It is common to refer to the sexual revolution of the sixties, but that revolution actually peaked from 1973 to 1975, and many of the changes in our culture have been integrated in our lives up to the present. The pill, a vibrant economy, relaxing what is considered moral, and less fear of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) all coalesced to encourage sexual freedom with a variety of lovers. This was all pre-HIV.
Woodstock and other celebrations of peace, love and lust really happened. Women initiated sex a lot, and some movement toward equality occurred. This does not mean the sexual revolution was perfect, or that there were no problems. But for the most part it was a sex party that lasted for years, and a whole lot of young and middle-aged people participated with glee.
There was an earlier sexual revolution in the 20th century. The 1920s saw a slightly more muted version of the revolution of the late sixties to the mid-seventies. The sex researcher Alfred Charles Kinsey indicated that for women born between 1900 and 1909, the percentage of women who had premarital intercourse doubled from 25% to 50%. This helped define the sexual revolution of the 1920s. Most of the sex during this earlier revolution was within the context of affection and love, while the larger revolution of the sixties and seventies included a wider range of meanings for sex, including the focus on sex for the fun of it.
As for the future, we will undergo a third sexual revolution once the economy improves and AIDS and other STDs are dealt a huge blow through vaccinations (as the vaccination for HPV and genital warts is working to eliminate), and better way to prevent and treat STDS. More thorough sex education in the schools will also help prepare for the third sexual revolution. There will be more awareness of birth control and abortion, and sexual abuse and rape will be less common because of sex and relationship education, as well as improved counseling.
Any bona fide sexual revolution includes changes in both attitudes and behavior. The next sexual revolution will embrace sexual pluralism. Sociologist Ira Reiss has discussed this issue for many years. Our country will not experience another revolution until there is support for different sexual choices and lifestyles. This support must occur in education, law and policy sectors.
I believe our society desperately need a new sexual revolution, but it requires higher employment and a cost of living that allows a focus on pleasure and less on sheer survival. Even in tough times, if we do not take some time for dating and sexual intimacy, we will see more marriages that are weak or broken. Some do not divorce because they cannot afford divorce, but there would be happier marriages if we insisted on some balance with leisure and sexual intimacy not being neglected in favor of working three jobs and focusing almost entirely on children.
Each of us have to make the best of our lives—including our sex lives—in the meantime. Sometimes we get stuck in distorted thoughts, and these thoughts make it difficult to imagine something more intimate and more fun. Simply changing our thoughts does wonders to our celebration of love and pleasure. This is what I help people do in my practice.
If you believe you need a personal revolution in your sex or sexual thoughts, give me a call or email.