07 January 2013

The sexual revolution: a change of mind

Andrew Norman Wilson, better known by his initials, A. N. Wilson, is an on-again, off-again atheist who has written books on C. S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, the Victorians, and many other subjects. At the beginning of a new year, the Daily Mail has published Wilson’s retrospective on the sexual revolution half a century after its inauguration: I’ve lived through the greatest revolution in sexual mores in our history. The damage it’s done appals me. Although the less-than-snappy title tells it all, the entire piece is worth reading, as can be judged from this excerpt:
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. 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.

Wilson cites statistics concerning abortion, sexually-transmitted diseases and divorce to bolster his case, none of which will come as a surprise to most of us. What is surprising is that a prominent newspaper in postchristian Great Britain has chosen to publish this piece, and that the readers’ comments are as positive as they are. I find this moderately encouraging as we head into 2013.

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