Beach Balls and the Sexual Revolution

It’s no secret that sexual mores have changed radically over the past few decades in America (and beyond). Certain commonsense and natural beliefs about the purpose and nature of sex and marriage have been uprooted.

Given the increase in abortion since Roe vs. Wade, our cultural addiction to pornography, and the ubiquity of broken marriages, many people are rightly asking how we can bring sanity back to the conversation.

I certainly don’t have the “secret sauce” to transform our entire culture. But I do have one tactic that, for the sake of the next generation, we should be utilizing at every turn. Simply put, we need to show how the ideas of the sexual revolution bump up against reality. In other words, the ideas behind the sexual revolution simply don’t match up with human sexuality. Proponents of the sexual revolution propagate ideas, but reality pushes back.

Beach Balls Sexual Revolution

Think about it this way: What happens if you try to push a beach ball beneath the surface of the water? The answer is obvious—it pops back up! Push it down one direction and it will come up another. The nature of the beach ball is to float to the surface, even when people try to keep it submerged.

The same is true with human sexuality. Proponents of the sexual revolution promote ideas about human nature, but the problem is that the ideas bump up against reality and the truth (like a beach ball) pushes to the surface. Consider two examples.

Sex Is A Big Deal

One of the ideas behind the sexual revolution is that sex is simply a physical act, not unlike any other. It is not about procreation, and it is not sacred. It’s merely a physical act between two people (or more) for pleasure.

But despite this common mantra, like a beach ball, the truth about human sexuality simply won’t stay submerged.

For instance, there was a sex scene between Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence in the recent film Passengers. In an interview with People Entertainment Weekly, journalist Jess Cagle asked how Chris, as the male character, made the scene comfortable for his female co-star. Interesting question, but given the assumption of the sexual revolution (that sex is no big deal), why should Pratt feel uncomfortable at all? Why not ask him about a scene when they walked down the corridor together?

The answer to these questions is obvious: we all know that sex is a big deal and that it is not simply a physical act. We know it is about procreation and that it involves being uniquely vulnerable with someone else. We intuitively know it is meant to be a private experience. Despite the claim that sex is no big deal, we all know differently. And this truth emerges in a conversation about the Passengers movie, even if unwittingly.

Gender Matters

Barack Obama was the first president to endorse same-sex marriage. In doing so, he essentially claimed that two moms or two dads are equivalent to a mom and a dad. In other words, gender is irrelevant for the institution of marriage and the wellbeing of children.

Yet, ironically, Obama chose females for his first two nominees to the Supreme Court. His nomination of Sotomayor and Kagan was certainly motivated by political concerns, but also to bring more women to the court so there would be balance. I appreciate his concern for gender balance. But I do wonder: Why is gender balance important for the Supreme Court, but not for marriage?

If gender matters, then how can Obama consistently support same-sex marriage? If gender doesn’t matter, then why is it important to nominate two women to the court? The reality is that we know gender matters both for marriage and for SCOTUS. And in moments like these, the beach ball of denying gender distinctions floats to the surface.

We could consider a host of other examples. But the point should be clear: The sexual revolution bumps up against the reality of human nature. Like a beach ball, the truth of human nature simply will not stay submerged. For the sake of the next generation, we need to point this out at every turn.

Sean McDowell, Ph.D. is a professor of Christian Apologetics at Biola University, best-selling author, popular speaker, part-time high school teacher, and the Resident Scholar for Summit Ministries, California. Follow him on Twitter: @sean_mcdowell and his blog: seanmcdowell.org.

