Let’s Rethink Sex by C. Emba

I agreed with much of this editorial by Emba (posted much farther below) and don’t have a problem with it.

I’m a right winger. Imagine my surprise a while back when I was visiting a right wing political blog on which one of the blog owners criticized this editorial by Emba.

From what I can recall, the conservative author found Emba’s cry for the public to take sex more seriously and not sleep around so much, to be unrealistic or too stuffy, too… whatever.

I was appalled that a conservative author on a conservative site (the same author has claimed in previous blog posts on other topics to be a Christian) would be attacking a well-reasoned editorial pointing out that perhaps the avalanche of sexual harassment stories we’ve all been seeing in the media in the realms of Hollywood, sports, politics and more, can be due to people having an “anything goes” mentality towards sex. I agree with her.

Before seeing this editorial a few weeks ago, I was thinking of writing one similar to it myself (and still may).

I would fully expect the majority of liberals out there – especially the feminists – to mock the notion of being chaste or more deliberate about when, if, where, and with whom to have sex, but a conservative? (Liberal feminists (Link): have already done so before, as a matter of fact.)

Maybe I should not be surprised.

I’ve been posting stories to this blog off and on for around the last seven years, and I’ve seen several instances of conservative Christians who have a “meh, who cares, it’s just fornication, go ahead and do it, sex is no biggie” attitude that one would expect to see from some Non-Christians or from liberal feminists.

But the conservatives and Christians go along with this sort of thinking as well.

I disagree with Emba on a point or two, however. I am not concerned that the “Me Too” movement will get “out of hand” or accusations will become “baseless.”

Unlike Emba and several conservatives I’ve seen over weeks past, I don’t see a problem with women (or men, for the most part) using the “Me Too” Twitter trend in order to call attention to sexual harassment (such as groping), not just full out assault (such as rape).

I agree with some of her other premises. It does appear that the conservative guy I saw on another site who was picking this piece apart could not even fathom that there is any one out there in American society who can or should control their sexual impulses, or who may be celibate, or a virgin past the age of 25.

From what I recall of his editorial, he seemed to feel as though having sex is INEVITABLE for EVERYONE and cannot imagine ANYONE living without sex into their 30s or older.

And yet, I’m in my mid 40s and am still a virgin. Over my time on this blog, I’ve been contacted (sometimes privately, sometimes publicly) by other individuals who are age 30 (or older) and who are also virgins.

I’ve seen numerous stories (and have shared them on this blog) that contain interviews with adult virgins and with adult celibates – and adult asexuals. There are more people out there NOT having sex than the nay-sayers against editorials such as Emba’s might first assume.

I for one am sick and tired of living in a sex-obsessed, sex-saturated society that worships, worships, worships sex and acts as though sex is as necessary for human survival on the individual level as is drinking water and eating food.

I’m sick of living in a culture that assumes that someone who is a virgin past 25 must lack a libido, or be repressed or be disinterested in sex. I’m sick of living in a culture where there is this attitude that NOT having sex for YEARS takes a “herculean” effort (it does not).

If conservatives are going to find it unrealistic or bizarre that women past the age of 25 are celibate, and they are encouraging us to become sexually active just as much as secular liberals are and have been, that would mean I expect them to be fair about things which means they really should support the American tax payer in subsidizing birth control for women and to keep abortion legal.

I’m pro-life, but-

If conservatives are not going to support women in remaining chaste but encourage us to become sexually active, pressure us to give up our virginity, because they think being chaste is impossible, or too repressive or “too weird,” and that pregnancy and STDs are possible outcomes of being sexually active for women –

I would think right wingers would take it upon themselves to lessen the possible consequences of sexual activity for women by helping women defray costs and hazards of sexual activity.

I should probably repeat at this point that I am right wing: I am not a liberal.

But if other right wingers are going to start sounding more and more like liberal feminists regarding sexual mores and not encourage women (and men) in being virgins until marriage, and if right wingers are not going to champion celibacy (sexual self control) as a virtue, then they need to step up to the plate and make risks associated with sex (having babies and diseases) easier for women to mitigate.

