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A World of Order or Chaos

family, natural family planning, women 1 comment

Today we come to celebrate the work of Natural Womanhood, whose calling is to tip the world towards the future it needs if it is not to descend into yet more chaos. (A version of this with footnote references may be found on the MARRI site here.)

Every natural family planning method teaches the “how” of going about the marital act but they hide their fundamental purpose: a family built on the unity of wife and husband, and built on the woman’s personal choices. In the world where woman has her full dignity she controls access to sexual intimacy; thus, her desires and her fears take center stage in choosing “how” and when.  But to achieve this she needs her husband’s full cooperation.  With such a husband she has the man every woman dreams of:  one who cooperates with her and honors her at the deepest level – at the level of creating their child together.

One very significant piece of research was conducted on the NFP family but is virtually unknown: Dr. Robert Lerner’s comparison of an opportunity sample of Couple to Couple League graduates with a random national sample of all married couples with children.

Listen to this: On the question of success in raising their families 75 % of the NFP group scored in the “success group” (satisfied, very satisfied and extremely satisfied) while the national average was 6%.  At the other end, the unsuccessful group (dissatisfied, very dissatisfied and extremely dissatisfied), the national average was 69% while the NFP average was only 2%.  Differences such as these are very seldom seen in social science.

The reason, the cause, can be found in another result within the report:

On satisfaction with communication between spouses, 76% of NFP women are Satisfied (Satisfied, very satisfied, or extremely satisfied) while only 5% are Dissatisfied (dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, extremely dissatisfied). Seventy six percent versus five percent is virtually an unheard-of difference in the scientific literature, but I am certain of the cause because during my first three years as a therapist I learned the power of unity in marriage. By my third year of practice, I would not see a child until I could see the whole family (including father).   After a few sessions, keeping the focus off the child and on the whole family, I would suggest “Let us leave the children at home next time,” and then start working on the troubles in the marriage that invariably were a significant part of the picture.  When unity between the couple was restored, 95% of the children became symptom-free without “having to be treated”. The child thrives in the love that is unity between parents. This is the secret of success for NFP couples.

This is the great difference Natural Womanhood brings to the world. It offers a superior world, a world all women wish was accessible to them, a world of unity between husband and wife, where communications are great; where confidence in parenting is very high; where children thrive. And it all begins with sex: a choice between two lifestyles, two types of community, two cultures — two civilizations really–where people belong to each other or one where people are lost and reject each other and their children. The conversation about sex determines the way.

With the way of Natural Womanhood everyone wins: The couple, the child, the next generation, the community and the culture.

Why would anyone not accept this way? Because of the false promises, deceptions, easy “truths” that the “Cheap Sex” offered in contraceptive sexual intercourse — cheap because it promises the greatest of pleasures without Nature’s corresponding price of marriage and of children.  Contraception is inherently deceptive and hides — and never, ever acknowledges its costs, the highest often being the rejection, even the elimination of the child, as well as the relationship cost between the couple.   Everyone pays dearly.

Different women pay the price of myriad biological effects that at different rates, in different ways and with increasing visibility, are causing the bodies of women to breakdown in such illnesses as thrombosis, stroke, glaucoma, as well as breast, cervical, and liver cancers. It significantly increases weight gain, and complications with Type 2 diabetics. It changes brain functioning. All the woman’s biological systems are oriented towards attracting, conceiving, birthing, nursing.  Contraception closes these systems down, and different systems for different women crack under the strain. It is not nature’s way.

It has also brought us levels of STDs unknown in recorded history: We now have at least four “constant epidemics” with 20 million new infections per year, yielding a total of 110 million ongoing infections —- causing such damage as ectopic pregnancy, infertility and irregular bleeding.

The woman’s psychological costs include increased depression and anxiety. It even alters her perception of men leading her to choose a husband she never would have chosen were she not on the pill, or to not like her husband when she comes off the pill.

Ironically, it reduces the enjoyment of sexual intercourse for many women.

