07 08 10 - 18:01
While we may not think of a sexual revolution the way we do a political, economic, or social-class revolution, the effects of the American sex revolution may be just as momentous as those of the more familiar kinds of social upheavals. âIn spite of its odd characteristics,â Sorokin writes, âthis sex revolution is as important as the most dramatic political or economic upheaval. It is changing the lives of men and women more radically than any other revolution of our time.â (ASR 19, 54, 3)
Sorokin devotes much of the earlier sections of The American Sex Revolution to documenting the claim that 20th century American culture is âsex-centered and sex-preoccupied.â In literature, Sorokin writes, almost all eminent American authors have had to pay their homage to sex, either by making it the central theme of their work or by devoting to it a good deal of attention even in books focused on entirely different topics. What is most significant is that many of these authorsâincluding serious writers like Theodore Dreiser, Sinclair Lewis, Eugene OâNeil, Ernest Hemingway, and John Steinbeckâportray sexual excesses and sexual misconduct as if they were perfectly normal and acceptable adult behavior. - "Critic of the Sensate Culture: Rediscovering the Genius of Pitirim Sorokin," The Political Science Reviewer, p 264-379
I would argue that Hemingway and Dreiser, at least, portray these excesses as a means of pointing out their absurd and soul-destroying nature.
What he's describing here is biological subversion: if you detest a population, you want to subvert it by destroying its most basic design. One way to do this is to destroy the family. Because young people cannot see the long-term consequences of their action, and because sex with many patterns deconstructs our ability to attach to another human being in the way that is necessary for long-term familial bonding, making sex trendy "seems like a rebellious act" but is actually quite the destructive one. This essay, linked above, reminds me a lot of Tom Wolfe's critique (not criticism) of the sexual revolution of the 1960s.