At this time of year some of you have sons and daughters who are either applying to university or returning to university after Christmas holidays. What do you know about the sexual culture of the campus on which they will spend another semester or another few years? You should find out. Is what has happened at one of our Nova Scotia universities typical, or an aberration?
Canadian universities may not be very different from the institutions in the United States described by Ryan Anderson and Caitlin La Ruffa in their talks to parents. You can listen to these talks at http://www.loveandfidelity.org/resources/sexual-integrity-campus-culture/ Ryan and Caitlin are graduates of Princeton University and leaders of the Love and Fidelity Network. Most high school graduates, they say, arrive at university unaware of the pressures awaiting them. They will be expected to take part in the hook-up culture, according to which sex is viewed as recreation, feelings are expressly forbidden, and the expectation of a relationship with a sexual partner is out of the question. A culture in which all you need to have sex with anyone is consent and a condom. Campus officials and professors, shockingly, encourage participation in this culture. An annual “Sex Week”, usually around Valentine’s Day, is common on many campuses, with activities including the screening of pornography.
This is all very distressing, but be encouraged!
In an effort to help students who arrive on campus wanting (and intending) to save sex for marriage, Ryan and others at Princeton began an organization to help such students find and support each other. The Mission Statement of the Anscombe Society, founded in 2005, reads in part “We aim to foster an attitude where sex is dignified, respectful, and beautiful; where human relationships are affirming and supportive; where motherhood is not put at odds with feminism; where no one is objectified, instrumentalized, or demeaned.” Students are given rational arguments for maintaining sexual integrity in the midst of the hook-up culture, and these arguments expose the intellectual weaknesses of the liberal view of human sexuality, marriage, and motherhood. Hopefully these arguments also catch the attention of students coming to the university with the liberal view of sex they have been taught since elementary school. The Love and Fidelity Network is a network of organizations like the Anscombe Society.
You, as a parent, also have a huge influence on your teen’s sexual decision-making. You can provide a foundation for healthy sexuality as you talk with your child and teen throughout their early years. Don’t stop when they go to university, or into the work force. Be aware of what they will face. Prepare them. Let them know there are others, many others, who share their desire for sexual purity. Introduce them to resources like Sense & Sexuality: The college girl’s guide to real protection in a hooked-up world, by Dr. Miriam Grossman, “One hundred percent MD, Zero percent PC” as her web site says. The booklet can be downloaded for free at http://www.miriamgrossmanmd.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/SNSbooklet.pdf
Most young people still want to have a lasting marriage. And although Ryan and Caitlin say that dating is now non-existent on all campuses, students at Boston College in Massachusetts turn up in droves to register for a course in which one of the assignments is to ask someone to go on a real date, on which sexual integrity is required and expressing genuine romantic interest is expected.