I have long argued, and I'm far from the only one, that the Pill was the catalyst for one of the greatest social revolutions since the invention of agriculture. Along with antibiotics for STDs, the Pill reduced the costliest of the potential costs of fornication for enough people to make fornication socially respectable. It then took no more than a decade for fornication to become almost de rigeur. Nobody bats an eyelash anymore about people who are unmarried at 30, but the few singles who are virgins at 30 have very good reason not to be open about it. Of course, the social degeneration did not stop with fornication. As many Catholic writers have noted, all of the nasty things that Pope Paul VI predicted would result from the contraceptive mentality have come to pass. Mary Eberstadt is perhaps the pithiest chronicler of that; see her "The Vindication of Humanae Vitae" in the July 2008 First Things (the article is available online only to subscribers.) But she writes partly for effect, so that the scoffers can always dismiss her as an insufficiently careful sociologist, even though sociology tends to confirm her hardly original point.
Lest one think the insight limited to Catholic writers, the quintessential sex symbol of the sexual revolution, Raquel Welch, is now inclined to agree. She concludes:
Seriously, folks, if an aging sex symbol like me starts waving the red flag of caution over how low moral standards have plummeted, you know it's gotta be pretty bad. In fact, it's precisely because of the sexy image I've had that it's important for me to speak up and say: Come on girls! Time to pull up our socks! We're capable of so much better.Are the girls going to pull up their socks? Not if the guys have anything to do with it.