Cat logomenu

The Casualties of Casual Talk About Casual Sex

Christ and Pop Culture today posted a short dialogue between two ladies—Faith Newport and Erin Straza—about how much better married sex is than casual sex. Unfortunately, neither woman seemed to have put serious thought into how Christian teaching on the subject should interact with the cultural mainstream.

For example, the conversation opens by discussing the danger of false rape accusations:

It seems like all too often the anti-abortion movement accuses women of wanting to escape the consequences of casual sex—but isn’t opening yourself up to a potential rape charge just another consequence of casual sex? The guys who meet a girl, treat her right, and bring her home to their parents aren’t worried about this kind of thing—it’s the guys who are sleeping around that have to think about it. Where’s the rhetoric on that?

Fantastic. Let’s continue to propagate the trope that devious women are just lying in wait to accuse men of rape, when nearly all the negative consequences of even “forcible” rape fall on the victim, not the perpetrator.

Then Erin and Faith start bemoaning the pervasive notion of “consequence-free” sex:

Men and women should be held equally accountable for their sexual choices. (And in my mind, they are.) But the primarily private nature of sex enables partners to engage then split with no one knowing. It’s not like the consequences of getting in a car accident, when there are forms to complete and repairs to schedule and money to pay. If a man has casual sex and fails to stay involved with the consequences the woman faces, she would have to expose his shirking, and we, as society would have to “remind” him of his responsibilities.

Why? Why should anyone be held accountable for their sexual choices to anyone but God and themselves? This obsession with making sure people reap negative consequencs for illicit sexual activity needs to end.

Then we get even more disconnected from reality:

This takes us back to the fallacy of casual sex. There is no such thing. Certainly there are many cases where sexual activity does not produce immediate consequences. But the potential for long-term ramifications cannot be completely avoided (unless one of the partners is infertile)—something the casual sex movement ignores.

No, casual sex totally does exist. Some people really do just have one-night stands or repeated meaningless sexual encounters. I’m not arguing that this is healthy behavior, but it does happen, and claiming that it doesn’t just seems like wishful thinking. Further, the claim that “long-term ramifications cannot be completely avoided (unless one of the partners is infertile)” at once ignores the near 100% effectiveness of modern birth control and erroneously limits the possible consequences of sexual activity to unwanted pregnancy—disregarding the much more likely consequence of emotional confusion or disappointment.

The wishful thinking then continues:

It’s almost like you would have to approach sex with a commitment involving a socially ordained set of expectations, rights, and responsibilities… Oh, wait—that’s marriage. However, because of the shift we’re experiencing in cultural attitudes towards sex, we may find that another social institution evolves to govern casual sexual activity.

It becomes quite clear at this point that the conversation is not about concern for the well-being of society but is simply more conservative hand-wringing over the culture’s failure to reflect our own values. Proposing an institution to govern sexual mores is classic social conservatism: having realized that people aren’t following God’s (our) moral code, we seek to replace God with some sort of enforceable rule to make people behave the way we think they should.

I’ve got news for these people: nothing but knowing Jesus will make anyone act as if they know Jesus. If you want people to follow Jesus, introduce them to him.