What a massive deception of women.

The Child (our future) has paid the highest price. Modern levels of child victimization are now so massive it is hard for the mind to grasp, and beyond anything ever experienced in human history — all because of sex gone wrong through contraception, which, without exception has invariably led to massive human deficits — starting with abortion, even in nations where it is outlawed.  Today, across the globe, 60 million new human beings are killed in the womb each year.  This is akin to deliberately repeating the total killings of WWII every year.

For those who live, in the US, by age seventeen, 54% live in a family without their biological mother and father living together — with all the concomitant weaknesses that brings in every major task in life. Most damaging of all is their diminished capacity and likelihood of belonging to a spouse and to their children in their own adult lives.

The biggest price for the man is that he is rejected by his woman (70% of the divorces and most of the cohabitations) after which he has less to live for.  And his father-absent sons, will in turn, become child-absent fathers in their time. These fathers die younger, sadder and lonelier, with addictions leading the way as the immediate cause, and suicide trailing a bit behind.

The community pays in the massive social costs of out of wedlock births, abortions and divorces, and these, not just at increased levels but at “culture shock” levels.  The sexual revolution of the 1960’s, the pill, has given us a severed nation where more than half of seventeen-year-olds now live in families where one of their parents has split.  For African Americans 83% have split.  The cost in the loss of human talent is astronomical, an absence compounded by its replacement by increased crime, poverty, addictions, mental illness, ill heath, educational failure!

Compounded over generations (now multiple generations for many) this is leading to increased victimization of children.

At the global level we see the depopulation of developed Western nations.  Europe is slowly dying, but by history’s timeline, very quickly. Northern Italy is the prime exhibit, where the child now has no brothers or sisters, aunts or uncles or cousins, where the future must belong to foreigner because the inhabitants are disappearing.  The same is playing out in Holland – which is likely to become a majority Moslem nation in your lifetime. God blesses those who give Him children; even God cannot bless those who do not exist!

The price to the body politic is an atmosphere of increased rejection, hostility, disunity and irreconcilable goals and factions.  Scapegoat-seeking is rising quickly: “You are the cause of this set of victims, for it cannot be me. And — if I get to say it first: you are the cause.”  This is the sound of a marriage breaking up. It is also the sound of a body politic breaking apart.

Culture pays the price in the death of romance — and with that the debasement of the arts and entertainment, along with the erosion of worship of God and the unleashing of lust, anger, hatred and violence. All the data show this.  And it all begins with sex gone wrong — with sex gone deceptive — with sex gone contraceptive.

Paraphrasing Longfellow we can say: “The wheels of nature grind slowly, but they grind exceeding small.”

Contraception has given us a world into which no sane adult would freely choose and only a diabolical architect would design. The world has been duped and deceived —- by the father of lies. But nobody believes in him anymore, so he continues to win.

Natural Womanhood offers a different world.

There is a trinitarian nature to human relationships — but it all depends on which trinity we put in place: the positive one or the negative one; the other-oriented one or the self-centered one.  The third person every sexually active couple deals with, inviting into or banishing from the conversation, is the child. One triad, the inclusive one, is like a three-atom molecule in stable orbit, the other, the excluding one, is composed of two atoms colliding with the third.  It is unstable and very dangerous as we have just listed.

We know and need not duck the reality that such stable couples are most often, though not exclusively, found among those who worship God regularly.

Though by now virtually every educated person knows that adults and children thrive most in the always-intact-married-family, but virtually no one knows that the same source of data – the US federal survey system — also shows, always, that the adults and children who thrive most also worship God weekly.  The royal road to thriving is the two great loves of marriage and the worship of God.  That NFP couples also often illustrate is thus no wonder.

