Louise Perry, my new favorite feminist, is wrong about many things. But she is willing to say the things very few feminists today are willing to admit, and for that, she deserves credit. Namely, she breaks taboo and admits that “sex positivity” is actually a terrible idea. Additionally, she draws the forbidden, hastily-denied connection between “permissible” libertinism (casual sex, porn, etc.) and the darker side of sex (rape, sexual violence, etc.). And in making this connection, she insinuates that cracking down on the latter (which all feminists encourage) begins with cracking down on the former (which most feminists oppose).

Although not quite conservative, the author’s latest book, “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution,” sounds more like an ecclesiastical liberal arts dissertation than anything we’d expect from the pen of a self-professed feminist “campaigner against sexual violence.” Historically, of course, feminists have hypocritically (and illogically) held that the sexual revolution was a major milestone for women. Already, Perry has betrayed that she is breaking ranks.

Perry’s unorthodox—or, depending on one’s moral perspective, perhaps hyper-orthodox—book opens with a Mary Wollstonecraft quote about chastity of all things. She then lays out eight key arguments as shocking to the modern mind as “Sex Must Be Taken Seriously” (a.k.a. casual sex is bad), “Loveless Sex Is Not Empowering” (a.k.a. Cari B’s WAP is bad), and “Marriage Is Good.” Elsewhere, the author writes, “As a proud feminist, I still believe that marrying before starting a family is best for children AND for women….”

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“I know such a view — outdated in the eyes of many — will invite ridicule from predictable quarters for whom the institution of marriage may be more or less dead,” she admits, noting that, in 2021, more babies were born outside of marriage in England and Wales than to married couples. “Many feminists, for instance, regard marriage as oppressive to women, and are glad to see its decline.”

“But I take a different view,” she continues. “As a young married mother — and a feminist — I think marriage and civil partnerships serve to better protect both women and children, providing the best possible foundation for building a family.”

For those of us saturated in religious tradition, it may be hard to appreciate just how provocative Perry’s polemic is. To us, sex within the confines of a covenant union is normal, expected. It just makes sense. But we must remember that broader society’s only regulatory principles when it comes to sex are consent and hedonism. To suggest that it is good for a woman to settle down and have kids is outright offensive to our modern “sex positivity” apologists. The left would much rather destigmatize sex work for women than incentivize getting married.

But Perry takes a sledgehammer to that argument, too. For example, she bashes OnlyFans,—all the rage right now for women who want the illusion of being masters of their own exploitation—rightly calling it a “tech giant that feeds off male lechery and female naiveté.” When a former Disney child star joined the site in order to “remove the stigma behind… sex work,” Perry shot back: “The sex trade is not progressive, or edgy, or empowering.”

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What underlies the author’s surprisingly “prudish,” “moralistic” mores on these topics is an honest reckoning with the organic objectification of unchecked wantonness. Louise Perry’s common sense feminism necessitates that she oppose the female-harming, society-destroying effects of the sexual revolution. And anyone who has the best interest of women at heart will do the same.

The irony is that conservatives have been making these arguments to no avail for years. But now that a feminist has framed almost identical arguments, and from a feminist lens, society seems almost willing to listen. Let’s pray that it does.

For decades, feminists have defended “free love,” responsibility-free sex, and pornography as peak achievements of liberated society. But now that man’s libido has been unleashed, and women who (admirably) refuse to merchandise their bodies are contemptuously called prudes, their “achievements” are exposing themselves to be cruel mockers of women. It’s time for feminists to finally wonder, as Louise Perry asked, “Is this what liberation was supposed to look like?”

Those honest enough to answer in the negative just might discover that social conservatives weren’t so antiquated after all.

Jakob Fay is a staff writer for the Convention of States Project, a project of Citizens for Self-Governance. 

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