Fathers, sons, and the sexual revolution we really need
by Patrick F. Fagan | October 31, 2018
The total population of North, Central, and South America is less than a billion. Europe’s population is much less. Africa’s population is about one billion. In the last 100 years the world has eliminated one billion children through abortion. In other words, whole continents. World War II was a walk in the park compared to this. The US alone has aborted 58 million infants (the total population of the US as it came into the twentieth century, and almost the same as the total populations killed in World War II, the bloodiest war in human history. The “body-count” in the Holocaust pales in comparison to this, US-only “body count”.
Clearly, we “do sex” wrong. Humankind has never, ever, done it so wrong.
In the US, for children who survive pregnancy and make it to birth, most of their parents cannot stand each other enough to live their lives together and raise their children to adulthood. Slavery has returned to the US—in the form of sex trafficking. Pornography addiction (to some degree or other) is almost universal among young men. Cohabitation is the majority’s choice despite the widespread knowledge of its bad effects. STDs are “through the roof” and are now mega epidemics — having been epidemic for decades. Motherhood is frowned upon in the academic world and most businesses put up with mothers only because they are forced to if they want female workers.
The list could go on and on— and that is without going near what is being taught and not taught in churches— of all denominations!
As a society we have really lost our way. Leaders in all institutions have lost their way or their courage. There are some who know how to get sex right but most don’t, or are afraid, and public schools and academia are not only totally lost, they lead down the wrong and debilitating path — even in the face of overwhelming data. Proof? Just look around you.
Where do we start to rebuild?
This rebuilding starts with men — with fathers in particular.
Fathers, take back your sons
The fundamental correction involves all fathers taking back from everyone else the sexual education of their sons. Mothers need to do the same for their daughters. However, the sine qua non is that fathers become the sexual tutors of their sons, because, given the nature of males, men have much greater and difficult task to achiever bringing their sexual impulses under total control.
The program is simple. Every father worthy of the title, wants his son to end up happily married to the girl of his dreams and wants to show him the way to pull that off. This is what fathers do: make men out of their boys.
Now that presents a difficulty, because most fathers today have not achieved that status or have lost it: they are single or married to some other woman. Thus, they are quite handicapped in giving what they do not have. However, let us leave that major difficulty to the side for the time being and focus instead on what has to be achieved: lifelong marriage of a boy to the girl of his dreams.
As a nation — as a culture — we either go for this or we break apart into factions, because sex, at every level of social organization from the couple to the polis, either powerfully binds us together or powerfully splits us apart. Those who do not go for the gold of lifelong marriage, ultimately allow our nation be split into pieces. Too strong a claim? What happens to families after divorce? Multiply that by millions and then by two or three generations and then you have a nation and culture falling apart. The choice is not just an individual one, it is political (in the pure sense of the polis).
Feminists cannot help you
How men deal with their sexuality is at the bedrock level of society. This is something the marxist feminists understood very well, though for nefarious purposes.
Feminists and lots of other women are clear on what they don’t want men to do sexually, and they are right! But they are NOT clear on what they want men to DO. And without a clear destination anyone is lost. So, feminists, though correct in their attacks on predation, are totally wrong on the nature of sex.
There is only one destination that makes sense of sex: marriage and procreation — procreation within marriage — both entwined. There are lots of secondary purposes and benefits but these two, procreation within marriage, are non-negotiables if we are to avoid social chaos, if justice is to be done to every child, and if we are to be a people who want justice for every child.
Maybe the biggest natural barrier to achieving this justice is a universal fact about being male: for every man a huge proportion of females are physically attractive — and will remain so throughout his life, no matter his marital status. Men see, and immediately register the beauty and attractiveness of a woman before they know anything else about her. And if a man permits himself to pursue that attraction to its logical end (intercourse) he can be in big trouble for the rest of his life. Worse still, he will have caused chaos in the life of the woman, in her extended family, his own extended family, and in particular, and most disastrously, will have severely damaged any children that result from that intercourse (either eliminating them through abortion or leaving them with split parents for the rest of their lives – and the grandchildren’s lives.)
The only way that sexual attraction can be properly handled is by channelling it towards one person only — the future bride. Finding her is a long and delicate process for which a good father is the best guide, by far.