And here is what they set in motion:

Without realizing it NFP couples openly teach the fundamental likeness of man to God in their conversations about intercourse, for they acknowledge the presence of the child, waiting eagerly on the sidelines, to be called into the ”game of life”, waiting so intensely it takes huge effort to keep him there till beckoned.  But when The Natural Woman and her husband call, that child is welcomed with a love that makes this new trinity on earth an image and likeness of  the Trinity in heaven — at least a beginning likeness.

This is the great reality that Natural Womanhood offers this child just conceived, the one cell zygote being shuttled by follicles down his mother’s fallopian tube to be lodged in her womb, there to grow into the baby that will soon upend her life and her husband’s forever, transforming her into a beautiful mother with a new fierce purpose in life while transforming him into a determined father, provider and protector.

Consider this: This newly conceived infant, at this point not even known to his parents but only to the Trinity, but drawing on the universal experience of the whole human race could say to his parents:

“I need your marriage, your growing unity, to become the person God intends me to be.  He has made me dependent on that love, which also happens to be the path for you to become the mature persons you must become— if I am to become the person I am meant to be.  From here on out, all three of us are dependent on this marriage. From here on we are a trinity.”

And we all are to worship God, at minimum, weekly if we are to become the person we are meant to be.  All human history, in all cultures across the globe, across all times, teaches this lesson. This way, together, we three can become much more the persons He wants us to be, so that we can be together with Him, after we have walked the full length of the path of life.” 

Natural Womanhood has appeared at its appointed time. By now many know about NFP, but barely and inadequately.  However, the deception of “Cheap Sex” is now more unmasked if only because the suffering it brings is more visible.  Furthermore, both social and biological sciences are on your side, because — when well done—they cannot but illustrate the way God made man.

But keep in mind that modern woman’s great conflict is the child.  Deep in her bones she knows the child is the price of happiness, but who can show her the way, and where does she find the man worthy of marrying her?

Because we all are created as imitators we have no choice but the wrong one if we do not have attractive people to imitate. Natural Womanhood is great work and must point to those worth imitating.  You are called to be great storytellers, called to build a new civilization worthy of a future by being worthy of the woman and the child.

I am sure God is with you as you set about your work.  May you experience His presence and His help, and enjoy heaven with those you help get there.

Atlantic Article Misrepresents Catholic Take on Contraception

Atlantic, Catholic, contraception, social science, women No comments

A recent Atlantic article used fatally flawed data to misrepresent Catholic women’s support of the contraception mandate.

According to author Patricia Miller, debate over the Affordable Care Act has mischaracterized women’s healthcare interests. Miller cites a study led by Elizabeth Patton of the University of Michigan to assert that, although a small cohort of Catholic leaders may oppose contraception and abortion, Catholic women are very supportive. There is just one problem: Patton’s study relies on a disastrously biased sample of Catholics.  

According to Ms. Patton’s breakdown of religious service attendance by religious affiliation, zero percentnot one—of the surveyed Catholic women attend Mass weekly. It hardly takes an experienced demographer to realize that Patton’s sample does not accurately represent the Catholic population. A central component of Catholicism includes weekly celebration of the Eucharist, which means going to Mass. However, 190 of the 198 Catholics Patton queried disregard this core tenet of their Faith.  (Eight women surveyed were found to attend Mass more than once a week.) Patton’s 190 women do not represent how practicing Catholic women feel; rather, they represent how women indifferent to the Catholic Faith feel.

So, Patton’s survey essentially interviews Catholic women who are apathetic to their Faith. It is not surprising that this class of Catholics (“nominal” Catholics?) is apathetic to whether their Church is forced to provision abortifacients and contraceptives. Sociologically relevant studies would rather measure how the average Catholic—indifferent or not to her Faith—feels about the mandate. Such unbiased data would represent Catholic women and more honestly shape public debate.

