Dads Against the Divorce Industry

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Casualties of the Sexual Revolution

Paul Craig Roberts

July 28, 1999

I have always been puzzled by poll results that report twice as many men have affairs as women. Something is wrong here -- or some women are working overtime.

One answer to the puzzle is that a woman, even in our sexually liberated time, is more loath than a man to admit to a stranger that she is unfaithful. Another is that the deficit on the female side of the poll is filled by single women's affairs with married men.

The latter answer is not reassuring. According to other polls, single women are connecting up at high frequencies with single men. Yet, they still find time to partner half of the straying married men. Polls showing husbands with twice the unfaithful rate as wives make men appear to be less constant than women. But, obviously, it takes two to tango. Just as many women as men are engaging in extra-marital affairs. A single woman who doesn't respect another woman's marriage is unlikely to respect her own.

Another puzzle is the female complaint that she is being used sexually. It is hard to square this complaint with the feminist teachings that have made the female available to be "used." The charge, "You are just using me," implies that the female gets nothing out of it and that sex is a male thing. But according to feminists, the female is just as sexual as the male and cannot experience her feminine nature except by seeking sexual experiences.

Marriage, feminists propagandized, is a male-imposed institution designed to deny women a varied sex life. It serves the male's purpose of constraining the female from being a cowbird and laying someone else's children in the male's nest.

Women, tasting the bitter aftermath, have taken to blaming men for the sexual revolution, which has turned them into unpaid prostitutes.

But the sexual revolution was not a male thing. It was a feminist-led revolution to liberate women from chastity. As a university professor at the time, I vividly remember the protests of male students, surprised to find that the university was a brothel, that "the coeds are ruining themselves."

It is true that the male is more likely to philander. Nature gave him the stronger urge, because he has the fertilizer. If he is indifferent to spreading it, life could die out.

The stronger urge is the male's burden. Some carry it better than others. But what the feminist revolution has taught him is that he need not carry it.

Women have made casual sex bountiful. Copulation has become the central focus of most women's magazines. If you doubt it, peruse the covers next time you stand in a grocery checkout line. Men are blamed for the sexual revolution because they are seen as its true beneficiaries. It is only a matter of time before we see the rise of a new feminist movement, which will expose the old feminists as agents of a male hegemonic order who enslaved their sisters to the promiscuous uncommitted male.

The question remains: Is the male the beneficiary of the sexual revolution? I think not. The revolution has provided him with sex but deprived him of marriage partners.

There are, of course, many exceptions to any broad statement. But in general, men want their women to be chaste. This demand may have roots in a primordial aversion to committing his energy and resources to someone else's gene pool at the expense of his own. But something else is at work, too.

Men, burdened with the greater urge, have also been given a greater capacity for casual sex without impairing their capability for intimacy. Most men prefer sex with a woman they love because it provides emotional pleasure in addition to the physical one. Otherwise, there would be no marriage, because prostitutes are less expensive than wives.

Evidence is accumulating, however, that a woman's nature is different and that promiscuity erodes her capacity for intimacy. Not physical intimacy, of course, but that emotional intimacy that is the true basis of a successful marriage. A woman entices the male with sex. If she has had umpteen partners before she marries, she may not experience the emotional bond from giving herself to her husband.

My conversations with the younger set support this conclusion. Young women tell me that it is hard to find marriage-minded men, and young men tell me that it is hard to propose to whores.

I don't think the sexual revolution is working for anyone. Let me know what you think.


Dr. Paul Craig Roberts is the John M. Olin fellow at the Institute for Political Economy, research fellow at the Independent Institute and senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He has also published many books and journals and has testified before committees of Congress on over 30 occasions.

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