This editorial made a lot of sense to me, so I am aghast that another conservative on another site would criticize this:

(Link): Let’s Rethink Sex by C Emba

The backlash to the #MeToo movement has begun. As the parade of post-Weinstein exposés marches on, so do the (Link): unhappy reactions to a sexual landscape suddenly turned on its head.

There’s the skittish colleague (“If I ask a woman out at work, am I going to be reported for harassment?”). The nervous cad (“Will one unfortunate hookup land me on (Link): a public list of ‘sh*tty men’?”). And the vexing question underneath it all: “If we get so worked up about sexual harassment and assault, what will happen to sex?”

This #MeToo paranoia isn’t all baseless. While some worries should rate only an eye roll, others highlight the precariously gray continuum from annoyance to harassment to assault.

But it’s also true that these questions hold something in common. They gesture toward America’s prevailing and problematic sexual ethic — one that is in no small part responsible for getting us into this sexual misconduct mess in the first place.

At the bottom of all this confusion sits a fundamental misframing: that there’s some baseline amount of sex that we should be getting or at least should be allowed to pursue.

Following from that is the assumption that the ability to pursue and satisfy our sexual desires — whether by hitting on that co-worker even if we’re at a professional lunch, or by pursuing a sexual encounter even when reciprocity is unclear — is paramount.

At best, our sexual freedom should be circumscribed only by the boundary of consent. Any other obstacle is not to be borne.

(Link): A recent article by Masha Gessen in the New Yorker illustrates just how pear-shaped our understanding has gone. Cautioning against a “sex panic” after the watershed of abuse revelations, it reported in solemn yet horrified tones: “The policing of sex seems to assume that it’s better to have ten times less sex than to risk having a nonconsensual sexual experience.”

Er . . . Is it . . . not? Is this no longer an assumption we can agree upon? If so, it’s time to acknowledge that there might be something wrong with how we’re thinking about sex.

It’s not that sex in and of itself is the problem. But the idea that pursuing one’s sexual imperatives should take precedence over workplace rules, lines of power or even just appropriate social behavior is what allows predators to justify sexual harassment and assault. And it encourages the not-predators to value their desires above those of others.

A sex-above-all ethic, combined with a power structure that protects and enables men (alas, it’s almost always men) is what allows the (Link): Charlie Roses of the world to think that it’s fine to grope and proposition their subordinates: After all, Rose thought he was pursuing “shared feelings.” It’s what makes comedian Louis C.K. think that (Link): as long as he “asked first” and women didn’t say no, it was acceptable to make them watch him masturbate.

So what to do?

It’s unlikely that we’ll return to a society in which sexual encounters outside of marriage are disallowed or even discouraged — that sex train has already left the fornication station, if it was ever properly there to begin with. But now could be the time to reintroduce virtues such as prudence, temperance, respect and even love.

We might pursue the theory that sex possibly has a  (Link): deeper significance than just recreation and that “consent” — (Link): that thin and gameable boundary — might not be the only moral sensibility we need respect.

But in the meantime, now that the excesses of our current sexual ethic are coming up against their consequences, some uncomfortable readjustment will need to occur.

Perhaps the skittish colleague will have to build a rapport with his co-worker before engaging in romantic pursuit, and then do so after hours. Maybe the nervous cad will have to give up a few borderline sexual encounters to make sure he’s on the right side of the line.

Adjusting to this new understanding may well mean less sex for some, in the short term, and more anxiety for several. Too bad. If we value access to sex over other people’s consent or comfort or basic ability to exist unmolested in their workplace, then we as a society are in the wrong. And in the long term, as norms resettle, it will mean a healthier sexual ethic — and a better society — for us all.

Because here’s the thing. We won’t die of having less sex (indeed, no one ever has). Somehow, people will still find ways to meet, mate and propagate the species. If you are a decent person, the prospect of a clearer, more boundaried sexual ethic should not frighten you. If not, have you considered that you might be part of the problem?

