In doing some research about the sexual revolution and a 1997 conference called Sex Panic, I found this interesting bit on the web. I excerpt:
YOU'RE going to want to slap me after a few paragraphs, so let me acknowledge even before I start that I grew up in the South, and that Southerners rarely abandon a cultural assumption that is almost hard-wired into us: That there must be limits to tolerance, and that there are times when we simply must tell people that they are wrong and that their ideas are dangerous.
Still, that does not mean that we Southerners are necessarily fascist. Some of us have read a little Locke. We strongly uphold individual freedom, the right to speak out and the right to pursue happiness. Nevertheless, I've been hearing a new idea lately that is both wrong and dangerous. That is the idea that higher quality sex is worth dying for, and that life after 40 is so worthless that one might as well have better sex and die young.
James is 21. He's a senior at UC-Berkeley who has struggled greatly with his sexuality, with his self-esteem, with promiscuity, with insecurities about living up to the gay ideal of beauty, with fears about whether he can succeed in the world he'll face when he gets out of school.
I invited James to lunch to talk. I showed him Lisa's story, and then we set out across Buena Vista Park, walking west. The gay logo was all over the sky that day - rainbows - and I was enjoying life, despite my advanced age and the fact that I haven't had much sex lately. I asked James, Is sex worth dying for?
He didn't think for long. It depends, he said, on whether the person you're having sex with is a one-night stand or whether he'll stay with you. And it depends on when you die. If you don't die until you're in your 40s, then yes, he said, sex is worth dying for.
I was stunned and kept silent. I waited for a few neurons to fire in his head so he'd realize that he'd pretty much said that my life doesn't have much value because of my age.