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Depending on the survey, an estimated 40% to 80% of college-aged women "hook up" during their college years.

In other words, they engage in casual, non-committal sexual activity with multiple partners.

According to Dr. Miriam Grossman [staff psychiatrist at UCLA Psychological Services], the consequences of the "hook-up culture" include:

  •  Young unmarried women who are sexually active are three times more likely to suffer from depression and three times more likely to attempt suicide than girls who are not sexually active.
  • Sexually active college-aged women are at a significantly greater risk for developing eating disorders, cutting themselves, and performing other acts of self-mutilation.
  • 43% of sexually active women will contract HPV, a STD/STI that can lead to cervical cancer.

Three new mainstream books have rolled off the presses that focus on "how rotten the fruit of the sexual revolution is":

"Unprotected" by Dr. Miriam Grossman (Sentinel, $23.95)

"Unhooked" by Laura Sessions Stepp (Riverhead, $24.95)

"The Thrill of the Chaste" by Dawn Eden (Thomas Nelson, $13.99)

A fourth book,  "Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good" by Wendy Shalit takes a pro-active approach by trying to persuade the reader that true strength and happiness come not from deadening one's emotions and having sex for fun, but from practicing modesty and self-restraint. 

Grossman, a psychiatrist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) condemns politically correct campus cultures that encourage students to wear sunscreen and forego fast food, but whitewash the consequences of promiscuity.  

Washington Post journalist Sessions Stepp echoes Grossman's thesis, chronicaling the emotional and relational consequences promiscuity had on nine young women immersed in the culture of casual sex.

And Eden, a deputy news editor at the New York Daily News, recounts how she spent years trying to practice what the sexual revolution preached, only to end up frustrated and lonely.

All three books make it clear that women have paid a high price for the victory of the sexual revolution, a price that includes loneliness, plummeting self-esteem and even suicidal depression, not to mention skyrocketing rates of sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, and divorce.

"Lust increases the rupture between body and spirit. When we use our own and others' bodies as objects for pleasure or to fill the emptiness inside us, there is an increased break", said Katrina Zeno. "That;s what these women experience. They feel even more broken and more alienated from their bodies and spirits when they thought they would feel more fulfilled and united."

There is a difference, however, between feeling broken and alienated and knowing WHY those feelings exist. According to Eden, the fruits of the sexual revolution may be rotten to the core, but most women don't automatically associate the depression and anxiety they feel with their behavior in the bedroom.

"They know something is wrong", Zeno said, "but they cannot put their finger on what it is." They also "think they're the only one with the problem, that something is wrong with THEM."

Despite the sudden slew of books questioning the tenets of the sexual revolution, Eden dismissed the idea that any wholesale rejecvtion of the hook-up culture is on the horizon. She does think, however, the books indicate that a critical mass of women may be fed up enough to start listening to the idea of chastity.

"Now is the time for us really to be talking about chastity", she said. "We need to describe what chastity is and what it isn't. It's not just a negative; it's not just saying no to sex before marriage. It's a positive, saying yes to your intrinsic value as a human being apart from your willingness to have sex, and saying yes to the intrinsic value of another by not using them in a way that violates their dignity."

The language Eden uses in talking about chastity is the language of the "theology" of the body. "When you really understand the concepts, the theology of the body provides a language to articulate the human experience", Zeno said. "It's a new way to talk about old things."  ["It's Not Prudishness, It's Living  A Healthy Life", Family Resources Center News, Aug-Sept 2007]


July 30, 2007

Eight years ago, a young writer named Wendy Shalit took the culture by storm with a radical book called A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue.

While many people embraced the idea of a return to modesty — especially the young women whose struggles and aspirations Shalit wrote about — others were appalled. "I knew that my arguments… might be challenged," Shalit recalls now, "but nothing prepared me for the tongue-lashings I would receive from my elders. [Feminist writer] Katha Pollitt called me a ‘twit.' The Nation solemnly foretold that I would ‘certainly be embarrassed' and regret my stance ‘in a few years'."

Well, it's now been a few years, and Wendy regrets nothing.

On the contrary, she has a new book out, Girls Gone Mild: Young Women Reclaim Self-Respect and Find It's Not Bad to Be Good.

As the title proclaims, Shalit is still convinced that true strength and happiness come not from deadening one's emotions and having sex for fun, but from practicing modesty and self-restraint.

And guess who's on her side?

As Shalit recounts, "To find out why modesty i

s more appealing to younger people, [feminist writer Katha] Pollitt might have talked to her own daughter, Sophie, who… was disgusted by contemporary sexual norms."

Wendy interviewed Sophie, now a college freshman, and reports: "Like many intelligent young women, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen now realizes that the boys' immaturity cannot be separated from the girls' willingness to provide sexual favors to those boys. Sophie rejects sexual exhibitionism even though she identifies herself as a feminist."

Then there's Erica Jong, well-known novelist and advocate of what Shalit describes as "the concept of a random, guilt-free sexual encounter between strangers." Jong's now-grown daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, tried that lifestyle and found it utterly unsatisfying. The sad thing is, she tells Shalit, "You're not allowed to admit that [promiscuity] just doesn't work."

Though devoted to her mother, Molly is "embarrassed" by Erica's writings and says to Shalit, "I was sold a bad bill of goods." Well, their kids ought to know.

The sexual revolutionaries of the '60s and '70s may have thought they were helping kids avoid heartbreak by teaching them to treat sex as a recreational activity. But those kids have discovered that was untrue.

They've realized that the older feminists, who were supposed to be about women's rights and dignity, were actually advising them to make sex objects out of themselves! So they're fighting back.

As Shalit studied trends like modest fashion shows and boycotts of sexually explicit T-shirts, she discovered that for every girl who's bought into the cultural myths about sexuality, there's another who is refusing to go along.

While acknowledging the negative, anti-woman forces in this sex-obsessed culture, she focuses refreshingly on the women who choose to protect their own "dignity" and "vulnerability."

Shalit has to reflect accurately the culture young women are up against today, so some of the situations she describes are a little rough. With that caveat, I urge you to read Girls Gone Mild. And have your children who are in their late teens or older read it as well.

More than ever, they need know that good is not a bad word.

This update courtesy of BreakPoint, 31July07.