Victims of the Sexual Revolution
October 15, 2020
by Steven Willing, MD
Too often, it seems, Christians engaged in culture are fighting yesterday’s battle. Probably, most who are engaged in apologetics still believe the worldview of secular culture is premised upon values of tolerance and moral relativism. We are way beyond that. Having emerged victorious (according to some) in the “culture wars,” tolerance and “rights-speak” are no longer useful to sexual revolutionaries. Their narrative has shifted. Opponents of Christian morality now assert far more than equivalence. They claim moral superiority, along with intolerant disdain for traditionally-minded folk of most religious or conservative persuasions. The prideful often fall by overreaching, as Napoleon did by invading Russia. Opponents of Christian sexuality have badly overreached. It is a battle they cannot win.
The Sexual Devolution
After millennia in which universal, heterosexual marriage and childbearing was the normative standard for human sexual activity, a counter-narrative swept the Western world in the mid-20th century. Like a dragon from the depths, it wrought havoc and mayhem on that fragile social compact governing human sexuality which promoted the security and well-being of men, women, children and societies.
According to the counter-narrative, sex was healthy, fun, harmless, liberating and free of consequence. (The “consequence-free” part, of course, was enabled by cheap and effective contraception). It advertised a pathway to human flourishing superior to the old repressive, puritanical, neurosis-inducing schema of our forebears. What it delivered was open season for sexual predators and millions of innocent victims.
The National Sexual Violence Research Center concludes one in five American women have been the victims of rape or attempted rape—and about one in 40 men. More than 40 percent of female rape victims suffered their first attack before age 18.
A review by London’s Centre of Expertise on Child Sexual Abuse reports that the minimum overall incidence of child sexual abuse across Western nations is 15 to 20 percent for girls and 7 to 8 percent for boys.
According to the International Labour Organization, worldwide sex trafficking enslaves almost five million adults and children annually, 99 percent of them female.
The torrent of scandals and exposés has been depressingly consistent. The Catholic church abuse scandal involved thousands of perpetrators and tens of thousands of victims, over 80 percent male. Over 12,000 boys were victimized as participants in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and that is according to the BSA’s own records. More than 5,000 perpetrators within the BSA were identified by the Los Angeles Times in a public online database. The scope of sexual abuse in public schools has never been investigated or documented, but reliable surveys suggest that the number of students abused by their educators number in the millions.
Is there a link between victimization and sexual revolution?
Few things are more guaranteed to provoke an uproar of protest than to assert there is a causal connection between the sexual revolution and sexual predation. For many outside the traditional Judeo-Christian tradition, the values of the sexual revolution are sacrosanct. Motivated cognition—the well-demonstrated principle that people generally believe what they want, no matter how smart or well informed they may be—runs deep in this area. And what could be more motivating than the promise of free, unconstrained sex whenever one wishes?
Casual Sexual Attitudes Among Males Predict Sexual Aggression
If a connection exists between the sexual revolution and victimization, we must examine the perpetrators. In 1991, Neil Malamuth introduced the “confluence model of sexual aggression.” In its original version, factors predictive of sexual aggression were divided into two broad categories, “hostile masculinity” and “sexual promiscuity.” Attributes falling into either of these categories have proven to be powerful discriminators between males who do and do not engage in sexual aggression.
“Hostile masculinity” is self-explanatory: aggressive, bullying, misogynistic behavior that Christianity has always rejected. The original category of “sexual promiscuity” was revised to “impersonal sexual orientation” (not to be confounded with “attraction.”) “Impersonal sex” can be measured using the Sociosexual Orientation Inventory. This brief questionnaire consists of nine questions, such as:
- How many different partners have you had sex within the past 12 months?
- Sex without love is OK (agree-disagree).
- I do not want to have sex with a person until I am sure that we will have a long-term, serious relationship (the value for this response is scored as a negative number).
- How often do you have fantasies about having sex with someone you are not in a committed romantic relationship with?
