Sunday 1 October 2023

How is the sexual revolution working out for you?


For most of human history sex was carefully regulated. It might be argued that this was because of religion making moral demands on people, but it was more the other way round. People developed ideas about marriage and sex because of the nature of men and women and then developed ideas such as the prohibition on premarital sex, monogamy and divorce in order to protect women from having children on their own and in order to keep families together.

For really the first time in human history starting in the 1960s large numbers of people began to view the rules regarding sex as outmoded. Of course, there had always been some people who had broken the rules, but this was when it began to become commonplace. Premarital sex was too risky prior to that for most women so they made marriage a condition. The pill meant this condition no longer applied.

The sexual revolution started slowly. There was some free love in the 1960s, but most people still had relatively few sexual partners. When I was in secondary school in the 1980s the girls still dressed conservatively. Relationships with boys involved kissing and fumbling but usually not much else. At university it was normal to sleep with your boyfriend, but this would usually happen after a few weeks of getting to know him as part of a relationship. There might have been a few such relationships before marriage, but I didn’t know anyone who had sex with more than a handful of men.

Something has changed in the years since, and it has to do with the ease of meeting people. Until the Internet the number of potential partners was relatively limited. You could meet through friends or in the pub or some shared activity or class, but if you broke up one relationship it might not be straightforward to start another one. The number of people you could reasonably expect to meet was quite small.

But with the invention of dating aps the number of potential partners has become unlimited. This has radically changed sexual culture in a new sexual revolution undreamed of in the 1960s.

Sex has been divorced from procreation and has become instead recreation. While previously sex took place within marriage or at least in the context of a loving relationship it now frequently takes place between strangers.

Christianity has largely been rejected in Britain and with it Christian morality. It is impossible to argue that teenagers should wait until marriage, because most British people have already had sex before they are eighteen. Huge numbers don’t even wait until they are sixteen.

We live in a free society and people should be free to sleep with who they please so long as both consent and the relationship is legal. If sex is your recreation instead of playing monopoly, then that is and ought to be your choice.

But recent events show that as a society we are not happy with the present situation, but having ditched Christian morality we have nothing else to replace it with. 

Christianity provided us with an objective standard of morality. It wasn’t a matter of pick and choose, nor was it a matter of recreation. I can understand the desire to reject it. But the replacement is an essentially subjective morality backed by laws that were created when most people adhered to an objective morality. It is this that is creating contradictions, chaos, unhappiness and a deterioration of the relationship between men and women.

The nature of men and women has not changed, because it is due to biology. Men tend to chase after sexual partners and some men like to have large numbers of them. Women tend to be more interested in finding one permanent partner with whom they can have a family.

Women in particular are badly served by the modern sexual revolution. A man will meet someone online and will expect sex almost immediately. If the woman wants to wait, he will just find someone else. Women feel compelled to comply with a promiscuous male lifestyle because that is the only lifestyle on offer. While previous generations of women could compel men to wait until marriage, because men couldn’t easily find a woman who would give them premarital sex, now it is men who compel premarital sex because if one woman won’t give it another is just a swipe away.

But once you have promiscuity, multiple partners and sex as recreation, why get married at all? Why would a man choose one woman when he can have hundreds even thousands?

Meanwhile women who want children find it very difficult in their twenties or even thirties to find a man who faced with infinite choice available at a swipe is willing to commit only to her. Even if she finds him the likelihood of them staying together is small.

The original purpose of marriage was to make men stay with the woman who gave him children, but we have undermined this purpose firstly by making sex recreation, secondly by making marriage available to those who by definition can’t have children and thirdly by making divorce so easy, cheap and quick to obtain that it has ceased to have any meaning.

I think this is the root of the present hostility that so frequently arises between men and women. Feminists often view men with contempt as moral degenerates who are just interested in sex. Men respond like Laurence Fox recently with insults, vulgar language and a cheapening of the meaning of sexual relations.

How is the sexual revolution working out for you? Behaviour that was unimaginable prior to the 1960s where one man admits to sleeping with thousands of women also requires the previously unimaginable that thousands of women were willing to sleep with him.

But the problem is that when we have completely ditched sexual morality, we only have the law to rely on and the law is always going to have difficulty in proving one way or another what happened on each of those thousands of occasions.

Promiscuity combined with sex with strangers often with the addition of drug use and drunkenness is if multiplied thousands of times bound to lead to confusion, different memories of what occurred and lack of clarity regarding who said what and when at least sometimes.

The problem with the modern sexual revolution is that neither men nor women get what they really want. Promiscuity simply makes sex meaningless both for men and for women. It leads to unhappiness and the breakdown of relationships. Men may think they are in paradise sleeping with a different woman every day, but they are really in despair. Women miss the chance of having children and feel used and abused by men who only care about their bodies. Each miss out on the only thing that matters. Love.

The truth is that men and women have become enemies each working against the other’s real interest. A monogamous stable relationship with sex leading to children is infinitely superior to what is on offer today. It brought lasting happiness to men and women for centuries. Unfortunately, it is just this that we had until the sexual revolution. There is no obvious way of getting it back again.

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