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I am a monogamous married man. I am not a romantic person, but I do love my wife dearly. I enjoy a simple life with her.
I do not have an ex. No ex-wife, no ex-in-laws, no alimony, no child support, no lawyer. My wife is the mother of my children, which also simplifies their lives. Our kids never had to keep a personal scheduler to know which home to go to after school. They never had to do that blended family thing.
I don’t have any former friends who are now friends of an ex. I never changed church because it was too uncomfortable to attend the church of my ex.
My wife shares my faith, so that also simplifies life.
I passed up chances for professional advancement in order to stay near family and to avoid excessive travel. That simplifies life in a couple of ways. First, I had more time with family, which allows for better communications within the family. Second, we had less money, so we never got involved in complicated hobbies or travel.
I like my simple life. I enjoy simple pleasures.
I will discuss a couple of recent conversations below. (Yeah, I know; too many words. Be prepared, because my remarks weigh in at five pages.)
First I want to put some thoughts out about married sex. Married sex is great fun. It is better fun when you keep things simple.
I never had any kind of sex with any other person but my wife. She can say the same about me. There are benefits.
When we make love, she never has to second-guess whether I am comparing her to some other woman, or wishing for some spicy babe. I am not comparing her body or her techniques to anyone else, because I have no other experience or frame of reference for such comparisons. I enjoy my wife for who she is. I am saving all my love for her, and she knows it. There is a security for her in this knowledge, and intimacy. She is the only one for me.
We have recently discussed promiscuity in men, and the way male promiscuity is expected and celebrated, including here at Ricochet.
In the recent discussion on promiscuity in men, the Original Post stated that no religious responses were wanted. So I will post some of those thoughts here, and state now that everything I have to say is informed by traditionalist Christian moral teachings.
In the promiscuity thread, it was stated in the comments that the only strong curb on male promiscuity is women refusing sex. I think this is in error; there is another strong curb: morals. Men know that their acts are immoral, but they do them anyway. The women also know this.
Traditionalist Christianity (and Orthodox Judaism) teaches that G-d wants sex acts to be reserved for married couples. All other sex acts are sinful. You may disagree with this point of doctrine, but it remains the standard by which religious people should view sex.
Sexual sin has a very strong appeal. Resisting temptation is many times a difficult discipline. Nevertheless, we still prize self-discipline, don’t we? So, why is it that we have a culture that mocks the 40-year-old virgin as somehow a defective state of living? In fact, it is clear that contemporary American culture is obsessed by sex, and, in particular, celebrates sexual perversions. Our mass media have been pushing into increasingly disturbing territory.
I do not see how a productive conversation about promiscuity can avoid the topics of sin, morality and religion.
Mass Media v. monogamy
I first noticed this with “Summer of ’42,” a Warner Brothers movie that was billed as “a coming of age film.” That was a euphemism for losing virginity. Young people fascinated by sex, and the celebration of first sex, all mixed with themes of loneliness and sadness and a May-December fling. The movie became a blockbuster hit. It celebrated fornication. It came out while I was in high school.
Of course, mass media has been pushing a libertine agenda for a century. The rise of Progressivism coincided with the invention of movies. So, let me ask the movie buffs out there, what was the most recent big-budget Hollywood romance that did not feature adultery? I think you have to go back to the 1950s to find one.
Television has been snickering at male characters who were clumsy and naïve and not successful with the women, ever since the advent of TV. “Bad boy” characters are popular with the women, on the screen and in real life. We celebrate the peccadilloes of the rich and famous on the covers of tabloids at the checkout line. We entertain ourselves by celebrating their sexual sins.
Of course, this is a theme of literature that can be traced back to Renaissance poetry. Romance!
Romance is a topic that could be a field of study, and probably is (though I would not trust anyone who claimed to be an expert in the literature of romance, since they would probably be both Leftist and libertine). Romance celebrated the concept of love, and exalted the concept of unrequited love. Romance is full of tales of love for the unavailable. Romance is full of bad boys who turned out good in the end. Romance is full of tales of women who made the choices expected of them by tradition, and who lived to regret their choice. Romance is full of young lovers who made foolish choices. Foolish choices were celebrated whether the tale turns out happy or sad.
Our culture has been filled with foolish notions of romance.
These cultural memes are leveraged by contemporary mass media libertines who keep pushing the edge of taboos, celebrating the perversions of colorful characters, and portraying all sorts of self-destructive behaviors in formats that conclude before getting to the part that shows any consequences.
Feminism embraced the sexual revolution. Movement Feminists have been encouraging women to behave like men when it comes to sex. This betrays their motives as more interested in Leftism and libertinism than in the welfare of women. The availability of foolish women who are living the hook-up lifestyle encouraged by the feminists are the ruin of many men.
Porn rots your brain. Men are visually stimulated. This is why the women work so hard on their looks, and this fuels the revealing of female skin. The visual orientation of the male brain with regard to sex has given rise to a shameful industry of pornographers and a robust and widespread practice of homemade porn and the easy availability of porn on the internet.
Porn is particularly damaging to young men. It gives them all sorts of wrong ideas about sex and about women. These wrong ideas lead to strife in relationships. I think many couples have split up because the man completely misunderstood the woman on account of his indulgence in porn.
