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social sciences

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The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  

The sexual revolution also encountered obstacles of another sort: sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The diseases spread by sex are numerous and ancient: gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, genital herpes, hepatitis B. Starting in the late 1970s, there were a growing number of reports about STD. Both Time and Newsweek produced cover stories on herpes.

The gay male communities in particular were swept by waves of gonorrhea, syphilis, and Hepatitis B. The discovery of an AIDS epidemic among gay men in the early 1980s provoked a major crisis in the gay community and its sexual politics. Medical researchers and gay leaders struggled to find ways of stopping the epidemic without completely excluding all sexual activity.

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Eventually a number of gay activists invented "safer sex." Practicing safer sex, gay men could engage in sex, using condoms, without transmitting the virus (HIV) that causes AIDS. Soon, safer sex was adopted by public health educators and AIDS activists as the basis for HIV prevention. Safer sex and traditional public health treatment programs for the older STDs have since reduced the spread of these diseases considerably.

Conclusion

The sexual revolution was not merely a revolution in sexual behavior per se--measured by sociologists as an increase in the lifetime number of sexual partners--but also a cultural revolution that was intertwined with many other significant social changes. Women's sexuality was redefined, and new stress was laid on clitoral orgasm and sexual satisfaction. A culture of sexual experimentation (swinging, S/M clubs, singles bars) emerged that contributed to the evolution of new sexual norms.

The women's movement, the counterculture, the development of new lifestyles, lesbian and gay liberation, a greater acceptance of pleasure, and all kinds of improvements in the quality of life overlap with the sexual revolution. Many cultural and political changes resulting from the sexual revolution are still working themselves out. However, there is no doubt that the sexual revolution of post-World War II America has changed sexual and gender roles permanently.

Jeffrey Escoffier

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arts >> Overview:  Censorship in the Arts

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social sciences >> Overview:  The Closet

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Given the historic stigma around making, circulating, and possessing overtly homoerotic images, the visual arts have been especially important for providing a socially sanctioned arena for depicting the naked male body and suggesting homoerotic desire.

arts >> Overview:  Erotic and Pornographic Art: Lesbian

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literature >> Overview:  Erotica and Pornography

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social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Left

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social sciences >> Overview:  Leather Culture

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social sciences >> Overview:  Lesbian Feminism

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social sciences >> Overview:  Lesbian Sex Wars

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social sciences >> Overview:  New Right

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arts >> Overview:  Pornographic Film and Video: Gay Male

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arts >> Overview:  Pornographic Film and Video: Lesbian

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arts >> Overview:  Pornographic Film and Video: Transsexual

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social sciences >> Overview:  Psychoanalysis

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social sciences >> Freud, Sigmund

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literature >> Hemingway, Ernest

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social sciences >> Kinsey, Alfred C.

The most important sex researcher of the twentieth century, Alfred C. Kinsey contributed groundbreaking studies of male and female sexual behavior in America.

social sciences >> Kinsey Institute

The Kinsey Institute at Indiana University, established by Alfred Kinsey in 1947, has pioneered in the study of American sexual behavior.

literature >> Millay, Edna Saint Vincent

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social sciences >> National Organization for Women (NOW)

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social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.


    Bibliography
   

Allyn, David. Make Love, Not War: The Sexual Revolution. An Unfettered History. Boston: Little Brown, 2000.

Altman, Dennis. The Homosexualization of America, The Americanization of Homosexuality. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1982.

Echols, Alice. Shaky Ground: The Sixties and Its Aftershocks. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002.

Escoffier, Jeffrey. American Homo: Perversity and Community. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1998.

_____. "Fabulous Politics: Queer, Lesbian and Gay Movements, 1969-1999." The World the Sixties Made: Politics and Culture in Recent America. Van Gosse and Dick Moser, eds. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2003.

_____. "The Invention of Safer Sex: Vernacular Knowledge, Gay Politics and HIV Prevention." Berkeley Journal of Sociology 43 (Spring 1999): 1-28.

_____, ed. Sexual Revolution. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press, 2003.

Heidenery, John. What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997.

Irvine, Janice M. Disorders of Desire: Sex and Gender in Modern American Sexology. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

Robinson, Paul A. The Freudian Left: Wilhelm Reich, Geza Roheim, Herbert Marcuse. New York: Harper & Row, 1969.

_____. The Modernization of Sex: Havelock Ellis, Alfred Kinsey, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. New York: Harper & Row, 1976.

White, Kevin. Sexual Liberation or Sexual License?: The American Revolt Against Victorianism. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2000.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Escoffier, Jeffrey  
    Entry Title: The Sexual Revolution, 1960-1980  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2004  
    Date Last Updated December 15, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/sexual_revolution.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2004, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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