The Bedevilments of Sex: Louise Perry’s “The Case against the Sexual Revolution” by Ralph Leonard

The Bedevilments of Sex: Louise Perry’s “The Case against the Sexual Revolution” by Ralph Leonard

According to the review below – a review of Perry’s book ‘The Case Against the Sexual Revolution,’ she, Perry, to bolster her view, appeals to the concept of ‘evolutionary psychology,’ a discipline or worldview I do not agree with.

(In my understanding of it, evolutionary psychology ends up attributing socially conditioned behaviors to hardwired, in-born traits, and is, and has been used, to practice sexism against women, or to try to explain or justify sexist outcomes against women by men.)

I don’t support the history of, and on-going existence of, sexual double standards, where, for example, women get punished for sexual behaviors that men have routinely engaged in.

However, I also don’t support third wave feminist views or sexual excess, where some portions of society advocate for sexual hedonism.

Sexual hedonism, the “there should be no boundaries on sex” type of attitudes promoted by progressives, comes with its own set of problems which hurt people (especially women and children).

(Link):  The Bedevilments of Sex: Louise Perry’s “The Case against the Sexual Revolution” by Ralph Leonard

Excerpts:

June 3, 2022

[The author begins by explaining what by now should be a familiar refrain: the sexual liberation which was supposed to put women’s sexual behavior and choices on an even playing ground to that of men, has in the decades sense, apparently, resulted not in women’s sexual liberation, but in making a lot of women unhappy and straining relationships between men and women and in introducing a whole new set of problems.
The author says this is some of what the new book “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution” by Louise Perry has set out to tackle.]

… she [Perry] questions the notion that the sexual revolution has been a gain or a liberation for women. Quite the opposite. “Women have been conned,” she declares.

The sexual revolution, Perry emphatically argues, didn’t liberate them. Instead, it liberated the libidos of high-status playboys and lechers such as Hugh Hefner and Harvey Weinstein at the expense of women.

… This isn’t your usual traditional religious moralism.

Perry’s thinking is quite secular. It appeals to science (specifically, evolutionary psychology).

But, like religious moralism, which is based on the idea of man as a fallen being, Perry’s use of evolutionary psychology reveals the supposed limitations of our evolved nature.  …

Perry advertises her book as an attempt to reckon with the immense change the sexual revolution has created throughout society and culture. She proclaims that she does not endorse either “the accounts typically offered by liberals, addicted to a narrative of progress, or conservatives addicted to a narrative of decline.”

Instead, she makes the following arguments.

First, men and women possess significant sexual differences due to their intrinsic biology and to evolutionary adaptations, and these differences have consequences for how men and women relate to each other sexually.

Second, liberal feminism, in its arrogance, ignores and dismisses these consequences, to the detriment of women.

Third, not all sexual desires are good. Some are bad and need to be stigmatised.

Fourth, sex without love isn’t liberating, but spiritually and emotionally oppressive. Fifth, consent is an insufficient guarantee that sex is ethical. And, finally, she makes what she calls a feminist case for monogamous marriage.

[The reviewer goes on to explain Perry’s views as being that rather than regard rape as being a product of patriarchy and male desire to control women, it’s actually, in her view, rooted in a male biological desire for sex. Perry used to be a “sex positive feminist.”

Perry also believes that liberal feminists remain blind to how liberal feminist “pro-sex” attitudes have created more problems for women, such as a female preoccupation with on-campus rape;
Perry believes that evolution and biology are behind most (or all?) male rape and sexual harassment of women, and that liberal feminists, like religious fundamentalists, refuse to believe in evolution and to accept what to her are truths about human behavior.]