 


 

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24 replies
  1. Andy Ryan says:

    “If gender matters, then how can Obama consistently support same-sex marriage? If gender doesn’t matter, then why is it important to nominate two women to the court?”
    .
    This is a non sequitur. You’re saying that if women should be represented in court, it therefore follows that same sex couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry? Does it follow that if racial diversity is important on the Supreme Court that it must be bad for two white people to marry?
    .
    “We know it is about procreation”
    And yet no-one thinks that ability or even desire to produce offspring should be a pre-requisite for marriage.
    .
    “Why is gender balance important for the Supreme Court, but not for marriage?”
    I can’t see any connection between the two.
    Why is years of training required to join the Supreme Court, but not to get married?
    Why do people need to get nominated by the President to join the Supreme Court, but not to get married?
    Hmm, it’s almost like the Supreme Court and marriage are two completely different things.
    .
    Was allowing blacks to marry whites part of the sexual revolution? I’m pretty sure people objected to that on the basis that it bumped up against the reality of human nature too. Perhaps you don’t know everything about human nature.

    Reply
    • Clinton says:

      It’s funny how you keep bringing up interracial marriage. Considering it was mostly the racist Democrats that enacted a lot of those laws and even tried to get the Constitution amended to make it illegal across the entire country.
      And as for human nature, humans are depraved. That’s why we want to do so many things that are against nature.
      Whatever happened to the days when we taught children to wait until they were married rather than have planned parenthood teaching kids to be as promiscuous as possible and if they get pregnant, just come to them for an abortion.
      Them. Plenty of people are out there saying it’s just a physical act. Denying it doesn’t make it not true.
      We believe it’s not only for procreation, but as bonding between a man and a woman in the context of marriage.
      People are going to do what they are going to do. But we definitely shouldn’t be teaching children to go out and sleep around, or that sodomy is perfectly fine.
      I’m also curious what could be life threatening about abstinence. It seems to me that catching a deadly disease is more life threatening when it could have been avoided.

      Reply
      • TGM says:

        Seems that some of this reply was addressed to me…
        .
        You misunderstood the life threatening statement. I was suggesting that social stigmas can endanger life when pressure to keep sexual persuasion a secret leads to increased suicide rates, notably in the LGBTQ community. In addition, I did not suggest abstinence was a problem, but rather abstinence only education, which has demonstrably failed to reduce teen pregnancy. I suppose one could say that sex educational failures are also life threatening in that they do not adequately educate on STD risks.
        .
        “Whatever happened to the days…”
        The “good old days” argument is a myth. Every generation seems to think that things were better “back in the day.” Nonsense. By every measure, life today is superior than it has ever been: wealth, life expectancy, health care, opportunity, crime, education & literacy, access to information, and so forth. And to your point, children have always been sexually active; it just wasn’t as openly discussed. And Planned Parenthood doesn’t teach kids to be promiscuous, PP just happens to operate in the real world where kids are going to do stuff and someone needs to be there to help.

        Reply
      • Andy Ryan says:

        Thanks for your reply Clinton but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with any of the points I made.
        .
        Your political comment is a complete non sequitur. Perhaps you might want to google ‘Southern Strategy’.
        .
        “humans are depraved. That’s why we want to do so many things that are against nature”
        If your argument is that humans are depraved by nature then wouldn’t it be in human’s nature to be depraved? I’m just trying to understand your argument.
        .
        “Whatever happened to the days…”
        The facts are that American kids are waiting longer to have sex and teenage pregnancy rates are falling. And it’s far lower in Europe, where sex education starts younger and goes into far more detail. Ironically, if any strategy seems to “bumps up against the reality of human nature”, it’s abstinence-only education.

        Reply
      • Clinton says:

        I wasn’t referencing the good old days in that sense. I understand that those things are getting better. We are generally more spoiled than any generation before us.
        What I meant was what I said. What happened to teaching children to wait till they were married.
        People are going to do what they want. I can’t stop it. I just miss the time when sexuality was something people kept behind closed doors.
        Teen pregnancy actually increased over the years as sexuality became open on TV and everything else.
        As for the lgbt people. Sweden is one of the friendliest countries to that lifestyle and they found the same statistics of suicide.
        Yes. Planned Parenthood does teach kids promiscuity. Just isn’t admitted by anyone.
        All I meant was that they should be encouraged to wait.
        As for the political statement, I’m making the point that racism came out of the left. But the Christian is always the one to blame for all the problems of the world.
        Yes, I said that people are depraved by nature. What possesses a person to kill, rape, steal, lie and hurt others. Every one of us has done some of these things. And we can be capable of doing all of them.
        Andy. I think you kind of missed the point of what the article was saying.

