Women, Sexual Asymmetry & Catholic Teaching
Ethics and Public Policy Center
November 13, 2012
Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press), Forthcoming
Women and men are biologically and reproductively dissimilar. This sexual distinctiveness gives rise to a “sexual asymmetry” -- the fundamental reality that the potential consequences of sexual intercourse are far more immediate and serious for women than for men. Advocates of contraception and abortion have sought to cure sexual asymmetry by decoupling sex from procreation, relieving women from the consequences of sex, and thus equalizing the sexual experiences of men and women. But efforts to suppress or reject biological difference have not relieved women of the consequences of sex and the vulnerabilities of pregnancy, even as they have further relieved men. With reference to trends in sexual economics, I argue in this paper that secular feminist responses to biological difference have actually served to exacerbate sexual asymmetry. I then conclude by showing how Catholic teaching on abortion, sex, marriage -- and even contraception -- provides an authentically pro-woman cultural response.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 35
Keywords: sexual equality, feminism, abortion, contraception, Catholic
Date posted: November 14, 2012 ; Last revised: March 25, 2013