Sexual Revolution!

Being on yearbook duty this week, I learned some interesting things about the 1970’s. By the end of the 1973 Emory yearbook, my iPad was full of pictures exhibiting nudity, recreational sex, hippies, and “far out” mustaches. From my understanding, these and many other social trends played major roles in the sexual revolution or sexual awakening.

The late 1960’s and early 1970’s was a psychedelic time that started a brand new perspective on human sexuality. From the Playboy Penthouse to the invention of birth control (“The Pill”) in the 60’s, there surely was an outgrowth of the counterculture that cast aside traditional (outdated) views on sex. During this decade, adolescent sexual activity increased with skyrocketing numbers, which indicates that many, if not all, sexual taboos were broken.

The Pill played a major role in the sexual revolution. It may not have been the actual start of the revolution, but this contraceptive certainly changed moral standards across college campuses, especially the ones that could afford it. During the revolution, people talked about sex more openly, and birth control was certainly a heavy topic. If one were to be taking birth control, they were considered sexually active. There is one thing I am not sure about, is birth control partly responsible for earlier sexual interactions? The risk of pregnancy, and the stigma that went with it, was something that freaked out most traditionalists from having recreational sex. In my opinion, the pill served as a fairly convenient scapegoat during the sexual revolution among these social traditionalists.

Open homosexuality was another part of the sexual revolution during the 1970’s. During this time, shame had turned into joy when it came to looking for gay sex because of the gay bars and bathhouses. Many gay liberation fronts and gay activist organizations were prevalent in the United States and Canada during the 1970’s, many of which consisted of students at a University/college. The one big example I can think of is Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay man to run for office in a city where same-sex behavior was punishable with jail time.

I always associated the 1970’s with heavy drug use, psychedelic rock, and sex. However, before this week, I was not aware of how prevalent the sexual revolution was during the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Below are a few examples of nudity in the 1973 yearbook.

3 thoughts on “Sexual Revolution!

  1. Do you not think that the increased drug usage durin the 1970’s goes hand in hand with the sexual revolution. You said yourself that you “always associated the 1970’s with heavy drug use, psychedelic rock, and sex.” When I think of the 70’s I time of openness and freespirtedness where people are exploring their sexualities and desires. I am not saying that birth control does also influence increased sexual activity but I think it went along with the changes occurring during the time period.

  2. I could agree with the idea that the pill may have had some effect by lowering inhibitions during the 1970’s, but does that trend continue today?

    My thoughts have been that nowadays that the pill would not indicate sexual activity nor does it affect the morality of sex today. The pill today has proven a way to help improve health for women (ie more regular menstrual cycle). So, with considerations such as this, especially in comparison to the dimension that technology plays in sex today, I feel the pill is much more than just a contraceptive device for the sexually active.

  3. Upluto: your historical contextual inaction for the era you researched this week is well done. Your argument would have been stronger had your supported it with textual evidence from the outside readings in the form of quotes. Also,myou don’t refer directly to any of the images you posted. Tell me what they are about. Tell me if they match up with or deter from the historical context you set forth. Work toward incorporating an analysis of the images with your other textual analyses. I am left with two questions: where do lesbians fit in to your sexual revolution paradigm? You talked about the pill and it’s impact on heterosexual sex, and then gay make bathhouses, what about lesbians? Also, do you think abortion had an impact on this revolution? Roe v Wade passed in 1973.

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