All this cultural obsession with sexual sins serves as a broad base for rationalizing sexual sin, and for dismissing sex acts as sinful. The cry of “victimless crime” was used to repeal all sorts of laws that forbade sexual sins. Pornography led the way, with famous lawsuits from the 1960s through the 1980s. Homosexual sex was recently made legal, and now in blue states we have the enforced celebration of it. Incest, group sex, underage sex and prostitution are all current fronts where the mass media is softening the resistance to overthrowing all the old taboos.
This background makes it easy for Americans to rationalize that resistance to temptations to sexual sins is old-fashioned prudery.
This is spiritually dangerous.
Leftists have their religion of leftism. Leftist mass media are vigorously proselytizing on several fronts. They promote syncretism and ecumenism. They promote agnosticism and Atheism. They promote Pantheism and Panentheism. They wink at Paganism, because they like how it goads theists, especially Christians. They condemn traditional Christians; we are characterized as hateful ignorant bigots. (These slanders have become so ingrained in the culture that our Supreme Court has ruled that voters who are motivated by traditional religious morality are hateful ignorant bigots whose choices must be overthrown.)
This shift of America into Leftism dulls the moral sense. It provides a background of moral chaos and contradiction and confusion. It paves the road to perdition.
The sexual sins do have consequences, both grave and mundane. They set you on a path that leads away from G-d. That has eternal consequences.
But, back to my original point, the sexual sins complicate your life.
Conservatives were mocked when they said that no-fault divorce was a bad idea. All the cautions of the conservatives have come to fruition. Divorce is endemic now, to such an extent that many young people are avoiding marriage because they fear divorce.
“G-d hates divorce” says the prophet Malachi. G-d does not hate divorced people. G-d hates what divorce does to his people. Divorce divides. It separates families. It complicates life.
Life is better when you keep things simple.
This is not finger-pointing at divorce, nor am I blaming all divorce on sexual sins. I am just speaking up as a monogamous male, since we are seldom heard from.
I have no complaint about blended families. I know many, though, and I can say that there are stresses that come with that life. A family that is dear to me is a blended family because a young mother died, and a young father died. The widow and the widower are blessed to have each other. They stand out among the blended families in my acquaintance. The lack of ex-spouses greatly reduces the complications of their blended family life. May G-d bless them.
Adultery really complicates life. You tell a lie, then another and another. Soon you need to upgrade your schedule software to keep up with your lies. You get dodgy and sneaky. And the sex has an extra zing because of the forbidden nature of it. That reveals just where the moral line belongs, doesn’t it? The fact that everyone, especially the participants, all know it is a forbidden relationship; that it crosses the line and should be taboo. It is a taboo because it is a betrayal of trust and a betrayal of intimacy. It erodes your moral fiber. So, why have Americans shelled out so much money for generations to entertain themselves with stories that highlight adultery?
Fornication also complicates life. See my early section above, “Simple Sex,” to see the simple version. Racking up a series of previous lovers will diminish your ability to connect with the sort of intimacy that G-d intended for marriage. Having a robust sexual past will give your new spouse all sorts of questions that impede true intimacy. Each spouse will be holding a little of themselves in reserve, just in case this relationship doesn’t last. A past life history of fornication does not doom a marriage, but it does inhibit the fullness of togetherness that you should experience in marriage.
As noted above, the Bible says that sex should be reserved for married couples. Period. All other sex is sin.
G-d created sex; Adam and Eve enjoyed each other in the Garden before they chose disobedience. Sex for them was perfect and holy.
Sex for us is not perfect, nor holy. We are corrupted; all our acts are corrupted, and we learn every day the consequences of sin.
Division, dishonesty and distrust all result from the sexual sins. The practice of habitual sexual sins sets a person on a spiritual path that leads away from G-d. This is the most damaging consequence of all; and it makes true repentance more difficult. The worst sins are those that increase the division between the person and G-d. Those are the sins that the Bible calls “abomination.”
Sin complicates your life. We all live in families and communities, so other people have to live with the consequences of your sins. Your spouse and kids, sometimes parents, friends or even neighbors or coworkers have friction enter their lives due to the consequences of your sins.
And, you have to live with the consequences of other peoples’ sins. Complications affect your emotional wellbeing. When people cannot trust each other, this is borne out in lots of ways. Emotional distance is kept, or people don’t talk to each other; sometimes someone dear to you moves away because of some third party’s sin.
Complications due to sin affect your financial wellbeing. The costs of divorce are devastating. There are other costs in other circumstances. Perhaps the greatest financial costs accrue to the poor unfortunates who are most emotionally devastated by betrayal. A small fraction of these people will get involved in alcohol, or drugs, or gambling, or some other self-destructive behavior, sometimes including the sexual sins that caused the distress in the first place. Those all have big financial costs, plus they compound the emotional misery.
Complications also affect your spiritual wellbeing. That is perhaps a topic for a separate post.
Keep life simple.
By being steady, and trustworthy, I win her trust. Because she trusts me, she is secure in our relationship. She is comfortable with me. The lack of second-guessing and hesitation allows free and honest communication. No secrets and no surprises. This also keeps life simple.
I recommend monogamy. It keeps life simple.
It helps you walk in the ways that G-d wants for you.
It helps your marriage. It helps spiritually, emotionally, financially, and it enhances intimacy, which leads to great sex.
I enjoy my simple life.