“Why Monogamy Matters”
Posted March 8, 2011on:
…was actually the headline over a column in the New York Times yesterday. No, really. They dared print something that states that social conservatives might, after all, not be completely wrong about a contentious issue. Columnist Ross Douthat works off of a ‘results’ premise – i.e., the Sexual Revolution has resulted in unhappier women, etc. – so the column is still largely in moral relativity land, but, hey, it acknowledges some key facts about the inherent miseries of promiscuity. That’s progress.
I’m going to steer you there through the article that brought it to my attention, because I think it’s a good place to start: Cynicism, Vain Hopes, and Realistic Optimism about Pre-Marital Sex, by Julie Ponzi.
Both posts stress making a distinction between sex that is truly pre-marital (a man and woman on a path to marriage) and sex that is divorced from any idea of marriage. From a Christian perspective, that misses a crucial point or two, but, again, to notice that there is a difference between falling to temptation within the context of commitment, and just having sex to be having sex, well, this, too, is helpful.
While we’re on the subject, I’d like to recommend a book I just read, called Holy Subversion: Allegiance to Christ in an Age of Rivals, by Trevin Wax. The chapter on sexuality I think has some really good ideas and information, and includes a clear call for church communities to be promoting chastity. Wax makes a clear distinction between abstinence and chastity, and even argues that all too many abstinence programs contribute to a warped view of sex by keeping the focus self-centered. (If teens are avoiding sex because of the dangers of sex outside of marriage, they are still thinking of sex only in terms of their own well-being, which isn’t getting them set up for good relationships.) Chastity, on the other hand, embraces a number of positives. Wax also asks that Christians and churches do more to publicly celebrate married love. One small way, for instance, would be to celebrate those couples in the congregation with decades-long marriages. It’s a thought.