Conversations About Sex Conservatives and Liberals Don’t Have

There is not one social problem in America today that would not be made better if people got married before having children and stayed married to raise their children.

Now, that might be a “hate fact”, but it is a fact nonetheless.

There are reasons why cultures put things in place to protect and support marriage. It is because raising the next generation is the most important function of the population. Today, our culture has decided that children are secondary to the happiness of adults. Marriage is not important, not supported, and not sold as anything other than a happiness trip. More “hate facts” perhaps.

None of the above is meant as a slam against any one person. I cannot imagine raising children without a partner. My next-door neighbor had to do so, because her high school sweetheart was killed by cancer, when their kids were little. I have seen women who have left cheating husbands raise their kids alone. No one would say it is easy.

Our civilization is convulsed with effects of two great changes, never before seen in our history. One is the great empowerment of women. In the last 50 years, women have entered into the workplace and claimed their place at the table. Women have higher levels of political power, both as representatives and leaders than ever before. Men and women live and work together in a way that our ancestors would find amazing.

The other great change, in the past half century is the disconnection of sex and reproductions with the advent of the Birth Control Pill. Women, for the first time ever, can be in control of reproduction in a way other than abstinence. This is a revolutionary technology more disruptive that almost anything else ever invented.

So, we see the results today, as we cope with changing roles of women, driven by their empowerment and control of reproduction. Our culture, like all cultures, is not built for this new reality. Throughout history, the family has been the building block of societies. Women have often been an extension of their family or husband. When I was born in 1970, getting married would have turned my wife into “Mrs. Bryan Stephens”. Today, my wife still has her first name in public. Indeed, many women keep their name on a professional basis, or legal basis.

Much of the anxiety and furor we see today reflects the responses to these changes. #MeToo is driven in part by men and women no longer knowing what roles they play. Things are in flux. Marriage is decreasing, out of wedlock children are increasing. The old templates of marriage and children to work on the farm is in the rearview mirror. Given the choice, most women don’t have four children.

I don’t have a good answer to making things better. We are in a time of transition. I think the best thing we can do is acknowledge this transition. We need to have adult conversations about hard topics, such as sexuality in the workplace, the differences between what men and women want out of work, the requirements to reach the top levels, and do we want to encourage marriage. Until we can stop being offended or defensive about these topics, we will continue to stumble along in ignorance.

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Author: Bryan G. Stephens

Bryan G. Stephens is a former executive on a mission to transform the workplace. He is the founder and CEO of TalkForward, a consulting and training company, utilizing Bryan’s clinical and management expertise to develop managers and teams in a corporate environment. As a licensed therapist with strong understanding of developing human potential, he is dedicated to the development of Human Capital to meet the needs of leaders, managers, and employees in the 21st Century workplace. Bryan has an Executive MBA from Kennesaw State University, Coles School of Business, and both a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology.

28 thoughts on “Conversations About Sex Conservatives and Liberals Don’t Have”

  1. The Relationship Between Poverty and Unwed Births is an unassailable fact.

    However, I do not believe people should marry because they have reaped the consequences of unprotected sex; I do believe they should practice birth control and avoid this situation altogether until they have chosen to marry for the most important reason- I can’t live without you! I remain a romantic and although my husband and I knew we did not want children, we simply respect the bonds of matrimony and life-long commitment.

    Most importantly, we realize that child rearing is not a right. It is a very serious responsibility. If you can’t afford it, don’t put yourself in a situation to have them. If you can’t provide the emotional and financial wherewithal to raise them as good and prospering citizens then wait or pass altogether. It does no one any favors in society to encourage the birth of unwanted children.

    Bryan G. Stephens:
    I don’t have a good answer to making things better.

    I do. Stop legitimizing unmarried mothers with welfare checks and government sponsored Planned Parenthood benefits. Make illegitimacy an expensive and very inconvenient situation for the parents and one to be avoided. With that thought in mind, think of the consequences a lower illegitimacy rate could have upon crime in the inner cities.

    FWIW, I’m not encouraging abortion here at all because I find it to be a highly negative and over-used form of birth control; nor am I promoting abstinence. I’m only asking people to take personal responsibility for their actions and realize that taxpayers will no longer foot the bill.

