Once hailed as the female sex symbol Playboy deemed the “Most Desired Woman” of the 1970s, actress Raquel Welch has now taken a more critical look at the contraceptive revolution during which she shot to stardom. In a recent column for CNN, Welch rejoices in the experience of pregnancy, and laments the havoc that the free-sex ethos has wreaked on marriage and family life.
Welch opens her column by noting that, after Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger opened America’s first “family-planning clinic” in 1916,” “nothing would be the same again.”
“Since then the growing proliferation of birth control methods has had an awesome effect on both sexes and led to a sea change in moral values,” she wrote. “And as I’ve grown older over the past five decades — from 1960 to 2010 — and lived through this revolutionary period in female sexuality, I’ve seen how it has altered American society — for better or worse.”
Welch counters the notion that career-minded women must avoid pregnancy at all cost, reflecting favorably on her decision to keep her children – and crediting the pregnancy experience for helping her “realize that this process was not about me.” “I was just a spectator to the metamorphosis that was happening inside my womb so that another life could be born. It came down to an act of self-sacrifice, especially for me, as a woman.”
While Welch praises the pill for allowing women to delay childbearing until after establishing a career, she criticizes its separation of sex from its natural consequence – the responsibility of childbearing.
“These days, nobody seems able to ‘keep it in their pants’ or honor a commitment!” Welch laments – which, as she points out, has led some to question whether marriage is still a “viable option.”
In response, says the former Playboy covergirl: “I’m ashamed to admit that I myself have been married four times, and yet I still feel that it is the cornerstone of civilization, an essential institution that stabilizes society, provides a sanctuary for children and saves us from anarchy.
“In stark contrast, a lack of sexual inhibitions, or as some call it, ‘sexual freedom,’ has taken the caution and discernment out of choosing a sexual partner, which used to be the equivalent of choosing a life partner,” she continues. “Without a commitment, the trust and loyalty between couples of childbearing age is missing, and obviously leads to incidents of infidelity. No one seems immune.”
Welch describes the horror of her fellow members of the free-sex generation who, now parents themselves, realized the consequences that the contraceptive culture had brought upon the next generation – including rampant oral sex among middle-school-aged children. “The 13-year-old daughter of one such friend freely admitted to performing fellatio on several boys at school on a regular basis,” she recounted. “‘Aw come on, Mom. It’s no big deal. Everyone is doing it,’ she said.”
Welch concludes: “Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it’s gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it’s precisely because of the sexy image I’ve had that it’s important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We’re capable of so much better.”