Culture at the Crossroads
The McDonaldization of Sex 2 (Sex and Christianity 11)
Third, we have "corporatized" sex by developing an unhealthy dependence on technology. There are implications of this dependence.
- The introduction of estrogen into the ecosystem has shown to have negative effects on fish species. There may be greater effects that have yet to be studied.
- According to the World Health Organization, in 2005, 10.4 billion condoms were used worldwide. With a significant number of those condoms being made of polyurethane, a non-biodegradable substance, there is an impact on landfill and the wider environment.
- No corporate product is free from the perennial problems of corruption and greed. The reality of condom recall suggests that hanging an entire public health program on a corporate product is unwise and dangerous.
- Corporate sales are driven by the manipulation of human desire. Condom manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies that produce contraceptive pills have a financial interest in promoting risky sexual behavior. Further, there are myriad industries that benefit from manipulating sexual desire to sell products, from beer to shampoo to cars to cosmetics. Corporations benefit from unhealthy sexual attitudes because those attitudes play on consumer anxiety.
Fourth, we have developed an imperialistic, colonial mentality about public health in the developing world, rooted in modern Western assumptions about sex. We assume that modern, technologized cultures will have more sex as they follow the pattern of secularization that has characterized Western modernity. We do not question whether secularization is necessary or even good. Nor do we challenge the assumption that women (or men) will benefit from the de-sacralization of sex.
Fifth, we've made sexual transactions cheap precisely because they are so abundant, and the losers are women. Analysis of demographic data from 117 countries has shown that when men outnumber women, women have the upper hand: Marriage rates rise and fewer children are born outside marriage. An oversupply of women, however, tends to lead to a more sexually permissive culture. (Source: Mark Regnerus) The bottom line is that when cultures empower women to control access to sex and move men towards marriage, the whole society benefits.
Tim Muldoon holds a Ph.D. in Catholic systematic theology and is an award-winning author and Catholic theologian of the new evangelization.