A favorite hobby of many people for the last few decades is to bemoan the moral decay of the younger generation. Like most topics that get a lot of people hot under the collar, this of course relates primarily to sex.
A lot of other moral issues get discussed; dishonesty, rudeness, the drug problem, and so forth. But talk to anyone who is concerned about moral decay and pretty soon they will start to focus on sex-related matters; the high teen pregnancy rate, abortion, single parenthood, and so on.
Not a lot is given as the cause for moral decay. Most so-called causes are either very nebulous or not easily definable. The closest that any commonly cited "reason" comes to being even somewhat concrete is the idea that moral decay is caused by "the media". Movies, television shows, popular novels, et cetera glorify nonmarital sex, which causes the younger generation (anyone more than twenty years younger than yourself) to act in a like manner.
I'm not about to say that "the media" are totally blameless, but it is true that they show what people want to see. Primarily, "the media" act as an amplifier of trends that are already present in society. Hence, they are rarely (if ever) the root cause of any problem. They may contribute to the severity of a problem, but they are not the cause.
So what can have caused the ongoing breakdown of moral values (specifically sexual mores) in contemporary American society?
I know the answer, but you might not like it. It's actually quite simple. It is caused by prudism.
Consider. For many years in this country adults have hidden their sexual nature from anyone and everyone, and most especially from children. We have succeeded so well in this endeavour that few people can imagine their own parents ever having "done it", often in spite of convincing evidence that not only did they "do it", they did it quite a lot. But parents hide all that from their children.
Did I hear an "Of course!" out there? It's actually quite uncommon, both across time and throughout the world. For good reason. It's an unhealthy trait. Consider some of the consequences:
We can make abortion illegal and also work harder at tracking down fathers and forcing them to marry the mother, or at least pay child support. I lump these together since people who are in favor of one are almost always in favor of the other. This is a classic Puritan ethic answer. By forcing people against their will to act in a moral manner, it makes almost everyone unhappy.
We can improve sexual education in the schools. This will accomplish nothing worthwhile. Even if you have a high level of confidence in the ability of our schools to teach a complex subject (which I do not), it still won't help, because the very people who oppose sex ed in schools are the very same people who are not going to provide it at home either. They will see to it that any school program is sabotaged such that their children will continue to grow up in ignorance.
As with most truly important issues, the real answer is not to be found in the waving of some government magic wand. We're not going to turn an entire society around in a day, or a year, or even a decade. It's enough to start in your own home and hearth. Like any true answer it is its own reward. Maybe you can't save all of society, but you can save your family, and rediscover your spouse in the process.
The answer for you, your marriage, and your family is obvious. Come out of the closet. Hug your spouse, nuzzle them and kiss them on the neck, even when the kids are around. Squeeze his ass, or stroke her tit. Hug, kiss, lie together on the couch watching TV, and if one thing leads to another, go for it! So what if the kids walk in? Just explain that you're doing things that mommies and daddies do. Not only will you make your own marriage worthwhile again, you'll be giving an object lesson in moral values.
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