Relationships

“Sexual Liberation” Is Not Freedom

By Amy Mastrine··  4 min read
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Ever since the sexual revolution of the 1960s loosened long-held norms around sex, our culture has told us that casual sex is “empowering.” Young people are told traditional ideas about sex are outdated or oppressive. Imagery and scenarios in popular movies and music promote permissiveness around sex.

The message is to have as much sex as you want, with whoever you want, at whatever point in a relationship you want (just met him at bar and had one conversation? Perfectly okay to go home and sleep with him!) because this makes you “free” and “liberated.” The modern ethos is that sex is fine in whatever context. This is sold as “freedom.”

The lie of sexual liberation is that you’re free, but really it enslaves you to base desires. “Sexual liberation” is doublespeak (language that deliberately reverses the meaning of words). Instead of freeing us, “sexual liberation” actually chains us to a series of disappointments.

The lie of sexual liberation is that you’re free, but really it enslaves you to base desires. 

“Sexual Liberation” Prevents Long-Term Pair Bonding

Many young women make the mistake of thinking a guy will stay with her and be her boyfriend, and potentially her future husband, if she sleeps with him quickly. The opposite is true. 

Men and women form their long-term pair bonds very differently. Women release a lot of oxytocin when they have sex — this is the mother/child bonding hormone. Oxytocin causes a woman to "bond" with a man after she is intimate with him. Men also release oxytocin, but they don’t make their long-term pair bonds with oxytocin. They release a hormone called vasopressin, which is thought to be the long-term mate recognition hormone. To form a long-term pair bond, men need to release vasopressin slowly and over a long period of time.

How does this mesh with the current sex and dating culture? Very badly. When men and women sleep together too quickly, it hurts the ability for them to form a long-term relationship. Typically, the woman ends up quickly attached, but feeling very insecure, as the man can’t figure out why he doesn’t view her as the mother of his children. Our biological hardware just isn’t suited to the modern ideas promoted by a culture of “sexual liberation.” 

“Sexual Liberation” Harms Young Women

Young women are particularly at risk for getting hurt in a culture of “sexual liberation.” A young woman who enters a sexual relationship often becomes much more emotionally involved than the man will, but only later will he realize that he caused hurt through having casual sex with her.

The advent of the birth control pill has furthered the issue. It’s really quite simple: when a woman isn’t at risk of getting pregnant when she has sex, she doesn’t take sex as seriously. She’ll sleep with a man sooner, instead of waiting for him to take her on multiple dates and prove he’s worthy of her bonding to him. 

 “Sexual liberation” actually chains us to a series of disappointments.

Since birth control reduces the likelihood of pregnancy, it creates the illusion that sex is no big deal. Even while medical technology prevents pregnancy, a woman’s emotions and bonding hormones work the same way they did before. Oxytocin is still released, and she will still get hurt by sleeping with a man who isn't committed to her.

Freedom Is Found in a Committed Relationship

It seems like a paradox, but boundaries in your relationships actually give you more freedom. Think of it like this: If the door to your house is wide open and anyone can walk in, does that feel as safe as having your door locked and being careful about who you invite in? 

True freedom is found within the bounds of a committed relationship. There, you’re safe to explore and create intimacy. 

Boundaries in your relationships actually give you more freedom.

While monogamy and marriage aren’t easy, they’re part of our evolution. It’s a natural inclination to want to have a close intimate relationship with one person, and it’s not something that needs a cultural cure — it’s something that should be celebrated and praised.

Closing Thoughts

“Sexual liberation” is not freedom, it’s a carousel of disappointment. Liberty happens within limits — true freedom is bound by love and commitment.

  Dating  Sex  Feminism
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