According to a Pew study, 63 percent of weekly church-going Catholics – men and women – believe religiously affiliated institutions should be exempted from the HHS Mandate.  (Only 25 percent say their Church should be required to cover contraceptives; 11 percent respond “Other/ Don’t Know.”)  Importantly, 48 percent of Catholics who do not attend Mass weekly (about half of those Catholics) still oppose mandated coverage. Scientifically sound data indicates that the majority of Catholics do, indeed, oppose the contraception mandate. (This majority feeling is the averaged feeling of all Catholics, indifferent or not to their Faith.)

Patricia Miller’s conclusion that Catholic women support contraception coverage, and that only Catholic pundits oppose it, cannot be held. Ms. Miller has made a career on asserting that “good Catholics” (her phrase) can support contraception and abortion despite the Church’s teaching.  Unfortunately for her assertions, the data show the opposite:  It is the most lax, the most cherry-picked, Catholics that agree with her.

What Kind of Man Do You Want?

children, culture, family, feminism, marriage, men, social institutions, women 2 comments
By Sharon Barrett, Intern
It’s an eternal question: What do women want?
 
Last week, I came across this blog post on manhoodthat offered a partial answer:
 
Men in American society seem to fluctuate between two extremes….It seems barbarians [à la Han Solo of Star Wars, or Tom Doniphon in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance] are the kind of men women fall for from a distance, and then despise when they get close – the “bad boy” image. Wimps [like tenderfoot Ranse Stoddard, opposing Doniphon’s gun-slinging version of justice] seem to be the kind of men women despise from a distance and then get to know and start to care for as good provider, “beta males.”

But neither barbarians nor wimps are fully men.

 
What barbarian and wimp alike are lacking, the writer argues, is balance: an Aristotelian “golden mean” between tough and tender. Where one man excels in physique, business savvy, or rugged individualism, another may have aesthetic sense, intelligence, or a reputation for being “good with kids.” By implication, the man who balances these traits not only will achieve manliness in the eyes of other men, but will increase his attractiveness to women.
 
Can a “golden mean” between barbarian and wimp give women what they want? Yes – with this addition. Manhood is more than a middle way that combines ruggedness and gentleness for the sake of balance; it is a third way that employs a man’s abilities in the pursuit of a goal outside himself. Masculine strength is best defined in one word: commitment, the decision to give one’s word to another and stand by for the long haul. Men who embody commitment to a wife, family, job, and community are the ones who can reverse the current trend of fatherless families, broken marriages, and child poverty.
 
Unfortunately, the sexual revolution has taught women they don’t need this kind of man. In the words of feminist writer Hanna Rosin (author of The End of Men), “Women no longer need men for financial security and social influence. They can achieve those things by themselves.” (Nor do they need a man for help in raising children, since full-time daycare is only a phone call away. With the advent of Artificial Reproductive Technology, they no longer even need a man – other than a sperm donor – to conceive children.)
 
According to Ms. Rosin, the sexual revolution gave us “the ability to have temporary, intimate relationships that don’t derail a career.” Because career is (in her estimation) most important to women in their 20s and 30s, she continues,
 
No one is in a hurry to get married, and sex is, by the terms of sexual economics, very cheap. When sex is cheap, more men turn into what the sociologist Mark Regnerus calls “free agents.” They sleep with as many women as possible basically, [sic] because they can.
 
Men don’t need to strive for a “golden mean” when women pursue them for short-term pleasure without asking for commitment. Women perpetuate the hookup culture by allowing men to expect to take any woman to bed, no strings attached, as long they take her out for “a nice time” first (as Maria Reig Teetor reported last week). Women may suffer emotional pangs, but men are taking the real hit: since the 1960s, a “persistent ‘gap’” in employment has existed between married and unmarried men. Employment rates for single, divorced, and cohabiting men consistently plummet faster than rates for married men – in or out of a recession. A culture of marriage, on the other hand, by demanding commitment, actually makes men more employable.
 
When sex is cheap, commitment has no value whatsoever. When women live as if they don’t need men, real men disappear. And the economy and the family suffer equally.
 
In the end, women’s expectations set the bar for manhood. The question is still before us: Women, what kind of man do you want? The men are waiting for your answer.

