An unintended but interesting consequence of the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule Roe v. Wade has been a significant decrease in America’s “hookup” culture.

In the first year after the high court’s overturning of easy abortion access, 78% of surveyed singles indicated that the lack of federal abortion protections affected their sex and dating lives, according to the 13th annual study of 5,000 singles by Match Group, an internet and technology company that says it operates the largest number of global matchmaking platforms.

This year’s Match Group survey showed a marked increase, to 87%, in this change in sex and dating patterns. In fact, because of the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson in June 2022, 14% of those surveyed said they have less sex overall and decreased casual sex, while 1 in 10 chose to no longer engage in any sexual activity.  

Moreover, USA Today reported that sex therapists say that since the overruling of Roe v. Wade, anxiety over premarital and extramarital sex has soared, causing their clients to reconsider sex, dating, and relationships.

The Match Work study thus provides insight on how secularists have begun to realize that the sexual liberation and ease of abortion access since the 1970s created confusion about stable intimate relationships, an intimacy confusion that effectively disconnected intimate sexual behavior from emotional bonding.

The 1960s and 1970s witnessed an incredible liberalization of our culture’s sexual mores. This growth in sexual activity, caused in part by the ease of access to abortion, also had the effect of increasing sexually transmitted diseases. 

According to a 2003 study measuring abortion on demand’s effect on sexual behavior, “legalizing abortion provided extra incentives to engage in risky sexual behavior.”

The authors of the study reported the existence of a “causal relationship” between abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. They concluded that abortion laws introduced in the early 1970s “affected sexual behavior as measured by the proxy of STD incidences” and that legalized abortion led to an increase of “about one-fourth of the average disease incidence” as measured by the increase in cases of gonorrhea and syphilis.

Some states had legalized abortion in 1969 and 1970, and the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 provided a green light to such legislative action. Glamorized by the media and by celebrities, premarital and extramarital affairs no longer carried the stigma of social or moral opprobrium. 

The ubiquitous use of sex in advertising, movies, television, and fashion—sex as entertainment, as economic incentive, as a substitute for thought, for communication, for edification—gave public blessing to the unashamed use of sex as a crass commodity of self-gratification.  

Sexual gratification became valued more than physical and emotional well-being. The pursuit of the former generally led to the neglect of the latter.

The emergence of hookup culture (also referred to as “non-relationship sex,” “recreational sex,” “friends with benefits,” “no-strings-attached relationships,” “one-night stands,” and “sex without dating”) together with the right to abort a baby (thus obviating the fear of an unwanted pregnancy) led to widespread sexual activity uncoupled from relationships.

The existence of this phenomenon alone was likely sufficient to promote the acceptance of adultery and sexual promiscuity—not because they are right, but because they are viewed as “natural,” “normal,” and something everybody else does.

For those who still seek sex outside marriage since the overturning of Roe v. Wade, the Match Group survey reports that nonpenetrative sex is gaining in popularity among at least 10% of individuals surveyed. Moreover, 18% of those seeking sex outside marriage say they have become more adamant about using condoms.

Although it is interesting to consider how the overruling of Roe v Wade affects America’s sexual practices, the survey didn’t discuss an important factor: how traditional religious values affect sexual activity.

The Match Group study nevertheless sets forth figures concerning the importance of traditional families to a majority of singles surveyed. Fully 79% of this group (83% for Generation Z and millennials) say they believe they can experience life-long marriage. And 57% expressed a desire to have a spouse who wants to have children. 

Those who identify as observant in their faith generally marry younger than those who don’t, and a greater percentage of religious-minded than secular individuals maintain their celibacy before marriage.

The idea of marriage and families based on the universal and enduring values created by God thousands of years ago (Genesis 1:28, 2:18, 2:24) has been transmitted down through the generations by the Abrahamic faith traditions (also known as the Judeo-Christian worldview and the Noahide Laws). Religious believers hold the biblical view that marriage is the only appropriate vehicle to express one’s sexuality.

A recent Pew Research Report found that 80% of American adults said they believe that the role of religion in American life is shrinking. But the findings above reinforce the view that traditional religious family values are increasing marriage and romantic coupling while lessening our culture’s predominant narrative encouraging sexual liberation.

After all, the same Pew study indicated that a majority of those surveyed (57%) said they believe that the influence of religion within our culture is a “good thing.” 

Although social trends affecting sexuality may change, in part because of the legality of abortion on demand, our religious brethren remain steadfast about disciplining and channeling sexual impulses. These traditional religious values encourage healthy, committed relationships that in turn strengthen and encourage robust families, an essential and basic principle underlying Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

A person’s body and soul are not possessions to abuse, harm, or destroy. Leviticus 19:1 commands us to “be holy,” a directive that carries strong ethical and moral implications for humanity as we strive to imitate God.

By participating in hookup culture, we effectively defile the divine presence within us. Unmoored from a committed and loving marital relationship, sex, dating, and relationships are dramatically affected.

An unchecked sex drive and unfettered access to abortion harm both the individual and the society in which he or she lives.   

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