Begin instructing your sons early
The journey to the bride starts in childhood. It used to start in adolescence for most of human history but now, with pornography being universally and aggressively obtrusive, it starts for boys around age seven or eight, because with his first exposure to it he is beginning to go down the right path or the wrong path.
(By the way – I am all for the death penalty for pornographers. The human suffering unleashed by pornography is so large it is beyond comprehension.)
Back to the task: fathers now have to begin tutoring early if they are not to be too late. By age 7 or 8 it is already urgent and assumes a good level of affection between father and son for this next phase to be successful.
The good father lets his boy know (despite his son not yet being interested in girls) that he wants him to end up as a great young man with a beautiful young wife who will be his companion and best friend for life. Even the father who has failed to achieve this for himself can lay this out for his son.
Gradually – and differently for each son – he leads him to understand the fundamental complementarity between male and female; that this complementarity between his mother and father brought him into existence and an even greater complementarity and unity between them is needed to raise him to be a great young man. The father reminds his son that he exists because he, his father, used his sexuality to bring him into existence. (This is a most powerful lesson each modern boy needs to hear from the lips of his father. Without this exchange a father is neglecting the growth of his son).
He lets his son know that his father, and he alone, is the one to guide him in learning about sexuality and that his son should take it from no one else unless his father says it is OK. He even goes so far as to teach his son how to demand this his right, in the classroom and any other place. He teaches his boy how to be a modern warrior — and gentleman — in these sexually hostile times.
The father holds up, repeatedly, the goal of the great woman to be won over – by his son being a great man. He teaches him that in this domain “like attracts like!” He cannot have a great woman without being a great man. It is impossible. (At the same time the boy’s mother is teaching a similar lesson to his sister).
The father teaches his son that along the way there are many traps and snares for every man; that there always has been and always will be. The first snare that modern boys confront is pornography — new, modern and powerful in its intrusiveness and alluringness (that is what makes it a snare). The father tells his son (at the appropriate time) how he combats his own temptations to look at pornography. He does it in a way that invites the son to lean on his father for help whenever that struggle is present – and it will be.
The father promises to protect him within the home and at school but tells him he has to learn how to protect himself when his father is not around. And he reminds him constantly that all this is for the sake of that wonderful girl he is going to win some day. The purer his heart the stronger it will be and the more easily she will sense it and be attracted by it. And he in turn will be able to recognize a woman with a similarly pure heart – ready to give it to the right man but only to the right man and only to one man!
Time for another revolution
Anybody with an ounce of sense will agree with the above. Anyone who does not is an enemy of children. Harsh? Yes — but true and fundamental to a just and peaceful society.
In all my years working with couples and families, with data and research, with evaluating programs and trying to figure out how best to help couples and families, I have concluded that nothing is more fundamental in the life cycle of individuals and nations than that the father be the one to induct a boy in sexuality. No one else. All else is fraud — dressed up no doubt, but fraud.
Given this, I think it is time for another Revolutionary War. This war is not fought with guns (though, if it is not won there will be a war with guns). It is the revolution by which fathers take back from everyone else, no matter who they are (teachers or clergy), the sexual education and formation of their boys.
We all love appropriate battle cries, such as New Hampshire’s “Live Free or Die”. The one every father needs close to his heart, and on his lips when need be, is, “Keep your hands off my son’s sex!”
If we get enough fathers taking “sex ed” (it really is sexual malformation) back out of the schools (public and private, denominational or secular) we can change America. If we don’t, we lose it.
Too simple? No, no matter the difficulty of doing it. I see nothing more foundational than this in the cycle of human existence, handed on from one generation to the next.
(By the way, this is the ultimate reform the Catholic Church needs to rectify its own sexual ethics for all vocations — for marriage, priesthood, religious celibacy or single lay life. It was the “program” proposed in plenty of time by Pope Pius XII back in the 1950’s. It is a pity of historical proportions that Catholic bishops and religious teaching orders did not take that to heart.)
May fathers take back the formation of their sons’ sexuality from everyone else! It belongs to no one else. If anyone wants to do any “sex ed” let them help fathers and mothers do it — and most of them will need help to do this well. But any other form of sex-ed is only adding to the problem. Proof? Just look around you.
It is already very late. It is time to start this New Revolution.
Pat Fagan is the director of the Marriage and Religion Research Initiative at The Catholic University of America. He is publisher and editor of Marripedia.org. Republished from the MARRI blog with permission.