The Sexual Revolution
The Sexual Revolution
The Sexual Revolution kicked off in the early ’60s and grew exponentially throughout the decade. The movement was led by women who had been heavily oppressed by draconian thinking,
“the thinking of the time could be perceived as conservative traditional. Innocence and naivety were considered to be an attractive trait even though women had orgasms it was not of paramount importance to sex.” (Sex Before the Sexual Revolution Simon Szreter & Kate Fisher – Paraphrased).
Women that opposed male oppression were seen as promiscuous and a threat to family values. In the United Kingdom, the movement took longer to gain traction. It was not until the 1970’s that ideals began to change as more and more publications were sex-oriented, and the importance of sex in relationships grew. (The Joy of Sex, 1972, Alex Comfort & Lace 1984 by Shirley Conran.) The momentum generated by the civil rights movement gave the Sexual Revolution an ambitious start that then went on to fuel the LGBT movement.
The pill was the symbol of the sexual revolution, it allowed women to separate pleasure from procreation. Women could have sex without the worry of unplanned pregnancies. The pill’s significance grew over the years, allowing women to enter the workforce and strive for longer and more successful careers. The pill to put it simply stops the sperm reaching the egg, it does this by preventing ovulation.
Victorian traditions heavily influenced the United Kingdoms’ attitude towards sex in the ’50s. The pill was introduced in 1961 and was initially only allowed to be given to married women. The reason why only married women were granted access to the pill, is due to the baby boom throughout the ’30s, ’40s & ’50s. Populations were growing to an unmanageable level, and even governments that were heavily entangled with the church had to take a more aggressive stance.
How did the pill make it's way to the singles market?
Looking at the timeline of events we can see that literature (The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan) around sex became more popular in the early 1960s. These books provoked modern-day thinking towards sex and explored the taboo subject around sex. These new ideas, in turn, prompted new ideals, the pill was naturally the next step in the sexual revolution.
Traditional methods for contraception were; The condom, Cap, Rhythm method, and the pull out method.
The condom was 98% effective against unwanted pregnancies. Condoms were traditionally made of animal intestines, but are now made of latex.
The cap is a circular dome made from soft silicone, for effective use you need to insert the cap into the vagina before sex and covered in spermicide, it has a 92-96% effectiveness rate against unwanted pregnancy.
The Rhythm Method, this is a complex contraceptive method to master as everyone’s cycles are different and cycles can change depending on hormone levels in the body which makes this method unreliable for some.
For the Rhythm method to work you need to work track your cycle and determine on average how long it typically last, you can then determine when you ovulate. Keep in mind that your egg can still be fertile after it is released and sperm can live within your vagina for a few days so it is recommended to wait 3 days before intercourse. The Rhythm method has been documented to be only 76% effective.
The pull out method is where the man pulls his penis out before ejaculation. It is known to be 80% effective, that is because pre-cum which is produced for penile lubrication can at times contain sperm, timing the pull out can also be challenging as it can be very hard to remember when you are enjoying yourselves. It is best to be communicative when using the pull out method. Also, be cautious as without any protection your chances of contracting an STI is much higher.
The Pull out Method
The pill became central to the debate in the US. Feminists argued that the pill allowed women to separate sexual pleasure from procreation and open-minded single or married women on the pill had the freedom to have sex when they wanted and with whom they wanted without the risk of pregnancy and the stigma associated with unwanted pregnancies. On the other hand, conservative thinkers blamed the pill for the promiscuity of their daughters and the changing of gender roles in society. There was a lot of resistance towards the modern-day women, but over time the resistance diminished as did their control over people’s lives because the sexual revolution came after the civil rights movement, traditional beliefs had already been challenged and proved to be wrong. Change was an unstoppable force and everyone knew it. The modern woman stood for the decline in double standards and equal rights.
As society continued to challenge puritanical attitudes towards sex we saw an increasing demand for information and knowledge about sex.
Is sex supposed to be sacred or should it be casual and liberating?