Almost as if Someone Had Designed It That Way…

March 9, 2012

Via Five Feet of Fury and Instapundit, another blogger (who is definitely not a chastity advocate generally) suggests an interesting way in which even the culture of fornication may inadvertently be creating renewed pressure for women to be chaste (warning: language):

However, such changes don’t happen in a vaccuum. As the sexual marketplace changed, male behavior also changed. So, not only are there fewer men now deemed marriageable, but those fewer men face significent negative incentives to marry. As per the law of supply and demand, the “price” of a husband of even moderate socio-sexual rank has gone up due to the decline in the supply.

One of the most highly valued aspects of a wife is a low N-count. This is instinctively preferred by most men, and indeed, there is considerable statistical evidence that such women make for higher quality wives who come with considerably less risk of divorce. So, as the percentage of divorces increases, the importance of wife possessing a low-N count increases in line with it as a statistical indicator of fidelity. We haven’t reached the point where virginity is a requirement, but the trends are generally pointing in that direction.

You can read the rest of it here.  (I warned you about the language.)

25 Responses to “Almost as if Someone Had Designed It That Way…”

  1. Tevyeh Says:

    Every now and then I need to read something like this (the link) as a reminder of just how blessed I am. My wife and I have been happily married for nine years, and I can’t tell you how glad I am to not have to deal with the sexual politics of the “culture of fornication.”

    It makes me sad that there are so many people who simply don’t know any other way.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      For those that do know both ways, many decide that the thrill of the hunt far outweighs the tedium of monogamy. I am not among them, but you really have to live both lifestyles before you can say for sure which is better.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        There are plenty of crack addicts for whom the next hit is the primary motivating force in their lives, far more important to them than the tedious family, carreer, intellectual, and spiritual pursuits that motivate others. Alas, I’ll never really know what I’m missing.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        If you’re comparing sex to crack then I say kudos to you sir.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        I didn’t actually mean to compare sex to crack—the euphoria that typically follows is probably more comparable to something in the opiate family of narcotics.

        I actually meant to compare promiscuous men to crackheads.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        That’s a goofy comparison, when you consider that many extremely successful men make the perfectly rational decision to not pursue marriage. Or that many successful married men are in fact promiscuous. Under your view, the monogamous crackhead would be less of a crackhead than a promiscuous man who’s never had a drink of beer.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        Plenty of “extremely successful men” are also drug addicts (although I hear powder cocaine is more popular among big-shots than crack is). That’s not to say that their drug habits don’t cause problems. A big-shot’s tragic flameout due to a drug problem is a news media staple.

        Promiscuity has probably ruined far more lives than drugs have.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Right, but you’re missing the key distinction. Singlehood is both a rational, and legal choice, whereas drughood is neither.

      • I think Tevyeh has clearly won here, but I would also like to point out another way in which I think Snoodickle has missed the point: He said that “you really have to live both lifestyles before you can say for sure which is better.” Strictly speaking, it’s not possible for anyone to try both “lifestyles”, because at least one of the two is a life-long project.

        In terms of one’s own experience, as soon as a person has “tried” sleeping around, he will never directly know what it would have been like to remain continent before marriage, marry once, have a wedding night as it was meant to be, and love his wife faithfully and exclusively for as long as they live.

        In terms of others’ perception of him, as soon as a person has tried sleeping around, he will never have a consistent record of virtue, and others may relate to him accordingly. This was part of the blogger’s original point: After the excerpt above, he observes that women who sleep around for a while (to try that “lifestyle”, if you will) but later want to get married may find that doing the former has significantly impaired their ability to qualify for the latter.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        So you think it “clear” that sleeping with more than one woman is akin to smoking crack? Ha!

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Also, men are not held to the same standard as women. Men who sleep with many beautiful woman are considered heroes.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        @ Snoodickle: “Singlehood is both a rational, and legal choice, whereas drughood is neither.”


        Without getting into the weeds over the definiton of “rational” (a concept that social and behavioral scientists debate endlessly), I’d just like to point out that we’re talking about promiscuity, not bachelorhood. Contrary to the popular image, they’re not synonymous.

        @ Chillingworth: your last paragraph seems kind of harsh. I get that you’re talking about society’s judgments (as opposed to your own), but I think it’s important to draw a distinction between these social phenomena and the value that Christianity places on chastity. I was a virgin untill my wedding day, but I’d never say that this fact necessarily puts me at a higher level of “virtue” than a penitent with a less “consistent record.”

      • Snoodickle, I agree that people’s perceptions of male promiscuity and female promiscuity are different. I think that to some extent inheres in human nature, but I agree that it’s unfair (I don’t know whether you were saying that). I and Christianity might say that, to the extent possible, the pressure on men to be chaste should be pushed up toward the level of the pressure on women. Liberals I’ve talked to prefer the opposite solution: lowering the standards for women until they meet the already low bar for men. Liberals have largely had their way with the culture for the last several decades, and I think it’s clear that their solution has done more harm than good. See again, e.g., the original blog entry.

        Tevyeh, I think it’s complex enough that I don’t know whether it’s worth taking the time to clarify further (at least when there are already fifteen comments on this entry), but I’ll try anyway. I submit that we can separate what we’re talking about here into four issues:

        To the extent that you’re cautioning me not to commit the sin of pride and think I’m better than someone else just because I haven’t been as promiscuous as he, I agree. God keep me from pride. I’m just as much a sinner as anyone else, and shouldn’t think I’m better than anyone.

