Conservatives seem to be ignoring or dismissing the fundamental and apparently somewhat persuasive “pleasure argument” made by sexual egoists to women about sex and contraception.
The egoists tell women that vanity, independence from men, and sensual pleasure and self-indulgence are the sources of happiness rather than love, sexual joy, commitment, and lifelong marriage to a truly loving husband at their service. Therefore, they celebrate and worship contraception, which “empowers” women to get a lot more sex and a lot more physical sexual pleasure than ever before without the “burdens” of men, marriage, and/or children. The egoists want women to have the same qualities as the worst kind of lustful men.
Conservatives often seem to assume that women don’t fall for this, assuming that women are less attracted to sexual self-indulgence than men. But many women, including many young liberal and libertarian women, have accepted that logic and those values. Increased pornography use among women is also indicative of this problem.
At the very extreme, some conservatives seem to forget that women can get just as much physical and emotional pleasure from sexual activity as men, if not more so.
The image of very lustful and vain women is indeed very repulsive to the conservative mind (as is lustful and prideful men), but it’s an image of reality in a great many women and needs to be recognized and confronted. (Though of course, it is more important to recognize and confront it in men, who typically initiate sexual behavior.)
So today, conservatives unfortunately have to re-establish the fundamentals, especially those about happiness. They have to argue the case that love brings real, lasting happiness and is better than use, than mere self-indulgence in vanity and pleasure. We should not assume that women today understand this truth better than men and embrace it more often and more strongly than men.
As a whole, women’s values and demands regarding sex have changed over time. Many women are not demanding marriage, commitment, and love anymore; they are satisfied with vanity, pleasure, and independence and reject commitment and responsibility.
If one wants to be harsh and cynical, one could say that women’s values (like men’s) haven’t changed at all, that women (in their fallen nature) have always desired vanity, pleasure, and independence rather than commitment and responsibility, and that contraception has merely lowered the personal cost to women of pursuing those egoist values. Before contraception, the costs were just too high. A woman may have wanted to indulge in sexual pleasure and vanity (in or outside of marriage), but she knew the consequences were more children and the sacrifices necessary to care for them.