If there is one thing of which modern man is utterly convinced, it is that he has reached a state of sexual enlightenment. Gone forever are the days of unhealthy concealment, of absurd Victorian taboos that led to the application of cruel and cumbersome devices to children to prevent masturbation, to prudish circumlocutions about sexual matters, to the covering of piano legs to preserve the purity of the thoughts of men in the drawing room. We are at ease with our sexuality, and the poet Philip Larkin's famous ironic lines "Sexual intercourse began in nineteen sixty-three" express for us an important truth: that for the first time in history we can now enjoy sexual relations without any of the unnecessary social and psychological accretions of the past that so complicated and diminished life. No more guilt, shame, jealousy, anxiety, frustration, hypocrisy, and confusion. Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I'm free at last!
Yet, enlightened as we believe ourselves to be, a golden age of contentment has not dawned--very far from it. Relations between the sexes are as fraught as ever they were. The sexual revolution has not yielded peace of mind but confusion, contradiction, and conflict. There is certainty about nothing except the rightness, inevitability, and irrevocability of the path we have gone down.
Read the complete article at the City Journal website.