This story from the Guardian says much, though maybe not as Rose George meant to say it; even more lurks by implication, starting with the title picture.
We owe a lot to the sex lives of Greeks. Ancient Greece gave us the origins of the names and concepts for homosexuality, homophobia and nymphomania, as well as narcissism and pederasty. The Romans talked freely to each other in toilets and were equally community-minded when it came to sex, with a reputation for lasciviousness and orgies. Georgians, we believe, were smutty, and Victorians were prudes and hypocrites. (All of these are partial truths.) We like to use sex as a mirror of an era, and to make judgments accordingly. What then, are we to make of us right now?
This is the most sex-positive age ever, right? We are liberal and comfortable with sex like no other people have ever been. Our magazines publish articles on how to get on better with your clitoris. Porn is freely available (and accessed by teenagers). Erotic books are bestsellers, however badly written. TV broadcasts shows in which the contestants are naked, or have sex in a box, or make a sex tape on camera. If sexual choice were a shop, it would be a hypermarket, with dizzyingly long aisles of every possibility: straight, gay, bi, trans, poly, fluid, each with its own culture and each widely accepted.
In this sex-positive version of reality, we have been unleashed from the bonds of church and religion, and suffocating family expectation; we are free, and we’re enjoying being easy. …
She goes on to admit, without seeming to understand the connections, that all of this liberalism just ain’t that sexy. Maybe, just maybe, the libertine isn’t of liberty. Maybe there really was something to social, religious, and family constraint. Maybe waiting until the well’s almost dry to have a family, just in time to care for elderly boomer parents who spent all the money, while working two or four jobs just isn’t natural. It would be called the “Dys-Gen Hypermarket, where Civilization ENDS!”
And hold on Rose; though we seem to be catching them, there were once twin kingdoms which outpaced our depravity – until one night around 1,700 BC.