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Author Ponders the Cost of Our Sexual 'Progress'

Damon Linker, a writer for The Week, claims that our culture is waging a battle over "two competing, largely incompatible visions of the proper place of sex in a good human life." Linker rejects traditional views of sexuality and marriage, but he argues that those traditional (and biblical) views have a lot of merit. Linker writes: "Western civilization upheld the old sexual standards for the better part of two millennia. We broke from them in the blink of an eye, figuratively speaking. The gains are pretty clear—It's fun! It feels good!"

But Linker also admits that there's a price for our sexual "progress":

[We've] witnessed the rapid-fire mainstreaming of homosexuality and the transformation of the institution of marriage to accommodate it … Thanks to the internet, pornography has never been so freely available and easily accessible. Websites … facilitate extramarital affairs … Smart-phone apps put people in touch with each other for no-strings-attached hook-ups. Then there's the push to normalize polyamorous ("open") relationships and marriages, a movement that seeks to remove the stigma from adultery and even positively affirm the goodness of infidelity.

Linker concludes with some probing questions:

Is the ethic of individual consent sufficient to keep people (mostly men) from acting violently on their sexual desires? What will become of childhood if our culture continues down the road of pervasive sexualization? … [Will children be raised by] three, four, five, or more people in a constantly evolving polyamorous arrangement? Can the institution of marriage survive without the ideals of fidelity and monogamy? What kind of sexual temptations and experiences will technology present us [in the future]? Will people be able to think of reasons or conjure up the will to resist those temptations? Will they even try? Does it even matter?
I have no idea how to answer these questions. What I do know is that the questions are important, and that I respect those who are troubled by them. And maybe you should, too.

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