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On Promiscuity

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

When is a man a slut?

This continues to be a question in the public dialogue since Rush Limbaugh’s now infamous comments on Sandra Fluke, a 30-year old law student who, despite being unmarried, claimed that she spends so much money on contraception that she was going broke. The woman goes to an expensive, prestigious law school and is more concerned about the cost of contraception—I wonder why Rush thought that was so strange.

Rush’s use of the word “slut” has caused outrage among people of all political stripes. But why is the word so hurtful?

Few things are as mainstream as adultery or abortion. Four-thousand abortions are performed in the United States per day. Surely this can’t just be a “women’s issue.”

Most men welcome the reputation of being sex objects; they want to be objectified. Is this the result of a different standard for men, or its cause?

In our secular society, men pride themselves on their rakishness; sex is no less a field of conquest than athletics (which is largely competitive for its effects on sex lives—chicks dig winners). But I just can’t understand this.

Women often complain about the double standard, saying that it is unfair that men are not only allowed but encouraged to sleep around with whomever they would like, while women are shamed for doing the same thing. This puzzles me: does that mean that women want to be promiscuous, but are not allowed? Pope famously said that every woman is a rake at heart. But are they promiscuous with their hearts, or do they wish to be promiscuous with their bodies but cannot?

No doubt a double standard is unfair, but what is the real solution? Is it, as those above suggest, that everyone live as a libertine? Of course not. The solution is that everyone should be shamed for promiscuity. Men need to stop encouraging one another to seduce women and then abandon them; men need to compete at other things. No one gets hurt when men test each other’s manhood on the basketball court; when they do the same thing with women’s hearts, everyone in society is hurt.

Today’s hookup culture is emasculating. A man is not allowed to be a man, only a seducer. You can't ask out a girl anymore.

In many more traditional societies, the life of seduction and conquest is actually considered effeminate. Consider the Epic of Gilgamesh, or the story of Erik and Enide, or Samson, for examples. As soon as the male character gives in to his lust, he loses his masculinity.

And what about love? Do we not love anymore? Love is an act of the will, not a feeling; it is an act that insists on the good of others over the good of oneself. Where is that nowadays? And what about God, Who is Love? Have we forgotten about Him? I’m afraid that many have, and, with Him, the idea that every single one of us is both willed by Him, and loved by Him with a burning passion.

President Obama has publicly suggested that kindergarteners should take sex education classes. The fact that this shocks no one is a sign that a broad cultural shift has occurred, one much bigger than the president, one leading him rather than one which he is leading.

We have forgotten that we are created for permanent love. Even bad pop songs express some longing for permanence and a frustration with a lack of it. Why is it so hard for us to believe in real life?

Promiscuity is physical intimacy without spiritual intimacy. The problem with it is not that it shares too much, but that it shares too little.

Men, don’t tell me this is no big deal. People out there are being hurt. To give just one indicator that something is wrong, plastic surgeries have increased by 600% in women since 1997. In men? 900%. Do you think that that means that people are happy, or that they are unhappy?

You know the solution to this problem: not more promiscuity by women, but more love by all and for all. There is still time to repent.

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