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  2. There are a lot of “hate facts” involved in this topic.  Most (but not all) vertebrate species have a division of labour in raising their offspring.  Primates, who have a small number of offspring per mating cycle and a long time to maturity, are particularly oriented toward this strategy.  When you have a small number of offspring, the genetic investment of the parents in them is particularly large and their investment in raising the offspring to pass on their genes will be commensurate.  (When I speak of a “small number of offspring”, I’m not referring to fertility rates but rather that humans produce a little more than one per “litter” on average, as opposed to mice, who produce litters of around 7 with a gestation time of 20 days, with 5 to 10 litters per year.  This is an entirely different reproductive strategy than humans, whether the average woman has one or five children in her life.)

    Humans take a substantial fraction of their parents’ adult lifetime to raise to maturity, and, given their sexual dimorphism, require the active involvement of a parent (or surrogate) of the same sex for proper development.  This means raising children is a team effort, and denying this predictably results in the pathologies so evident since the top-down destruction of the family since the 1960s.

    Denying these biological realities causes adverse selection effects.  However, the unit of selection may not be the family but rather the society in which the denial has become not only commonplace but enforced.  Other societies which have not adopted such counterfactual notions will supplant them.

    Think of it as evolution in action.

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  3. If I point a gun at a person and shoot them and they die, should I be convicted of murder? I mean I thought they had on a bulletproof vest. I had shot them before and they were okay. Their death is just an unforeseen mistake, right? Hey, everyone feels the need to shoot people. It is not as if I wanted them to die. I am the victim here. Sure I could have put blanks in the gun but the feeling is just not the same. Don’t judge me, Bro. Anyway the person who died wasn’t going to have a very productive life anyway?

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  4. John Walker:
    There are a lot of “hate facts” involved in this topic.  Most (but not all) vertebrate species have a division of labour in raising their offspring.  Primates, who have a small number of offspring per mating cycle and a long time to maturity, are particularly oriented toward this strategy.  When you have a small number of offspring, the genetic investment of the parents in them is particularly large and their investment in raising the offspring to pass on their genes will be commensurate.  (When I speak of a “small number of offspring”, I’m not referring to fertility rates but rather that humans produce a little more than one per “litter” on average, as opposed to mice, who produce litters of around 7 with a gestation time of 20 days, with 5 to 10 litters per year.  This is an entirely different reproductive strategy than humans, whether the average woman has one or five children in her life.)

    Humans take a substantial fraction of their parents’ adult lifetime to raise to maturity, and, given their sexual dimorphism, require the active involvement of a parent (or surrogate) of the same sex for proper development.  This means raising children is a team effort, and denying this predictably results in the pathologies so evident since the top-down destruction of the family since the 1960s.

    Denying these biological realities causes adverse selection effects.  However, the unit of selection may not be the family but rather the society in which the denial has become not only commonplace but enforced.  Other societies which have not adopted such counterfactual notions will supplant them.

    Think of it as evolution in action.

    Racist!!! (I win the argument now. I don’t need no stinkin’ facts because just because.)

    Don’t you see that “your” facts are causing this?

    I have a study … /sarcasm

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  5. John Walker:
    Humans take a substantial fraction of their parents’ adult lifetime to raise to maturity …

    I had to laugh here; my father who gave me everything possible on the face of this planet made a similar reference when he dropped me off at university freshman year:

    “It’s been fun but know I’ll be monitoring your grades like a hawk because you will NOT be returning home to roost with the chickens in four years.”

    John Walker:
    This means raising children is a team effort, and denying this predictably results in the pathologies so evident since the top-down destruction of the family since the 1960s.

    Interestingly, this doesn’t simply mean a son needs a father and a daughter needs a mother. Gloria Steinem was so absolutely incorrect when she claimed “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

    In my case, daughters need fathers like fish need ponds designed by Trinity Waters. :))

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  6. EThompson:

    John Walker:
    Humans take a substantial fraction of their parents’ adult lifetime to raise to maturity …

    I had to laugh here; my father who gave me everything possible on the face of this planet made a similar reference when he dropped me off at university freshman year:

    “It’s been fun but know I’ll be monitoring your grades like a hawk because you will NOT be returning home to roost with the chickens in four years.”

    John Walker:
    This means raising children is a team effort, and denying this predictably results in the pathologies so evident since the top-down destruction of the family since the 1960s.

