If you haven’t realized that sexuality in our civilization is no longer based on the Christian idea of lifelong commitment, you’re woefully behind the times. But even in the wake of the sexual revolution and the hookup culture of Generation Y, we seem to have retained a few vestiges of our grandparents’ morality. Give it some thought and you’ll realize that even celebrities and politicians get upset when their spouses cheat on them. And don’t forget the phenomenal success of reality shows like The Bachelorette. We still admire (if only for the emotional high it brings) the idea of falling in love and pledging eternal faithfulness to one another.
But never fear: CNN is here to save us from silly, medieval notions about lifelong commitment. In a recent slew of online editorials, the network appears to have declared war on monogamy, urging men (and especially women) to grow up and accept that promiscuity is a natural and healthy part of human sexuality.
“…There is no reason to believe monogamy comes naturally to human beings,” writes psychologist and author, Christopher Ryan. “In fact, for millions of years, evolutionary forces have cultivated human libido to the point where ours is arguably the most sexual species on Earth.”
Ryan, who co-authored the new book Sex At Dawn: The Prehistoric Origins of Modern Sexuality, insists that monogamy is a relatively recent invention which arose out of the agricultural revolution about 10,000 years ago, and that such an arrangement does great violence to our natural proclivity for communal sex:
“Our ancestors evolved in small-scale, highly egalitarian foraging groups that shared almost everything… Most foragers divide and distribute meat equitably, breast-feed one another's babies, have little or no privacy from one another, and depend upon each other every day for survival. [But] with agriculture, the human female went from occupying a central, respected role to being just another possession for men to accumulate and defend, along with [a man’s] house, slaves and asses.”
In another recent editorial, CNN Special Shannon Cook interviews a former “sugarbabe” (read: prostitute) who goes by the pseudonym Holly Hill. Hill, whose memoir has sold over 24,000 copies in her native Australia, insists that if women want to maintain strong relationships, they should negotiate infidelity with the men in their lives.
“Women need to remember the difference between why women and men have sex," she says. “Women tend to value intimacy. For men it's often the thrill of the chase, or the quick sex with a stranger. It…has nothing to do with us as a loving girlfriend or wife. Once we understand that, it's much easier to let him go off.”
Like Ryan, Hill appeals to our alleged roots in the animals kingdom as the basis for her skepticism about monogamy:
"We just have to be honest about the way nature created us, and we have to work with nature instead of working against her. This isn't rocket science. This is what every man already knows and I think what every woman deep down already knows."
As a young, single man committed to waiting for my future bride and remaining faithful to her thereafter, I take strong exception to Hill’s and Ryan’s characterization of men as emotionless sex-machines driven by animal instinct.
But what really has me worried is the ease with which both of these best-selling authors dismiss the existence of the most basic and important of all human values: love.
Their celebration of mindless animal sexuality serves as a sobering reminder of what happens when we deny the Image of the moral, loving God which we all bear.