The sexual revolution happened before I was born. All I know of it was what I saw on TV – women marching, burning their bras and equality being demanded for all women. Equal pay, equal rights and the equal ability to sleep around.
Or, at least, that’s how it was portrayed.
I think the sexual revolution and the women’s equality movement were beneficial to me in many ways. I appreciate the fact that I am paid as much as my male counterparts. I appreciate the fact that my future daughters can play any sport they want. And I appreciate all the minority government contracts that were set aside for minorities and women. (Not to mention my previously obtained rights to vote and to own property.)
But I also think the sexual revolution brought great losses to women.
One of the issues I have with this ‘revolution’ is the idea that women are now ‘equal’ in their ability to sleep around. Women of my generation and of the generation preceding me were told we were free to sleep with whom we wanted. Birth control became widely available and sex was no longer tied to the idea of procreation. Now, we could just have sex for fun. We could be just as sexually adventurous as man, we were told. Live a little. Date. Sleep around. Enjoy yourself. It’s your Right.
But they never told us the other side of the coin. That with sexual promiscuity comes a higher level of responsibility. That getting pregnant no longer meant a man would ask you to marry him. Or even stick around. As a matter of fact, abortions were as widely available as birth control, so that was now one of the choices we had to make for ourselves.
They never told us that since sex was no longer tied to procreation, not only would the man not necessarily stick around, but may never even acknowledge his child. Nor would there be anyone to pressure this young (or old) man into being responsible. Women were now solely responsible for themselves and, in many cases, responsible for the welfare and development of their children.
And they never told us that men and women process sex so very differently. That the hormonal and biological interactions that occur during sex cause men to become distant and women to become clingy. The Bible even says that sex is the only sin you do to your own body – and that you are ‘joined’ with every person you have sex with. The Bible meant that you are joined ‘spiritually’ – so you connect with every single person you have sex with. And, unless you go through a long period of cleansing and renewal, you will always carry those people around with you in your spirit. For the rest of our lives.
They never told us that.
The other problem I have with the sexual revolution is that I don’t think it prepared women to deal with the reality of being ‘equal’ to men. Yes, we could join the work force, and no longer had to stay home to raise the kids, but we also lost quite a bit. Because we said that a woman has no set place, we now don’t seem to know who we are or where we belong. Most women (myself included) love going to work every day and making a living, but when it comes to the idea of marriage and the ‘equal’ roles that I am told I should want – I am left at a loss. So now I don’t have to cook, clean or be a full-time mom. But, what if I want to do those things? Does that make me any less ‘liberated’? I am often struck not by how many women work these days, but how many women still choose to stay home and be full-time moms. College-educated, smart, work-oriented women. And studies show that women still do the majority of the household and child-raising duties. So, what did we really gain? A new expectation that not only would we work full-time, but that we would do the majority of the household chores and still do most of the child-rearing. That doesn’t sound promising.
The Bible admonishes me to be submissive and humble as a wife. To respect my husband and to serve him as I serve the Lord. Society tells me to be equal to my husband (or even to be dominant in the relationship) and to demand my ‘rights’. Who’s right?
I can tell you this for sure – I do want my rights in my marriage. I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who loves me as much as he loves himself. I want my ‘right’ to have my husband minister to me spiritually and emotionally. And I want my ‘right’ to have a husband who will do what he needs to do to support our combined household (spiritually, financially, etc.). And I want my ‘right’ to a husband who feels just as responsible for our children, our spiritual life and our marriage.
I’m just not sure where all that fits in with the ‘sexual revolution.’
Excerpt from The Single Black Woman’s Guide to Christian Dating, http://www.christiansinglewoman.com.