Youth, beauty, strength: the criteria for physical love are exactly the same as those of Nazism. In short, I was in the shit
.—Michel Houellebecq, The Possibility of an Island
Sexual innocence has gone to market.
In the absence of moral restraint. sexual competition becomes a laissez faire market, with similar disparities in success. But while a few people getting rich will still benefit their economy generally, it’s hard to see how fewer people getting laid–and married–can benefit the reproductive economy of a nation.
Despite the tendency of the sixties generation to congratulate itself (or any generation, for that matter), sexual liberation owes far more to technology than to political action. Women first had to be liberated from toil. Only then could sexual equality become an issue. And corporate America was eager to liberate them from that toil, selling them labor-relieving products as consumers and hiring them as employees–to lower the cost of their labor.
In one sense feminism can be seen as the rationalization of industry’s capturing of female labor from the home.
Or at least the rationalization of that process, driven by that constant of any economy that still brings us slavery and child-labor, the need for ever-cheaper labor.
It is to the modern free market, and its ruthless efficiency in wringing productivity out of labor, that women “owe” their sexual freedom.
The more liberal the less egalitarian the market. From here on the unfettered market of sex will proceed with the same inexorable logic, producing a surplus of the sexually stranded. The Marxian alienation of the factory worker is nothing compared to this.
Unmodified sexual competition is a return to nature, transplanting the primitive world into the midst of modernity; a return which will likely disabuse us of yet another cherished myth, that of the primitive idyll. It is every man (and woman) for himself. The regulation of sexual behavior through monogamy and chastity were civilizational advances we haven’t bothered to replace, but are merely leaving behind.
Sexual shame has been routed, electronic entertainment reaches ever higher degrees of technological sophistication, and the ensuing profusion of sexual imagery and titillation is already desensitizing us. Ever more stimulation is required; already we show signs of exhaustion. It may all end in a sexually spent society.
At this rate sexual liberation may eventually destroy sex.
In the meantime, we’ll have to deal with its surplus army of sexual desperados.