The Tragedy of the Sexual Revolution

The Tragedy of the Sexual Revolution

By John Mallon
Catholic Online 2004

The "Sexual Revolution" is a failure. But don't take my word for it, pick up a newspaper. Most of the great social problems of the day are the result of the abuse or misuse of sex: The worldwide pandemic of AIDS, dozens of other gruesome sexually transmitted diseases, abortion, abuse of women, sexual abuse of children, broken families, divorce... the list goes on.

A particularly sad story from the Associated Press, published in the Boston Globe on September 6, 2004, "Laconia woman denied morning after pill by pharmacist," illustrates this.

The story describes how a New Hampshire pharmacist refused to fill a prescription, on conscience grounds, for a young woman for the so-called "morning after pill" (also known as emergency contraception, and the brand name "Plan B"). This caused the woman to become upset. According to the AP story she said, "I'm a single mother and I'm just trying to be responsible," then she said, "When I realized what he was saying, I pulled the car over in the parking lot and just cried."

Did it ever occur to her that in her life circumstances it was irresponsible to have sex? Did anyone ever teach her that? Had she ever met a man who respected her or loved her enough not to expect sex from her? What went through her mind before putting herself in the position where she could become pregnant? We don't know. But it is sad.

The Catholic view always was and still is that sex is only intended for marriage. Yet this is a view that is widely mocked in today's world. I do not judge this woman, rather I see her as a victim of a culture that has lied to her. One wonders if she ever heard that sex outside of marriage was something to be avoided—not to mention sinful.

It is useless to argue about sin to those who do not believe. There is more than one generation that thinks talk of sin is just a "shame and blame" game, played by people who want to make others "feel guilty" or "control others."

What is lost is the notion that sin is something that harms us. The God-given moral law is something that warns us of danger. I like to think of the Ten Commandments as the "owner's manual" for our lives, and the roadmap of Reality—the Reality created by God.

Sexual sin especially has a way of damaging our emotions and our psyches. It can become an addiction, which can destroy our capacity to love. Sexual intimacy, at its best, makes us vulnerable to another and that requires trust and a context of security and stability with another with whom it is safe to be vulnerable with—with whom we can build a home where it is safe to bring children into the world. This is why God gave us the sacrament of Matrimony.

Without this context sexual activity can leave us lonely, isolated, disoriented, cynical and afraid to trust. I could retire if I had a dollar for every woman of my generation—the generation that grew up with the sexual revolution— I've heard say, "I have a problem trusting men."

The "Sexual Revolution" with its contraception and abortion has not liberated women at all, but enslaved them to chemicals that distort the natural functions of their bodies and grisly surgical procedures that can leave them scarred for life both physically and emotionally.

It has also eviscerated relations between the sexes leaving genuine romance and true love seem like an impossible dream for many lonely people.

A man of character will marry a woman he truly loves without pushing her into bed. He will care for her without blackmailing her into sex with the threat of loneliness.

The stupidly named, dangerous, "Plan B" morning after pill would not be "necessary" if Plan A were self-respect and keeping one's pants on. Unfortunately, an entire generation of young women has not been learned that. As for men, the "Sexual Revolution" has produced a generation of full-grown babies who whine and manipulate when they don't get sex on demand when they want it.

There was a great outcry when Pope Paul VI issued his great Encyclical Humanae Vitae which upheld the Church's prohibition on birth control. (You can read it here.)The Sexual Revolution was just beginning and many Catholics expected the Church to get on the bandwagon. But Pope Paul predicted what would happen if birth control became widespread and what he describes is exactly what we see around us in the world today. If you have never read this document do so. It was a clear word of prophecy to the Church and world.

As sin, birth control is harmful to us.

For example, the Population Research Institute of Front Royal, Virginia details the many dangers of the morning after pill on its website at, Weekly Briefings, March 5 & 12, 2004.

Proponents of the drug say it is safe, but that is simply a lie. Nevertheless, there has been a virtual media blackout on the dangers of this drug because these facts are not "politically correct."

The health risks of emergency contraception to women are considerable. The website of the Population Research Institute of Front Royal, VA (PRI), lists dangers of "emergency contraception": significant weight gain, ovarian cyst enlargement, gallbladder disease, high blood pressure and respiratory disorders.

Common side effects among teenagers could result in increased rates of bulimia, anorexia, or clinical depression. An increased risk of ectopic pregnancy is also possible with emergency contraception.

What kind of "feminism" believes women can only be equal to men by attacking the uniqueness and life-giving faculties of their own bodies, either with chemical birth control, or devices that look like they belong in a chamber of horrors museum, or the great violence of abortion.

Furthermore, as I said in another article (A New Big Fat Lie,) the "morning after pill," when it does work, does so by causing the abortion of the tiny, newly conceived human life. The drug's promoters try to say that "pregnancy begins at implantation" to deceive those who don't realize that life begins at conception.

The Sexual Revolution has gone a long way to destroying true love, romance and driving a wedge between the sexes. When Jesus spoke of the future saying "Through the increase of evil, the love of many will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12) I wonder if He was thinking of our times.



John Mallon is contributing editor for Inside the Vatican magazine