        Reply
        • Andy Ryan says:

          No, I got the point of the article and I showed why it’s nonsense. You’ve addressed nothing that I said in my response to it. So far, therefore, all my points stand.

          Reply
          • Clinton says:

            No. You missed the point. The article wasn’t trying to say that the supreme court was the same thing as marriage. It was asking the question of why does Obama say gender doesn’t matter in marriage or society, but thinks it matters with the supreme court. And you think that it says they’re the same thing.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            It’s a non sequitur.
            And more, it’s equivocating on the vague phrase ‘doesn’t matter’? If I’ve got a shop that doesn’t discriminate on the basis of race, you could say that means race ‘doesn’t matter’ to me? But I might also think it’s important that a community panel discussing certain issues affecting my town has a racially diverse make-up. So here ‘race matters to me’. Are these two positions at odds? No, in fact they’re actually consistent with each other. Yes race is important, that’s why I don’t discriminate on the basis of race. Likewise gender.
            .
            You seem to be arguing that if one cares about diversity in one situation, in order to be consistent you also have to discriminate in a completely different situation. It’s a totally wrongheaded and nonsensical argument.
            .
            And again, thinking you need women on the Supreme Court has nothing to do with thinking you need a woman in a marriage. The two things aren’t similar at all. Any more than saying we need a mixture of races on a panel means all marriages should be mixed race.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            It’s about the sexual revolution, right? And it gives a poor argument about Obama and the Supreme Court. You’ve posted several times without explaining at all what you think I’m missing. Instead you’ve gone off on irrelevant tangents about democrats and suicide rates in Sweden.

          • Clinton says:

            The irrelevant tangents were answering things that were said about homosexuality.
            You are missing the point that the article points out the hypocrisy when they say there’s no such thing as gender, but say gender diversity is good. Makes no sense.
            And also, marriage isn’t just for people who are sexually attracted to each other. It’s a commitment. It has been since the ancient days.
            Ultimately, casual sex only brings temporary pleasure while creating an emotional dilemma in which leaves a person feeling empty.
            Sodomy is put out there is a good thing but they don’t mention incontinence, anal cancers or anything like that. It’s extremely obvious it’s against nature.
            But of course, who am I. Just a bigot. After all, you can’t help who you’re sexually attracted to.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “The irrelevant tangents were answering things that were said about homosexuality”
            .
            Said by whom? No-one here brought up subjects involving Democrats vs Republicans apart from you. It was an irrelevant and historically wrong-headed political crack on your part.
            .
            ” when they say there’s no such thing as gender”
            When did Obama say there’s no such thing as gender? I’ll give you a clue: he didn’t.
            .
            “Sodomy is put out there is a good thing”
            What’s that got to do with gay marriage? Not all gays practice sodomy and many straight couples do.
            .
            “And also, marriage isn’t just for people who are sexually attracted to each other. It’s a commitment”
            Indeed. No-one said that sexual attraction is the only necessary part of marriage, or even a necessary one. What’s that got to do with allowing same sex marriage?
            .
            “It’s extremely obvious it’s against nature”
            Eating red meat has been linked to shortened life span and increased incidence of cancer. Is that against nature too?

          • Clinton says:

