Chastity is one of the most (if not the most) counter-cultural aspects of the Christian life, and it's getting stranger and stranger as the years go by. (It's always been strange, by the way--that whole "well, in biblical times it was expected" argument is just plain not historically correct, not in cities like Corinth where prostitution was a form of worship. But that's a topic for another post.)
What's hit me lately, though, is a subtle shift of our thinking about sex and love. I was reading one of Peter Mayle's light novels not long ago, and thought, Wow, it took them four dates before sleeping together. Then I realized it had been published ten years ago.
The thinking used to be, if you love someone, why not have sex? It's a genuine expression of that love. The thinking now is, sex is just physical--so go ahead and have sex, but please, try not to fall in love.
Gina wrote about the one-night stand in Knocked Up, which I haven't seen, but this idea is everywhere--from Grey's Anatomy, where it's clear that a mid-afternoon romp in the storage closet does not entitle a girl to expect dinner, to movies like Something's Gotta Give, where Jack Nicholson's character explains to Diane Keaton's character that he's just not good at monogamy, so she really shouldn't expect anything from him--besides the sex, that is. Or The Holiday, where Cameron Diaz takes to bed a drunk stranger who shows up at her door (okay, it's Jude Law, but still...), promising him first that she won't fall in love.
I guess I just hadn't realized that the thinking had shifted so much. I don't mean this as a judgmental bad, bad Hollywood thing (I think those who don't share our faith have little motivation to pursue chastity), but it makes me think...
It's a man's world.
I cringe for our daughters growing up in this environment. What kind of emotional wreckage does this kind of thinking create?