I came across a somewhat lengthy quote by G. K. Chesterton concerning the unwillingness of people to discern obvious differences. I was particularly struck by this part of the excerpt:
For this is a strange epoch; and while, in some ways, we have quite dangerously encouraged the appetites, we have quite ruthlessly crushed the instincts.
This brought to mind an article that I read some time ago in which the author recounts her journey from quasi-monogamous to full-fledged "sluthood." What impressed me the most was the author's willingness to admit that she had problems with the transition and that she required the reassurance of her friends to make the transition. Ultimately she had to convince herself against her better judgment that the decision to have a one-night stand with someone who answered her ad on Craigslist was okay.
She writes about her thought process and how she ultimately arrived at her conclusion. It's interesting to note how often she defends herself against her own better judgment. First she admits to staying in relationships with people in whom she's not all that interested just to avoid feeling lonely and rejected, and she feels lonely and rejected a lot. She then proceeds to go on a date with a man that answers her Craigslist ad. After one hour of conversation during which he drops the phrase "male hegemony," she agrees to go to his conveniently located apartment, all the while fighting with herself about the wisdom of this decision.
The next day she has lunch with her friends, to whom she relates the whole sordid night, and in true feminist solidarity, they affirm her completely self-destructive behavior because it's impossible to continue inflicting harm upon yourself without the support of others:
I’m telling you this because sluthood requires support. Because any woman who indulges these urges carries with her a lifetime of censure and threat. That’s a loud chorus to overcome. A slut needs a posse who finds her exploits almost as delicious as she finds them herself, who cares about her safety and her stories and her happiness but not one whit about her virtue. A slut alone is a slut in difficulty, possibly in danger.
It's interesting to watch her justify her behavior. She's fallen into the typical modern, feminist trap of disregarding her feelings of unease at her behavior (her self-preservation instinct) to embrace a lifestyle of danger and promiscuity that doesn't make her feel good but she that she rationalizes intellectually as ethically superior. In doing so she's made the classic feminist mistake: believing that restrictions that are put on women's sexual behavior exist only to limit the pleasure and fulfillment of the women these restrictions are supposed to protect.
The truth is that it does matter how many people you've had sex with prior to marriage. Who really feels good knowing that their future spouse has been with numerous partners other than themselves, that they've shared the most intimate physical connection that two people can experience with such wanton disregard? It shows an amazing lack of self-control and ability to delay gratification which are not the best traits for a future spouse to possess. But more importantly it shows that a person is incapable of discerning healthy from unhealthy, and of the quashing of one's instincts. It is as Chesterton says, that we have encouraged our appetites while crushing the very instincts needed to regulate those appetites.