Culture

Let's Stop Pretending Sex Doesn’t Have Any Consequences

By Gwen Farrell··  7 min read
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shutterstock Let's Stop Pretending Sex Doesn’t Have Any Consequences

There seems to be a huge elephant in the room when it comes to the abortion debate, one that many claim is entirely irrelevant to the situation or otherwise pretend to be willfully ignorant of.

This phenomenon isn’t just observable in this discourse, though. We can also observe it, puzzlingly enough, with friends or on social media when people announce their pregnancies and then follow it up with “We don’t know how this happened!” The reality is, it’s entirely clear to the majority of us how a pregnancy occurs, yet the discussion on sex is largely and intentionally removed from conversations on reproduction. But why are we as a society pretending sex doesn’t have any consequences?

Removing Half of the Equation

When I was younger and less educated on basic biology than I am now, I assumed that pregnancy could happen at any time during a woman’s cycle. Because of this, it came as a shock to me that this is absolutely not the case, and in reality, so many factors have to be in alignment with one another to result in pregnancy.

Women aren’t fertile every day of our cycles, whether that cycle is the average 28 days or longer or shorter, depending on the individual. Ovulation, which typically occurs about halfway through a cycle (so day 14 for those 28-day cyclers), is triggered by a surge in luteinizing hormone, spurring the release of an egg to be fertilized. If the egg remains unfertilized, then you’ll get your period about two weeks later. If we’re being generous, we’re really only fertile at a maximum of 36 hours per cycle.

Our fertile window starts about five days before ovulation and includes the day of ovulation.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we only have a one day opportunity per cycle to get pregnant. That’s why recognizing the potential of unprotected sex is so important – sperm can live in a reproductive tract for 5 to 6 days. Our fertile window starts about five days before ovulation and includes the day of ovulation, meaning when all’s said and done, we really only have one week (at the absolute most) per month to get pregnant.

So, why the basic rehashing of our eighth grade biology class? Because all sex has consequences, whether it’s protected or unprotected and whether those effects are physical or emotional. Pregnancy can be the result of unprotected sex during a fertile window, even though we pretend it isn’t, and express faux confusion or outrage regarding this conclusion. Procreation has been the main objective of sex for thousands of years; it’s only in our thoroughly postmodern world that we pretend we’ve somehow been taken advantage of by our own biology when we become pregnant from an unprotected encounter.

Our Culture Is All About Avoiding Consequences

With unexpected or unplanned pregnancy as the biological result of sex, our victim-led society grasps for an out, thereby creating the “demand” for abortion.

The majority of pro-abortion advocates lead their narratives with their victimhood – they’re subject to oppression at the hands of a Judeo-Christian norm, of white people, of men, of their fetus. In reality, they already made their choice, and it was before they ever decided to terminate their pregnancy.

We as humans tend to look for any way out that we possibly can when it comes to confronting our own errors. We avoid uncomfortable topics like our own mortality or perceived infallibility, and we avoid personal responsibility. Not only have we been doing this for so long that implying a woman’s own part in her pregnancy is deemed unacceptable to point out, but we’re also so laughably, intentionally cut off when it comes to the mechanics of reproduction.

When we ignore the fathers, we make it easier to rebrand abortion as solely a woman’s issue.

Case in point – when the recent Texas legislation was announced, it sent shockwaves through the pro-choice community, motivating one celebrity, in particular, to promote good old-fashioned abstinence as a way to own conservative lawmakers. Suggesting that women practice abstinence as a way to prevent facing the possibility of abortion is, in actuality, what many advocating for common sense have been saying all along, only now people are paying attention since it came from a left-wing voice.

We also minimize the consequences of unplanned pregnancy by taking away the right for men to have a voice on the topic, unless those men are self-avowed pro-choice feminists who are definitely more concerned with women’s liberation than they are with using women for no-strings-attached, responsibility-free relationships. When we remove men altogether, whether they’ve played a part in creating the child or just have an opinion, we make it easier to rebrand abortion as solely a woman’s issue, when it’s really the result of a union between two people. The conceived child isn’t just an anomaly that comes into existence through asexual means, but the overwhelming narrative is that men have played no part in it at all and should therefore not be permitted any decision, opinions, thoughts, or protestations.

The Sexual Liberation Narrative Is Dying

Viewing children as dispensable in comparison to our partners, independence, career, or any other reason is nothing new. Our culture constantly exemplifies its willingness to toss people aside, with or without the issue of pregnancy.

Perceived “freedom” is what the sexually liberated movement is about. It encourages us to view people solely on what they can offer us and our own ends, and when they inevitably don’t serve our interests, we’re free to cast them aside. 

But, spoiler alert, people don’t like to be used, and they don’t like the manifold side effects of this culture. Why are we deluding ourselves? The idea of sexual liberation at its core has more in common with a toddler’s habit of putting down one toy for another than it does with mature adults capable of making rational, informed decisions.

Young people are discovering this, in a painful, disturbing way. A Buzzfeed News article from earlier this year (which didn’t get much mainstream attention for some reason) catalogs the stories and experiences of young women as they navigate a post-sexually liberated world, where so-called sex positivity isn’t just one individual’s attitude, but is a dogma that’s systematically promoted and foisted on them through tons of mediums.

These women were pressured into frightening or demoralizing situations in the name of liberation. 

The results are heartbreaking. As it turns out, normalizing depravity, sexual fetishes, and encounters so meaningless that women are encouraged to forget but are unable to don’t serve the collective betterment and development of young women. More often than not, these individuals revealed they were coerced and pressured into uncomfortable or downright frightening and demoralizing situations, and they gave in – all in the name of liberation. With all this in mind, basic logic necessitates that when we trivialize sex, we have to minimize its consequences. 

Closing Thoughts

What’s missing from the abortion debate? From my perspective, the basic acknowledgment of one incontrovertible truth: A sexual encounter took place and naturally resulted in the biological product in question, the child.

It seems like a parody to advocate for the acceptance of such fundamental knowledge. But as we’ve seen, if any path of reasoning can be taken to escape the barebones truth of what’s occurred, it will be. 

Even if sex doesn’t result in pregnancy, there’s still no pretending that it didn’t happen by virtue of ignoring it or forgetting about it. Sexually transmitted infections are just as prevalent a side effect, as is emotional turmoil or mental anguish. So, when we ask how a pregnancy “happened” or how this or that side effect occurred, in actuality, we’re removing all agency from the situation, and chalking it up as accidental. In reality, as we’ve already discussed, a woman’s body has to be in tune with all manner of potentials to even get pregnant, indicating that we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to labeling one of the most incredible biological functions of humanity as merely up to chance.

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