What Was the Impact of Increased Availability of Contraception on British Society?

Topics: Marriage, Sexual intercourse, Birth control Pages: 4 (1382 words) Published: May 21, 2011
What was the impact of increased availability of contraception on British society?

The swinging sixties was a time like no other, it created a new generation with a new take on life. When people think of the sixties they think of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Twiggy, mini-skirts and sex which is then often recalled as the period in time when Britain became a different place from the generations before, it was the “watershed era of freedom that changed society forever” says Dominic Sand brook. The age old myth says that the pill caused a sexual revolution in the 60s but is this really true? Were all of the changes caused by the pill, or was the impact greatly exaggerated?

The contraceptive pill at first didn’t have that large an effect on society. Many women and girls were frightened of taking any medication. Stories and rumours persisted for years after the pill’s introduction questioning whether it was safe to take this was because of the trials when the pill was first introduced it caused “numerous reactions, such as nausea, weight gain, depression, blood clots, and strokes due to the high dosage which was 10 milligrams” (source from university of LA). “18 percent of married couples under 45 used the pill. And it was not commonly used by the middle-class married and students”. (Sex and marriage in England Today)

Secondly, up until the 60s, sex before marriage had been seen as a bad thing and unmarried girls were encouraged not to do it. This attitude persisted into the 60s and was taught to young girls, often forcibly, as they grew up. The attitude towards unmarried mothers was shameful. “Its interesting that in the sixties there is this mythology that everyone was at it, but actually shame was still a big factor.” (Yvonne Roberts). Being an unmarried mother was humiliating and shameful experience even in the so-called sexual revolution. It took a long time to change the way people thought about sex before marriage.

Thirdly, and perhaps most...
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