I agree with about 99% of the above. I’m amazed that there’s a conservative or two out there who found fault with this well-reasoned piece. I should’t be, though.

As I said, in my last several years of blogging on topics such as this one, I have discovered that the majority of secular AND Christian conservatives hold the SAME ATTITUDES about sex as do secular AND liberal Christians, which amount to, sex prior to marriage is not bad, sinful, shameful, and anyone wanting to espouse celibacy or sexual self control is a fuddy duddy, a weirdo, or too old-fashioned.

It is my view that one of several things that led to all the sexual harassment in the workplace that’s been discussed in the media the past two months is due precisely to the very things Emba mentioned – sex has been divorced from love; people place Libido above any thing and anyone else, to the point they feel it’s acceptable to “hit on” people at their jobs (which is highly unprofessional behavior), and so on.

There is a lack of self control in culture, a culture which glorifies sex and doesn’t like to hear about delayed gratification.

It’s as though most adults are impatient two year old toddlers: if they want sex, they want sex and they want it NOW, and not matter if it involves hitting on women who aren’t interested at their places of employment or not.

All of that and other factors are involved. But other conservatives don’t want to hear about it. They don’t like to hear discussion about limits, self control, or delayed gratification anymore than your average horn dog, horny, “anything goes” secular, liberal feminist does.

Many Conservatives are just as bad on these sex related issues as are most liberals.


Related Posts:

(Link): The Christian and Non Christian Phenomenon of Virgin Shaming and Celibate Shaming

(Link): Rare Reminders from Christians on Recent Broadcasts that Fornication is Wrong and That Older Celibates Exist

(Link): The Trivialization of Sex (a post by A. Hamilton)

(Link):  CDC Report: Virgin Teens Much Healthier Than Their Sexually Active Peers (2016 Report)

(Link):  I Shouldn’t Need An Excuse To Be A Virgin – (Secular Editorial Defends Virginity – More Rare Than a Unicorn Sighting)

(Link): Secular, Left Wing Feminist Writer Marcotte on Anyone Choosing To Be a Virgin Until Marriage: “It’s a Silly Idea” – What Progressive Christians, Conservative Christians, Non Christians, and Salon’s Amanda Marcotte Gets Wrong About Christian Views on Virginity

(Link):  An Example of Mocking Adult Virginity Via Twitter (Virginity Used As Insult)

(Link): Confessions of a 25-year-old Christian virgin (article) – and related info

(Link):  I thought Christians “worshipped” virginity? Guess not: TLW (True Love Waits) Spokesman Says TLW Will NOT “Elevate Virginity” – LifeWay to Relaunch “True Love Waits” Campaign

(Link):  Male Christian Researcher Mark Regnerus Believes Single Christian Women Should Marry Male Christian Porn Addicts – another Christian betrayal of sexual ethics and more evidence of Christians who do make an idol out of marriage

(Link): False Christian Teaching: “Only A Few Are Called to Singleness and Celibacy” or (also false): God’s gifting of singleness is rare – More Accurate: God calls only a few to marriage and God gifts only the rare with the gift of Marriage

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link): Anti Virginity Editorial by Christian Blogger Tim Challies – Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): No, Christians and Churches Do Not Idolize Virginity and Sexual Purity – [they either downplay both or attack both]

(Link):  Some Researchers Argue that Shame Should Be Used to Treat Sexual Compulsions

(Link): Dude Arguing for Legalization of Prostitution Uses Same Rationale as Christians Concerning Celibacy and Sexual Purity

(Link):  When Adult Virginity and Adult Celibacy Are Viewed As Inconvenient or As Impediments

(Link): Christian Blogger Tim Challies Teaches Heresy, that All Fornicators are Virgins and – Now Do Hurt / Shame Feelings or Sexual Abuse Mean Christians Should Cease Supporting Virginity or Teaching About Sexual Purity

(Link): Christians Who Attack Virginity Celibacy and Sexual Purity – and specifically Russell D. Moore and James M. Kushiner

