Women, Sexual Asymmetry & Catholic Teaching

Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press)

35 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2012 Last revised: 17 Apr 2023

See all articles by Erika Bachiochi

Erika Bachiochi

Ethics and Public Policy Center; Abigail Adams Institute

Date Written: August 2013


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.

Keywords: sexual equality, feminism, abortion, contraception, Catholic

Suggested Citation

Bachiochi, Erika, Women, Sexual Asymmetry & Catholic Teaching (August 2013). Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2175332

Erika Bachiochi (Contact Author)

Ethics and Public Policy Center; Abigail Adams Institute ( email )


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