>When freedom actually enslaves

>I read a blog entry on CNN.com last night that summarized the findings of a study on sexuality amongst college students. I’ve reposted it below:

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It’s not a new theory:  As women progress in educational and professional opportunities, their odds of finding a committed man appear to go down. Women in their 40s and 50s have long heard this, but new research finds it’s true for women just entering adulthood as well.
That’s one of the findings in the new book “Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying,” by researchers Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker at the University of Texas at Austin.
They looked at the results from a number of national studies including the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the National Study of Youth and Religion, in addition to interviews with young people ages 18 to 23.
Researchers found that since women in the 18- to 23-year-old group feel they don’t need men for financial dependence, many of them feel they can play around with multiple partners without consequence, and that the early 20s isn’t the time to have a serious relationship. But eventually, they do come to want a real, lasting relationship. The problem is that there will still be women who will have sex readily without commitment, and since men know this, fewer of them are willing to go steady.
“Women have plenty of freedom, but freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want,” Regnerus said.
The wide availability of pornography has also influenced the dynamics of relations between men and women, Regnerus said. A segment of 20-something men are content to have their sexual experiences by themselves, removing them from the pool of available partners. That means high-quality men – likely those who want monogamous, committed relationships – are still eligible for dating, but the overall dating pool has shrunk, meaning some women will be left unsatisfactorily single.
Researchers also found that marrying at or before age 20 constitutes the greatest risk for subsequent divorce, the data show. Early marriage doesn’t cause the divorce, but the partners are likely to be unprepared for the kinds of adjustments required, Regnerus said.
And here’s perhaps some good news: Sexual behavior among this age group is less salacious than you might think. The “hookup culture” is most prominent when there is a Greek system present; otherwise, college students seem more inclined toward stable relations and have fewer sexual partners.
In case you were wondering, 16% of 18- to 23-year-olds are virgins, according to the surveys used in the book. In that age group there are more men than women who have never had sex. By age 27, the portion of virgins goes down to 8%.
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What a sad state of affairs that our sexual ‘revolution’ has led us into. God’s desires for marriage and sexuality within the context of commitment and fidelity have largely been cast aside in our culture as too ‘old fashioned’ or restrictive, and this study raises a lot of questions as to where our sexually ‘free’ culture has led us. A couple of thoughts:
  • At the heart of it, every person still longs to be loved and to love – no matter how sexually open our culture gets. Human nature still longs for the security of commitment.
  • The feminist agenda to liberate women and to make them less dependent on men for financial and social needs actually creates quite the quandry. I’m not saying that therefore a patriarchal or male-chauvinistic society is the answer, but as the article portrays, such feminist aggression makes for increased competition among women leaving them with all the power, but few of their needs met. Women long for the commitment and security that comes from being valued and loved, but as long as the idea of sexual liberation for women is propagated, there will be less and less men who have the character and steadfastness to provide such commitment. The statement in the blogpost, “freedom does not translate easily into getting what you want,” sums it up.
  • A concept misconception is that freedom is the ultimate value. As long as no one can tell me what to do, and I can determine my own steps, then I will be able to achieve all that I want. Unfortunately, there is no true freedom without boundaries. I am truly free when I know that my actions and my ethics are designated as good and just because then I know that I’m not ignorantly making shipwreck of my life and my relationships in the long-run. For example, by having what I think is sexual freedom now, the study I am actually decreasing my chances for a committed relationship in the long-run. Who would have thought that such freedom now would enslave me to loneliness and perpetual singlehood later?
  • I think this says a lot not just about the state of women in their young adult years, but men as well. First, the pervasive influence of pornography in breaking down real relationships can’t be understated. I fear for my two boys growing up in this society as I see sexuality flaunted and distorted in increasingly heinous ways. Second, I see the lack of true manhood exemplified in the dearth of men willing to hold onto their integrity to commit to an excellent woman. So many young men are busy chasing their myths in the form of video games and prolonged adolescence. Where are the mighty men of valor who will cause a young lady to pause to consider, “what kind of CHARACTER would land that sort of man?”
Please understand me in this, I’m not woman-hating here. I’m simply reaffirming what the Scripture says in Psalm 16:5-8
“The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the LORD who gives me counsel;
in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the LORD always before me;
because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”

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