In yesterday’s Sunday Telegraph (London) feminist journalist Marisa Bate discusses an alleged “sex recession” among young people. In her article, “No sex, please – we’re far too anxious”, she advances “hook up” outfits like Tinder and the prevalence of pornography as explanations.

Such developments are indeed relevant to this discussion, but if the rates of sexually transmitted diseases are anything to go by, somebody somewhere is “having sex” – although whether they are having a good time is another matter.

Her focus is solely on heterosexual relationships, as though everything else is a bed of roses without thorns. “Alternative sexualities”, which are overwhelmingly associated with “hooking up”, are anything but.

She also fails to ask what has happened to love; indeed, she does not even mention the word, the only allusions to it coming from Rowan Pelling, a Telegraph columnist and editor of The Erotic Review, but in the context of sex – “red-hot lovers”, “secret lovers”, “lovemaking”, etc.

Ms Bate refers to “chastity among millennials”. But there is a world of difference between freely embracing a life of sexual purity and the unwilling celibacy of the modern age, which seems to include pornography and onanism, a sexual relationship of one. This is hardly surprising, since it is the logical outcome of the modern religion of self, blared from every advertisement and taught in schools, where the emphasis is on sex rather than love.

When we treat children as sex customers who need to sign contracts in triplicate before they consent to an act to which by law they cannot give consent it is no wonder that they grow up into fearful and reluctant consumers, especially when the only consumer “goods” seem to be unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

Instead of teaching children that love might come after sex with strangers, perhaps we should start teaching them that love must come first; that sex thrives best in a committed relationship; and from that sex comes even more love in the shape of children.  

Amazingly, this approach is now considered controversial. Instead they are encouraged to treat others like sex objects and they wonder why they do not like it when they are treated in the same way. Love has been hijacked by sex, but now the hostage seems to have died.

Sex killed love, and now we are asking what killed sex, when quite clearly it has died because of the absence of the love on which it thrives.

Ann Farmer lives in the UK. She is the author of By Their Fruits: Eugenics, Population Control, and the Abortion Campaign (CUAP, 2008); The Language of Life: Christians Facing the Abortion Challenge (St Pauls, 1995), and Prophets & Priests: the Hidden Face of the Birth Control Movement (St Austin Press, 2002).