November 27, 2017

Ignorant NY Times Op-Ed Laments the ‘Brutality of the Male Libido’

Just three days after running a “Style” story celebrating the sexualizing of pre-pubescent boys lathered in makeup, a New York Times op-ed appeared which told readers that the “Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido,” i.e., another phrase describing “toxic masculinity,” is creating a “crisis.” Actually, it’s been examined and addressed by civilizations and cultures for centuries. The reason it’s a serious problem now is that modern culture has rejected many mechanisms once in place to keep it under control.

Saturday afternoon, perhaps frustrated that Stephen Marche’s Saturday column (appearing in Sunday’s print edition) wasn’t getting sufficient attention, the clickbait-hungry Times lifted and tweeted a sentence from it designed to outrage and inflame: “If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers”:


So the Times succeeded in getting my attention, though by employing National Enquirer-type tactics. Unfortunately, Marche’s rambling, pessimistic lamentations failed to deliver anything resembling a solution (bolds are mine throughout this post):

The Unexamined Brutality of the Male Libido

Through sheer bulk, the string of revelations about men from Bill Cosby to Roger Ailes to Harvey Weinstein to Louis C.K. to Al Franken and, this week, to Charlie Rose and John Lasseter, have forced men to confront what they hate to think about most: the nature of men in general. This time the accusations aren’t against some freak geography teacher, some frat running amok in a Southern college town. They’re against men of all different varieties, in different industries, with different sensibilities, bound together, solely, by the grotesquerie of their sexuality.

Men arrive at this moment of reckoning woefully unprepared. Most are shocked by the reality of women’s lived experience. Almost all are uninterested or unwilling to grapple with the problem at the heart of all this: the often ugly and dangerous nature of the male libido.

For most of history, we’ve taken for granted the implicit brutality of male sexuality.

… There is a line, obviously, between desire and realization, and some cross it and some don’t. But a line is there for every man. And until we collectively confront this reality, the post-Weinstein public discussion — where men and women go from here — will begin from a place of silence and dishonesty.

We’ll stop there for the moment, because Marche’s recounting of “history” begins in 1976 (except for a reference to a third-century theologian who is said to have castrated himself as a “solution”). The author predictably ignored the wisdom of and constraints imposed through the ages which successfully kept most men’s (and women’s) worst impulses in check and kept them from crossing the line. In other words, “this reality” was once effectively confronted; but modern mores, if one wants to even call them that, have rejected the mostly effective solutions which used to be in place.

The Judeo-Christian Ten Commandments, which have been around for over 3,400 years and which the elites now barely see as suggestions, certainly consider the male libido (and, of course, female sexual desire). Properly interpreted, they restrict virtuous sex to one-man, one-woman marriage while prohibiting adultery and any form of sexual harassment or assault. The cultures in societies which honor the Ten Commandments in their legal and other systems have instituted many practices designed to reduce temptation which are routinely ridiculed today. Just three of them include chivalrous behavior by men towards women, modest attire, and what has come to be known as “The Pence Rule.” There are, or I should say unfortunately in many cases were, similar constraints in other religions and cultures.

One of the more important prior-era constraints was the likelihood that engaging in sex outside of marriage would create an unwanted pregnancy which would have to be carried to term, and a resulting obligation to raise and support that child. Modern birth control and legal abortion have “solved” that problem at the cost of considerable personal and family happiness, as will be seen later.

But let’s get back to Marche’s madness:

Acknowledging the brutality of male libido is not, of course, some kind of excuse. Sigmund Freud recognized the id, and knew it as “a chaos, a caldron full of seething excitations.” But the point of Freud was not that boys will be boys. Rather the opposite: The idea of the Oedipus complex contained an implicit case for the requirements of strenuous repression: If you let boys be boys, they will murder their fathers and sleep with their mothers.

Leave it to Marche to cite a shrink whose work has been mostly discredited for at least 20 years.

Here is the author’s wrap:

If you want to be a civilized man, you have to consider what you are. Pretending to be something else, some fiction you would prefer to be, cannot help. It is not morality but culture — accepting our monstrosity, reckoning with it — that can save us. If anything can.

March seems not to realize it, but he’s saying what Judeo-Christianity has acknowledged for thousands of years: We are all sinners, we have to do all we can to keep our sinful impulses in check, and we need God’s and society’s help to do that.

There are married couples out there who cheerfully manage to keep their impulses in check. The most successful of them are those who practice Natural Family Planning.

NFP is “natural and moral … family planning that can help married couples either achieve or postpone pregnancies … based on the observation of the naturally occurring signs and symptoms of the fertile and infertile phases of a woman’s menstrual cycle.”

NFP has been so thoroughly ridiculed by secular society that the vast majority of people who are even aware of it believe that it is an outmoded and ineffective relic of a bygone era.

Hardly. The reality, based on a comprehensive 2011 study directed by Dr. Robert Lerner of the University of Chicago, is that NFP has plenty of practicing couples who happen to be remarkably happy, especially compared to the hordes of miserable people caught up in today’s “anything goes” culture the New York Times and so many other establishment press publications have encouraged:

… compared to other women in general and to Catholic women of similar age, NFP users:

- have a dramatically low (0.2%) divorce rate;

- experience happier marriages;

- are happier and more satisfied in their everyday lives;

- have considerably more marital relations;

- share a deeper intimacy with spouse than those who contracept;

- realize a deeper level of communication with spouse;

- have relatively large families with many children;

- are appreciably more religious and attend church more often;

- incorporate prayer more in their daily lives;

- rely strongly on the teachings of the Church, the Bible and Almighty God;

- are personally happier;

- have strong traditional, social, and moral views;

- preserve the family unit more responsibly than the other groups;

- are unlikely to have ever had an abortion;

- are unlikely to have ever cohabitated;

- are unlikely to work full time;

- are unlikely to be supportive of and to engage in sex outside of marriage.

Happiness is of course not limited to couples practicing NFP. But the survey results just described demonstrate that the “male libido” Marche so thoroughly decries can successfully be kept in check in time-honored ways he appears to not even recognize. I think we can all agree that those ways are more effective than sexualizing young boys with makeup.

Cross-posted, with possible revisions, at


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