Sexual liberation hasn't cheapened sex

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Seeing sex as a commodity that governs our social, romantic and economic standing in society is a flawed view of today’s dating world. 
 
In a Globe and Mail column that attempts to explain why there seems to be a trend towards more sex and less marriage, Margaret Wente shows a deep misunderstanding of the modern dating world. 
 
In Wente’s hypothetical system, sex is a means to an end and has been used as a currency by women to ensure they are provided for. Her theory claims sex has been ‘cheapened’ by the advent of birth control pills and better access to contraception, resulting in men no longer feeling the need to marry women.
 
Perhaps the most troubling part of the sporadic opinion piece is its pseudo-feminist approach. Wente claims that modern sexual liberation is a good thing and then continues to claim it needs to be corrected. 
 
Finally, the article refers to women as a ‘cartel’ who collectively must band together and deny men sex in order to boost their chances of marrying. 
 
Aside from ignoring the existence of different sexualities, the article buys into age-old, harmful gender norms.  The article refuses to acknowledge the reality that women can actually enjoy sex without expectation and that men are emotionally complex enough to have lives outside of it. 
 
The marriage statistics that show a decline in marriages are the only facts presented in the article. While accurate, the reasons Wente gives for the recent decline in marriage don’t include the many other existing explanations. 
 
More and more people are choosing to marry later in life — or not at all — regardless of whether or not they have a long-term partner. Just because lifelong partnerships may look different today than they did decades ago, it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. 
 
The final paragraphs of the article turn Wente’s argument into something truly confusing. Her idea of men being able to access ‘cheap’ sex thanks to the sexual liberation of women puts the blame on women for the way men live their lives. 
 
Wente’s final call for women to band together against ‘cheap sex’ in order to make men want to marry them isn’t only offensive, but downright ludicrous. 
 
The article seems to wish for an idealized past in which women and men were all married, heteronormative and perfectly happy. The reality is that this perceived history never existed. 
 
Wente attempts to force an outdated set of sexual and romantic rules into the context of modern dating and the result is nonsensical. The dating world has changed a lot within the past century and that’s a good thing.
 
— Journal Editorial Board
 

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