A new study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior reveals that social conservatives truly don't live in the same decade, much less the same century, as the rest of us when it comes to the role of women in society. Think Progress reports:
They found that the people who believe that casual sex is wrong also tend to believe that women need a partner to support them financially. Within that worldview, sex outside of a serious monogamous relationship is simply too risky. If women don’t have “paternity certainty,” then how will they know who they need to rely on to support them and their future child?Of course, these social conservatives are also adamantly opposed to all of the things that have led to women's advancement in the past century: modern contraceptives, abortion rights and workplace equality. Are they opposed because they think they contribute to sexual promiscuity, because they challenge the male dominance or simply because they're inherently misogynistic? Probably all of the above. It's an interesting sociological question that has unfortunate, concrete political consequences.
The researchers conclude that this outdated attitude toward women’s pregnancy risks and financial needs hasn’t totally gone away, despite the fact that modern contraception, legal abortion rights, and greater workplace equality have created an entirely different society.
"The beliefs may persist due to cultural evolutionary adaptive lag, that is, because the environment has changed faster than the moral system," the paper concludes. "Religious and conservative moral systems may be anti-promiscuity because they themselves arose in environments where females depended heavily on male investment."
Five male justices of the Supreme Court are caught in this time warp, which in the case of women being able to make their own decisions about family planning means that the whole country is, too.