Sexual Liberation May Be Making Men Less Masculine

The sexual revolution was supposed to free women and empower us, yet it really just enslaved us to meaningless hookups. Another consequence of sexual liberation that we rarely consider is how a culture of casual sex has also made men less masculine.

By Julie Mastrine4 min read
500 days summer hookup culture Sexual Liberation May Be Making Men Less Masculine

The big lie of sexual liberation is that it was somehow archaic, unnecessary, and outdated to place restraints on our sexual behavior and to expect men to take us out to dinner, be committal, or demonstrate a willingness to protect and provide before we slept with them.  

But when women place constraints around sex, it actually forces men to become more masculine. Having higher expectations turns men into people women can actually respect. Sexual liberation has totally eradicated all of the incentives for men to become more masculine.

Sexual Liberation Diminishes Male Achievement

A lot of modern men seem totally uninterested in family, commitment, virtue, or elevating themselves beyond a life of weed, casual sex, porn, and video games. What gives? How have men ended up in such a miserable and unrespectable state?

To understand, we have to go way back to before the birth control pill was invented. During this time, sexual norms were much tighter, for obvious reasons. Pregnancy was a real risk for women, and women who got pregnant were in for a long-term, high-cost enterprise. Women were largely dependent on men for their safety and financial security. Tight norms around sexuality protected women by making sure that they were in a committed marital relationship with a man of high quality before they got pregnant. 

In short, sex was risky for women, so women were choosy about men. We had to be wise and highly selective.

Before the pill, sex was risky for women, so women were choosy about men.

In an environment where women were gatekeeping sex this tightly, men had a lot to prove if they wanted to out-compete other men for a sexual partner. That means there was a huge cultural incentive for men to achieve higher things and to propel themselves to greater heights in order to impress women. Men who wanted a marriage partner would need to embody certain masculine traits — they’d have to be physically fit, virtuous, able to hold down a job, good-natured, committed, wise, decisive, achievement-focused, and so forth. 

A culture in which sex was tightly gatekept actually incentivized men to become better versions of themselves. Sex didn’t come cheap in those days — men actually had to impress a woman — and commit! — if they wanted to sleep with her.

Fast forward to today, and our culture of casual sex has stripped away the pressures that used to encourage men to aspire to higher greatness — as a result, it has robbed women of masculine men. It shows all around us.

A culture in which sex was tightly gatekept incentivized men to become better versions of themselves.

Men don’t really have to prove themselves much these days beyond making an attractive Tinder profile. Minimally, they need to be able to hold a text conversation for a few days and buy a woman a drink. They don’t have to demonstrate they’re serious about committing to her and caring for her — they don’t have to have a good job, demonstrate stability over time, court her with flowers, hold the door open, impress her parents, demonstrate virtue, or embody any of the other traits that used to show a man was a good choice for the long haul.

Sexual liberation is essentially a culture in which we say, “Men, we require nothing of you. Here’s your reward for doing nothing.” 

Casual Sex Causes Men To Become Less Masculine

The behaviors that men adopt when living in a culture of casual sex are ultimately unmasculine. Why? 

Masculinity is largely marked by duty, discipline, and strong leadership. Masculine men are committed, self-controlled, and feel a duty to protect, provide for, and lead women and children. But a culture of casual sex absolves men of all of these responsibilities — and actually encourages the opposite.

Sexual liberation signals to men that they no longer have to commit to one woman because they can get sex anywhere. They don’t have to be disciplined around their basic urges — sexual liberation means men can use women for hedonistic pleasure and move on. 

Masculinity is largely marked by duty, discipline, and strong leadership.

They no longer have to protect women — even from themselves. They don’t have to protect her from pregnancy nor from the emotional scars that will naturally occur when she bonds to him sexually and then he leaves. 

Men don’t have to become a provider in this environment. Before the advent of the pill, women largely weren’t expected to work because of the pressures of pregnancy and child rearing. Now, women can use birth control or have an abortion, so they have moved into the workforce and can now financially provide for themselves. Men can enjoy sex without making any sort of investment, financially or emotionally, in one woman.

Finally, men don’t have to be true leaders when sex comes easily. They end up leading women into a life of casual non-commitment, when what most women really want is commitment, marriage, and a family. Weak men don’t lead women into family life and stability — instead they bounce from woman to woman, not investing deeply in any one relationship, thinking only of their own short-term pleasure and gains.

Unfortunately, some women may not even be noticing that men are less masculine these days, because birth control actually causes women to choose more feminine men. Being on the pill causes women to be attracted to less masculine male faces. Some women who chose their partner when on the pill have also found they are less attracted to him when they go off of it.

Masculine Men Are Self-Sacrificial, but Casual Sex Encourages Selfishness

Masculine men are self-sacrificial. They know that love is a choice in which we’re called to sacrifice for the highest good of another. 

A culture of sexual liberation encourages the opposite of this. Everyone is thinking only of themselves and their own pleasure. Sexual liberation totally divorces sex from love. When we sacrifice for the good of another in love, it often means giving up something we perceive as highly valuable, such as the freedom to do whatever we want, the freedom to sleep with other people, selfishness with our money and time, etc. Sexual liberation requires none of this from us, and our relationships are loveless as a result.

Sexual liberation turns out to be a lose-lose for men and women alike.

Women often go at things backwards, and think that by sleeping with men, he will want to start doing all of the things that a masculine man does — leading, providing, protecting, and committing. But this is exactly the opposite of what really works. It’s by withholding sex that we show that we have the power to make demands of men and make them want to become better people in order to win us over. 

When we provide sex too easily, men are rewarded without first showing they embody the masculine traits that we really want in a man for the long haul. They won’t be committed, virtuous, oriented toward higher achievement, or hold themselves to any higher standard beyond hedonistic pleasure and short-term gain. 

Sexual liberation turns out to be a lose-lose for men and women alike.

Closing Thoughts

Women have been told casual sex is empowering, so they now provide sex to men at a low cost, without him having to do much to achieve it. Now that women provide sex for cheap, men have no incentive to better themselves and become virtuous, honorable and committed. This ultimately makes them unmasculine.

There are plenty of good men out there who want a real relationship, who want responsibility and duty and won’t use women for sex. But there are also a lot of men who won’t embody masculine traits without some sort of cultural incentive and pressure. Sexual liberation is exactly the opposite type of culture that many men need to turn from selfish boys into masculine and honorable men.

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