Alas, what we need is often the last thing we get.
Matt Walsh said it correctly: “America Is Full Of Deviants. Maybe We Really Shouldn’t Have Tossed Out Sexual Morality.” He’s right, we shouldn’t have. The Sexual Revolution is a war everyone lost. Maybe it’s time for a new one.
It’s not like the sexual depravity rolling out of Hollywood and across America is something new. It’s not. It’s at least as old as Lot and just as pervasive. But unlike during Lot’s time, the rapacious appetites of deviants don’t have to be fulfilled by knocking on the neighbor’s door. These days, anyone can fire up his phone or computer and invite the deviants in and everyone does. There’s a coarsening of relationships between men and women, parents and children, and people with each other.
Women didn’t help themselves here. Deluded into believing that the pill and legalized abortion spared women the consequences of sexual license, women equated freedom with acting like the hound doggiest of men. Who were men to complain? A generation later, women are bewildered and unhappy. Suffering with STDs resulting in infertility and deciding alone whether to keep or murder a baby is liberation? Women, the gatekeepers of sex, opened the gates indiscriminately. They wrongly equated male predatory behavior with liberty. They devalued sex and, by extension, devalued themselves.
It’s not women’s fault, though. The women’s movement was a reaction to the oppressive and abusive behavior of men. The answer to the oppression shouldn’t have been to abuse themselves and others. It should have been to fight for respect and dignity. Instead, in this time of equal rights and sexual freedom, women and men are victimizers and victims, and sex acts are the weapon of intimidation and power.
What’s the solution? Can this cultural rot of promiscuity, pornography, adultery, perversion, and pedophilia be turned around? It can be but there will have to be a wholesale cultural change.
First, the spiritual aspect of sex needs to be taught, remembered, and reinforced. The sacred needs to be elevated and reintroduced to relationships. How does that happen, though, when people are nowhere near a place where that idea might be taught? Fewer people attend church where this notion is foundational, that the bond between a man and woman is sacred and spiritual. It is a communion like the communion with man and God. If sex is sacred, the pleasure has a purpose. There’s an acknowledgement of the partner’s spirit. Sexual love is a means of communing and bonding… and binding one to another.
The communing and binding happen whether people acknowledge the spirit of the person they’re entangled with or not. That’s why pedophilia is so heinous. The perpetrator is attaching his victim to him forever. His actions wend into the child’s soul and bruise the mind. The communion warps the sacred. Consider Diana Nyad’s concluding words about her swim coach abuser. She is almost seventy and the abuse happened over fifty years ago:
These self-loathing rages aren’t frequent anymore. Each year, as the events of my youth recede further and further, my current life carries more emotional significance than that long-ago era. I bounce out of bed every day, thrilled to greet the sunrise. I live my life with great gusto. I tell people that I can look back at each stage of my life with no regrets because, win or lose, I throw my best self at everything I try. I walk down the street as though I own it. All the while, the trauma has lodged in an obscure corner of my soul. I refuse to believe it’s a lifelong imprint, yet, with age 70 in clear view, I admit to wondering whether I will ever entirely heal that young girl who was pinned down.
The Corey Haims and Feldmans of the world may recover or not, but what’s not in doubt is that their spirits have been damaged. They cannot forget. Today, Anthony Edwards writes about being abused by a Broadway producer Gary Goddard:
Edwards claims that he ran into Goddard at an airport 22 years ago, where he “was able to express my outrage.”
“He swore to his remorse and said that he had gotten help,” Edward writes. “I felt a temporary sense of relief. I say temporary because when Goddard appeared in the press four years ago for alleged sexual abuse, my rage resurfaced.”
The spiritual violation stays with the victim forever.
A person who acknowledges the spirit of the person he’s engaging with sexually cannot look at pornography in the same way. He sees the corrosion to his own soul and to the objectification of the people he’s watching. He can’t go to a strip club. He can’t cheat on his wife. He can’t masturbate on a coworker. He can’t abuse a child. He can’t do it without the knowledge that he’s harming himself and harming the spirit of those he claims to care about.
Second, preventing sexual harm means following some common-sense principles. In the wake of the Boy Scouts’ scandal, they came up with iron clad rules. They’re worth a look. Some rules and others for adults are below.
- One-on-one contact between adults and youth members is prohibited [Boy Scouts]. That means there must be another adult there to supervise.
