Better a sexual revolution than no revolution at all as my old mate . . . who was it who used to say that? Anyway, not as bad as other kinds of revolutions would have been but we have been left with a sexual wilderness and little in the way of guidance to the young other than some version of “just do it”. We too were told to just do it too but we had been brought up to know that we shouldn’t so we didn’t. That was a restraint of sorts. Now this generation and probably the one before has had to make up their own rules of restraint. Since every boy is just about ready to do it at the drop of a hat, the discipline has to come from the girls. If they don’t provide it you can be sure the boys won’t.
So why bring this up? you ask. Well, there’s this article in The Mail Online with the title, “I’ve lived through the greatest revolution in sexual mores in our history. The damage it’s done appals me”. That’s my view exactly and you have to be something like our age even to be young enough to notice that things have changed since only those my age or older would have been there before the sexual wilderness we now find ourselves in. Adultery (what’s that?), sexual disease, abortion, divorce – misery enough to go around.
The truth is that the Sexual Revolution had the power to alter our way of life, but it could not alter our essential nature; it could not alter the reality of who and what we are as human beings.
It made nearly everyone feel that they were free, or free-er, than their parents had been — free to smoke pot, free to sleep around, free to pursue the passing dream of what felt, at the time, like overwhelming love — an emotion which very seldom lasts, and a word which is meaningless unless its definition includes commitment.
How easy it was to dismiss old-fashioned sexual morality as ‘suburban’, as a prison for the human soul. How easy it was to laugh at the ‘prudes’ who questioned the wisdom of what was happening in the Sexual Revolution.
About one-third of marriages in Britain end in divorce.
Yet, as the opinion poll shows, most of us feel at a very deep level that what will make us very happy is not romping with a succession of lovers.
In fact, it is having a long-lasting, stable relationship, having children, and maintaining, if possible, lifelong marriage.
But does he have a solution? No, not really. He thinks it will peter out as the next generations find a new equilibrium and work to maintain stability, peace and a happy home in its midst.
I have not conducted a scientific survey, but my impression, based on anecdotal evidence and the lives of the children of my contemporaries, is that they are far less badly behaved, and far more sensible, than we were.
My guess is that the backlash will be even greater in the wake of the whole Jimmy Savile affair, and in reaction against the miserable world which my generation has handed on to our children — with our confused sexual morality, and our broken homes.
Our generation, who started to grow up ‘between the end of the Chatterley ban and the Beatles first LP’ got it all so horribly wrong.
We ignored the obvious fact that moral conventions develop in human societies for a reason.
We may have thought it was ‘hypocritical’ to condemn any form of sexual behaviour, and we may have dismissed the undoubted happiness felt by married people as stuffy, repressed and old hat.
But we were wrong, wrong, wrong.
Two generations have grown up — comprising children of selfish grown-ups who put their own momentary emotional needs and impulses before family stability and the needs of their children.
However, I don’t think this behaviour can last much longer. The price we all pay for the fragmentation of society, caused by the break-up of so many homes, will surely lead to a massive rethink.
At least, let’s hope so.
Maybe. But I talk to enough of these young women to make me despair that anyone can convince them that when they get to fifty say they will want to have children around and when they get to around seventy what they will want around are their children, grandchildren and someone they have been married to for about forty years. But if they’re going to arrange that they had better do it in their thirties, and that is just the wrong time to tell so many of these people how to prepare for that bleak future that will be upon them soon enough.