Across all nine questions, the lowest possible score would conform to Christian morality, the highest and worst possible score a full-throated embrace of the sexual counter-narrative. There is no overlap or ambiguity. Research into the confluence model has confirmed that initiating sex at a younger age and multiple sex partners are predictive of sexual violence perpetration by high-school and college-age men.,
Pornography Consumption Predicts Sexual Aggression
More recently, pornography use has been established as a third category in the confluence model of sexual aggression. In 2020, Charlie Huntington et al, reporting in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, reported on a study of 935 heterosexual 10th grade boys. Overall, 22.7 percent of the sample admitted to sexual aggression in the prior six months. Focusing on “violent” pornography, there was a strong positive correlation between pornography consumption and sexual aggression. An earlier study finding the same link further established that the pornography preceded the aggression. Huntington et al helpfully summarize the state of research on pornography as of 2020:
- “A recent meta-analysis indicates a robust association between pornography and sexual aggression in men.”
- “Men who view more pornography, and violent pornography in particular, report more proclivity toward sexual aggression.”
- “Pornography’s risky sexual scripts in turn predict sexual aggression in college-age men.”
- “Pornography use is predictive of both sexual harassment and sexual assault by teenage boys.”
Liberal Cultural Trends Led to Child Molestation
It was not pure coincidence that child molestation, particularly of boys, spiked in the 1970s and 1980s. Mary Eberstadt of the Hoover Institution documented the emergence of a subculture that actively sought wider acceptance of the euphemistically termed “intergenerational sex.” To be quite clear, it was mostly the boundary between men and boys that was being challenged. As reported by Ross Douthat, the epidemic of abuse in the Catholic Church coincided with the emergence of a gay subculture within Catholic seminaries and an absolute increase in the proportion of gay priests. The strong correlation between gay priests and a rise in abuse was further documented and statistically validated in the Catholic University report of 2018. (Many dismiss the possibility of a connection between homosexuality and child predation. Their arguments, whatever the merit or lack thereof, cannot exclude the superimposition of a transient cultural phenomenon.)
Confronting the Culture
When the apostles of sexual revisionism based their cause on rights and tolerance, many Christians felt compelled to debate on those terms, and they fared poorly. On nearly every front, revisionists now claim moral superiority, a position doomed to collapse. It was long ago predicted that the Sexual Revolution would leave a trail of victims. The verdict is now in: the principles of the Sexual Revolution are injurious to personal and societal safety. Christian sexual morality is the most reliable bulwark against sexual predation.
Present and future victims of the sexual revolution are never to be blamed. Many are lost souls, and all are in need of compassion. God alone can change a person’s heart—not us. Like the Christians of the first century who came to the defense of the poor, defenseless and oppressed, we too must follow the example of Christ by showing mercy. Crisis pregnancy centers save many lives and extend compassion to the frightened and desperate. Big Brother and other mentoring programs need to be expanded to train the feral young men of our culture in principles of virtue, self-restraint, respect for women and healthy masculinity. Robert Uttaro has written eloquently on the unrecognized need for more men to volunteer in rape crisis support. Many victimized women have never had a positive encounter with an adult male. Are you, if you are a man, brave and compassionate enough to accept that challenge?
Citizens must be persuaded that we are in this battle because we care, and that we have their well-being at heart. Every one of us struggles with temptation and we often fail, thus humility, as always, would be a very good place to begin.
 Malamuth, Neil & Sockloskie, Robert & Tanaka, Jeffrey. (1991). Characteristics of Aggressors Against Women: Testing a Model Using a National Sample of College Students. Journal of consulting and clinical psychology. 59. 670-81. DOI: 10.1037//0022-006X.59.5.670.
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 Mary Eberstadt. Adam and Eve after the Pill. (Ignatius Press, 2012)
 D. Paul Sullins. Is Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy Related to Homosexuality? The National Catholic Bioethics Center, 2018.