Knight in shining armor – a dying dream?

commitment, culture, fathers, feminism, MARRI, marriage, women No comments
Obed Bazikian, Intern
International Women’s Day on March 8 began as women stood up for their freedom against various oppressions. Yet, while many women stand up against oppression, certain aspirations in our culture are increasingly suppressed, including the longing for lasting commitment. Jim Anderson, in his book “Unmasked: Exposing the Cultural Sexual Assault,” goes into painful explanation of how so many women have, in search for commitment, given up what is most precious to them. Anderson says that women have subconsciously accepted that their worth is found in what they can offer a man, namely their sexuality. Many will sacrifice their body again and again thinking perhaps tonight, this man will be different. But with each hookup and breakup, the faint hope in their hearts for commitment fades.

Western culture has trained women to set their standards and expectations so low to accommodate an increasing population of men who have few to no standards at all. A recent article in the NY Times interviewed a 21-year-old single mom, Ms. Kidd, who had experienced her father abandoning her family at age 13 for her mom’s friend. Even though she expressed love for her child’s father, she could “not imagine marrying” him because she said, “I don’t want to wind up like my mom.” Acts like that of Ms. Kidd’s father are also teaching the current generation that commitment and marriage is not only a thing of the past, but instills belief and a fear to even think of entering it.

The question must be asked: How do we shift this culture around to value women and commitment? Research shows the value of marriage and commitment. Our society must pay attention to the empirical truths about marriage. A recent paper by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, “162 Reasons to Marry,“ finds that “women raised in stable married families are more likely to marry,” and goes on to list 162 benefits to marriage, for both the couple and the children. Our culture lacks commitment, but an alternative exists. Paying attention to the research shows the strength of the family, and can help women see that a desire for commitment is not dead.

 

Sex-Selective Abortion: Consumerism at Its Best?

abortion, Asia, China, family, Jennifer Roback Morse, prostitution, women, women's health No comments
By Obed Bazikian, Intern
Abortion is seen by many who defend it to be a protected right of women. However, there is a murmur starting even among its supporters[1]that this claimed right could in some cases not only be unethical, but harmful to society. The issue at hand is sex-selective abortion, which refers to aborting an unborn child based on his or her gender, and is almost universally affecting the female population.
 
Asia alone has an estimated 160 million women lacking in its population as a result— a number greater than all the women currently in the United States.[2]One city in China, Lianyungang, was found to have “163 boys for every 100 girls under age five.” [3]While the Chinese government’s one-child policy[4]is indeed a major contributor that encourages this practice, it does not explain the cause for sex-selective abortions in other nations. India, the Caucasus nations, and others are increasingly choosing boys over girls before birth. Armenia’s ratio is currently 120 males to 100 females.[5]The shortage of females being born now will lead to an even greater disparity in the future, if this alternative practice of “choice” is permitted to continue unchecked.
In her book Unnatural Selection, Mara Hvistendahl analyzes the reasons for the increased rate of female sex-selective abortions and its consequences on society. One reason is simply preference, she says, citing that “parents in nearly all cultures say they prefer boys.” Through further analysis, Hvistendahl says that the increased accessibility to medical technology, such as ultrasound, in many regions of the world also contributes to the imbalance. The fact that ultrasound has become more affordable to a broader population has indeed made choosing boys even easier.
 