    Interestingly, this doesn’t simply mean a son needs a father and a daughter needs a mother. Gloria Steinem was so absolutely incorrect when she claimed “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.”

    In my case, daughters need fathers like fish need ponds designed by Trinity Waters. :))

    I wonder what relationship Gloria Steinem had with her father to say that.

    The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.[16]Before Steinem was born, her mother Ruth, then aged 34, had a “nervous breakdown” which left her an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies that occasionally turned violent.[17] She changed “from an energetic, fun-loving, book-loving” woman into “someone who was afraid to be alone, who could not hang on to reality long enough to hold a job, and who could rarely concentrate enough to read a book.”[17] Ruth spent long periods in and out of sanatoriums for the mentally ill.[17] Steinem was ten years old when her parents finally separated in 1944.[17] Her father went to California to find work, while she and her mother continued to live together in Toledo.[17]

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  7. I favor transparency and letting people see the facts. There are consequences for actions.

    1. Babies don’t come from accidents. Sex is not like tripping over something and somehow sperm meets egg.
    2. Abortion videos should be shown.
    3. People, especially men, need to know the financial liabilities of sex. People are told about the health risks but not how the roll in the hay will cost them monthly for years.
    4. Some movies and books should come with warning labels. “Don’t try this at home.” “The Head of HUD has deem this product to be dangerous.”
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  8. 10 Cents:
    I wonder what relationship Gloria Steinem had with her father to say that. The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.[16]Before Steinem was born, her mother Ruth, then aged 34, had a “nervous breakdown” which left her an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies that occasionally turned violent.[17] She changed “from an energetic, fun-loving, book-loving” woman into “someone who was afraid to be alone, who could not hang on to reality long enough to hold a job, and who could rarely concentrate enough to read a book.”[17] Ruth spent long periods in and out of sanatoriums for the mentally ill.[17] Steinem was ten years old when her parents finally separated in 1944.[17] Her father went to California to find work, while she and her mother continued to live together in Toledo.[17]

    I heard her speak about this once in NYC at a book-signing event. Her mother suffered from severe bipolar disorder and her father simply checked out.

    Did you get this “blurb” from Carolyn Heilbrun’s biography?

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  9. EThompson:

    10 Cents:
    I wonder what relationship Gloria Steinem had with her father to say that. The Steinems lived and traveled about in the trailer from which Leo carried out his trade as a traveling antiques dealer.[16]Before Steinem was born, her mother Ruth, then aged 34, had a “nervous breakdown” which left her an invalid, trapped in delusional fantasies that occasionally turned violent.[17] She changed “from an energetic, fun-loving, book-loving” woman into “someone who was afraid to be alone, who could not hang on to reality long enough to hold a job, and who could rarely concentrate enough to read a book.”[17] Ruth spent long periods in and out of sanatoriums for the mentally ill.[17] Steinem was ten years old when her parents finally separated in 1944.[17] Her father went to California to find work, while she and her mother continued to live together in Toledo.[17]

    I heard her speak about this once in NYC at a book-signing event. Her mother suffered from severe bipolar disorder and her father simply checked out.

    Did you get this “blurb” from Carolyn Heilbrun’s biography?

    It was for Wikipedia.

    I have read that some movements/belief systems are heavily populated by people from dysfunctional families. These movements are noted for their anger.

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  10. 10 Cents:
    2. Abortion videos should be shown.

    Indeed.  This is the sacrament of the Party of Death, but they dare not speak its name nor admit the details.  The details play out more than 1700 times per day.  Where is the transparency?  If this is such a natural thing, why not allow people to video these procedures and share them with others to show how unexceptional they are?

    They daren’t do so, because they know what the consequences would be.  So that’s why we push there.  They push with this co-ordinated scam about children in cages?  Fine: we push back with tiny humans killed in the contemporary holocaust they consider a human right.  Who wins?

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  11. 10 Cents:
    I have read that some movements/belief systems are heavily populated by people from dysfunctional families. These movements are noted for their anger.

    You’re right but she successfully disguised the anger for a good while. She dated the coolest men in America at the time (Jim Brown, Mike Nichols, Henry Kissinger, Stan Pottinger, etc.) and annoyed NOW associates by wearing minis, cool shades, and hiring a great colorist. In other words, she wasn’t afraid to be a fashion icon for many of us in the workplace. We were sick of looking at Betty Friedan and loved Gloria’s feminine feminism.

