The sexual brokenness that has overtaken our culture has done tremendous damage to our country, its families, and even its economy. But perhaps no one group has been affected more than women. During this week's interview, we hear from Mark Regnerus, author of the book "Premarital Sex in America," to discuss what's happened and what we can do in response.
God created human sexuality, and when it's properly expressed in the marriage of one man and one woman for life, it's a wonderful thing. But something has gone terribly wrong in our culture, and the results have been evident, especially in what Mark Regnerus calls "sexual economics."
Mark Regnerus, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Texas
As Mark Regnerus — who has emerged as an academic voice at the forefront of this topic — suggests, we have witnessed during the last generation a shift in the way sex, love, and marriage happen.
The issue, he says, comes down to supply and demand. One upon a time, women were in control. Men, like always, wanted sex. And most women placed a very high price on it — namely marriage. Thus, sex was "expensive," in social terms, creating an environment prime for commitment and family, and hostile toward infidelity and premarital relations.
But with the advent of birth control and the increasing education and economic capabilities of women, the balance of power tipped. While Regnerus is careful to note that neither of these innovations is necessarily bad, he encourages us to admit the sociological fact that women with protection against pregnancy and poverty are less dependent on men and marriage. But far from empowering women, this "protection" has proved a source of endless frustration and brokenness for our culture's daughters.
Why? According to Regnerus, it's because "sex is just cheap now." With "hookups" and serial monogamy taking the place of lifelong covenants, men don't have to commit in order to receive sex. Nowadays, they can get a girl in bed without the price they would once have paid, and so the demand for marriageable women has plummeted.
Meanwhile, men have found themselves in higher demand than ever. According to Regnerus, even a mediocre man with a poor work ethic and no desire to marry can often enter sexual relationships today, because women have become desperate. Add pornography into the mix, he says, and women don't stand a chance.
The only way to turn this around, Regnerus believes, will be to rebuild a culture in which marriage is not only more possible, but prized by both sexes, and encouraged by the older generations. It also means combating the factors which caused this power shift in the first place, by showing young people the tragic devastation caused by pornography and sex without strings.
As we finish our four-part series on sexual brokenness at the Colson Center, John Stonestreet, Eric Metaxas, T. M. Moore and others offer more solutions to this kind of sexual brokenness in our culture. The job of the Church, now more than ever, is to show teens and young adults that there is no alternative to God's plan for sex.
Only then can we turn the economics of sex back in women's favor — something Regnerus says is better for us all.
To read Mark Regnerus' article in Slate about men's growing advantage in sex, >>CLICK HERE.
To listen to John's commentary about how NOT to encourage sexual purity, >>CLICK HERE.
To hear John's July 18 commentary on how pornography disadvantages women, >>CLICK HERE.
To read last year's interview with Mark Regnerus in Christianity Today, >>CLICK HERE.