This article is in response to “Why Hooking Up Is Letting You Down” by J. Budziszewski and is part of the symposium, “Sex and the Polis: Perspectives on Marriage, Family, and Sexual Ethics.”
After showing Budziszewski’s article to a few of my secular college friends, I was surprised how much it resonated with them. They loved it. The fact is, Budziszewski’s refreshing argument from design and explanation of natural law speaks to the core of our being.
Our college ‘office of health promotion’ tells us it endorses ‘safe sex’ to promote a healthy sexuality; on the contrary, their confused view trivializes our sexual nature. The collegiate view of sexuality promotes the idea that our bodies are merely props we use to get pleasure, attention, and approval, just as gnostics throughout history have separated their bodies from their souls.
As Emory gets ready to launch its first ever Sex Week next February, the feminist and rape prevention groups have been more active than ever in handing out free condoms and promoting ‘safe sex’. I am daily reminded that the newest deadly sin is “slutshaming,” because we are taught that hooking up merely affirms our bodily desires.
Campus advocates promote sex as one more healthy recreational activity, but they also say that rape is a serious and grave offense to the inner core of our being. These two claims do not align. Could it be that the documented rise of rape on campus is directly related to our collegiate hookup culture, so acclaimed by ‘Sex Weeks’ on campuses all over the country? The philosopher Roger Scruton aptly points out the problems that arise from this confused view of sexuality:
The interpersonal nature of desire explains why unwanted advances are forbidden by the one to whom they might be addressed, and why they may be experienced as a kind of contamination. It explains why rape is so grave a crime: for rape is an invasion of the victim’s freedom, and a dragging of the subject into the world of things. If you describe desire in the terms used by the advocates of liberation, the outrage and pollution of rape become impossible to explain. In fact, just about everything in human sexual behavior becomes impossible to explain. Which is why our society is now so confused about sex. We advocate a neutral, scientific view of sex, as a kind of pleasurable sensation in the private parts (which are rapidly ceasing to be private). And by teaching this view of things to children, we encourage them to a premature and depersonalized interest in their own sexuality. In effect we are endorsing in our heads a view of sex that we know in our hearts to be evil.
I invite (beg?) for suggestions and comments concerning how to support Budziszewski’s and Scruton’s view of sexuality during Sex Week at my school.