‘Everybody’s Doing It’

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‘Everybody’s Doing It’

Sex and the dangers of relativism
From the January 2005 Trumpet Print Edition

“But everybody’s doing it!” Seems every kid uses this rationale at some point. As we mature, the idea of following the crowd seems less dignified—but still, it does exert a pull. Human nature wants to belong. That’s surely why God felt the need to give Israel the law recorded in Exodus 23:2: “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil ….” Truth is, everybody doing it can never make a wrong thing right.

In the early 20th century, Americans generally kept quiet about sex. An Indiana University professor named Alfred Kinsey helped change that. His exposé in 1948 called Sexual Behavior in the Human Male sent shock waves through the country and landed Kinsey on the cover of nearly every major magazine in America. Based on interviews with 5,300 men, the book purported to reveal vast discrepancies between public attitudes toward sex and private sexual behavior—submitting, for example, that more than half of men (in some areas, much more) engaged in fornication, adultery, experience with prostitutes, homosexual conduct and other widely frowned-upon perversions. A counterpart volume, released five years later, contained comparable revelations about female sexuality.

Essentially these reports shattered the notion of “normal” sexual behavior. Mr. Kinsey, in fact, came to believe that there were “only three kinds of sexual abnormalities: abstinence, celibacy and delayed marriage” (Jonathan Gathorne-Hardy, Kinsey: Sex the Measure of All Things).

Ignored by Kinsey’s followers—who exist to this day—are the outrageous flaws in his scientific methods. His interview process skewed his samples wildly in favor of single, divorced, “college level,” and homosexual individuals, as well as prostitutes (male and female), prison inmates and sex offenders of the worst types—hardly representative of the public at large. Far worse, some of his data regarding sexuality in children, of all things, was collected by pedophiles whom Kinsey referred to as “partners” and “scientifically trained observers.”

The professor’s biographers have exposed the ugly facts regarding his deviant personal life: a history back to his youth marred by increasingly twisted curiosities and unspeakable perversions. Mr. Kinsey was hardly the judicious, dispassionate collector of raw data many have made him out to be. As Daniel J. Flynn wrote in his book Intellectual Morons, “The Kinsey Reports weren’t a mirror of society held up to its face. They were a reflection of its chief author. The Kinsey Reports were Alfred Kinsey’s pathologies writ large upon America.”

Kinsey’s basic philosophy regarding sex is fitly represented in the statement he is reported to have made, “Everybody’s sin is nobody’s sin. And everybody’s crime is no crime at all.” For millions of Americans mid-20th century, this candid and nonjudgmental approach was a welcome relief. It hastened the demise of many taboos and helped kick-start the sexual revolution. Having the blessing of “science” and the erroneous understanding that, after all, “everybody’s doing it” provided comfort to hordes of people as they ventured into various sins and crimes.

We see a similarly destructive dynamic at work within today’s entertainment. Television and movies portray a horribly distorted and decidedly unhealthy picture of sexuality. In addition to its prevalence—with over 65,000 references to sexual behavior on American tv each year—broadcast sex is unrealistic: It happens five times more often between unmarried couples than between married; the second most commonly depicted sexual experience is with prostitutes; homosexuality is pervasive; consequences of sex such as pregnancy, disease, and disrupted relationships are almost never shown.

Young people in particular are getting the message: It must be okay, since everybody’s doing it. A rand Corporation study published in September showed that teens who watch a lot of tv with sexual content (even innuendo) are twice as likely to have sex in the following year as those who watch little such content.

In post-Kinseyan America, consulting the multitude to define right and wrong is standard practice. One example: Pornography is generally protected as free speech; it violates the law only if a jury believes that “the average person, applying contemporary community standards,” would find it obscene (Black’s Law Dictionary). Obviously these “standards,” such as they are, can shift with the tide.

Alfred Kinsey is still viewed in many circles as having helped society emerge from the darkness of repressive sexual ignorance; his fraudulent work is regularly cited and drawn upon in modern sex education programs, academic papers and law journals. However, an honest look of the fruits of Kinsey’s approach shows that the moral relativism he espoused has created problems far worse than those it professed to solve.

In his masterful book The Missing Dimension in Sex, educator Herbert W. Armstrong acknowledged the pre-Kinseyan lack of sexual knowledge and the harm it caused. “But,” he wrote, “the modern diffusion of biological sex knowledge and the permissive sexual freedoms of the ‘New Morality’ have plunged the Western world from the frying pan into the fire.” Mr. Armstrong rightly linked the increase in public acceptance of sexuality and relaxation of morals with the increase in divorce and the disintegration of family and home life. These realities too must be recognized as being part of Kinsey’s legacy.

The truth is, everybody’s doing it is the basis only for compromise. It is not the basis for a morality that can anchor our lives. Right and wrong are absolute and unchanging—determined solely by the one true Lawgiver. To learn about God’s absolute standards regarding sex, which alone can guide us toward a rich and fulfilling sex life, request your free copy of The Missing Dimension in Sex.