The Aziz Ansari debacle proves it’s time for a new sexual revolution

Yet, while becoming just another social interaction stripped sex of much taboo, it’s still subject to the everyday pressures of etiquette, which can be just as binding. If a guest were lingering too late after a party, or a lunch partner boring you, or an acquaintance pestering you to borrow your umbrella, you wouldn’t scream or shout or slap them, and you likely wouldn’t abruptly leave. You would likely try to be subtle and transmit certain signals without a confrontation. You would likely go along to get along. You would likely grin and bear it. You would likely do this because that’s what we do in workaday social interactions, and sex is one of those now.

The trouble is that sex is clearly different, as the lasting unhappiness of so many women attests. If acknowledging that endangers one of the achievements of the sexual revolution, then so be it: What is the alternative? Telling women over and over that, when it comes to sex, they must abandon all of the normal rules of interacting with others in society hasn’t helped and seems transparently ridiculous. In every other domain of life, being patient and generous with others makes a person praiseworthy and well-liked; those mores are deeply instilled and hard to shake, especially for women. It doesn’t make any sense to keep insisting otherwise, and trying to destroy those norms — which are good for society in general — seems like a ruinous project.

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