Lutheran pastor Hans Fiene has a new post at The Federalist titled Why It’s Terrible News That Millennials Are Having Less Sex*. Fiene points out that the drop in promiscuity by Millennials is troubling because it likely presages a drop in marriage.
Fiene identifies two culprits, pornography and social media:
What’s causing millennials to be less sexually active, then? As with any trend, there are numerous explanations. But the two biggest factors seem to be the copious amounts of pornography that millennials, in particular millennial men, have grown up consuming, and the widespread use of socially isolating social networking. Just take a look at this profile of a millennial man, courtesy of Tara Bahrampour:
The fundamental problem, according to Fiene, is that pornography and social media are causing millennial men not to learn how wonderful millennial women are, and what godly and submissive wives millennial women would make:
As men pursue women, however, they come to develop a more robust appreciation of what women have to offer them beyond physical beauty and sexual gratification. They become more exposed to the various feminine virtues—things like kindness, compassion, selflessness, loyalty, tenderness. And the more decent men encounter “the imperishable beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit,” as St Peter calls it, the more they come to value this inner beauty over raw sexuality.
This is a very common approach, and it is founded on a breathtaking denial of what is going on in our society. Indeed, pornography and social media are part of the problem, along with a whole host of other factors. If you will permit me to use a metaphor, these factors are comparable to ignition sources lighting a forest fire. Forest fires can be caused by camp fires, lightning strikes, etc, but they are only part of the equation. The other factor is the health of the forest. If the forest is dry, or even worse, loaded with dead wood or other fuel sources, it is only a matter of time before one ignition source or another ultimately lights the inferno. Focusing on ignition sources is helpful only in the short term, because sooner or later something is going to cause the whole thing to go up in flames.
We have the same kind of problem with modern marriage. Marriage has been systematically weakened for many decades. Each new cohort of women is encouraged to delay marriage longer and longer. No fault divorce and our family courts have replaced legal commitment with an encouragement for women to divorce, including the promise of cash and prizes. The culture, especially conservative Christian culture, despises husbands and views men who marry and have children with contempt. Where in the past husbands were seen as head of the household, a husband who sees himself in this way is quite literally engaging in crime-think. Should this crime-think be reported to the police, the husband will be arrested and forced to undergo reeducation/self criticism until he learns to view headship as a moral and legal offense. As a former facilitator explains, the facilitators of these reeducation sessions are taught**:
Confront! Confront! Confront! With the explicit threat that the probation officer will be informed of your non compliance…
So on the one hand we have a coordinated and very public feminist assault on the definition of marriage, which makes marriage far less appealing to men. On the other hand we have new substitutes to marriage like pornography. And all of the main factors (including pornography) trace their way back to feminism one way or another.
But feminism is the problem men like Pastor Fiene dare not whisper! There are two reasons for this:
- Most people are enthusiastic supporters of feminism, including nearly all conservative pastors.
- Feminism is an active rebellion, so calling out feminism is scary.
What we get instead of confronting reality is a constant dripping of articles like Pastor Fiene’s complaining about the weak men who are screwing feminism up. Make no mistake; it is true that this is happening. Weak men really are screwing feminism up. It is, however, absurd to focus on the problem in this way. No amount of shoring up will make the feminist model of marriage work, no matter how much conservatives like Fiene want it to work.
Nevertheless, this approach of denial and redirect has worked for decades, so it is understandable why men like Pastor Fiene would be tempted to keep doing it. There is, however, a growing threat to Pastor Fiene in his efforts to frame the problem as weak men screwing feminism up. As I noted last month, Millennials are responding to articles with this frame and pointing out the obvious absurdity of the denial based approach. Commenter Broderick responded to Fiene’s article exposing the feminist elephant in the room:
This article completely misses the mark. Perhaps it is true that many young men and women find more satisfaction in porn than in real relationships. But this is merely a symptom. In a competition between the virtual and real wherein the virtual wins, we should instead ask why the real has fallen so far.
In this millennial generation, this has much more to do with confused gender roles than with pornography. Feminism has taught women to be masculine competitors – they are not taught any of the feminine virtues to which Fiene alludes. Modern education (installed, also, with plenty of feminism) has taught men to be feminine subservients – they are not taught any of the masculine virtues to which Fiene alludes.
As a general rule, men are attracted to femininity and women to masculinity. This is hardwired.
With the above virtues gone, what else can a man be attracted to in a woman other than her body? Likewise for women with respect to men? At this point, a man may as well just use porn, because he gets all the benefits of a virtual body without the drawbacks and costs of entering a relationship with a masculine “strong independent woman” (who, I might add, needs that man about as much as a fish needs a bicycle).
Add in legal corruptions to marriage (no-fault divorce, a hostile family court system, etc.) and you’ll find that the pornographers are being entirely rational in their choice to forgo real relationships.
Further down in the discussion Persimmon wrote a defense of masculine women:
Not all masculine women are promiscuous. I am a masculine woman who is not sexually active but I am aggressive. I would not know how else to be.
Also, Maybe the reason things have gone so haywire is because of the 50s. People, particularly women left that society because it did not make them happy. Some women were comfortable with it but others not so much. They wanted more.
*H/T Gurney Halleck
**See also page 33 in the Santa Clara County Probation Department STANDARDS FOR BATTERERS PROGRAMS AND CERTIFICATION for an example of how this is codified.