        If you’re saying that a person who has fornicated for years, but finally repents and turns back to his Creator as Lord, gets into heaven just as much as the person who has (outwardly) avoided fornication his whole life, I agree. The parables of the laborers’ wages and the Prodigal Son come to mind. I also take those parables to be, again, warning me against pride.

        Societal perceptions
        As you say, I was talking about how people—all people, generally—would perceive a person. On the whole, I assume that it does a person more harm than good (in terms of others’ perceptions) to acquire a reputation for sleeping around. The blogger I was originally quoting also supposes so. As I suggested above to Snoodickle and will suggest below, I think this is both fair and unfair. In any case, as you say, it is whatever it is, regardless of my opinion on the subject.

        Christians’ perceptions and choices
        If we want to talk about how Christians in particular will perceive such a person, and in particular how they will evaluate such a reputation as they decide whom to pursue to marry, certainly I think they should keep in mind those warning against pride, and the unfairness alluded to above. However, I don’t think Christians are obliged to “forget” a potential spouse’s past sins the way God does. Perhaps a person who has slept around in the past is somewhat more likely to sin sexually in marriage as well—again, not that that person won’t go to heaven, but that I think it’s totally legitimate for the individual Christian considering marriage to weigh his options and prudentially assess the likelihood that he would be happy with a given spouse, that said spouse would be faithful to him, etc. Perhaps a person who has had sex out of wedlock will have more emotional problems to work through, or perhaps there will always be mental associations with other people that intrude into what ought to be the private sexual life of two spouses, or perhaps our hypothetical Christian will simply be less attracted to someone who has fornicated in the past. I think it is permitted for the Christian to take any of those things or others into account as he weighs his options and decides whether he feels like marrying that person.

        For myself, I think I could, in principle, marry anyone who either is a virgin or has repented of fornication—and absolutely anyone can qualify in one of the two categories. But I think it’s totally legitimate if others feel differently.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        And how precisely do you intend to reverse the long standing reverence of womanizing men? It’s as deeply ingrained in our culture as baseball and cheating on your spouse.

      • Tevyeh Says:

        @ Chillingworth: Well said. I didn’t mean to level any accusations your way; I just thought there was room for misunderstanding in your post and comments (i.e. that you were endorsing “typical” views on sex, double standards and all.)

        @ Snoodickle: Please indicate where Chillingworth expressed an intention to change U.S. culture as a whole. Or do you think a view is only worth sharing if you can get everyone to agree with you?

        Personally, I find the popular double standard on promiscuity (i.e. he’s a “stud,” she’s a “slut”) repugnant. Do I think I can do away with it? Well, I certainly don’t have to buy into it, or perpetuate it.

      • [Edit—This comment was in response to Snoodickle’s last question.]

        It’s more deeply ingrained than that—as I said, I think that to some extent it inheres in human nature. But it’s nothing like a universal reverence. Some women and men already think less of a man, rather than more, if they learn that he is promiscuous.

        So you’re asking how to make that more true, or make the (already not universal) approbation less true. I think the answer is as simple and as complex, as easy and as difficult, as any other effort to change the culture. As many people as possible should tell everyone else, in word and deed as appropriate, that sex outside of marriage is wrong, for men as well as women. To the extent that many people (not just one individual) do that, that’s the culture. It’s very difficult to change a culture, but at the same time, the culture is all of us; it is what we make it.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Serious question – is sex in a common law marriage, or what would otherwise constitute a common law marriage if state law allowed it, acceptable?

      • For purposes of this question, I assume that common-law marriage means there has been no formal marriage ceremony or registration, either religious or governmental, but the couple “hold themselves out to the world as spouses”.

        I suppose that’s better than nothing, but no, I certainly don’t think that represents doing things totally right.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        Another issue that I was thinking about. At what age is a child responsible enough for his own decisions such that God can condemn him to hell. For example, does a five year old child who doesn’t believe in God, and follows the example of older, Godless children in making mischief and sin, go to hell? And if not, at what age do we become hell eligible, and how would such an age cutoff not be completely and utterly arbitrary? I could go on and on about the goofy logical conundrums that the concept of heaven and hell creates, but let’s start with this one.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        * go to hell if he dies without repenting?

      • I should probably know better than to take you seriously when you ask about God—after this exchange, and this one, and after you’ve said that you don’t even believe I believe what I’m saying, and you’ve just said, “I could go on and on about the goofy logical conundrums that the concept of heaven and hell creates, but let’s start with this one.” It sounds an awful lot as if you weren’t really interested in talking about God; so why waste my time?

        But at the same time, your question sounds like a serious question. So here’s a serious answer:

        I don’t know when any given child is old enough to be responsible for his actions. Maybe different children reach that point at different ages. Maybe their responsibility and capacity to make moral choices grows by degrees, so that they have already the germ of it (and so already have the power to make choices that lead to heaven or hell) while in the womb. I don’t know. That’s part of why Christianity tells us not to judge.

        In other words, yes, any “age cutoff” might be “completely and utterly arbitrary”, if it were being administered by human judges. Only God is qualified to make such judgments. Fortunately, we don’t have to; God makes them.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        So God is sitting up in heaven spending a significant amount of his time making judgment calls (pun intended) on whether to torture children for eternity. Interesting.

  2. Snoodickle Says:

    Is this supposed to be a joke?

    • Tevyeh Says:

      It’s not supposed to be a rigorous analysis; like most arguments based in evolutionary psychology it’s speculative in nature. It’s pretty tongue-in-cheek, but no, I don’t think it’s entirely a joke.

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