The consequence of this new sexual counter-revolution? No sex at all

The consequence of this new sexual counter-revolution? No sex at all, by Douglas Murray. After Harvey Weinstein and other Hollywood bigwigs, and allegations around British politics, all whipped along by mobs on social media, people are getting fired and careers are being ruined over alleged events from decades ago.

Accusations of genuine and monstrous abuse are being mixed with news that a cabinet member touched a woman’s knee many years ago. This week The Crown actress Claire Foy was forced to issue a statement saying she had not been offended after angry Twitter users pointed out that actor Adam Sandler had touched her knee — twice — during their appearance on The Graham Norton Show. …

Where are we going?

Sad to say, not all men [or women] are pitch-perfect in vocabulary and timing. Some are crass, some incorrigibly so. A BBC journalist recently revealed that in a restaurant some years ago a male colleague had told her: ‘I’m unbelievably sexually attracted to you. I can’t stop thinking about you.’ This was from a colleague twice her age, she said: ‘I had experienced sexism in the workplace before, but not in such an overt way.’ But was that really sexism?

A new generation is being encouraged to redraw the lines of acceptability in a way that goes too far. What once was gauche has now become unacceptable. And from unacceptable it is being made sackable and then elided with the criminal. That is a long way to go in a very short time. …

Are we comfortable with the idea that whenever sexual interest is expressed it must be fully reciprocated at the risk, when declined, of utter ruin? We might expect people in public life to behave well, but are we certain that we want to create a situation where everyone there (however tenuously) must be either monogamous or celibate? Would the public like this morality to trickle down to them? The morality of the sexual revolution certainly did, so they can be assured that the effects of any counter-revolution will come to them too.

Worse lies beneath these presumptions. Not least the whipping up of fear and loathing between the sexes. A loathing familiar to male students who now appear to be treated as at best rapists-in-waiting.

Foremost propeller of this is a form of modern feminism which is in fact barely disguised misandry. …

If we are to enter this strange new puritanical era, then at least let us not enter it silently. Allow it to be admitted that many women as well as men are happy to use their looks and wiles when these work to their advantage. It is not always victim-blaming, but a mere statement of fact that attractive people attract unusual amounts of attention and that not all find this a disadvantage. Actors and models of both sexes — as much as parliamentary assistants — know this and so does everybody else. And unless we decide that only a super-class of beautiful people are allowed to seek sex, we should accept that people in the lower to middling ranges of attractiveness should be allowed the odd punt too. …

Sexual etiquette is not a science. It is improvisation in a very imperfectly set-up battlefield. Only at the most extreme end does the law have anything to say. Everywhere else we are talking about the exercise of manners. True, we may currently be rethinking those manners. But let us not do so in the midst of a moral panic, high on counter-revolutionary retribution.

hat-tip Stephen Neil