Liberation and Its Discontents
(Ivan R. Dee, 2001)
Edited with an introduction by Myron Magnet
Myron Magnet is editor of City Journal, the highly respected quarterly magazine published in New York by The Manhattan Institute. He has also written The Dream and the Nightmare and edited What Makes Charity Work? and The Millennial City.
Is this kind of sex necessary?
The 1960s sexual revolution made a big promise: if we just let go of our inhibitions, we’ll be happy and fulfilled. Yet sexual liberation has made us no happier and, if anything, less fulfilled. Why? These remarkable essays, drawn from the pages of the celebrated quarterly City Journal by its editor Myron Magnet, tackle the question head-on. As Modern Sex’s authors show in moving and often eloquent detail, sex today is increasingly mechanical and without commitment—a department of plumbing, hygiene, or athletics rather than a private sphere for the creation of human meaning. The result: legions of unhappy adults and confused teenagers deprived of their innocence, on their way not to maturity but to disillusionment. As the reports in Modern Sex tell us, the beginning of wisdom lies often in realizing that what we are doing is not working, so that instead of doing more of the same we should be doing less. These beautifully written essays—on subjects ranging from the TV show Sex and the City to teen sex to the eclipse of the manly ideal to the benefits of marriage—add up to the deepest, most informative appraisal we have of how and why the sexual revolution has failed and how we might begin to reconstruct the relations between the sexes in ways that reconcile freedom with humanity.