Brandon Davies: A Test Case for the Anti-Sexual Revolution

A conservative writer wants to turn back the clock--one university does just that

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A star basketball player for Brigham Young University was suspended for violating the school's honor code by having sex with his girlfriend. The suspension of Brandon Davies seems like harsh punishment for something millions of college students do every day, and it seriously jeopardizes the No. 3-ranked team's chances for a good post-season. But BYU is earning praise for sticking to its code, however unusual it might be. One person who should be especially happy is Kathryn Jean Lopez, who was roundly mocked last week for writing that she'd like to "turn back the clock" and start an anti-Sexual Revolution.

Responding to liberal assertion that conservatives want to go back to the days before women had so much control over when they have babies, Lopez says: Yep, pretty much. Lopez writes of watching a glamorous birth control pill TV commercial and noticing that it failed to "mention the pain and desperation many women suffer when they find themselves considering--or regretting--an abortion, or popping the Pill in pursuit of something that masks itself as happiness but is really just a bad substitute, oftentimes making true happiness all the more illusory."

So we could see her being pleased by the new BYU suspension. She might also be happy to know that the clock as inched backward a tiny little bit in one sense. People between the ages of 15 and 24 are having less sex than they used to. CDC researchers found that 72 percent of people in that age group have had some kind of sexual contact, down from 78 percent since 2002--a small but significant decline. It could be a matter of abstinence, AIDS fears instilled by Gen Xer parents, or that this is just a more conservative generation that is less interested in drugs and sex, the AP's Mike Stobbe reports. Or here's another possible explanation: Guys prefer the internet. "More than half of sexually experienced guys would rather give up sex for a month than give up going online for a month," according to a report on boys aged 15 to 18 by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

But despite our more celibate society, Lopez's revolutionary cry was not met with much enthusiasm. A bit of the backlash:

  • "If you’re one of the billions of women whose lives have been brightened, improved, or even saved by the availability of modern contraception techniques, you may be under the impression that having choices is a good thing. But here’s the National Review’s Kathryn Lopez, letting you know that the world was much better when women knew their place--barefoot, pregnant, and subservient to men," Charles Johnson writes at Little Green Footballs.
  • "It’s about women being able to enjoy sex without being made to feel like God hates them, which is, for all sorts of reasons that bother assholes, still a fucking revolutionary idea in the 21st century, who’d a-thunk it," Thers writes at FireDogLake.
  • "[T]he idea that people should not be free to use contraceptives in the privacy of their own relationships strikes me as being fundamentally out of touch with American liberty itself. ...  I’m not sure that this constitutes a 'war on women,' as some have said, but it surely is a war on freedom," Doug Mataconis writes at Outside the Beltway.
  • "Promiscuity will continue regardless of what the Republicans do, but if conservatives have their way the result will be turning back the clock to the day of coat-hanger abortions," Ron Chusid argues.

Lopez's strongest defender was Robert Stacy McCain, who thinks people have been so brainwashed with "the regime of 'sexual liberation' ... that critics of the Culture of Death are nowadays regarded as outlaws. To call sin by its proper name is to impugn activity that people have been indoctrinated to believe is their 'right.' ... We ought to applaud Kathryn Jean Lopez for having the courage to speak the truth on a subject where lies have so long held sway."

Maybe these changes mores McCain refers to, though, are why BYU was careful to make the Davies controversy about honor, not sex. As coach Dave Rose put it, "a lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it's a commitment they make. It's not about right or wrong. It's about commitment." The strategy appears to have worked, because ESPN's Pat Forde writes writes that though he would have hated undergrad at BYU--he liked booze and sex and coffee too much--"today I am impressed by the school's commitment to its rules, even at a potentially tremendous cost to its basketball team."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.