Before jumping into the tough topic of modesty, I want to set the stage in a sociological manner. Let’s consider romance in any culture, be it Catholic or pagan. It is universally accepted in every culture’s romance that the person least-invested in the relationship is the one with the most control. Imagine two 20 year olds approaching engagement in any civilized country today or two hundred years ago. It is always the one who is least “in-love” who controls the advance of this relationshiop. The one most in-love (be it the man or the woman) wants to get married. The lover less “in-love” maintains the veto power in moving forward, meaning this person actually has more power in the relationship, despite (because!) of the lessened emotions encountering the other. This is as true for those who maintain their virginity in engagement as much as for those who had sex on their first date.
The only exception to the above conclusions would probably be those marriages created in distress or those marriages where one of the spouses finally despaired of finding a “better” spouse and simply had “to settle” for someone. In fact, this minor power-struggle is true even in non-sexual, platonic friendships of the same-gender: The person who is more “cool” is usually the one who comes up with excuses not to spend so time with the more “geeky” or needy person…at least until the latter gets tired of being a puppy-dog in the relationship, and takes off. But it is generally accepted that the least-invested person has more control.
Now, lets bring this to the sexual level, but not the level of modesty, yet. Barring rape, women have had most of the sexual control in any heterosexual relationship in any civilized country a hundred years ago on any continent. This is because of their lower libidos. This is not true all the time, but in my experience as a priest giving spiritual direction to individuals and couples, this is true 95% of the time. The 5% of the exceptions of women with extremely high libidos often struggle with compulsive sexual behaviors, secondary to sexual abuse in their childhood. But barring rape, it is the woman who is the gatekeeper of sexuality in most relationships in all civilized cultures, and even true in most pagan cultures that reject rape at (at-least!) the legal level. Her lessened libido means heightened self-control and subsquently a reduced investment in the physical side of intimacy. (I realize that many people want their priests to avoid all generalizations because of the rare cases in life, but hard cases neither make good law nor good spiritual direction from priests, so I’m going to give advice on 95% of how the world works here.)
Because woman is less sexually-invested, she has more control of men in the sexual realms. But this is a two-edged sword: Because man is less emotionally-invested, he is subsequently more in control of women in the emotional realm, especially when he wants something (read: sex.) Yes, there’s occasionally some exceptions to the above two sentences, but of the hundreds or thousands of relationships I’ve watched grow or fail as a priest, I would say this is true in 97% of all relationships. Let me write it again: Because man is less emotionally-invested, he is more in control of women in emotions. Because woman is less sexually-invested, she has more control of men in sexuality. This is true in sinful fornicating relationships as well as (to a lesser degree) healthy Catholic marriages.
Now, if you don’t grant me the above premises, you can stop reading now. But if you grant me all the above premises, then this conclusion is true: Every civilized Catholic culture in history automatically gave women more power than men in the sexual realm. I realize how different that is from what we heard in our University history courses. But much of my life is a rewiring of my brain that imbibed false history. I’m not saying that Catholic men in the 19th century never raped Catholic women. But barring rape, women have had most of the power in the sexual realm, precisely because of man’s more severe difficulty in controlling himself. (Many feminist departments have happily flaunted this fact!)
However, pornography and the oral contraceptive have completely changed this. Pornography has allowed man to have virtual sex on demand with any woman or girl he wants at any time. (And yes, there are interpersonal effects of this. Just study how many porn stars were once sex-slaves, often taken as young as 13 years old at the beginning of their enslavement, in even first world countries.) Furthermore, the Pill has been made for man’s sexual advance, not woman’s. Think about it: The man can now have unchecked sex with any woman he wants with no responsibility of pregnancy. One hundred years ago, he had to answer for his towering libido with the weight of whether fornication was worth it or not. But now the Pill allows man to sleep with any woman he wants with no consideration of consequences. (Ever googled how many STDs women can get than man can not get? It’s not pretty, and the Pill doesn’t stop any of them.) Man has all the sexual power now, because “the Pill” has made a nation of blow-up dolls who need only be manipulated emotionally to get them to bed. (Cows require more flirting from bulls than the average woman on the Pill in a bar, and it’s not because of her libido, for that is tanked by the Pill itself at the pharmacological level. It’s because of the emotions of desperation that come from a pro-man sexual world that is new since the sexual-revolution.)
Yes, Western nations have tipped the culture to accomodate to man’s sex addictions as much any Muslim country, but in a different way. Sadly, Western men have tricked Western women into thinking that they have more control than their Eastern counterparts found walking in a burqa through Saudi Arabia. But porn is illegal in Saudi Arabia. In the West, porn and the Pill have made it just as much a man’s world of sexuality as those Muslim countries, but in a way that has equally tricked women into thinking they are in control. (I consider Islam to be literallly a Satanic religion because of how it treats women and allows for rape of girls, so I’m not promoting Islam. I say “equally” because I am always amazed at the brainwashing of the Muslim women in burqas who on get on YouTube defending Islam as a religion that does not trash women… But let’s admit it: This is as insane as Western educators who say “the Pill” does not trash women, too.)
Now we get to modesty. If you will grant me the above premises of sexual and emotional control for women and men respectively in the West, then my conclusion on modesty is obvious: The last sexual frontier for a woman in the West to re-gain control over a sex-obsessed culture is her own modesty. Immodesty is not her control over man, like women are taught in every commercial and every mall. Even those legs are for man’s delight. Rather, modesty-alone will return to the gender having more self-control (women) the necessary power of sexuality usurped by men via porn and birth control.
For now, all you need to see is that this conclusion will serve as our future premise: Total modesty is the only way left for an individual woman in the West to regain control of her own sexuality and add control to an out-of-control-culture’s sexism favoring men.