A friend of mine sent me this article to read. As I was reading it, the question that occurred to me was something as simple as- why do I care?
Tell me, why do I care what someone's damned opinion about sex is- whether one should be abstinent or live it up with several different men every night? When did this topic become one that entered the local newspapers, a choice that women had to defend, one which they had to actually speak about? What happened to privacy? What happened to your life being yours and my life being mine? Why is it that the concept of privacy is utterly foreign to those who frequent the United States of America, so that everything, even and especially one's sexual life, is now on display?
This is your choice. Whether or not one chooses to engage in premarital sex is one's own choice, and not something about which one ought to be taking militant stances. Either one does or one doesn't- why do you need to defend what you do with your body to someone else? Where do they get off judging your right to engage or not to engage in this activity? Let's leave aside the religious portion of this discussion for now. Especially within the context of a secular college and a secular university, why is it that no one has any shame? Why do we flagrantly display the most private, the most secret parts of ourselves- discuss our relationships, sex lives and breakups- with other people? This is ours! If there's anything we ought to be reclaiming, dear beloved people, it is our self-respect and therefore our own penchant for privacy.
There are certain things that ought to be kept private. One of them is what one decides to do with one's body, and with whom, and how frequently. Those who write about their sex lives to me sound desperate- or sound as though there is something they are desperately wishing to prove. Why does one join such a society- whether it is for Abstinence, or writing as a columnist mocking the movement? The idea that immediately appears to me is simply because the person is insecure- because he either must mock ideals that frighten him, or must attack those that bother him- because he's not strong enough to stand alone. And isn't it sad when something as personal, as intimate as whether or not someone has sex- becomes a matter of discussion in the New York Times?
What has happened to our privacy? What about our sense of shame? Must we truly bare all, take it all off- so that we are not only showing skin, but our souls? Must we defend, rationalize and explain our choices to grinning onlookers who exist simply to lampoon others, who desire only to mock and hurt? What happened to respecting people for who they are? You don't harm anybody if you engage in premarital consensual sex. And I don't harm anyone if I don't. These are two adult choices, and they are only for us; they only affect us and there is no way in which they are anyone else's business- unless we choose to make them someone else's business. And frankly, I don't see why anyone would choose to do this.
Our society is sick. Part of that sickness is the urge and desire to be coddled and loved, to have everyone's good opinion. You're not going to get everyone to agree that abstinence is a smart woman's choice, no matter the spin, twist or apologetic tone you take to it. You can glorify it with whatever terms you'd like; you can say that "virginity is extremely alluring" and someone will always come along to argue with you or call you a crackpot. And there will be those who engage in this ridiculous debate, claiming that you are not a liberated woman if you don't sleep around. Wonderful! And so this stupidity continues. And we read about it. And we want more. And we treat it as a legitimate subject matter, something which ought to actually concern us. Because we've forgotten the line between what's private and what's public, and we've decided that personal choices are truly our domain- and they ought to be what concerns us.
Nor do I understand the need to justify one's personal choice through "reason" and determining what is rational. All this foolishness about safe sex not actually being safe, while the other side argues that it is perfectly good and well- this is ridiculous. One makes a choice. The criteria for the choice one makes is up to the decision maker, and no one else, so long as the decision harms no one. Perhaps one's criteria isn't even rational; perhaps one makes decisions based on intuition or emotion. And not everyone will agree with your standards or criteria, and some will consider you foolish for doing this. But it's not their bloody business! It's your business, your choice and your life. Sex is for you- and no one else. I don't care about your sex life. I don't want to know.
And I don't understand why we have usurped the realm of the personal and made it a matter of national importance- something the entire American people need to read about- and think about. I don't understand how people can get up there and join clubs and organizations and fight about what they think other people should be doing with their bodies and their lives. To me it suggests a desire to prove oneself- that one isn't able to make a decision and live with it unless others know about it, and applaud it. That one isn't at all self-sufficient- that one's entire life is merely a cry, a plea for attention and approbation. And it's very sad if what we are teaching our college campus students is that their decisions don't count unless they are able to find others who agree with them- and who will stand alongside them while making them. One is no longer able to make a decision and stand by it simply because it is your decision and your choice. No, nowadays one must use logic and reason to defend their every action- even those that are wholly personal.
As a society, we have no shame. We can no longer distinguish between personal and national news. But thank God, we have abstinence and sex committees, clubs, feuds and vendettas. Thank God that we have all lived to this age of unabashed voyeurism. Clearly it's what you, I and everyone else ought to be thinking about- all the time. How to defend our choices to others. Because we're no longer able to simply make them, keep quiet about them and humbly live out our lives, focusing upon ideas that really matter- and not upon trying to convert others to our cause.