The recent parade of praise for The Pill wasn't unanimous. Surprisingly, Raquel Welch, one of the hottest sex symbols of the 1970s, confessed in a commentary on CNN.com that she's been married four times, but she believes that too many women are too willing to "hook up" casually, since contraceptives make it "safe" to play the field:
One significant, and enduring, effect of The Pill on female sexual attitudes during the 60's, was: "Now we can have sex anytime we want, without the consequences. Hallelujah, let's party!"
It remains this way. These days, nobody seems able to "keep it in their pants" or honor a commitment! Raising the question: Is marriage still a viable option? I'm ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.
In stark contrast, a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, "sexual freedom," has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner. Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.
As a result of the example set by their elders, by the 1990s teenage sexual promiscuity -- or hooking up -- with multiple partners had become a common occurrence. Many of my friends who were parents of teenagers sat in stunned silence several years ago when it came to light that oral sex had become a popular practice among adolescent girls in middle schools across the country.
The 13-year-old daughter of one such friend freely admitted to performing fellatio on several boys at school on a regular basis. "Aw come on, Mom. It's no big deal. Everyone is doing it," she said. Apparently, since it's not the act of intercourse, kids don't count it as sex. Can any sane person fail to make a judgment call about that?
Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it's precisely because of the sexy image I've had that it's important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We're capable of so much better.
Welch has a new memoir out called Raquel: Beyond the Cleavage.