(Link):  Douglas Wilson and Christian Response FAIL to Sex / Sexual Sin – No Body Can Resist Sex

(Link): Typical Erroneous Teaching About Adult Celibacy Rears Its Head Again: To Paraphrase Speaker at Ethics and Public Policy Center: Lifelong Celibacy is “heroic ethical standard that is not expected of heteros, so it should not be expected of homosexuals”

(Link): Decent Secular Relationship Advice: How to Pick Your Life Partner

(Link):  Singles Shaming at The Vintage church in Raleigh – Singlehood Shaming / Celibate and Virgin Shaming

(Link): Pat Robertson says ‘Virginity Has Nothing To Do With Marriage’ and Says (Paraphrasing) ‘Virginity Was Fine For Mary But Not Applicable For Any Other Christians’

(Link): How Christians Have Failed on Teaching Maturity and Morality Vis A Vis Marriage / Parenthood – Used as Markers of Maturity Or Assumed to be Sanctifiers – Also: More Hypocrisy – Christians Teach You Need A Spouse to Be Purified, But Also Teach God Won’t Send You a Spouse Until You Become Purified

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Rethink Sex by C. Emba”

  1. I totally get what you mean about drinking. I do drink myself but I respect those who don’t. I don’t understand why some people get bent out of shape because someone chooses not to drink. That’s a personal decision. But yes, I have experienced it myself on some occasions when I don’t want to have a drink or don’t want to have more than one, so I know what you are talking about, and it is offensive. There are people who just won’t take no for an answer.

    The only concern I have about the Me Too movement is why it took so long for some of these women to speak up. Even so, I am glad that women are speaking up about it and I hope they continue to speak up, that it doesn’t fade away like the Yes All Women campaign a few years back. There are an AWFUL lot of male bad apples out there, more than what people realize, and they need to be made accountable for their actions and words. I have had it with victim-blaming and the “she must have asked for it mentality.” For the record, NO WOMAN IS SAFE ANYWHERE.

    Some of the places I have been accosted are:
    The laundromat, by the laundry attendant
    At a Lions Club dinner, by a man who came “prepared” with a sex toy which he showed me below the level of the table. There were several people at this table but they were all involved with their own conversations and did not see or hear what was happening. When I reported the incident, I learned that this man had also been stalking one of the wait staff and making her feel uncomfortable. I do not know what action club officials took against him as there was no follow-up.
    At a local tire shop, by the proprietor, when I walked in the door. I had just moved to the area and was referred to this shop by a friend, who, when I told her of my encounter, said, “Well, he does that to a lot of women.” Thanks a lot.
    Waiting in line at a restaurant to pay my bill, when a drunk patron (who was sitting at a table with his friends) groped and grabbed me in front of the owner who saw the situation but misread it as a “romance–how sweet.” When I set her straight on the matter she admitted he had been bothering other women and was no longer allowed on the premises. I had previously enjoyed going there to listen to live music but after that incident I no longer felt safe. The restaurant closed not long after that. Coincidence? Or did others feel the same way and stopped going for the same reason I did?

    And–the lowest of the low (I am not making this up!):

    At a FUNERAL HOME, RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIS DECEASED WIFE’S CASKET!!!! The guy’s wife was well-known and liked in the community while he had a reputation as a lecher. Of course, NOBODY ever brought him to account, though they pitied her. Still, I was not prepared to be propositioned while paying respects.

    What all these incidents had in common was that they took place in PUBLIC places IN FRONT of other people who had NO CLUE as to what was going on or if they did, chose to look the other way or misinterpret what they saw. Yes, folks, sexual harassment can happen right under your nose, right next to you. It can happen ANYWHERE. And it is THAT that creates the mistrust.