            Ok. I see what you mean by irrelevant tangents. Yes. Tgm said that gays commit suicide because they keep it secret. I dispelled that myth by bringing up the same statistics in Sweden.
            I brought up the Democrats because you like to use interracial marriage as a tool against Christians. But it was the secular Democrats that advicated those racist policies. It came from the secular Darwinism worldview, not the church.
            You say heterosexual couples practice anal sex. I’ll give you that but it doesn’t make it any less against nature.
            It’s against nature because the man and the woman are obviously made for each other. Not man and man or woman and woman.
            I already said that they can do what they want. It’s a free country.
            I just don’t understand why it’s been politicised and is now all over tv and some people are suggesting it’s normal and heterosexuality is abnormal.
            Im also wondering why is it that they claim they love their same sex partner, but they, (not all), treat each other badly, have multiple partners even while together, and have sex in a way that causes harm. And why is it being taught to children in the schools?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “I brought up the Democrats because you like to use interracial marriage as a tool against Christians. But it was the secular Democrats that advicated those racist policies.”
            .
            I said Christians out forward the same arguments for anti-miscegenation laws that Christians advance now against gay marriage. Which political party they supported in the 1960s is irrelevant. I don’t know where you get the ‘secular’ part from. Who are these 1960s secularists you mention? They must have been a rare breed in that decade among the Democrats. What secular arguments were they putting forward against mixed race marriage?

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Im also wondering why is it that they claim they love their same sex partner, but they, (not all), treat each other badly”
            .
            Prisons are filled with heterosexual men who beat up their wives. Clinton, I think you’ve given up even trying to make a coherent argument. Sorry to return to this theme, but again, your ‘they’re violent and promiscuous’ argument is exactly what bigots were saying 50 years ago about black men to argue against mixed race marriage.

          • Clinton says:

            What I mean by secular is that they believed the Darwin theory. Some may have used the Bible but they couldn’t actually come up with anything that said that Black’s are less human than whites .you atheist s love to blame the Christian for all the woes of the world. I’m not saying Christians haven’t done anything wrong. But almost every one of the racist things that happened in those days were the secular parties doing. They were anti biblical. You read whatever you find on Google and believe every bit of the revisionist history is true.

          • Clinton says:

            Furthermore, you say oh yeah, well heterosexuals do these things too.
            Yes. Doesn’t make it right. The point is, if you love someone, why would you do things that are harmful to that person? I’ve told you before. We all do things to hurt others. But one say s they love someone and then purposely harm them for ones own selfish pleasure.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “Furthermore, you say oh yeah, well heterosexuals do these things too.
            Yes. Doesn’t make it right.”
            .
            Cool. I didn’t say it made it right or normal. But it does make it irrelevant to a debate on gay marriage. You might as well say we shouldn’t allow left-handed people to marry because some left-handed people steal things from shops. Then when I point out that not all left-handed people steal from shops and plenty of right-handed people DO steal from shops, you reply: “Yeah, but that doesn’t make stealing from shops right”. Sure it doesn’t. But it does render moot your whole ‘Left-handed marriage is bad because some of them steal from shops’ argument.
            .
            “What I mean by secular is that they believed the Darwin theory”
            Then you don’t know what secular means. And it’s still a complete non sequitur. I point out that you’re using the same arguments again gay marriage than proponents of anti-miscegenation laws used in the 1950s, and you’re answer is that ALL those people were democrats who ‘believed the Darwin theory’. That’s simply nonsense.
            .
            “But almost every one of the racist things that happened in those days were the secular parties doing”
            You know what the big insult that pro-slavers hurled at the abolitionists? They called them atheist. Being against slavery was called an ‘atheist philosophy’. Whether you think they were mis-reading the Bible or not, pro-slavers passionately quoted the Bible to support the trade. Bishops wrote long tracts defending slavery on Biblical grounds – you can still read these documents online.
            .
            Clinton, is this going anywhere? We’re going down a rabbit hole of your ignorance here, and I don’t really have time to correct you on all your misconceptions. The more I explain, the deeper your errors, bad arguments and false assumptions seem to go.

