom in sexual exploration have not gained women the respect and dignity as holistic human beings they desire, nor has it given them more power over their bodies and sexuality. Instead it has encouraged a hedonistic attitude toward sex. It has allowed men to continue objectifying women as nothing more than a source of sexual pleasure and women to objectify themselves in a feeble attempt to gain joy in their sexuality that only comes from the security and commitment of a monogamous relationship.
There are women who recognize this issue and are combating the oversexualisation of women in society particularly the media. Kara Eschbach, editor of the recently created Verilymagazine, speaks of the magazine’s vision for their particular audience of young professional women saying, “We are aiming to show style that respects our dignity, instead of compromising it; to explore our relationships, not just sex; and feature thought provoking articles, not just rhetoric.”  The solution to the objectifying of women in society is to promote and protect true femininity and sexuality in the framework of strong marriages and families.  Sexuality should indeed be celebrated, after all it was created and given to us by God, but it should also be protected and cherished in the sacred context in which it belongs.

The “Miracle” Drug

contraception, sexual revolution, women's health, youth No comments

Amanda Brennan, Intern
Growing up, I have distinct memories of TV commercials featuring happy, care-free women shopping or going out with friends, while in the background a voice told of the benefits of the latest birth control pill. Though I was clueless about the advertisement itself, I was struck by one phrase: “Have only four periods a year.” For a girl nearing young womanhood, the idea sounded brilliant! Yet, something always left me unconvinced and unsettled.
When the birth control pill came on the scene in the 1960s, it was intended to be the most reliable contraceptive to date. Now, an estimated 11.2 million women aged 15 to 44 use the Pill each year in the United States, as noted by the Guttmacher Institute. Oral contraceptive pills, or OCPs, do more than prevent pregnancy these days; they have additional uses for 58% of users. The study explained that 31% of women use them for cramping, 28% for regulating menstrual cycles, 14% for acne, 4% for endometriosis, and 11% for other reasons. It is believed that 1.5 million women use them without contraceptive intentions at all. The medical world has deemed OCPs “miracle” drugs, as they are prescribed more and more each day to treat health issues. But do these pills in cute packaging deliver healing, or do they wreak havoc on the female body?
With childhood reservations still in the back of my mind, I decided to look into the birth control pill Seasonale, which reduces the frequency of menstruation in a year. I wanted to know the true effects of artificial hormones on the body, specifically the brain. Seasonale’s mechanism of action, the “suppression of gonadotropins,” stuck out to me while searching the Physicians’ Desk Reference. Gonadotropins make up two hormones needed for development and reproduction, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Their production is controlled by gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which regulates the sex steroids testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone, thus, contributing to such things as male and female behaviors and maintaining a pregnancy. Usually, cells in the anterior pituitary gland of the brain called gonadotrophs emit LH and FSH, but OCPs manipulate their normal production.
In their recent article, Women’s Brains on Steroids, Drs. Craig H. Kinsley and Elizabeth A. Meyer ask, “What happens, then, when the female brain gets a significant and artificial dose of steroid hormone, either progesterone, estrogen or both?  We know what happens below the waist, the pregnancies prevented.  What happens above the neck, as this steroidal tsunami washes over the neural coastline?” They found their answer in a study featured in the Brain Research Journal that explored the impact of hormonal contraceptives on the brain at different points in a woman’s cycle. Though not detailed or large, the study found that the part of the brain controlling higher cognitive thinking abilities is affected more among women who take the Pill than among those who do not. Kinsley and Meyer point out that these changes may not always deliver positive results, since many women complain they do not feel like themselves after popping artificial hormones into their bodies via birth control pills. In the end, the authors conclude that “[t]he possibility that an accepted form of chemical contraception has the ability to alter the gross structure of the human brain is a cause for concern, even if the changes seem benign — for the moment…Like the rest of life, and like the steroid choices made by those ballplayers, there are costs and benefits.  The benefits are well established; the costs, however, are still coming to light.”
Now that the Pill is being used for more than just contraceptive purposes, people must ask if it delivers health or merely creates more problems. Rather than just blunt or prevent pain from cramping, shouldn’t a woman know what is causing her cramping in the first place? Rather than blindly take a pill that regulates menstrual cycles, shouldn’t a woman know why her body is out of whack (if, indeed, it is)? I don’t think swallowing pills that can alter brain function, even temporarily, is good medicine. Instead of turning to quick fixes deemed “miracle” drugs, we ought to work withour bodies and not against them. The underlying problems must be addressed with actual cures, not Band-Aids, as explained by Dr. Thomas Hilgers, MD, creator of the innovative women’s health science NaProTechnology.
There is more to scratch your head about than just the Pill’s impact on the brain. As MARRI blogger Katie Staudt mentioned in a recent post, a connection between contraception and the rising divorce rate (among other things) has been found. Furthermore, as high school students continue to be sexually active, more of them will turn to OCPs. As we show in MARRI’s Annual Report on Family Trends, birth control pill use by sexually active high school students rose was at 16% in. Still more young women may be taking the Pill for reasons other than birth control. If these pills can upset the normal functioning of a grown woman’s body, what impact can they have on a developing young woman’s body?
I’m left with one more question: If the use of birth control pills among young women solely for health reasons is increasing, is this not giving them the green flag on sexual activity? Well, it sure is giving them the tools for it.

