But these trends, however interesting, shed only an oblique light on the problem of the decline in marriageable males. Bolick edges closer to the truth in her discussion of sex.
"The early 1990s," she writes, "witnessed the dawn of the '"hookup culture"' at universities, as colleges stopped acting in loco parentis (actually they relinquished that role in the 1970s) and undergraduates . . . started throwing themselves into a frenzy of one-night-stands." Some young women, she notes, felt "forced into a promiscuity they didn't ask for," whereas young men "couldn't be happier."
According to economist Robert H. Frank, "when available women significantly outnumber men . . . courtship behavior changes in the direction of what men want." And vice versa. If there's a shortage of women, the females have more power to demand what they want, which tends to be (surprise!) monogamy. On college campuses, women outnumber men by 57 to 43 percent.
But economic analysis can take you only so far. Men's capacity to insist upon promiscuity rests completely on female cooperation. And women have been foolishly compliant for decades.
They've conspired in their own disempowerment, not because they love their sexual freedom (though a few may), but because people like Gloria Steinem and Ms. Bolick's mother convinced them that the old sexual mores, along with marriage and children, were oppressive to women.
The resulting decline of marriage has been a disaster for children, a deep disappointment to reluctantly single women and unhealthy for single men, who are less happy, shorter-lived and less wealthy than married men. The sexual revolution has left a trail of destruction in its wake, even when its victims don't recognize the perpetrator.