- The Washington Times - Monday, September 3, 2001

Columnist Jeffrey Hart recently argued that women were the losers of the sexual revolution. He has a point. By making themselves available outside of marriage, women have undermined the institution of marriage.

The problem with Mr. Hart's analysis is that he assumes that men want sex and women want marriage. But what if men want marriage, too? Aren't they also losers of the sexual revolution?

Men do want marriage. There is no comfort in a different woman every night. Moreover, that approach to sex might produce offspring, but not a lifetime relationship with sons, daughters and grandchildren.

Because of the emphasis on the sexual benefits to men of the sexual revolution, many people blame men for the revolution. But, of course, it wasn't men who created the sexual revolution.

The sexual revolution was a happening. Many men were surprised at the sudden availability of young women. I was a university professor during the 1960s. I remember the complaints of male students that "nice girls are ruining themselves."

Sex became casual. It no longer was proceeded by a long period of dating, going steady or being "pinned." Sex became a date activity like going to a movie. Eventually with the present-day "hook-up," sex was divorced from dating altogether.

People who study the sexual revolution blame it on feminists. No doubt feminist intellectual arguments in favor of female promiscuity played a role, but I doubt a significant percentage of the suddenly available young women were being guided by the intellectual musings of feminists.

I don't know why the sexual revolution occurred. But I do know that many young men were of two minds about it. It was a helpful development for raging hormones, but it made it difficult for a guy to get a girl of his own, someone special to him.

Eventually, guys may get over their reluctance to enter into long-term relationships with women who have been in bed with their friends or friends of their friends. When I ask men in their 30s and 40s why they have not married, they do not answer that female promiscuity makes it unnecessary. They say that they are reluctant to propose to easy women.

One man put it this way: "I would be uncomfortable in social gatherings where 15 percent of the people had been in bed with my wife."

The sexual revolution has provided men with easy sex, but not with families and wives who don't walk out on them. Feminists may have destroyed the chastity of women, but they certainly destroyed the security of marriage.

Today, it makes no sense for a man to marry even if sex were unavailable from "hook-ups." The reason is the extreme risk that marriage today imposes on husbands. A wife can throw her husband out of his house, take his children and half or more of his income without having to have a real reason for the financial and emotional ruin she brings to her husband.

We hear a lot about successful middle-aged men who leave their wives for younger "trophy" wives. But most divorces are initiated by women and are involuntary divorces from the husbands' standpoints.

Back when marriages were real, solid grounds were required for divorce. Moreover, divorce was not designed to financially ruin men. Today, divorce proceedings treat husbands and fathers as criminals in the dock. If a husband fights over custody of children or visitation rights, the wife simply tells the police that he has threatened her and gets a restraining order, or she reports him to Child Protective Services as a child abuser.

A man who marries today is either ignorant of the risks, has great confidence in his choice of mate, or is a fool.

Restoring marriage is a much larger job than putting the sex genie back in the bottle and confining sex to the marriage bed. The institution of marriage has to be fixed. Real grounds have to be required for divorce. Divorce proceedings must treat men equably and not as convicted felons.

There is little chance of this happening. The forces assaulting the family are too strong. Leadership is rare, and when it arises it is spurned, as evidenced by Stephen Baskerville's recent expulsion from the Virginia Triennial Child Support Guideline Review Panel for criticizing the divorce industry's vendetta against fathers.

Contrary to Jeffrey Hart, men are the real losers of the sexual revolution.


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