Youngsters participating in Wet T-shirt contest during Spring break , USA The term "sexual revolution" has been used at least since the late s. They believed that the first revolution was during the Roaring Twenties after World War I and it included writers such as F. However, the age of changes in perception and practices of sexuality that developed from around was to reach mainstream America, most of western Europe, and parts of Asia.
Indeed, the available quantitative evidence demonstrates that measures of non-traditional sexual behavior e. During this time, porn was being publicly discussed by celebrities, and taken seriously by critics.
According to Warhol, Blue Movie was a major influence in the making of Last Tango in Paris , an internationally controversial erotic drama film, starring Marlon Brando , and released a few years after Blue Movie was made. Following mentions by Johnny Carson on his popular TV show, and Bob Hope on TV as well,  the adult film Deep Throat achieved major box office success, despite being rudimentary by mainstream standards.
In , the far-more-accomplished, but still low budget adult film, The Devil in Miss Jones , was the seventh most successful film of the year, and was well received by major media, including a favorable review by film critic Roger Ebert. Modern medicine may also have played a role.
The discovery of penicillin led to significant reductions in syphilis mortality, which, in turn, spurred an increase in non-traditional sex during the mid to late s.
Lawrence , by Sigmund Freud and by the Surrealist movement. The counterculture wanted to explore the body and mind, and free the personal self from the moral and legal sexual confines of modern America, as well as from ss morals in general. The pictures of Monroe were published without her consent and she never received any compensation from Playboy though the publication of Monroe's pictures launched the magazine .
Featuring cartoons, interviews, short fiction, Hefner "Playboy Philosophy" and - most crucially - half-naked female "Playmates" posing provocatively, the magazine became immensely successful. The number of unmarried Americans aged twenty to twenty-four more than doubled from 4. Americans were gaining a set of relaxed morals and with the contribution of premarital sex on the rise and the development of birth control, casual sex between adults was becoming very popular.
Role of the mass media[ edit ] TV, the new mass communication device of the age, along with other media outlets such as radio and magazines, could broadcast information in a matter of seconds to millions of people, while only a few wealthy people would control what millions could watch. Some modern historians have theorized that these media outlets helped to spread new ideas, which were considered radical. The struggles, skirmishes and rhetorical confrontations happening in the course of these movements also became directly visible to ordinary people in a way they would never have been before; the sense of involvement in a social and sexual shift happening in the present could rapidly win new converts and spread discussions afield.
The counterculture of the s was becoming well known through radio, newspapers, TV, books, music and other media by the end of the s. One suggested cause of the s sexual revolution was the development of the birth control pill in , which gave women access to easy and reliable contraception.
Another likely cause was a vast improvement in obstetrics , greatly reducing the number of women who died due to childbearing, thus increasing the life expectancy of women.
A third, more indirect cause was the large number of children born in the s and early s all over the western world—the ' Baby Boom Generation '--many of whom would grow up in relatively prosperous and safe conditions, within a middle class on the rise and with better access to education and entertainment than ever before.
By their demographic weight and their social and educational background they came to trigger a shift in society towards more permissive and informalized attitudes. Many historians,[ quantify ] however, feel that one specific cause cannot be selected for this large phenomenon.
Homosexuals could now enjoy sexual relationships and encounters much more often than ever before. They no longer had to sneak around and occasionally receive the sexual attention that they desire or force themselves into a heterosexual relationship in which they had no interest, and was full of lies.
Feminist Betty Friedan published the Feminine Mystique in , concerning the many frustrations women had with their lives and with separate spheres, which established a pattern of inequality. The Industrial Revolution during the nineteenth century and the growth of science and technology , medicine and health care , resulted in better contraceptives being manufactured. Advances in the manufacture and production of rubber made possible the design and production of condoms that could be used by hundreds of millions of men and women to prevent pregnancy at little cost.
Advances in chemistry , pharmacology , and biology , and human physiology led to the discovery and perfection of the first oral contraceptives also known as "the Pill". Purchasing an aphrodisiac and various sex toys became "normal". All these developments took place alongside and combined with an increase in world literacy and decline in religious observance.
