In Lenin’s time, a considerable number of young Marxists eagerly awaited a post-revolutionary society where getting sex would be really really easy:
Youth’s altered attitude to questions of sex is of course ‘fundamental’, and based on theory. Many people call it ‘revolutionary’ and ‘communist’. They sincerely believe that this is so. I am an old man, and I do not like it. I may be a morose ascetic, but quite often this so-called ‘new sex life’ of young people and frequently of the adults too seems to me purely bourgeois and simply an extension of the good old bourgeois brothel. All this has nothing in common with free love as we Communists understand it. No doubt you have heard about the famous theory that in communist society satisfying sexual desire and the craving for love is as simple and trivial as ‘drinking a glass of water’. A section of our youth has gone mad, absolutely mad, over this ‘glass-of-water theory’. It has been fatal to many a young boy and girl. Its devotees assert that it is a Marxist theory. I want no part of the kind of Marxism which infers all phenomena and all changes in the ideological superstructure of society directly and blandly from its economic basis, for things are not as simple as all that. A certain Frederick Engels has established this a long time ago with regard to historical materialism.
Clearly Lenin wasn’t on board with it, but you get the idea that the desire for this type of sexual liberation was a peculiarly communist interest. I don’t think that the Tsar and his cronies had to worry about the supply of readily available sex. As every teen comedy has shown us, the inability to get laid is the mark of a loser. Communism is the revolt of the losers.
I definitely don’t subscribe to Nietzsche’s philosophy, but his concept of master-slave morality seems salient enough to (loosely) borrow. Slave morality is defined by the and values and wishes of an overworked peasant. A great illustration is the land of Cockaigne, depicted in the featured image of this article. From Wikipedia:
Cockaigne or Cockayne is a land of plenty in medieval myth, an imaginary place of extreme luxury and ease where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist. Specifically, in poems like The Land of Cockaigne, Cockaigne is a land of contraries, where all the restrictions of society are defied (abbots beaten by their monks), sexual liberty is open (nuns flipped over to show their bottoms), and food is plentiful (skies that rain cheeses). Writing about Cockaigne was a commonplace of Goliard verse. It represented both wish fulfillment and resentment at the strictures of asceticism and dearth.
…roasted pigs wander about with knives in their backs to make carving easy, where grilled geese fly directly into one’s mouth, where cooked fish jump out of the water and land at one’s feet. The weather is always mild, the wine flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth.
All of this is what “good” is particularly from the perspective of someone with low-level physiological concerns.
For the man who doesn’t get laid, the most important thing about sex is how attainable it is. All other considerations are secondary. Increased supply of easy-access sex is the promise of sexual liberation. Some spillover is bound to happen, and the involuntary celibate wants to get splashed. He doesn’t care about the virtues of human sexuality higher up the pyramid as long as he is thirsty.
I’ve started calling this Mariani’s Law: In general, how keen someone is on sexual liberation and sex positivity is inversely proportional to how attractive that person is.
But are there virtues to sex beyond just having a lot of it? Faithful couples seem to think so, and for what it’s worth, so does the Catholic Church. Even from a utilitarian standpoint I think we need to look at this with some scrutiny. I bet that the average sexual encounter in Iran is hotter than than the average sexual counter in the United States, even though there’s more sexual encounters per capita in the US. The point is that there’s tradeoffs in changes of a society’s sexual mores. The side that favors quantity above all else are the “slaves.” The other side is concerned with values that transcend that calculation.
I’ve reaped the dividends of the sexual revolution, and in all probability it’s been a net gain. Sex is awesome per se, and that’s precisely why we don’t need a value system telling us that we should be promiscuous. That kind of value system doesn’t serve monogamous couples, it serves the sexually frustrated.
Awkward internet Marxists who get miffed about “slut shaming” definitely are at slave-level: