Sadly, inevitably, without wishing to, I find myself thinking:
Wow, it never used to be like this. What are these kids [younger people than me] thinking? It isn’t supposed to work like this!
With a broad view of history available only to the blogger, I can say that:
1. People have always thought things were better when they were younger,
2. Things change only at the periphery. Fundamental change comes only very slowly.
This is what I call the Victorian Sex Paradox – Victorian as in the nineteenth century British Queen, not her of the Secrets. The paradox is that we have a mental picture of these people being uptight, closeted and prudish to the max about sex. But they did have sex. They had regular sex. They had illicit sex. They had sex in the open. They had hook-ups. They had affairs, not least among them, Queen Vic herself.
In short, they had sex in pretty much exactly the same way we do now. So why do we view that generation as starched robots denying themselves the no-pants dance?
Well, for one thing, the culture was different. People’s behaviour, dress, manners and etiquette – all the overlays to a way society behaves – were pretty starched. They were more formal, more stylized and more hierarchical. Culture relies upon a majority agreeing to stick with it, and these people did.
For another thing, sex wasn’t paraded in front of everyone every day. We’re saturated in it thesedays – if you’ll forgive the sticky metaphor – which changes only the immediacy of our reaction, not the way we behave.
We’re not so different. Despite Tinder, one night stands, online date selection, gentlemen’s clubs and porn everywhere, what we do in our personal sphere isn’t so different from the way our grandparents’ grandparents romanced.
Sexy thought that, eh?