Cheap Sex Isn’t Free

contraception, feminism, Hanna Rosin, marriage, sexual revolution 1 comment
Obed Bazikian, Intern

Carolyn Moynihan, of Mercatornet, discusses the sexual revolution and its multiple negative effects upon women. One contemporary writer she highlights is Hanna Rosin, who recently wrote an article for the WSJ, which is based on her upcoming book The End of Men. Rosin explains, “Women no longer need men for financial security and social influence. They can achieve those things by themselves. No one is in a hurry to get married, and sex is, by the terms of sexual economics, very cheap.”

Is sex really “cheap”? Perhaps birth control does not have much monetary cost. Rosin goes on to say, “Thanks to the sexual revolution, they can have relationships—and maybe some drama—through their 20s and early 30s and not get tied down with a husband and babies. If the price is a little more heartache, so be it.” But how do you quantify a “little heartache” and is it really possible to measure the internal and emotional effects that come from broken relationships? Moreover, is that all these young ladies take away from broken relationships? There are numerous social, physical, and emotional consequences of promiscuity. Incurable STD’s is just one of them. The “price” of “cheap” sex is anything but cheap. Often, it has a lifetime price tag.

Moynihan concludes that while there had been problems with “marriage and the status of women in America […], cutting sex adrift from babies and marriage was patently not the solution.” Our culture is constantly pushing women to lower their standards and dreams regarding sex and relationships. Men are encouraged to act irresponsibility and often persuade women to do the same.

There is a reason God designed sex to be within the bounds of marriage. It was not because He did not want us to have fun. On the contrary, He created it to be the healthiest, happiest, and most fulfilling within commitment, and social science research backs this up!

More on Chastity: Sex by the Numbers

feminism, Hollywood, marriage, sexual revolution, sexuality, women No comments

By Anna Dorminey, Staff

If you recall from my blog post on the romantic comedy “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” the characters’ number of past sexual partners doesn’t figure largely in the overall plot of the story. I was surprised, however, to read a few days ago about a film whose storyline is entirely based around the issue.

Meet Ally Darling, the fictitious star of What’s Your Number?. Ms. Darling is, as the tagline says, “looking for the best ex of her life.” The film’s trailer shows her out with a group of girlfriends when one announces that 96 percent of American women who have had twenty or more sexual partners will be unable to marry. We’ll flash back here to data from the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth (which we also cited in the blog post mentioned above).
The data is pretty telling: Only 18-20 percent of women with Ally’s sexual history are able to marry stably. The problem is, the film won’t show this. Perhaps her wedding is shown at the end of the flick in a happy montage of photos, as in “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” but what happens after the credits are done rolling and the catchy music is off?

