February 16, 2012

THE NON-PROCREATIVE FUNCTIONS OF SEX: “If you’re interested in the stability of families, then you should also be a fan of non-procreative sex (which, let’s face it, is going to be a majority of sex any couple engages in, even if they’re choosing to forgo birth control). Women who have more sex are happier in their relationships. Sexual satisfaction outstrips even good communication in ratings of a couple’s happiness. Whether you have an active sex life is a strong predictor of your mental health and a lesser, but still significant, predictor of physical health. None of that has anything to do with babies. And it doesn’t really have anything to do with mere pleasure, which is what Santorum said sex is reduced to once the potential for kids has been stricken from the equation. Sexual satisfaction increases relationship satisfaction and couples who are more satisfied in their relationships are less likely to divorce.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with mere pleasure, as far as I’m concerned. Related thoughts here.

But note how the narrative in the press has shifted. The Obama Administration says that churches who oppose contraception still have to pay for it. And then, when people object, suddenly the talk shifts from who pays for contraception to whether someone wants to ban it.

It’s as if we passed a law requiring mosques to sell bacon and then, when people objected, responded by saying “What’s wrong with bacon? You’re trying to ban bacon!!!!”

I’m not much of a Santorum fan — to me, he seems like Mike Huckabee without the charm or political talent — but it’s hard not to notice the narrative jiu-jitsu here. Expect more effort to gin up social-issue hysteria in order to distract people from the real story, which is this:

Obama spent us into bankruptcy, most of the money went to cronies, and the job situation got worse. That’s the real story, not a question of who pays for birth control, which doesn’t cost that much anyway.

UPDATE: Clayton Cramer points out that Santorum has made the distinction clear:

“I was asked if I believed in it, and I said, ‘No, I’m a Catholic, and I don’t.’ I don’t want the government to fund it through Planned Parenthood, but that’s different than wanting to ban it; the idea I’m coming after your birth control is absurd. I was making a statement about my moral beliefs, but I won’t impose them on anyone else in this case. I don’t think the government should be involved in that. People are free to make their own decisions.’’

More thoughts from Clayton here. And if you’re interested, here’s my defense of the Griswold case against Robert Bork’s criticisms.