It has taken many years for demographers and sociologists to agree that there was a sexual revolution and that it started in the 60s. Some scholars think that the early years of the 20th century, was the real upheaval in our sexual history and that everything else after that, including the 60s was a mere aftershock. On the other hand, some scholars and observers think that not only was there a sexual revolution in the 60s but that it set in motion new and ferocious ‘culture wars’. To hear this side of the debate about it, it is no doubt that the sexual revolution is one of the unacknowledged forces shaping much of the contemporary social, political and religious life; as I will explain in this paper. According to Timm and Sanborn (2007), the sexual revolution began long before the communards in Berlin decided to pose naked, and long before European teenagers discovered the Rolling Stones. As soon as the biological mechanisms of reproduction began to be understood, the question of how to control them and who should decide how became burning political issues. Upheavals began primarily all over Europe and the United states with many different groups demanding their rights and liberation from what they viewed as a long life of bondage in a society that demands the repression of many aspects of life including sexual orientation, sexual expression and even gender issues. This is when gay and lesbian liberation movements sprung up all over, demanding their rights and expression of their sexuality, women liberation movements came up because they felt they were being undermined in many aspects especially in reference to provision or availability of contraceptive methods which would have given them freedom in many ways. When most of us read about the sexual revolution we tend to associate it with only what we deem as negative developments in the social and sometimes the political life of today. For example, prior to the sexual revolution, sexual matters were confined to the bedroom and the expression of it openly and freely was regarded as almost criminal. Today, we see sex everywhere, and for most commodities to sell, they have to have a sexual allure to them, pornography is easily accessible from the newspaper to the internet and even on the phone, prostitution has been legalised in many parts of the world and therefore sex has been commodified and can now be consumed like any other commodity. In addition to this, the controversial matter of homosexuality is becoming popular all over the world with the gay and lesbian community demanding equal rights to the heterosexual community.Also, there was an increase of sexually transmitted diseases and the introduction of many new ones never seen before Therefore, if one should attribute the above factors in today’s life to the sexual revolution, one could ask then, why sexual revolution is depicted as a history of liberation from the shackles of tradition, patriarchy and repressive morality. It is heralded as a time of revolutionary ferment which ushered in much needed social change, ushering in the civil rights movements, decolonisation, women’s liberation, gay and lesbian liberation, green and peace movements. This exactly is the focus of my paper.
An important force which played a role in the sexual revolution was techno science: the introduction of the contraceptive pill as well as the birth of sexual health expertise. According to Reiss (1990), women throughout the nineteenth century were subjected to a restrictive sexual upbringing. Accordingly, they had been programmed by society to start premarital sexuality, if at all, cautiously and only in the justification of serious emotional commitment. This upbringing and not the fear of pregnancy is the basic cause of female sexual resistance. However, the biggest single event to liberate women from their designated roles as housewife and mother was the contraceptive pill. This along with the popularization of...
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