    (True aside: At a book-signing/lecture event I attended, every young woman sitting within my vicinity whispered “OMG, she is so fabulous looking.” So much for our feminism!)

    Sadly, all good things come to an end. She is espousing lunacy at this point but I admit I was thrilled by her at one point in my life.

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  12. 10 Cents:
    People, especially men, need to know the financial liabilities of sex. People are told about the health risks but not how the roll in the hay will cost them monthly for years

    This may shock you but I think the onus rests upon the women because they are the ones who bear the physical consequences. This is terribly “retro” thinking and you are a gentleman for arguing otherwise, but I can only speak for myself. I would nevah, evah trust anyone else with my reproductive responsibilities.

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  13. EThompson:

    10 Cents:
    People, especially men, need to know the financial liabilities of sex. People are told about the health risks but not how the roll in the hay will cost them monthly for years

    This may shock you but I think the onus rests upon the women because they are the ones who bear the physical consequences. This is terribly “retro” thinking and you are a gentleman for arguing otherwise, but I can only speak for myself. I would nevah, evah trust anyone else with my reproductive responsibilities.

    I think most women are aware. Men especially young men don’t have a clue.

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  14. 10 Cents:
    I have read that some movements/belief systems are heavily populated by people from dysfunctional families. These movements are noted for their anger.

    Oooh.  More on this please.  And I don’t mean in the comments, troll sock.

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  15. Bryan, this post is magnificent.  You have encapsulated a great deal in the first several paragraphs.  I have friends whom I know or suspect are gay.  I go right on opposing the gay agenda etc, but a person is not a policy.  So same with single parenthood.  It’s a bad idea.  However, like war, it is not the worst idea.

    I respect and admire the single mom who does what she can with whatever she has.  This is not an admission against interest in my opposition to the idea of single parenting. You have well illustrated this in your post.

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  16. Bryan G. S., you put me in mind of last summer’s “bourgeois values” essay by Amy Wax and Larry Alexander.

    The Left said they were racist.

    Be careful.

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  17. Haakon Dahl:
    I go right on opposing the gay agenda etc, but a person is not a policy.  So same with single parenthood.  It’s a bad idea.  However, like war, it is not the worst idea.

    But it is. See these stats in Chicago:

    • Englewood is not surprisingly the worst area. Caracas, Venezuela is still the world’s most dangerous city with 120 homicides per 100,000 residents but Englewood blows that away with 172.
    • Illegitimacy rates are at an all-time high at 80%.

    Coincidence?

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  18. Sin.

    The problem is sin.

    If you avoid sin, you avoid the consequences of sin.

    The Left wants you to think that there is no such thing as sin.  They preach Atheism, but if not Atheism, then Agnosticism, and if not Agnosticism, then Universalism and Syncretism.  These are the preferred religions, because they all deny that sin is a problem or even an aspect of human existence.

    My Christian culture teaches that I should be concerned for my neighbor and want what is best for him.  However, my Christianity also teaches me that my neighbor will live a more comfortable, prosperous and stress-free life if he avoids sin.  If I truly want what is best for my neighbor, then I should model good behavior for him, help him in all worthwhile endeavors, but chide him when he falls into sin, and encourage him to avoid sin.

    The Left has so corrupted our public discourse that I am called all sorts of bad names if I mention sin.

    The Left wants me to accept all sorts of sinful behaviors as equivalent to any other behavior.  Whether useful, neutral, helpful or harmful; all behavioral choices, even self-destructive choices, are, according to the Left, to be considered to be morally equivalent.  According to Leftist morality, all behavioral choices are to be accepted, approved, encouraged and celebrated, especially if they are counter to those outmoded traditionalist morals.

    According to the Left, any discussion of sin is “judgemental,” “mean,” and, worst of all,

    “uncool.”

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  19. MJBubba:
    If you avoid sin, you avoid the consequences of sin.

    I may define “sin” more directly as irresponsible behavior that harms society but we’re on the same page. Thomas Sowell says it best and I am loosely quoting him from memory here:

    “Rights are negative things. You can’t murder, rob, commit fraud, abandon your children, etc. There is no such thing as a positive right that requires someone to provide you with something you don’t have.”

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