Robin Thicke and Miley Cyrus perform at the 2013 Video Music Awards. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)
There was no grand battle, but 2013 may enter the crimson register as the year the sexual revolution expired. I was going to say “died,” but death is too weighty. Death is real. What has happened to the sexual revolution, instead, fits more aptly in the category of market sensations, pop-up phantasms, beauty creams whose dubious chemistry degrades over time. Having long ago become a commodity, it simply exceeded its shelf life.
I suppose the same could have been said, and probably was, at many points since the Summer of Love, the gay uprising, Betty Dodson’s first masturbation clinic, Marvin Gaye’s release of Let’s Get It On or any other signal marker of the movement for sexual freedom that flowered in the late twentieth century. But 2013 felt somehow pivotal, mainly because from pop culture’s highest-profile sex-charged offerings, there was nothing to feel.
Really feel, in-your-soul feel—not just talk or argue about.