During the pedophilia scandals within the Catholic Church, serious experts and peddlers of pop psychoanalysis alike claimed that the fault lay with Christian sexual ethics. Without healthy outlets for their libidos, the argument went, priests directed their passions toward children. Thus, a report published this summer by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology described the perpetrators as “psychosexually immature, psychosexually maldeveloped, sexually deprived, and deeply frustrated.” In light of the recent scandals emerging from Hollywood, Naomi Schaefer Riley argues that these explanations can no longer be taken seriously:
[Can it be that] leading male actors are “sexually deprived?” . . . It is probably true that both the church and Hollywood had developed a “culture of secrecy,” but that seems to be where the similarities end. In [Hollywood] it seems that the ready availability of sex everywhere, the oversexualization of the culture, and the blurring of lines between children and adults—thanks, Roman Polanski—all seem to have contributed to the rampant abuse.
Indeed, the same seems to be true at prep schools . . . that have recently revealed widespread sexual abuse, much of which occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. These schools would not have been restrictive environments in the same ways as the church. For places in the middle of New York City, it would have been quite easy for male teachers to find women their own age. . . . Even where the student body was single-sex, the faculty was generally co-ed.
What distinguished these schools was not repression but a widespread atmosphere of sexual openness, including openness to sex with those who were underage. This is a culture that infected both religious schools and secular ones for decades. But while most of the culture has grown increasingly repulsed by these actions, Hollywood continues to exist in its own moral universe.