What are the ramifications of this choice? One obvious result is a smaller number of women to marry, which would have effects on the demographics of this and later generations. However, the lack of women would foster a climate in which crime could increase tremendously, particularly prostitution and sex-slavery. Jennifer Roeback Morse of the Ruth Institute discussed Hvistendahl’s work, saying, “The exclusive sharing of sexual intimacy with a husband in the protective bonds of marriage becomes more expensive than arrangements giving multiple men access to a single woman. Hence, prostitution, voluntary or otherwise, becomes lucrative as the demand for commercial sex increases. In addition, men without wives are more likely to become violent and commit crimes.”[6]The illusion of intimacy found in commercial sex takes prominence in a society where true, healthy companionship is not encouraged or, in societies with too few women, is not often possible.
There is another ramification to choice which takes place at a cultural level. Hvistendahl has at the end of her book a conversation with Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, who founded a fertility clinic in Los Angeles. The clinic now advertises for sex-selective abortion, guaranteeing 100% the gender desired, which has proved to be a very popular request at his facility. Steinberg has said “Gender selection is a commodity for purchase…If you don’t like it, don’t buy it.”[7]However, this is a very slippery slope. If Steinberg argues that gender is a commodity, what is to stop us from viewing life as a commodity, too? Of course, choosing gender and choosing life are not the same thing. But where are the limits to our choices? A life has value and is beautiful, whether it is male or female. If our culture does not place value upon life itself as God has ordained, gender selection may just be the tip of the iceberg.


[1] Morse, Jennifer Roback. “Unnatural Selection,” MercatorNet.com, February 6, 2012, http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/unnatural_selection
[2] Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” (PublicAffairs, 2011), 5-6
[3] Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” (PublicAffairs, 2011), 23
[4] Hesketh, Therese. “The Effect of China’s One-Child Family Policy after 25 Years,” The New England Journal of Medicine 353 (September 2005): 1171-1176, http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMhpr051833#t=article
[5] Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” (PublicAffairs, 2011), 13
[6] Morse,Jennifer Roback. “Unnatural Selection,” MercatorNet.com, February 6, 2012, http://www.mercatornet.com/articles/view/unnatural_selection
[7] Mara Hvistendahl, “Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men,” (PublicAffairs, 2011), 251

What’s So Wrong with Polygamy?

child well-being, children, crime, culture, family, fathers, human capital, marriage, monogamy, news, polygamy, social institutions, women No comments

By Anna Dorminey, Staff

Libby Copeland writes for Slate on the effects of polygamy and monogamous marriage on crime in “Is Polygamy Really So Awful?” While we disagree with Ms. Copeland’s conclusion (that the best form of union for a society is best not because it is moral, but because it “works”), the research she references in her piece is extremely interesting. Read along:

History suggests that [plural marriage] is [harmful]. A new study out of the University of British Columbia documents how societies have systematically evolved away from polygamy because of the social problems it causes. The Canadian researchers are really talking about polygyny, which is the term for one man with multiple wives, and which is by far the most common expression of polygamy. Women are usually thought of as the primary victims of polygynous marriages, but as cultural anthropologist Joe Henrich documents, the institution also causes problems for the young, low-status males denied wives by older, wealthy men who have hoarded all the women. And those young men create problems for everybody.

“Monogamous marriage reduces crime,” Henrich and colleagues write, pulling together studies showing that polygynous societies create large numbers of unmarried men, whose presence is correlated with increased rates of rape, theft, murder, and substance abuse. According to Henrich, the problem with unmarried men appears to come primarily from their lack of investment in family life and in children. Young men without futures tend to engage in riskier behaviors because they have less to lose. And, too, they may engage in certain crimes to get wives—stealing to amass enough wealth to attract women, or kidnapping other men’s wives.

Ms. Copeland also addresses the effects polygamy produces for individual men, women, and children. These effects are consistently negative:

That polygyny is bad for women is not necessarily intuitive. As economist Robert H. Frank has pointed outwomen in polygynist marriages should have more power because they’re in greater demand, and men should wind up changing more diapers. But historically, polygamy has proved to be yet another setup that [harms] the XX set. Because there are never enough of them to go around, they wind up being married off younger. Brothers and fathers, realizing how valuable their female relations are, tend to control them more. And, as one would expect, polygynous households foster jealousy and conflict among co-wives. Ethnographic surveys of 69 polygamous cultures “reveals no case where co-wife relations could be described as harmonious,” Henrich writes, with what must be a good dose of understatement.

