I’m glad you wrote this because I was gearing up to respond and it’s nice to have company :-) Some additional thoughts:

Throughout the “sex revolution” from the 60’s forward, there has been a persistent problem with the unexamined use of the word “sex” and the automatic Yay, Yippee value attached to it. The problem is that still, for most people, “sex” is still a code word for “activity that gratifies the penis.” So when a reporter writes that “X% of adult women have tried anal sex,” you can bet this does not mean that they have tried penetrating their male partner with a finger or sex toy! “Anal sex” means a man penetrating someone’s anus with his penis, and when women have “tried” this it means they have permitted it (or had it forced on them).

There’s also been a staunch refusal to admit how much “sex” has traditionally been rape, or at least unwanted and endured by women for various reasons (including survival, advantage, duty, etc) rather than eagerly desired. The C19 and early C20 “Victorian” disgust for the corporeal in general and women’s bodies in particular, and the vindictive punishment of women who expressed any sexual desire at all, segued seamlessly into a “liberation” that obliged women to want, or pretend to want, sex at men’s convenience.

We went from “no decent woman does anything but grit her teeth and put up with it” to “every woman must cooperate enthusiastically with sexual demands from men, or be labelled frigid or psychologically disturbed.” Everything that is not forbidden is compulsory, please recall, was T. H. White’s definition of totalitarianism. These rule-sets (“prudery” vs “liberation”) only appear on the surface to be opposites: in reality they have one unifying theme, which is that sex is defined as what men want, and what women want is more or less irrelevant. Plus que ça change, eh? We’ve gone from a cultural regime in which losing one’s virginity outside marriage was considered a disgrace, to one in which remaining a virgin through one’s 20’s is considered a disease.

So I agree with JV that the empowerment of women should, logically, lead to a “sex recession” in the sense that unwanted sex and bad sex have been traditionally counted as “sex” and worse, simplistically and dishonestly as “sex=good” … in much the same way that “autistic economics” counts all economic activity as “good,” even if the activity in question is the cleanup after a disastrous oil spill or the funeral expenses of the victims of a mass shooting — or the sale of the gun and ammo to the shooter, for that matter. Mistaking quantity for quality is a persistent error of industrial capitalism.

There’s also been a persistent refusal to admit the wide range of human attributes. We’ve begun, barely, to admit that not everyone’s sexual preference is heterosexual. But even liberal and forward-thinking people are still assuming that there is some kind of universal standard for how much sex people should be having, and that people who have less than that are somehow damaged, or “inhibited,” or ignorant, or deprived, or… ? They can’t apparently wrap their heads around the idea that there’s a naturally occurring spectrum of intensity of sexual appetite, not just direction of sexual appetite, among humans. I can’t imagine people being this silly over most other private behaviours; most people don’t believe that there’s an objective standard for the minimum amount of ice cream that other people “ought to” consume, for example (though we are quite ready to critique others for consuming too much ice cream, particularly if those others are fatter than we are!).

Some folks want a lot of sex and others can take it or leave it. For some, it’s the central passion of life. For others, it comes a distant third or fourth (or even off the radar) compared to other passions. Celibacy is quite comfortable for some, frustrating or even heart-breaking for others. A “sex recession” might just mean that some women (and who knows, some men too) are now relaxed or confident enough not to be obliged or bullied into sex they were never that interested in.

In general, when it comes to food and other consumption and appetitive behaviours, we criticise people for over-doing it. Only when it comes to sex do pundits get all worried that we are “under-doing” it. And I suggest that the underlying reason for this is that “sex” still means “penis gratification” and that penis gratification is part&parcel of traditional male privilege, whether it be wrapped up in Victorian euphemism or blatant pornography. So a “sex recession” alarms those who fear, essentially, that men are not getting what they have a divine right to.

One last thought, then I’ll shut up (promise)… Ours is an age of spectacular excess, and the glut of porn and extraordinary license granted to (mostly male) sexual appetite is one aspect of it. Generally, an age of extreme libertinism actually takes a lot of the shine off sex. There’s nothing like overdoing something to lose your taste for it.

Retired; ex-software engineer. Paleo-feminist. Sailor. Arduino tinkerer. Enviro. Libertarian Socialist (Anarcho-Syndicalist, kinda). Writer. Altermondialiste.

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