Re-working perceptions created by the sexual revolution of the 1960s

Today we seem to take our sexual freedom for granted. In the western world, every person born in the 1970s and after has enjoyed the opportunity to freely express him/herself however they wish. Sex is a part of our society as much as technology and entertainment are. Media and popular culture continue to push the boundaries when it comes to disseminating ideas and perceptions of sex and the public continues to revel in its freedom to receive such perceptions. At which point, however, do we need to question the perceptions of sex created by the 1960s sexual revolution. Moreover, is it necessary to re-work certain ideas surrounding sex so that they are more applicable to today’s generation?


The power of a sexual revolution

The 1960s in America is a period most famously associated with sex, drugs and rock n roll. It was a time where the youth of Western society released itself from the shackles of conservative thought. There was a clear break from preceding values regarding women’s sexuality, sex within a classic heterosexual marriage, and sex within the general political sphere. With changing perceptions of sex new social movements emerged, gay and lesbian movements became politically mobilized and sex itself became increasingly commercialized with more relaxed censorship laws.

The outcome of this sexual revolution was largely positive. A growing awareness of sex has repaired many of the problems associated with repression and it has changed regulations, both medical and social regarding sexual preference and choice. Western society’s openness about sexuality has led to many effective changes in the way we live our lives and for women particularly, this revolution resulted in the freedom of choice which released them from patriarchal ideas of sexual roles.


A need to revolutionize the revolution

While we need to be thankful of the societal changes that have come about as a result of the 1960s, it would be naive to ignore the evolution of sexual perception and our need to work alongside this perception, instead of against it.

Our freedom to express our sexuality has been largely exploited by the media and other areas of society. Because sex is so easily accessible and so socially acceptable, this has led to growing misconceptions about sex which need to be dealt with as soon as possible. Because film, music and tv are introducing sex to an increasingly younger audience, this audience is expected to embrace sexuality but if they are not educated properly about healthy and positive sexual experiences, all the positive change that the 1960s created will eventually turn on itself.

Young people should be taught about the freedom of sexual expression, but they also need to be taught about the real side of sex and that it’s not all about getting naked and dancing around a campfire. There are concrete issues that need to be explored by parents and children alike, such as the concept of respect, safe sex and body issues.

We are lucky enough that we don’t have to fight for our sexual rights and that we simply inherited the amazing changes that were bought about by the sexual revolution, but we need to pay serious attention to the standards that are being set by popular culture and the effects these standards may have on the society of our next generation.

Dialogue around sex is great. Dialogue around healthy and happy sex is even better!


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