- Two-deep leadership and no one-on-one contact between adults and youth members includes digital communication. [Boy Scouts]
- No business meetings in a hotel room. Ever. Men should never request one. If a male boss does request such a meeting, here is a response for the cornered woman: “I’m sorry, but I have a strict policy of having business meetings in public spaces. I’m sure you understand. I wouldn’t want to give someone the wrong impression.” She should then report him to superiors.
- No drinking at business gatherings ever — even after hours. If a person is with co-workers, he is at a business meeting. Sobriety prevents loosened inhibitions.
- No touching of a co-worker or subordinate.
- No sexual comments, innuendo, or making passes, requests at or to subordinates or coworkers.
- No minors at parties. This is a Hollywood thing. But children should not be at adult parties. Children are anyone under the age of 18. If the person can’t sign his own contract, he can’t be at a party.
- No sending of dick pics.
- And no masturbating in front of people. That this even needs to be said demonstrates the moral degradation and blurred lines of common decency.
Many professions have rules enshrined into their professional ethics. Doctors will only see and examine a patient with a nurse present. This is wisdom. It prevents bad actions and false accusations. A person in authority should always be thinking about being able to answer for his or her actions and being above reproach. Doctors are drilled on this point, but it’s important for all professional interactions.
Third, zero tolerance. Report crimes. Punish offenders.
Louis C.K. admitted that he masturbated in front of women. Brett Ratner is accused of doing the same. Harvey Weinstein cornered women in his hotel room and pulled women away from public spaces and is accused of rape. Not only that, Weinstein hired spies to find dirt on the women he abused so he could blackmail them into silence. Abusive actors would have their managers intimidate the women into silence. This is criminal. The women feared reporting the men because they feared for their careers and they were right to fear. The men counted on that fear, enjoyed that fear. The women should report anyway.
Teachers caught alone with a student, even innocently, should receive probation. No child actor should ever be unaccompanied on set. If he or she is under 18, a parent should be present. Pastors, don’t counsel women alone. A pastor doing this should be put on leave. Priests, don’t work with altar boys alone. Politicians, don’t work with women alone. Protect your own reputation and protect the person who has your trust. Always have a third person. It minimizes potential trouble.
There’s no need to take out pitchforks but there is a need for businesses and the criminal justice system to expect better behavior from their employees and when actions reach the level of a crime, the charges are taken seriously and taken to the police.
It’s not acceptable to look the other way. It’s disheartening how few men stood up for women in Hollywood. Brad Pitt confronted Harvey Weinstein, then acted in his movies. The story of Jason Batemen’s wife being assaulted in front of him and Terry Crews being grabbed is even more horrifying in some ways. The perpetrators felt so emboldened that they publicly assaulted victims fearing no reprisals.
So while it’s scary to report bad actors, report anyway. It may be difficult to believe the accusations, especially when a person has a beloved public persona. Everyone who grew up with Bill Cosby being their favorite dad (the author was one) had to face the uncomfortable truth that the man drugged and raped women. Believe anyway.
Some say the West is headed for a new Puritanism. Would that it was so. More likely, the West is headed for more elevation of extreme fetishism and sublimation of normal healthy relationships. Lonely men and women will seek out porn and avoid human interaction. They’ll adopt socially acceptable deviance. The risks involved with honorably engaging with a potential spouse may be too complex and too troublesome to be worth trying.
Absent a moral revolution and return to seeing sex in the spiritual way it was intended, people will flail about, without bounds, unsure how to act. Rather than accept constraints, a younger generation may give up totally. Japan is already there. With sex robots on the way, the objectification of humans will be complete and the men using them will have sex with a clean conscience because she’s not real, anyway.
The pervasive sexual abuse problems reveal a moral defect left in the wake of the sexual revolution. Without the safety and security of marriage and committed love, sex is powerful force too often used destructively. Absent moral restrictions, sex can be weaponized. Sex separated from spirit is just a bodily function. So while the guidelines listed above and reporting crimes will help change a abuse-abetting climate, they can’t change the hearts of people.
Acknowledging the spirit within and the spirit in fellow men is the only way to change a hardened culture. When men and women see people as humans and not things to be used, only then will the degrading objectification stop. Until this happens, abuse will continue, the lines will be blurry, the confusion will grow.
America needs a new sexual revolution, but it’s unlikely to get one.
Photo credit: Michael Coghlan, Flickr, Creative Commons