Old values such as the biblical notion of "be fruitful and multiply" were cast aside as people continued to feel alienated from the past and adopted the lifestyles of progressive modernizing cultures. Another contribution that helped bring about this modern revolution of sexual freedom were the writings of Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich , who took the philosophy of Karl Marx and similar philosophers, and mixed together this chant for freedom of sexual rights in modern culture.
When speaking of sexual revolution, historians  make a distinction between the first and the second sexual revolution. In the first sexual revolution — , to caucasians, Victorian morality lost its universal appeal.
However, it did not lead to the rise of a "permissive society". Exemplary for this period is the rise and differentiation in forms of regulating sexuality. Feminism and sexual liberation[ edit ] Coinciding with second-wave feminism and the women's liberation movement initiated in the early s, the sexual liberation movement was aided by feminist ideologues in their mutual struggle to challenge traditional ideas regarding female sexuality and queer sexuality.
Elimination of undue favorable bias towards men and objectification of women as well as support for women's right to choose her sexual partners free of outside interference or judgement were three of the main goals associated with sexual liberation from the feminist perspective.
Since during the early stages of feminism, women's liberation was often equated with sexual liberation rather than associated with it. Many feminist thinkers believed that assertion of the primacy of sexuality would be a major step towards the ultimate goal of women's liberation, thus women were urged to initiate sexual advances, enjoy sex and experiment with new forms of sexuality. The pursuit of sexual pleasure for women was the core ideology, which subsequently was to set the foundation for female independence.
Although whether or not sexual freedom should be a feminist issue is currently a much-debated topic,  the feminist movement overtly defines itself as the movement for social, political, and economic equality of men and women. The feminist movement has helped create a social climate in which LGBT people and women are increasingly able to be open and free with their sexuality,  which enabled a spiritual liberation of sorts with regards to sex. Rather than being forced to hide their sexual desires or feelings, women and LGBT people have gained and continue to gain increased freedom in this area.
Consequently, the feminist movement to end sexual oppression has and continues to directly contribute to the sexual liberation movement. Nevertheless, among radical feminists , the view soon became widely held that, thus far, the sexual freedoms gained in the sexual revolution of the s, such as the decreasing emphasis on monogamy , had been largely gained by men at women's expense.
A Feminist Perspective on the Sexual Revolution , Sheila Jeffreys asserted that the sexual revolution on men's terms contributed less to women's freedom than to their continued oppression, an assertion that has both commanded respect and attracted intense criticism. Freudian school[ edit ] Sigmund Freud of Vienna believed human behavior was motivated by unconscious drives , primarily by the libido or "Sexual Energy". Freud proposed to study how these unconscious drives were repressed and found expression through other cultural outlets.
He called this therapy " psychoanalysis ". While Freud's ideas were sometimes ignored or provoked resistance within Viennese society, his ideas soon entered the discussions and working methods of anthropologists, artists and writers all over Europe, and from the s in the United States. His conception of a primary sexual drive that would not be ultimately curbed by law, education or standards of decorum spelled a serious challenge to Victorian prudishness , and his theory of psychosexual development proposed a model for the development of sexual orientations and desires; children emerged from the Oedipus complex , a sexual desire towards their parent of the opposite sex.
The idea of children having their parents as their early sexual targets was particularly shocking to Victorian and early 20th century society. According to Freud's theory, in the earliest stage of a child's psychosexual development, the oral stage , the mother's breast became the formative source of all later erotic sensation. Much of his research remains widely contested by professionals in the field, though it has spurred critical developments in the humanities. Anarchist Freud scholars Otto Gross and Wilhelm Reich who famously coined the phrase "Sexual Revolution" developed a sociology of sex in the s to s in which the animal-like competitive reproductive behavior was seen as a legacy of ancestral human evolution reflecting in every social relation, as per the freudian interpretation, and hence the liberation of sexual behavior a mean to social revolution.
Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa[ edit ] Main articles: Margaret Mead and Coming of Age in Samoa The publication of renowned anthropologist and student of anthropologist Franz Boas , Margaret Mead 's Coming of Age in Samoa brought the sexual revolution to the public scene, as her thoughts concerning sexual freedom pervaded academia.
Published in , Mead's ethnography focused on the psychosexual development of Samoan adolescent children on the island of Samoa. She recorded that their adolescence was not in fact a time of "storm and stress" as Erikson's stages of development suggest, but that the sexual freedom experienced by the adolescents actually permitted them an easy transition from childhood to adulthood. Her findings were later criticized by anthropologist Derek Freeman who later investigated her claims of promiscuity and conducted his own ethnography of Samoan society.
Mead called for a change in suppression of sexuality in America and her work directly resulted in the advancement of the sexual revolution in the s.
Kinsey published two surveys of modern sexual behaviour. Kinsey and his co-workers, responding to a request by female students at Indiana University for more information on human sexual behavior, published the book Sexual behaviour in the Human Male. They followed this five years later with Sexual behaviour in the Human Female.
These books began a revolution in social awareness of, and public attention given to, human sexuality. It is said that at the time, public morality severely restricted open discussion of sexuality as a human characteristic, and specific sexual practices, especially sexual behaviours that did not lead to procreation. Kinsey's books contained studies about controversial topics such as the frequency of homosexuality, and the sexuality of minors aged two weeks to fourteen years. Scientists working for Kinsey reported data which led to the conclusion that people are capable of sexual stimulation from birth.
Furthermore, Kinsey's method of researching sexuality differs significantly from today's methods. Kinsey would watch his research subjects engage in sexual intercourse, sometimes engaging with his subjects as well.
He would also encourage his research team to do the same, and encouraged them to engage in intercourse with him, too. These books laid the groundwork for Masters and Johnson 's life work. A study called Human Sexual Response in revealed the nature and scope of the sexual practices of young Americans.
Erotic novels[ edit ] In the United States in the years through , bans on three books with explicit erotic content were challenged and overturned. Prior to this time, a patchwork of regulations as well as local customs and vigilante actions governed what could and could not be published.
The Roman Catholic Church 's Index Librorum Prohibitorum carried great weight among Catholics and amounted to an effective and instant boycott of any book appearing on it. Boston's Watch and Ward Society , a largely Protestant creation inspired by Anthony Comstock , made " banned in Boston " a national by-word. Post Office confiscated copies sent through the mail. In Tom Lehrer was to celebrate the erotic appeal of the novel in his cheerfully satirical song "Smut" with the couplet "Who needs a hobby like tennis or philately?
Tropic of Cancer[ edit ] Henry Miller 's novel, Tropic of Cancer , had explicit sexual passages and could not be published in the United States; an edition was printed by the Obelisk Press in Paris and copies were smuggled into the United States. In Grove Press issued a copy of the work, and dozens of booksellers were sued for selling it.
The issue was ultimately settled by the U. Supreme Court's decision in Grove Press, Inc. This was the turning point, because Charles Rembar appealed a restraining order against it all the way to the U. Supreme Court and won.
Only books primarily appealing to "prurient interest" could be banned. In a famous phrase, the court said that obscenity is "utterly without redeeming social importance"—meaning that, conversely, any work with redeeming social importance was not obscene, even if it contained isolated passages that could "deprave and corrupt" some readers.
This decision was especially significant, because, of the three books mentioned, Fanny Hill has by far the largest measure of content that seems to appeal to prurient interest, and the smallest measures of literary merit and "redeeming social importance". Whereas an expurgated version of Lady Chatterley's Lover had actually once been published, no expurgated version of Fanny Hill had ever been.
By permitting the publication of Fanny Hill, the U. Nonfiction sex manuals[ edit ] The court decisions that legalised the publication of Fanny Hill had an even more important effect: The title itself would have been unthinkable a decade earlier. In she went on to transform Cosmopolitan magazine into a life manual for young career women.
The same year saw the appearance of Dr. Despite the dignity of Reuben's medical credentials, this book was light-hearted in tone.