Children, too, appear to suffer in polygamous cultures. Henrich examines a study comparing 19th-century Mormon households, 45 of them headed by wealthy men, generally with multiple wives, and 45 headed by poorer men, generally with one wife each. What’s surprising is that the children of the poorer men actually fared better, proving more likely to survive to age 15. Granted, this is a small study, but it’s consistent with other studies, including one from Africa showing that the children of monogamous households tend to do better than those from polygynous households in the same communities. Why? Some scholars suspect that polygyny may discourage paternal investment. Men with lots of children and wives are spread too thin, and to make things worse, they’re compiling resources to attract their next wives instead of using it on their existing families.

For more on the benefits of intact, monogamous marriage for society and individuals, visit www.marri.us.

Why is Marriage in Decline?

divorce, feminism, marriage, no-fault divorce, women No comments
By Anna Dorminey, Staff

Suzanne Venker, author of “The Flipside of Feminism: What Conservative Women Know—and Men Can’t Say,” posted a response to the Pew Research Center’s report on marriage. She writes that marriage is in decline due to a lack of modeling on the part of the parents of today’s 20- and 30-somethings, and asserts that “[f]or starters, parents have to stop getting divorced for less than dire reasons.”

She also writes that women have been deceived by the feminist movement. “Feminists assured women their efforts would result in more satisfying marriages, but that has not happened. Rather, women’s search for faux equality has damaged marriage considerably (some might say irrevocably, but I’m an optimist) by eradicating the complementary nature of marriage — in which men and women work together, as equals, toward the same goal but with an appreciation for the unique qualities each gender brings to the table.”

To read Ms. Venker’s full response, click here.

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?

A Few Good Men

crime, education, marriage, men, religion, women, youth No comments
By Julia Kiewit, Staff
A recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the plight that many—if not most–young black women face: the literal dearth of potential marriage partners. Ralph Richard Banks, himself a black man and law professor at Stanford University, spent time traveling the country, interviewing black women to hear their story and why black women have fewer marriage options. He ultimately concluded that there is a lack of competent and suitable black men to go with the numbers of educated and successful black women.

The two main problems with black men, Banks concludes, are incarceration and lack of education. Of the more than two million incarcerated men in the U.S., 40% of them are African-American, with more than 10% of this number made up of black men in their 20s and 30s.

Educationally (and, in turn, economically), black men also fall behind black women. According to Banks, by the time graduation rolls around, black women outnumber men 2 to 1. And for graduate school in 2008, there were 125,000 African-American women enrolled—compared to 58,000 men.

That there are too few black men who are the social equals of black women answers the “why” of the marriage situation. But there is a further, deeper reason behind why there are too few marriageable black men. This answer goes into the families of the black men themselves.

According to the General Social Survey, youths from always-married families are only 10% likely to be picked up or charged by the police, compared with 17% of youths from non-married families. Children from always-married families are only 13% likely to steal something, compared with 22% that only live with one parent, and 18.8% who live with never-married parents. Similarly, according to the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, children who live with two married parents are 7.7% likely to shoplift, compared to 12% of children who live with only one parent.

Children from always-married families do better in school, as well, with a combined math and English GPA of 2.9, compared to 2.5 GPA of children from never-married families.

The religious attendance of families also makes a difference for children’s educational attainment. MARRI’s synthesis paper “Religious Practice and Educational Attainment” looks at the tremendous benefits of religion for education.

If children from married, two-parent families are less likely to commit crime, and more likely to have better educational outcomes, it is no wonder that the black family is falling behind. Only 17.4% of black children grew up in married, two-parent homes (compared with the national average of 45.4%; for comparison, 62% of Asians grow up in married, two-parent families). Statistically, these 17% of black children are the ones who will have the best life outcomes, but it is no wonder that there are so many black women looking for husbands. While the article suggests interracial marriage as a temporary solution for black women, if things are going to turn around for the long haul, the simple recipe is parents who keep their promises to one another.