Marriage and Family


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Marriage and Family

UPF Attends Princeton Sexual Integrity Conference

United States-2018-10-27-UPF Attends Princeton Sexual Integrity Conference

New Jersey, United States—UPF was represented at the annual Sexuality, Integrity and the University conference, held at Princeton University.

Students and educators came from all over the United States to attend the two-day conference organized by the Love & Fidelity Network (LFN), whose mission is to advance “the truth about the institution of marriage, the unique role of the intact family, and the value of sexual integrity among college students and in university practices, policies and norms.”

Several young adults, students, and educators associated with UPF and the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles (CARP), an affiliated organization, attended the conference, which was held on October 26 and 27, 2018, at Princeton University in New Jersey.

The opening keynote address, “Seizing Our Cultural Moment: The Paradoxes of the Sexual Revolution,” was given by Dr. Mary Eberstadt, senior research fellow at the Faith and Reason Institute in Washington, D.C. She covered five paradoxes resulting from the sexual revolution.

The first paradox: As much as women have gained some benefits from access to birth control, men feel less responsible for their partner’s pregnancy, while women are left with less commitment from their partner, fewer choices, and more burdens.

The second paradox: “Freer sex” has put men in the driver’s seat, as men’s preferences for sex without strings win out over women’s preferences. Due to “cheap sex” flooding the sex market, including pornography, more men are less motivated to launch into adulthood and marriage. This has made it harder for women to find marriageable males.

According to Dr. Eberstadt, the message of the sexual revolution has been the gender-neutrality perspective that females have the same sex drive as males or that “women want sex just as much.”

The third paradox: There has been a clear increase in objectification of women, sexual assault and predation, as exposed by the #MeToo movement. This is the kind of sex women do not want. Research indicates a related dramatic decline in women’s happiness for the last two decades.

The fourth paradox: Churches have been polarized by the most divisive issue of sexual freedom vs. sexual responsibility. Some churches view sex as freedom of expression and an end in itself, while other churches hold that sex is a fundamental divine gift of love, spiritual and emotional conjugal bonding, and an inherent procreational centering point of social sustainability.  

The fifth paradox: There has been a total reconfiguration of life, family life, and humanity. Dr. Eberstadt referred to the widespread rise of splintered families, continual pressure for more welfare, plummeting birthrates, divorces caused by porn, and global increase in loneliness of all ages, especially the elderly.

Mary Rose Somarriba, editor of Natural Womanhood magazine and associate editor of Verily magazine, spoke on “Breaking the Campus Bubble: #MeToo and Sexual Assault.” With increased competition for available males on campus, more women engage in “hooking up,” typically with the numbing use of alcohol or “liquid courage.” Most of these women then experience “sex regret”: feeling hurt and that they did not get what they really wanted.

This blur of expectations underlines the weakness in relying on consent and explains some of the questionable distinctions between rape and hook-ups, Ms. Somarriba said. Women have been encouraged to be strong, independent feminists, she said, but in this culture they have had to give up their power and that which they really want: a meaningful relationship.

Porn is largely to blame for the sexual objectification of women, she said, and for normalizing aggressive, men-centric sex. According to her research, porn users tend to experience diminished ability to concentrate and to perform academically; in addition, they have high rates of erectile dysfunction. Although men want good relationships and are not rapists by nature, she said, they have been taught these norms by the sexualized culture and especially by pornography.  

In a question-and-answer session, one young woman lamented that when looking for a potential spouse on campus, she and her peers were distressed by the ubiquitous use of porn. She said if any young man were to wear a T-shirt with the words “Porn-Free Guy,” he would be the most popular man on campus. Interestingly, the whole audience, packed with bright and beautiful young women, burst into loud applause.

The panel on “Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: What’s Career Got to Do with It?” offered a change of pace with a practical discussion on balancing marriage, children, and careers. Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation; Jonathan Hwang, J.D., attorney at law; and Sarah-Vaughan Brakman, an associate professor of philosophy at Villanova University, each spoke of their own experiences with their spouse. They emphasized the importance of the couple’s flexible cooperation, valuing each other’s career, honest communication, responsiveness to children’s needs, and making time to keep the marriage happy and vibrant. Although the speakers spoke of different challenges, the key for each couple was the dedicated teamwork of husband and wife. The panel’s message was an uplifting “Yes, you can do this!”

The next speaker, Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University, recognized the courage needed when standing up for sexual integrity and marriage in the face of hostile reactions. He gave a moving message about the critical need for speaking out, emphasizing three points of encouragement: faith, hope, and love.

We can have faith, he said, as we know truth will prevail. Science is on our side, he said, indicating clearly that marriage is optimal for children, men, women and society. Professor George referred to the “splendor of truth” that resonates deep within us as we grasp the value of sexual integrity and marriage.

We can have hope, he said, as we know there are ways to reverse this destructive cultural confusion. Moreover, he reminded us that the results from acting on these marriage-centered virtues and sexual integrity are what humankind desires.

We can have love, he said, because as we step out into possible confrontation, we do so out of love. We feel compassion for each person’s struggle to build meaningful relationships and for each child who, more than anything, want his or her parents to build a family based on their love for each other.  

The final plenary speaker, Professor Tim Rarick of Brigham-Young University-Idaho, presented a talk titled “Fathers, Be Good to Your Daughters: The Link between Fatherlessness and a Sexualized Culture.”

Although the media frequently send the message that fathers are “not really necessary,” the reality is that fathers make unique contributions to the emotional, social, and sexual development of their daughters. Mothers, of course, are essential, but data show and biology explains that fathers offer different strengths and traits than mothers.

Professor Rarick presented research on the advantages that well-fathered daughters have over fatherless girls in academic success, mental health, alcohol and drug use, sexual debut and pregnancy, and STIs. Engaged fathers have a particular impact on a girl’s healthy body image, expectations for treatment by males, intimacy, and marriage, he said.

The atmosphere deepened as Professor Rarick spoke with obvious emotion about his love for his daughters. This personal sharing was a perfect example of how fatherhood fosters in a man a protective, cherishing and dedicated love for his children. Professor Rarick’s message was clear: Fatherhood is good for children, good for men, good for women, and good for society.

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