… The crux of Perry’s case rests on the argument that contemporary sexuality is defined by “sexual disenchantment” (an idea inspired by Max Weber). Sex has been evacuated of any mysterious, magical or holistic quality by the materialist philosophy that undergirds modern culture. It’s been reduced to meaningless leisure activity…

… Her critiques of the clichés that attempt to divorce rape from sex and of the obsession with consent as the sole touchstone used to determine whether a sexual act is ethical, are well made. She is right that the fact that someone has consented to something doesn’t per se necessarily make that thing right. …

But Perry seems perplexed as to why women have accepted this ethos of sexual liberation that goes against their natural inclinations and why they stubbornly refuse to acknowledge the facts that are staring them in the face.

Like every Mrs Grundy, she seems unable to wrap her head around the fact that many women actively desire and enjoy sex in itself. She cannot accept that many women harbour “dark desires” and act upon them of their own volition.

Despite stressing that sex is relational, she still presents it as something that is mostly done to women.

In Perry’s universe, women with desires that Perry finds distasteful—such as those involving BDSM— are hardly rational agents, but victims of a false consciousness instilled in them by society’s ruling ideology of sexual liberalism. They are too infantilised to be condemned.

Moreover, her frequent use of evolutionary psychology as the ethical concrete holding together the edifice of her conservative sexual morality is telling.

Debates on human nature and sexuality often take the form of arguments between biological determinists and environmental determinists, between those who argue that human sexuality is primary defined by our biology and those who emphasise the role of culture and society.

What is lost in such debates is the sense of human agency: of humans as rational, social beings with the ability to transform themselves, nature and society.  …

… This is why her solutions to the problem of our ailing sexual culture ultimately are thin. Her vision of a “sophisticated form of sexual ethics” that “prioritises virtue over desire” to reform our “broken” sexual culture ultimately boils down to tepid calls for men to simply stop watching porn (good luck with that!) and for heterosexual couples to get and stay married because of the civil and economic benefits of marriage—advice that ignores the fact that the current worsening economic conditions make it harder for couples to have some of the things that make it easier to get married and raise children together in the traditional way: a home (tough in today’s property market) and at least one stable income high enough to support the family.
— end excerpts —

You can read the rest of that interesting review (Link): here.

I have not read Perry’s book. I can only go by articles and reviews I’ve read of it.

I am not a supporter of the view that biology or evolution drives most or all human behavior.

Unlike Perry, it’s my view that most common behavior differences we see between men and women are due to societal conditioning, not due to biology.

I do agree that secular, (and some Christian) forms of feminism, especially liberal and most especially far left (woke, intersectional, progressive) feminism, has created a whole new batch of problems for women, and I also agree that women who believe in such feminism usually have a tendency to ignore or refuse to examine the role their own socio-political-gender views play in this big mess.

I do not agree that all of the sexual revolution has been liberating for women, which does not mean I disagree with or am unsympathetic with portions of it – but I don’t agree that pornography, prostitution, trans-activism (ie, allowing biological males into the spaces of biological women) or casual sex has been good for women, as feminists have maintained for so long.

If Perry does advise in her book for singles to “just get married!,” I too have to slam that advice.

I had always expected to be married, and yet, I’m still single into middle-age. Marriage never happened to me, and that was not by my deliberate choice.

Obviously, wanting marriage doesn’t mean that one will actually find a compatible life partner and be able to get married.

It’s rather naive to spout off at single adults, “Go and get married!”

Okay, how and where do I find husband material, then, Miss Smarty Pants? It’s not as easy as you think, especially as you get older. I’ve tried singles classes at churches, dating sites, and so on, and had no luck.

The author of this piece at Areo just doubles down on freedom and human agency; I guess he does not believe there is an ultimate solution.

Yes, humans in free societies are by and large capable of having agency, but it still comes down to choice, doesn’t it? And it looks like a lot of people, regarding sexual behavior, are making wrong, bad, or unhealthy choices.

From what I’m seeing of it so far (based on reviews of it), Perry’s book sounds interesting, and I even agree with her on some points, but I sure don’t agree on others. Sounds like a “mixed bag,” some good, some bad.