          • Clinton says:

            Yeah. I I guess if I read the new history book from liberal libraries I would think that Christians are responsible for all the woes of the world too.
            I read the history on these things 20 years ago. Before all you could find was bull. Like I said, Christians have done some bad things. But every single bad thing gets blamed on the Christian. And even worse, a lot of Christ in were the folks that fought against slavery and tried to have it abolished.
            If the Christian was the one make anti interracial marriage laws, then why were churches threatened with jail time if they married a interracial couple?
            They called anti slavery an athiest philosophy. Doesn’t make it one. That was obviously just an insult to try and shut them up.
            No were not getting anything accomplished so im done.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            “If the Christian was the one make anti interracial marriage laws, then why were churches threatened with jail time if they married a interracial couple?”
            .
            If you’re saying why were some Christian churches offering to marry inter-racial couples? The answer is: for the some reason that plenty of Christian churches offer gay weddings now – not all churches subscribe to the same doctrine.
            .
            That aside, your argument here seems to be ‘It can’t be true that many of the arguments offered to defend anti-miscegenation laws were religious, because some Christian churches were willing to perform mixed race marriages’.
            .
            Again, that’s a non sequitur. By which I mean, there’s nothing incompatible about the two statements, so the latter doesn’t negate or disprove the former.
            .
            And I never said all Christians were bad, or that no Christian teaching is good. I just pointed out that when you offer arguments against gay marriage, they sound very familiar to anyone versed in the arguments against inter-racial marriage, which should give you pause.

          • Andy Ryan says:

            ” I guess if I read the new history book from liberal libraries…”
            .
            The Baptists associations and many Bishops and other religious leaders who defended the slave trade in the 18th and 19th centuries on Biblical grounds is a matter of public record, just as much as the abolitionists who quoted from the same book to oppose slavery. This isn’t ‘new history’ or ‘fake news’ – it’s plain fact. Claiming either didn’t exists is equally dishonest. The former were just as fervent, passionate and sincere in their belief that the Bible supported their view. Just as today there are competing Christian views on LBGTQ issues.

  2. TGM says:

    I’m no scholar of the sexual revolution, so perhaps you could tell me who exactly are these people saying that sex is “merely a physical act?” The point of the sexual revolution, it seems to me, was to acknowledge that sex is far more significant to the human condition than some religious you-better-only-be-making-a-baby-in-a-bed-in-your-house-in-the-dark-and-don’t-touch-anything-else sex. And that there is a wide range of satisfactory expressions of sexuality. It should be evident that sexual repression, particularly in such forms as abstinence-only sex education and social stigmas against non-traditional sexual expression, are deleterious to society and life threatening in some cases.
    .
    Conservative organizations are fighting a losing battle on this one. It would be far more effective to embrace sexual inclusion and find practical approaches to enable healthy expression. You might even be rewarded with fewer abortions and teen pregnancies.

    Reply
  3. Evan says:

    “One of the ideas behind the sexual revolution is that sex is simply a physical act, not unlike any other.”

    No one who is even slightly familiar with sex-positive culture would say this.

    “We know it is about procreation…”

    Then why is contraception legal? And why do we allow older couples or infertile couples to get married? And what legal action should we take against fertile couples who decide not to have children?
    Isn’t it more logical to say that sex involves procreation, but _also_ involves other aspects?

    “Why is gender balance important for the Supreme Court, but not for marriage?”

    Because the Supreme Court is part of a representative government, with power over its citizens. Marriage is not. I’m shocked that this is legitimately being put forward as an argument against gay marriage.

    Reply
  4. Del'riaan says:

    The essence of the example contained in the second part of the article is to highlight, as an instructive case study, the cognitive dissonance demonstrated by the former President on with respect to gender. The propositional content of the views and actions cited is at the heart of this portion of the article, not the specific institutions themselves. With that clarification in mind, using the example cited, the former President, in lending support for same-sex marriage and giving preference for female candidates to the Supreme court, displayed contradictory values: the gender composition of the members of an institution does not matter; the gender composition of an institution does matter.

    Explaining how gender manifests significance in each (or any) context is not the task at hand in this case; rather, it is to illuminate and understand the contrast resulting from a worldview characterized by gender-equality (which is different from gender-equitability) juxtaposed against the “beach ball” of human sexuality, that inescapable (though admittedly deniable) complex design which brings together the biological, psychological, spiritual, and social dimensions of human existence.

    To propagate movements and ideals based solely on the biological dimension of human sexuality reveals a short-sighted understanding of what it means to live in community as human beings.

    Reply

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