The sexual revolution is generally understood to have been liberating for women — we could now enjoy sex free from social consequences as well as outside the context of marriage and reproduction. Women no longer need to marry or have children if they don’t want to. They can have sex before marriage. They can have casual sex. They can divorce if they are unhappy in marriage. They can, in theory anyway, have sex “like men.” This is what we are told, in any case. But is this a good thing?
Louise Perry doesn’t think so. Her book, “The Case Against the Sexual Revolution,” asks whether all this liberation was actually, well, liberating for women.
These are questions I too have been asking for some time. Today, women are pressured to participate in “hook up culture,” to send nudes, and to enjoy pornography. They are told violent sex is sexy. They believe sex can be separated from emotion and that it’s possible (and desirable) to avoid “catching feelings.” The pill is normalized, and women are told it exists to free them. But who has all this really benefited?
In this episode I speak with Louise about hookup culture, pornography, marriage, casual sex, and the pill. We also talk about what feminists have gotten wrong in all of this.
Louise Perry is a new mother, a columnist at New Statesman, and the Press Officer for the campaign group We Can’t Consent To This.
Her book is available now in the UK and scheduled to be released in the US in September.