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Campus sexual politics aren’t radical; they’re regressive

Sexual self-control is far more revolutionary than the tawdry culture peddled at many colleges today

Most colleges and universities fancy themselves to be on the cutting edge of social and political change, and in some instances this has been the case. But many institutions of higher education today are actively backsliding, indulging in socially primeval and archaic behavior—think of the censorship, both de facto and de jure, that we’ve seen so much of in recent years—and in perhaps no other area is this regression more evident than campus sexual politics.

On its face this doesn’t seem like an accurate assessment: why, colleges are practically the avant garde of sexual liberation and experimentation! The College Fix recently reported on a “fluid sexuality” workshop at the University of Texas meant to help boost “bisexual, pansexual and fluid” advocacy. At the end of this past school year, a California state university hosted a symposium on “animal-based sex fetishes.”  This past winter, the University of Chicago—one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education on the planet—offered a workshop on the basics of “rope bondage,” as well as a class entitled “Intro to Kink.” And of course there are the annual sex weeks at the nation’s elite universities: at Harvard a few years ago they passed out enough condoms to contracept an entire infantry division.

On its face this kind of hypersexualized campus culture seems, from a certain angle, to be progressive, modern, enlightened, radical. But it is none of these things. Sexual licentiousness and venal degeneracy—the kind of stuff where a sexual partner “role-plays as a pet,” for instance—are both ancient and basely primal, the primitive kind of behavior you might expect from animals (and from those who pretend to be animals, of course). There is nothing modern about the inability to control one’s sexual appetites up to and including indulging in sexually-stimulative electrocution.

It is, rather, sexual prudence and circumspection that are the genuinely radical concepts, insofar as they challenge the dominant social order in a way that is distinctly, aggressively countercultural. The tawdry “sex weeks” of the modern campus are almost unremarkable at this point, yet another entry in our culture’s endless obsession with lust and gleeful debauchery; nobody attending a workshop on erotic sado-masichism is under the impression that they’re doing anything revolutionary in the slightest.

Sexual restraint has always been the more subversive route to take: learning to control, harness and channel one’s urges into socially productive avenues—specifically heterosexual monogamy and the creation and maintenance of healthy families—has always been more commendable than the bacchanalia that many colleges are openly advocating today. Sexual chastity, and above all Christian sexual chastity, is, to modern culture, a bit scandalous: the exclusivity, the finality, the self-control, the freewheeling possibility that a new baby might suddenly pop into existence and change your life forever. What, to you, is a more groundbreaking and astonishing proposal: a man and a woman promising to forsake all others until one or both of them dies, or a bunch of oversexed public employees passing out 13,000 rubber contraceptives?

“Sex weeks,” of course, are probably here to stay, at least for a while. But those of us who see them for what they are would do well to proclaim how ultimately hollow and useless such a culture really is.

MORE: Sex, Sex and More Sex at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

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