On the Church and Society
February 21, 2006
A stroll to the mailbox at the end of my driveway one day last week proved quite . . . well . . . revealing.
The February 20 issue of Newsweek arrived. The cover featured a naked middle-aged woman, with certain parts blurred through a pair of glasses. The headline declared: "Sex & the Single Boomer: The New World of Midlife Romance." So much for news.
The 2006 swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated also came with eight beautiful models smiling on the cover. Oh yes, they were topless. So much for sports.
Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, which now verges on soft pornography, is the magazine's top seller by far, and one wonders if newsstand sales of Newsweek also spiked. Sex sells, as they say.
Indeed, the sexual revolution triggered back in the 1960s and 1970s has been so liberating. Hasn't it?
Marriages became disposable, as divorces increased. Sex of the heterosexual or homosexual variety became more casual. And we have a so-called serious newsmagazine walking us through the travails of baby boomers, who brought us the sexual revolution and now range between 42 and 60 years old, on the prowl for sex.
A striking aspect of this story is the persistent immaturity among some boomers. (By the way, I just slip into that baby boom generation by a couple of years.) About four decades after "free sex" arrived, some still have not moved on, despite years of experience. As a result, AARP is not just about senior discounts and Social Security anymore, but also is concerned about baby boomers having unprotected sex, as Newsweek noted. Oh, how we have progressed.
In particular, some boomers still seem unable to grasp that their decisions have widespread ramifications. It is not all about me. It is also about children, or even grandchildren. Parents not only teach by what they say, but even more so, by what they do. If dad or grandpa went through a couple of wives, and seeks sex without commitment, that must be all right for sons and grandsons too. Same goes for mom and grandma, and their daughters and granddaughters.
As a result, over the past four decades, out-of-wedlock pregnancies have increased. More divorce means more children denied the important contributions of having both mom and dad at home. And it should not be surprising that children of divorced parents reportedly are more likely to get divorced themselves.
Of course, many children never even get that far, as about 1.3 million babies are aborted every year in the U.S. If those numbers do not point to an all-about-me culture, I'm not sure what does. The sexual revolution played a key role in more than 42 million lives being extinguished in the U.S. since 1973.
Sexually transmitted diseases are a major concern as well, while I have heard from educators that teenagers today are experimenting much more on the sex front.
In such an environment, few are concerned about the moral implications of posing in Sports Illustrated in nothing more than body paint, or in having sex outside of marriage. Jeez, even raising these points makes one a prude. And traditional Christians, of course, are viewed as most prudish of all.
Christianity clearly teaches that sex from the intimacy, pleasuress, emotions and giving to the various outcomes and consequences is meeant exclusively for marriage between a man and a woman. And those marriage bonds should be for life.
Sex is not a sport or an extracurricular activity to be worked into busy schedules, as Newsweek noted was the case for some. Instead, it is an act of love and intimacy to be shared when a man and a woman are committed to each other, and to the children that, through God's grace, they might co-create.
Christians and the church are not prudish when it comes to sex. Just check out the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament. Pretty steamy stuff. It is a celebration of sex, but sex within marriage as God intended, and in a love as "strong as death." (8:6)
In the end, sex is just too hot to be toyed with outside of marriage.
Raymond J. Keating, also a columnist with Newsday, can be reached at ChurchandSociety@aol.com.
Copyright © Raymond J. Keating