The Case Against the Sexual Revolution: Part 5, The Hypocrisy of Chronological Snobbery

Before we start, just a reading note, which I might have to include at the start of every post going forward, that as this series goes on the conversation about sex is going to be, at times, blunt and explicit. Today, for example, you'll encounter references to pubic hair and anal sex. You're welcome. Enjoy your morning coffee. :-) 

That said, there's a part of me that finds this sort of warning ridiculous. I have little tolerance for snowflake Christians. If, as a Christian, you're so fragile that you can't handle direct conversations about sex today, well, I don't think this series is for you. But I do want you to know that I think fragility of this sort is a large a part of the reason young people are walking away from the church. The culture is more than happy to talk about sex. The church isn't. And the situation grows more alarming each day, as our children swim in increasingly explicit sexual waters. So if you want to make a difference in their lives, well, you better buckle up buttercup.

Louise Perry ends Chapter 1 "Sex Must be Taken Seriously" in The Case Against the Sexual Revolution by talking about some of the hypocrisies of what C.S. Lewis described as "chronological snobbery," how younger generations look back with distain and superiority upon the beliefs of their elders and prior generations. 

As Perry recounts, we look back with humor and horror upon the repressed sexuality and patriarchal gender norms of the 1950s era of "Father Knows Best." No one wants to go back to that era. And Perry agrees. And yet, Perry goes on to note that today's "liberated" culture still enshrines a focus on satisfying men's needs. Perry writes,

In 2016 an extract from a 1950s home economics book offering 'tips to look after your husband' went viral on social media. The housewife was advised that, when her husband got home from work, she should have dinner on the table, her apron off and a ribbon in her hair, and that she should always make sure to let her husband 'talk first.' This advice was not unusual for housewife manuals of the time, or indeed those of earlier eras, all of which advise women to make their housekeeping look effortless, hiding grime and exertion from their menfolk.

How reactionary, we think now, how stupid and backward! But then take a look at a small sample of Cosmopolitan magazine guides published within the last decade: '30 ways to please a man,' ' 20 ways to turn on your man,' or 'How to turn him on--42 things to do with a naked man' ... In what sense are these guides not encouraging precisely the same degree of focus on male desires, except in this case it is sexual pleasure rather than domestic comfort? ...

Women are still expected to please men and to make it look effortless. But while the 1950s 'angel of the house' hid her apron, the modern 'angel of the bedroom' hides her pubic hair. This waxed and willing swan glides across the water, concealing the fact that beneath the surface she is furiously working to maintain her image of perfection. She pretends to orgasm, pretends to like anal sex, and pretends not to mind when the 'friends with benefits' arrangement causes her pain ... We have smoothly transitioned from one form of feminine subservience to another, but we pretend that this is one of liberation.

Perry goes on to note, as many of you have as well, that our current sexual culture isn't just hurting women, it's hurting men as well. Still, her main focus in upon how our "liberated" sexual culture is biased toward men, in subtle and not so subtle ways, that are studiously avoided. We make fun of "Father Knows Best" sexual mores, but have replaced them with pornographic ideals, expecting women to service male sexual fantasies and desires. So it's fair to ask, which is more degrading? Having dinner on the table or, say, being pressured into unwanted anal sex by your boyfriend who was raised on PornHub?

Now, do the problems of today mean we need to go back in time? Of course not. Time moves forward, always. 

But I do think it's time to rethink just how liberated and enlightened we think we are.

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