Actress and seventies sex symbol Raquel Welch, 69, once voted Playboy’s ‘most desirable woman of the 70s’ has blamed the decline in marriage on the invention of the contraceptive pill, which she says led to a breakdown in norms of sexual morality and fuelled the growth of rampant promiscuity. And she should know, having a trio of divorces under her belt, and a teenage pregnancy.
‘These days nobody seems able to keep it in their pants or honour a commitment,’ said Raquel in an article for CNN, ‘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. 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.’
Although Raquel recognised there’s a plus side to the pill - ‘It made it easier for a woman to choose to delay having children until after she established herself in a career’ – she says the bad outweighs the good as contraception has made marriage less of a ‘viable option’ because couples can now have sex ‘without any consequences’.
It’s a bit rich for Raquel to be preaching about sexual morality, when her most famous movie still, for One Million Year B.C, shows her clad in just a slither of loin cloth. But Raquel says she’s learnt from her mistakes. She got pregnant at 19 and, even though she was married to her first husband Jim Welch, it wasn’t planned. ‘I wasn't prepared for this development,’ she said, ‘It meant I would have to put my career ambitions on hold... It came down to an act of self-sacrifice, especially for me, as a woman.’ So it’s do as I say, not as I do?
‘Seriously folks; if an ageing 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.’
Grazia readers, do you agree the pill put paid to the institution of marriage? And does Raquel’s relationship track record give her more credibility on the topic or less?
By Amy Molloy