    Not long ago at my church I was preparing to take my seat when I felt something like someone cupping the bottom of my backside. Not seeing who or what it was and only knowing that there was a MAN behind me, I am afraid I did not handle it well. HE said that he didn’t touch me, that it was the handles of his wife’s walker bumping into me. But how was I to know that when I have had all these other experiences? In a church? Why not in a church? Groping can happen just as easily there as anywhere else and just as quickly and stealthily. Yes, he probably was innocent–but there have been a lot of other times when it wasn’t innocent. This is why we need to have these Me Too conversations.

    1. Yes, I wrote in one post on here of some of my “Me Too” experiences

      Some on the public street, in college classes with guys who would not leave me alone, etc.

      As to why some women wait: it’s usually due to shame or to fear. Many sexual abuse victims feel ashamed if the crime involves anything sexual. Some times the assailant threatens them that if they tell anyone, they will kill them or someone they love. The women in Hollywood were afraid of being black listed in their careers, unable to get more work.

      That does happen on jobs – if you complain to anyone about abuse whether the abuse is sexual or not – you will get demoted, fired, and black balled in your career field. Human Resources Depts. do not exist to protect the worker, they exist to protect the employer from law suits and the like, so they will never protect the one who says “I was abused by employee so and so, please help.”

  2. I am not surprised. I saw this coming back in the 1970’s. Sure, women (and men) had the right to say no in theory, but in reality, it was another story. The attitude was, from both sexes, if you went out with someone, you were signaling to them and to the world, that you intended to have sex somewhere down the line. Going out with someone and saying no to sex was breaking this unspoken, unwritten bargain. It was not playing by the rules. And thus the concept of consent started to erode and sex became an entitlement thing.

    I too am a bit annoyed and dismayed by some of the conservative comments regarding the “Me Too” hashtag. As someone who has unfortunately had quite a lot of experience with unwanted, unsolicited sexual advances, it really gets me when some of my male friends make light of this and say, well now I’d better watch what I say and what I do. If you have not experienced this–and they most likely haven’t–then you do not have the faintest clue as to what it is about. A few years ago I shared an experience with my church group of being publicly groped in a restaurant by a drunk male patron, and was told by the married women (I being the only single) that I should not talk about such things because it made their husbands uncomfortable, as they did not know how to act around me. I said that if their husbands could not tell the difference between a brotherly/sisterly hug in Christ and the kind of embrace that meant they wished to have sex, then I as a VIRGIN certainly could not tell them that! There is a world of difference between the two, and to hear someone say, well, I guess I can’t give you a hug anymore, ok, either you clearly don’t understand the issue or—maybe you have a guilty conscience, hmm?

    1. trailerparkcatlady. – Part 1 reply.

      Long reply here, I hope that’s okay and you have the time to read it. Here is Part 1.

      I’m more and more disgusted with other conservatives on some topics as time goes by.

      (I am a conservative, just to be clear. I’m not a liberal.)

      So many conservatives, especially the religious ones (above all the ones who harp on about gender roles and Family Values), will out of one side of their mouth, write editorials criticizing liberals (especially secular feminists) for being sexual deviants or for getting abortions, for using birth control, or having one night stands-
      But then turn around a week or more later and out of the other side of their mouth, write editorials that mock anyone who is promoting celibacy, sexual self control, etc.

      It is so hypocritical.

      Conservatives will complain about women having sex outside of marriage, getting pregnant out of wedlock, engaging in “hook ups” (casual sex), etc and so on, but then also ridicule women such as you or me who are sexually abstaining – because they find it weird or somehow objectionable that not all of us are out there having sex, or that we may have moral problems against having sex on a first date or what have you.

      These types of conservatives want us (and younger people) to be out having sex all over the place.

      I have blog posts with links to articles about how American conservatives (and some Euro ones) are having melt downs and conniption fits because people (especially younger ones) are celibate.

      I think one reason they are upset has to do with a dwindling tax base, or with Muslim immigrants “out breeding” white Christians. I have blog posts about that too, with links to interviews with conservative men complaining about all that sort of thing – but they seem to mainly object to celibacy in adults because they dislike celibacy and find it distasteful that not everyone is out having sex.

      I believe this subject is similar to drinking alcohol or not drinking it.

      I don’t drink.

