Almost every day, women from all over the USA tell me that their faith is the bright spot of their lives. That it provides them with wise guidance, hope and a strong sense of community. That their faith’s view of women provides a freeing alternative to what the wider culture offers.
My information isn’t merely anecdotal.
Take a look at this summary of women’s religious views, from the most trusted pollster on the subject, the Pew Forum:
In the United States, for example, women are more likely than men to say religion is “very important” in their lives (60% vs. 47%), according to a 2014 Pew Research Center survey. American women also are more likely than American men to say they pray daily (64% vs. 47%) and attend religious services at least once a week (40% vs. 32%). According to media accounts, women so outnumber men in the pews of many U.S. churches that some clergy have changed decor, music and worship styles to try to bring more men into their congregations.
Additionally, when it comes to thinking about the behavior vaunted as exemplifying women’s current freedom – consensual nonmarital sex with an array of men – the majority of women don’t actually enjoy it. Men are much less opposed (you’re shocked, right?).
Women, rather, yearn toward sexual relationships more similar to what religions teach as the stuff of freedom. One study available from the National Institutes of Health concludes:
Overall, women were more likely to regret engaging in sex that did not lead to committed relationships whereas men felt more regrets about engaging in a relationship that did not lead to sex. The three biggest regrets of women were, in descending order: losing their virginity with the wrong partner, cheating on a partner, and letting relationships progress to sex too quickly. The three most common male regrets were: being too shy to indicate sexual attraction to someone, not being (sexually) adventurous enough in their youth, and not being adventurous enough during their single days. See A. Galperin, et al., Sexual Regret: Evidence for Evolved Sex Differences, 42 Archives of Sexual Behaviour 1145 (2013), at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23179233
Like a lot of common sense, you won’t see this reflected in public conversations swirling around you and your family…which means, it’s up to us to put it there more often. And then to propose positive alternatives for assisting women’s genuine freedom, in language that invites a conversation, or at the very least, helps our listeners to understand “Whoa, there’s more to this than I knew!”
It is my dearest wish that the new WSFT blog can help you in this work. Take any facts, language, sources that we provide. Steal them! Spread them widely!
And as always, thanks for being in this together. Especially for yourselves, your sisters, your daughters and your friends.
Here are more sources (all credible, scientific literature) for you to use as you begin to read, learn, and speak out:
Christian Smith, Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood (http://www.amazon.com/Lost-Transition-Dark-Emerging-Adulthood/dp/0199828024).
Donna Freitas, The End of Sex, (http://www.amazon.com/End-Sex-Generation-Sexually-Unfulfilled/dp/0465002153
Catherine Hakim, Supply and Desire: Sexuality and the Sex Industry in the 21st Century, Instit. for Econ. Affairs Discussion Paper No. 61 (2015), at http://www.iea.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/files/DP_Supply%20and%20Desire_61_amended_web.pdf