Kathryn Lopez

I didn't realize how important the fact that she is a conservative was until I recently read a book by a gal with an abortion-rights group in New York. In her (preposterously named) "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics and the War on Sex" (Basic Books, 2006), Cristina Page, who seems like she'd like to be the well-intentioned common-ground sort, paints a portrait of scary "religious right" pro-life types. They are hostile to sex, she says. Needless to say to be pro-life and be anti-sex ... well, obviously wouldn't quite work. But Page insists she knows her enemy: "Pro-lifers tend to believe, whether they say it out loud or not, that sex should be for the sole purpose of producing a baby. Pro-choicers accept sex as something that people do for intimacy and for pleasure."

I'd be happy to dismiss her outlook as but one writer with strong views who has unfortunately met the wrong pro-lifers, but her book represents more than that. Her attitude is at the heart of many a deadlocked debate. It's a ridiculous elitist attitude that makes contentious many debates over classroom teaching, program funding -- which is why we should all have a welcome mat out for "Smart Sex." Morse's book is an infusion of good sense and sensibility.

It is important that "Smart Sex" both works to fight back against "bad sex" -- the ME! ME! ME! attitude of the sexual revolution -- and combats the ridiculous assumptions that block good sense on a more explicitly political level. Morse writes "Many Americans think the only alternative to anything-goes sex is something between 'The Stepford Wives' and the Taliban. They imagine that if it weren't for free love, women would all be at home in dresses and high heels, in their spotless kitchens with cookies in the oven, robotically waiting for Beaver to come home from school." But the truth, as Dr. J explains, is something different -- and it's a many-splendored thing.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.