By Olivia Fane, Jan 28 2017 10:44AM
Western culture has givien an unconditional thumbs up to consensual sex: it is the expression of love, health and happiness.
I used to wonder why I wasn't quite persuaded, but some years ago (when I thought I might write a history of marriage) I learnt that the love and sex bond was literally promoted by the US Government in the aftermath of the first world war. Divorce was at an all time high (2%) because women had learned they could be economically independent and didn't have to stay in loveless relationships for the rest of their lives.
A convention asked the question: now we've lost the economic bond, how are we to keep marriages together? The answer: Let's try to persuade people that sex and love are as one.
All the delegates at the convention were men: our first social scientists, sexologists, psychiatrists etc. The works of Freud were de rigeur. They debated long and hard, many were sceptical. The trouble with women, some suggested, was that they grow old and grey and fllabby. In a word, they are no longer sexually allurring. The American Government, however, was not put off. They thought they were on to a winner.
We confuse love and sex, I disovered, becasue of an outragious act of American hegemony. Dye your hair! Keep your figures in trim! Smell sweet and keep yourself desirable! If you don't, your husband will look somewhere else and it'll be your fault!
Whatever happened to love proper? That does not alter when alteration finds?
That was too boring by half,: 'Making love' (another clever American Hollywood invention) shoved the old-fashioned Christian virtues into second place.
Isn't it time we worshipped sex less and loved love more?