Related:

(Link): Why Sex-Positive Feminism is Falling Out of Fashion

(Link): Typical Incorrect Conservative Christian Assumption: If you want marriage bad enough, Mr. Right will magically appear 

(Link): Supreme Court Overturns Roe Vs. Wade, Returns Abortion to the States

(Link): Where the Sexual Revolution Went Wrong by Maria Albano

(Link): Progressive Are Now Marketing Their Own Version of Christian Purity Culture as “Radical Monogamy”

(Link): What’s Wrong With PreMarital Sex, Cohabitation and Watching Porn? Apologist Sean McDowell Answers – Critique: Some Christians Marketing Sexual Abstinence as “Purity in Jesus”

(Link):  It Goes In Cycles: Push For “Early Marriage” Makes the Rounds AGAIN Lately, Because of Marriage-Idolater, Singleness Shaming Brad Wilcox (Feb 2022)

(Link): I’m a Virgin, So Why Am I Being Slut-Shamed? by Ashley Iaconetti

(Link):  Salon Author Amanda Marcotte Thinks Media Shouldn’t Judge Women’s Sexuality But She Has Mocked Women Over Their Sexual Choices Before (To Remain Virgins)

(Link): What is the Opposite of Conservative Christian Purity Culture? Why, It’s Leftists Insisting that Children Should be Exposed to ‘Kink’ Culture

(Link): We’re Casual About Sex and Serious About Consent. But Is It Working? by J. Zimmerman

(Link):  Why are young feminists so clueless about sex? by M. Wente

(Link): Nadia Bolz-Weber’s Gospel of Shame-Free Sexuality by W. Hill

(Link): Pop Singer Billie Eilish Calls Porn A ‘Disgrace’ To Women, Says It ‘Destroyed’ Her Brain

(Link): Did Hell Freeze Over?: Liberal Rag Promotes Idea that Celibacy is Acceptable, and a Valid Life Choice / Re: 2016 Study Says Millennials Aren’t Having Much Sex

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

(Link): Girl, 16, Has To Wear Colostomy Bag for Life After Rough Group Sex ‘Copying Porn Scenes’ Left Her With Horror Injuries by D. White

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

(Link): Ever Notice That Christians Don’t Care About or Value Singleness, Unless Jesus Christ’s Singleness and Celibacy is Doubted or Called Into Question by Scholars?

(Link): Christian Complementarian Owen Strachan Pushing “the Nuclear Family” Narrative – Unfortunately. (The Bible Does Not Prescribe The Family or Marriage as Cures for Individual or Societal Sin)

(Link):  Alpha Females Part 1 – Nothing New Under the Sun. Conservative Women Keep Issuing Same Sexist, Unhelpful Dating And Marital Advice to Women

(Link):  Alpha Females Part 2 – Defining the Terms – How Anti-Feminists and Complementarians Misrepresent Concepts or Terms

(Link): Alpha Females Part 4 – From Psychiatrists and Counselors: How and Why Being a Beta Female is Harmful and Damaging to Women

(Link): Author Claims Andrea Tantaros’ Book About How Feminism ‘Made Women Miserable’ Was Ghostwritten by a Man

(Link): It’s Not Your Imagination, Single Women: There Literally Aren’t Enough Men Out There – Re: Man Shortage – Follow Up Interview 

(Link):  Depressing Testimony: “I Was A Stripper but Jesus Sent Me A Great Christian Husband”

(Link): Men with ‘Golden Penis Syndrome’ Are Ruining Sex and Dating for Women

(Link): To the Christians (especially married ones) Who Like to Instruct Single Christian Adults They Should Only Marry Other Christians, Listen Up (Re: Equally Yoked Rule)

(Link): Christians Who Marry Non-Believers Must Be Ex-Communicated, Says John Piper 

(Link): Want To But Can’t – The One Christian Demographic Being Continually Ignored by Christians Re: Marriage

(Link):  What Two Religions Tell Us About the Modern Dating Crisis (from TIME) (ie, Why Are Conservative Religious Women Not Marrying Even Though They Want to Be Married. Hint: It’s a Demographics Issue)

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