Friday, October 22, 2010

Is Casual Sex Destroying Empathy?

There is an interesting article by Susan Walsh on her dating advice site - Is Casual Sex Destroying Empathy?

A recurring theme in conversations about dating is the general lack of empathy between the sexes. Women feel that men just want to use and discard them, with little consideration of their emotional needs. Men feel that women focus on just a few alpha males, ignoring all the good guys who are relationship material. (The alpha males have no complaints.)
I’d never thought specifically about empathy vs. narcissism but it turns out they’re technical opposites. The Empathy Deficit, an article in last Sunday’s Boston Globe, explores the rise of narcissism in relation to the decline of empathy among college students. Keith O’Brien begins by pointing out that despite young people being more wired to one another than ever before, there’s a lack of emotional connectedness showing up in studies. We know more about one another than in any previous era, but we care less. A new study at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research found that college students are 40% less empathetic than they were 30 years ago, with most of the decline occurring in the last ten years. (emphasis mine)
And why is this? In short, the sexual market place being what it is, people are rewarded for their narcissism.

The contemporary narcissism epidemic is well documented. My Are You Dating a Narcissist? post is one of my most frequently read, and still receives comments after more than a year. I also get many hits on the 20 Identifiable Traits of a Female Narcissist post. And we know that male narcissists are often very successful with women – in a sexual marketplace that rewards narcissism without limits, it is hardly surprising that men would respond to those incentives by cultivating traits that women find sexually attractive.
Since the definition of hooking up means “having zero expectations of further contact,” there’s little incentive to know one’s sexual partner, and if we don’t know them, we can hardly be expected to have an emotional response to their distress....... Researchers don’t believe that college students have lost the capacity for caring. It’s more a case of the incentives rewarding not caring.
Narcissism is significant because it is the root cause of the entitlement complex our culture seems to have become caught up in, as well as a loss of empathy, and obsession with materialism and greed.

This is the real meaning of the verse, "Bridle your passions that you might be filled with love".


  1. Hey Zen, I've added you onto my blogroll and to my own Reader feed. I've really enjoyed what I've read of your blog and the comments you made over at Jr. Ganymede

  2. Thanks, MM. I appreciate it.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. I made a recent post along these lines on Intimacy and Leadership." I believe there is a strong connection between this and your earlier post about father's day and society's abuse of men in their leadership role.

    The successful marriage bedroom can be an analogy for successful relationships in general. But it's predicated on respect for men as good leaders (following God) and women as followers.

  4. Very nice post! I followed your name from a comment at and I find this post in line with what I want to accomplish, which is to pursuade anyone of the value of the Ten Commandments and of the Law Giver, Jesus Christ. Believe in him and life goes better because we do what is better for ourselves.

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