October 1962-October 1966
Up to then there’d only been
A sort of bargaining,
A wrangle for the ring,
A shame that started at sixteen
And spread to everything.
Then all at once the quarrel sank:
Everyone felt the same,
And every life became
A brilliant breaking of the bank,
A quite unlosable game.
So life was never better than
In nineteen sixty-three
(Though just too late for me) –
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.
Annus Mirabilis, by Phillip Larkin
Weighing in with different opinion, here’s Michel Houellebecq, for whom the sexual revolution maybe came too early – in his mother’s generation – rather than too late.
It’s a fact, I mused to myself, that in societies like ours sex truly represents a second system of differentiation, completely independent of money; and as a system of differentiation, it functions just as mercilessly. The effects of these two systems are, furthermore, strictly equivalent. Just like unrestrained economic liberalism, and for similar reasons, sexual liberalism produces phenomena of absolute pauperization. Some men make love every day; others five or six times in their life, or never. Some make love with dozens of women; others with none. It’s what’s known as ‘the law of the market’. In an economic system where unfair dismissal is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their place. In a sexual system where adultery is prohibited, every person more or less manages to find their bed mate. In a totally liberal economic system certain people accumulate considerable fortunes; others stagnate in unemployment and misery. In a totally liberal sexual system certain people have a varied and exciting erotic life; others are reduced to masturbation and solitude. Economic liberalism is an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and all classes of society. Sexual liberalism is likewise an extension of the domain of the struggle, its extension to all ages and classes of society. … Certain people win on both levels; others lose on both. Businesses fight over certain young professionals; women fight over certain young men; men fight over certain young women; the trouble and strife are considerable.
Michel Houellebecq “Whatever” (“Extension de la domaine de la lutte”)
And just to make it a trifecta of sexual Eeyorishness, there’s always Schopenhauer.