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Is Gen Z revolting against casual sex?

In a recent text for the “New York Times”, entitled “When we consent, we shouldn’t feel bad afterwards, right?”, Emma Camp, a recent graduate of the University from Virginia and editor of “Reason” who caused a stir with an article criticizing the suppression of free speech on campi, talks about how the elite teaches young people about sex. She mentions a freshman orientation session she attended that teaches students how to deal with sex situations at the university.

In reaction to an epidemic of sexual harassment on campus, the university emphasized the importance of teaching students to ask for partner consent. While consent is important for a healthy sexual relationship, members of Gen Z were learning that only consent was enough to make the experience good. Camp, however, argues that there are many other aspects of sex life, such as commitment, trust, and emotional security, and that sex education should address these.

Camp’s text is a sign of a cultural change that is happening among this generation. Raised amidst the lie that older generations relied on the “free love” movement of the years 1960, they begin to perceive the repulsive objectification that is born of this type of culture. As a result, Gen Z’s culture is starting to reflect their problems with casual sex. early adulthood, thanks to the apparatus that fuels this culture: the pornography industry. Although the United States has laws that prevent minors from consuming pornography, these laws are ineffective, as the age of first pornographic experience is now 13 years old, according to the American Psychological Association. Other studies estimate that this age reaches years. The kids of Generation Z, unable to consume pornography with a modicum of skepticism, grew up accepting sex as a purely transactional act.

Pop star Billie Eilish expressed the plight of young people to the presenter. Howard Stern in December. Eilish, then 19 years old, said she started consuming pornography at 13 and said that it was a “disgrace that It really blew my brains out, and I was devastated that I was exposed to so much pornography.” In addition, pornography distorted her view of sex. “The first time I had sex, I didn’t reject things that weren’t good. That’s because I thought those things had to attract me”, she said.

After spending the preteen and teenage years deceived by pornography, zoomers start their sex life with a horrible view of the subject, view that they accept and treat as if it were the rule, which leads them to have meaningless sex lives, just like their parents did. But perhaps they are finding this view of sex to be unsatisfying, which is clear in the kind of media this generation consumes. Teen dramas often reflect audience behavior; they are not high culture that intend to challenge the opinion of the consuming public, so the message of these movies and series can help us to assess the beliefs of young people.

The series Netflix’s “Bridgerton” shows youthful dissatisfaction. While criticizing the puritanical view of sex that prevailed in England in the early 19th century, the series is nonetheless critical of casual sex. A key element of the first season is the transformation of Simon Bassett, love interest and future husband of the protagonist, Daphne Bridgerton. Before meeting Daphne, Simon is promiscuous, but the series is a good show of his rejection of casual sex. Simon starts to dedicate himself and take care of only his wife. Throughout the series, sex scenes, even premarital sex, are the result of a commitment between two characters.

Another Netflix series dealing with the subject is “Outer Banks” , which portrays the protagonist, orphan John B. Routledge, in his search for a hidden treasure. A subplot of the series is his relationship with Sarah Cameron, who is hesitant to “take the next step” in a relationship with her current boyfriend, Topper. After breaking up with Topper and starting to date John B., the couple in love discuss the topic. John B. describes his first time with a random woman from Cincinnati. “I felt like shit,” he says, and the two agree that casual sex is unsatisfying.

That’s not to say zoomers are prepared for it. adopt Christian morality. “Bridgerton does not condemn couples who have sex outside of marriage and “Outer Banks” shows John B. and Sarah having sex soon after. to have the conversation described in the previous paragraph. In addition, the way these series deal with the subject is not universal. Other productions, such as “Riverdale”, totally ignore the moral character of sex.

Dissatisfaction does not arise from moral opposition based on ideology either. It is simply the result of a generation feeling the effects of exposure to an idea of ​​sex that is degrading both to the act itself and to those involved. Zoomers are discovering that, contrary to what university authorities teach them, healthy sex requires more than mere consent. Given this perception, the possibility arises of creating a generation more dedicated to marriage. If greater commitment makes sex more enjoyable, the logical conclusion is that sex is better when it involves greater commitment, that is, in marriage. Gen Z is discovering that the older generations gave them the wrong advice. Our young people have problems, of course, but they also have the ability to solve them. In the end, maybe young people are right.

Charles Hilu is a political scientist and writer for the National Review.

©2022 National Review. Published with permission. Original in English
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