When everything is sexualized and virtually every woman is subject to the potential “ask,” scandals like those that rocked Hollywood, Fox News, and — yes — the Trump campaign become inevitable. And they’re replicated countless times on a smaller scale in schools and workplaces across the land. Desire is elevated over fidelity and certainly over propriety, so bosses bully, spouses stray, hearts break, and families fracture.
It virtually goes without saying that the sex drive is incredibly powerful. Sex is also a remarkably intimate act that often has a profound emotional impact. An ethic that indulges that drive while also denying the emotional significance of sex will inevitably wreck lives. The wise person understands that desire — even mutual desire — can be dangerous. How many happily married men and women look back on the momentary temptations of the past and wish they’d indulged? How many are grateful that they had the self-discipline and moral character to refuse to do what — at that moment — they wanted to do?