For whatever reason, adolescence appears to be the young man’s default state, proving what anthropologists have discovered in cultures everywhere: it is marriage and children that turn boys into men. Now that the SYM can put off family into the hazily distant future, he can—and will—try to stay a child-man. Yesterday’s paterfamilias or Levittown dad may have sought to escape the duties of manhood through fantasies of adventures at sea, pinups, or sublimated war on the football field, but there was considerable social pressure for him to be a mensch. Not only is no one asking that today’s twenty- or thirtysomething become a responsible husband and father—that is, grow up—but a freewheeling marketplace gives him everything that he needs to settle down in pig’s heaven indefinitely.
Rod Dreher in the Dallas Morning News makes a similar set of observations:
As social critic Philip Rieff foresaw at the dawn of this revolution, the loosening of traditional constraints would make man free, but it would be a liberty fraught with anxiety, even psychological paralysis.
... the process of becoming a man requires a juvenile male to subordinate his own desires to an objective code of conduct – which is to say, some sort of higher authority. In this sense, the self could only be understood and realized in relation to one's community and its values.
The culture warriors of the previous generation were not wrong to question conformity, but they went too far. They have deprived their sons of authoritative tradition, both in word and example, and with it the ability to transcend the adolescent state. Much in our dominant culture conspires to keep young men in a permanent state of adolescence: conscious only of their desires and the impulse to fulfill them. This dependency is tailor-made for a consumerist economy built on creating and exploiting wants. Making the world safe for big business, no doubt, wasn't what the '60s generation had in mind, but it's a little late for do-overs.
And what exactly makes this continual postponing of adulthood possible? The elephant in the room; the naked emperor. Contraception. Think about it.