The End of Courtship

The End of Courtship

For me, sex education started when I was about 8 years old.
Playground comments, discussions with my mother and classroom
lessons at school contributed to my learning. As I got older, I
found it lacking. I felt that more openness about contraception and
safe sex practices would lend itself to a healthier society.

Leon R. Kass, a professor of anthropology at the University of
Chicago, has a somewhat different view. Writing in the conservative
journal The Public Interest, Kass says, ‘True sex
education is an education of the heart; it concerns itself with
beautiful and worthy beloveds, with elevating transports of the
soul. The energy of sexual desire, if properly sublimated, is
transformable into genuine and lofty longings–not only for love
and romance but for all the other higher human yearnings.’

However, Kass argues, when it comes to love and sex, many young
people today are nervous predators and anxious trophy hunters. He
laments the high divorce rate, attributing it to a lack of
courtship rituals, the sexual revolution, and increased sex
education. And he laments the lack of time and energy spent on
remedying marital failure.

Kass writes that society needs a different kind of revolution.
‘Real reform,’ he suggests, ‘would require a restoration of
cultural gravity about sex, marriage, and the life cycle. The
restigmatization of illegitimacy and promiscuity would help.’
Meanwhile, he sees the growing numbers of people who steadfastly
refuse to marry as an ironic sign of hope, in that they acknowledge
they are too ‘immature, irresponsible, and cowardly’ to
–Sara V.
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