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control (“The Pill”) in the 60’s, there surely was an outgrowth of the counterculture that cast aside traditional (outdated) views on sex.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.