      Any party I’ve ever been to, where I am surrounded by drinkers, they feel uncomfortable that I abstain from booze.

      It makes drinkers uneasy to be around a non-drinker.

      I do not know why. I don’t sit around judging them for drinking. I don’t say anything. I just stand there sipping my water or soda and chit chat about stuff. I don’t condemn them for drinking. I don’t care if others want to drink beer or liquor, it’s just not for me.

      But I’ve noticed since I’ve been a teen and into adult years, that if I’m the only one standing there with no alcoholic drink in hand, or with a soda pop instead of booze, all the folks holding wine or beer get very, very uncomfortable.

      I’ve had drinkers try to pressure me into drinking beer or wine. Some of them are obsessive about it. Some of them act incredulous when I tell them I do not drink.

      I think such people feel guilty about their own behavior when they see someone standing there who is NOT participating in what they are doing.

      I think it’s the same thing with sex.

      I think the fact that there are adults who admit to being virgins (or celibate) past their 30s makes a lot of the other people uncomfortable, because the ones having sex all over the place want to ‘sex around all over the place’ without feeling condemned or judged about it.

      I really suspect that is why even so many self professing conservative Christians are just as bad on the sex issue as are the sexually hedonistic liberals out there.

      I will continue my reply to you in a Part 2.
      (Link): Part 2 Reply is located here, right under part 1.

    2. trailer park cat lady – Reply 2

      You said,

      I too am a bit annoyed and dismayed by some of the conservative comments regarding the “Me Too” hashtag.
      As someone who has unfortunately had quite a lot of experience with unwanted, unsolicited sexual advances, it really gets me when some of my male friends make light of this and say, well now I’d better watch what I say and what I do.
      If you have not experienced this–and they most likely haven’t–then you do not have the faintest clue as to what it is about.

      Yes. I’ve noticed this as well.

      I support the “Me Too” movement and am beyond annoyed at all the people complaining about it, or making light of it.

      I could probably do a few posts on that subject alone, but I don’t know if I will or not.

      I’ve seen conservative men, a smattering of conservative women, and one or two liberal women start complaining about it in the last few weeks.

      They tend to be more concerned with men who may be falsely accused of sexual misconduct than they are in the crisis that initiated the ‘Me Too’ movement in the first place, which I find repugnant.

      I’ve seen at least one liberal woman and one conservative one argue that because women have endured sexual harassment for decades (getting their butts grabbed at the office by men, etc) that women today should just “shut up” about it, that being sexually harassed by men is no big deal. That attitude also angers me.

      As for the people who say that because rape is worse than groping or other forms of harassment that women should shut up about it – also infuriating.

      I honestly have not been able to deduce what kind of person thinks that because rape is “more wrong” than being groped on a job that therefore women should just accept being groped and be okay with it, so if you’re groped, ‘what is the big deal’ they ask – but this is a common attitude among the “Me Too” movement haters. And I’m sick of that, too.

      Then you have the illogical and flakey idiots who will paint you as “hating all men” just for discussing any of this online, or for being concerned at the high amount of sex abuse (or sex harassment) against women by men in employment.

      Some of these people (and I’ve run into a few elsewhere online) think that the “Me Too” movement is an attack on men.
      Do you get that? A movement started for women to openly discuss having been sexually abused or harassed by MEN in the workplace is now being equated to “hating all men.” I’ve seen this happen.

      Women are being regularly sexually harassed or abused by some men, but it’s being twisted as men are the victims – and I’ve seen both men and women adopt this attitude, it’s not just men doing it.

      I haven’t done too much blogging about any of that,, except for about three posts – some Christian guys on Twitter were ridiculing women sexual abuse victims who were using “me too”.

      I wrote about it here, in one post:
      (Link): Complementarian Christians Do Not Think Women are of Equal Worth to Men – Case 2 – Christian Men Mocking the “Me Too” Sexual Assault and Harassment Twitter Tag (Part 1.1)

      There is more I could say about all this, but I’ll leave it there.

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