Even worse than the apparent trend of portraying fantasy in movies as reality is the fact that many women apparently still don’t believe that sexual history or chastity matter at all when it comes to future happiness. I actually first heard about “What’s Your Number?” from the blog Feministing. According to the author of the post that covered the movie,

[T]he bottom line is if women are upset about how many people they have had sex with, it is either because the sex has been terrible or because of external social pressure and faux-moral judgement [sic]. Despite what the anti-sex set may believe, how much sex you have today, does not impact your ability to be in a successful relationship later” [emphasis added].

What do you think? In light of the data above, what can we do to share the importance of preserving intimacy for marriage?

Four Weddings, a Funeral, and Chastity

cohabitation, commitment, Hollywood, marriage, sexual revolution No comments

By Anna Dorminey, Staff

When it comes to relationships, at times it’s difficult to determine whose advice to take to heart and whose to ignore. While I don’t consider myself an authority on the subject, I don’t think I’ll meet much resistance when I say that romantic comedies are not a fount of realistic or wise counsel.
Case in point: “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” The film was a major hit when it premiered in 1994; it was the highest-grossing British film to that point and received warm praise from critics. The story is set in Englandand follows a set of seven or eight single friends as they attend weddings and funerals. Among them is charmingly awkward and bumbling Charles, played by Hugh Grant.
At the first wedding, Charles meets a beautiful American woman named Carrie, played by Andie McDowell. The pair spend the night together, after which she returns home to America. They are intimate a few other times, even after she becomes engaged to another man. I’ll spare you a full plot synopsis, but when the two get around to discussing their sexual history, Charles reveals that he has had relations with several women. This, however, is nothing to Carrie’s admitted 33 sexual conquests.
The film ends on Charles’s wedding day. Carrie is in attendance and we find she is already separated from her husband. Charles abandons his bride at the altar and asks Carrie, “Do you think…you might agree not to marry me? And do you think not being married to me might maybe be something you could consider doing for the rest of your life?” Carrie responds, “I do.” The film ends in a montage of happy photos, including a shot of Charles, Carrie, and a baby boy.
What the plot of “Four Weddings” implies is that it’s possible to have dozens of sexual liaisons without slowly destroying your ability to have a healthy relationship. Carrie is physically intimate with 33 men over the course of her lifetime (as far as we can tell), but this isn’t portrayed as detrimental to her ability to settle down with the right man.
Unfortunately, reality is grimmer than the movies. The charts at this link—based on a large data sample in the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth—depict a woman’s likelihood to be in a stable marriage five years to ten years after her wedding day. Though Carrie and Charles do not actually marry, the lesson is clear: one’s statistical likelihood of enjoying a stable relationship without committing to sexual purity is hardly as rosy as “Four Weddings” represents it.

The second falsehood is the film’s assertion that cohabitation is the functional equivalent of marriage. If one’s odds of marital stability after a lifetime of promiscuity are bleak, consider that cohabiting relationships last around one year in the United States—even in France, Britain’s neighbor, the average cohabitation lasts only four years.[1]Lastly, Carrie and Charles have a baby. If unmarried cohabitation is not the lifetime of personally defined bliss that they expect it will be, she will likely end up a single mother. This family structure brings with it all sorts of difficulties, but the long and short of them is that children raised in single-mother homes have to grapple with obstacles that children born into intact, married families struggle with less.
What do you think? Do you think Carrie and Charles really live happily ever after, or do they fall in line with the trends above once the cameras quit rolling?


[1] Patrick Heuveline and Jeffrey Timberlake, “The Role of Cohabitation in Family Formation: The United States in Comparative Perspective,” Journal of Marriage and the Family 66, no. 5 (2004): 1223.