Sexual “Liberation” and the Decline of Happiness

The UK Daily Mail has run a thought-provoking piece by A. N. Wilson, deploring the damage wrought by the sexual revolution (an assessment with which I agree, and about which I have written). What I found interesting in the piece was the explicit linkage between polls finding a decline in overall levels of happiness since the 1950s and the “new normal” of sexual liberation.

The piece notes that in a recent survey, more than half the respondents answered that being in a stable relationship makes them happy. Obviously, the incidence of committed relationships has radically decreased since the sexual revolution’s onset.

The author argues that the rising generation of young people will behave “more sensibly” than the baby boomers did (a low standard, to be sure!). That’s probably true. Certainly, it’s devoutly to be hoped — because it won’t be long before the moral codes that yielded a more traditional way of life completely fade from popular memory. It’s hard enough to re-establish more stringent behavior codes even when a society can remember them; it’s nearly impossible once they have faded from living memory.

So is it true, readers, that the sexual revolution succeeded in changing our behavior without changing our essential natures, and the decreased level of happiness is our natural response to that phenomenon? And do you think a more traditional moral code will ever again prevail?