The promise of the sexual revolution was that sex can be meaningless. Indeed, it has to be meaningless to preserve our autonomy. If it has intrinsic meaning, independent of whatever we desire it to mean, then that might signify that we have duties that affect our autonomy.
This revolution has thrown human relationships into chaos from the inside out, most tragically the relationship between parent and child. A baby is a glaring, obtrusive, manifestation of meaning interjected into our autonomy.
To maintain the illusion of sexual autonomy requires us to be at war with, not only the science of basic human embryology, but also our very selves: our bodies, minds, and emotions. This is casual, so why do I feel intimately bonded to him? This is casual, so why do I feel used? This is casual, so why is a baby coming?
A funny thing happens when we contort our thinking in a way that denies basic reality: people sometimes accidentally reason their way backward into the truth. This is what we saw when Alyssa Milano, in response to recent laws limiting the availability of abortion, called for sexual restraint in the form of a sex strike—the implication being that if men want sex they’d better give us abortion in case we get pregnant. The less intended implication was that sexual abstinence is possible for a worthwhile end.
Another feminist tweet that went viral called for men to be responsible for both the women they have sex with and the children who might follow: “If abortion is illegal then men abandoning their child should also be illegal. If this was a permanent decision for me then it is for you as a father also.”
If abortion is illegal then men abandoning their child should also be illegal. If this was a permanent decision for me then it is for you as a father also.
— Ricky Spanish (@5headshawtyyy) May 12, 2019
Both of these implicitly concede that because of the nature of sexual intimacy, and without the backstop of abortion, we all might have to realize our duties toward one another and our responsibilities to those to come.
With the camouflage of abortion under threat, the lie of the sexually autonomous lifestyle and the deep injustice it has imposed on men, women, and children is exposed and threatened. We can somewhat cover up the emotional and psychological toll of casual sex, but we can’t quite cover up a baby unless we get rid of it.