Author Theodore Dalrymple, a British doctor serving in an inner-city hospital, writes of the cultural revolutions of the last decades of the twentieth century in Our Culture, What’s Left of It [Ivan R. Dee, 2005]. Addressing the sexual revolution, Dalrymple offers insights worthy of careful attention:
They were all utopians, lacking understanding of the realities of human nature; they all thought that sexual relations could be brought to the pitch of perfection either by diversing them of moral judgment that traditionally attached to them; all believed that human unhappiness was solely the product of laws, customs, and taboos. They were not the kind of people to take seriously Edmund Burke’s lapidary warning that “it is ordained in the eternal constitution of things that men of intemperate minds cannot be free”: on the contrary, just as appetites often grow with the feeding, so the demands of the revolutionaries escalated whenever the last demand was met. When the expected happiness failed to emerge, the analysis of the problem and the proposed solution were always the same: more license, less self-control. By 1994, John Money, perhaps the most influential academic sexologist of the last third of the twentieth century, was still able to write in all seriousness that we live in an anti-sexual and taboo-ridden society. Get rid of the remaining taboos, he implied, and human unhappiness will take care of itself.
Another rhetorical technique the sexual revolutionaries favor (apart from the appeal to a fantasy of limitless eroticism) has been to try to dissolve sexual boundaries. They preached that all sexual behavior is, by nature, a continuum. And they thought if they could show that sex had no natural boundaries, all legal prohibition or social restraint of it would at once be seen as arbitrary and artificial and therefore morally untenable: for only differences in nature could be legitimately recognized by legal and social taboos.
Dalrymple’s central point is clear — the prophets of the sexual revolution promised a utopia of unrepressed sexuality that would produce true human happiness. Where are they now? What they produced was not a utopia, but a dystopia of sexual anarchy.