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Sexual attitudes have changed

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Sexual attitudes have changed

"Sexual attitudes have changed over the last 50 years". Discuss.

Sexual attitudes have changed in the last 50 years, not so much sexual behaviour but societies attitude towards it.

After the 2nd World War and in the 1950's sexual behaviour was a very taboo subject and not openly discussed. Sex was conducted behind closed doors and in the confines of marriage. Sex was mainly for reproductive purposes and pleasure was not that important. When a woman got pregnant outside of marriage and the father was around they were made to marry (shotgun wedding) as this brought great shame on the family. Adoption and unmarried mothers homes were in existence and the church normally ran these. Children born to these mothers were put up for adoption. Church values were very strong and church leaders had alot of say in the way family life was conducted.

Alfred Kinsey in the USA conducted a major investigation in the 1940's and 1950's of sexual behaviour and faced condemnation from many religious organisations for being immoral. He persisted and eventually obtained sexual life histories of 18,000 people. This showed a gap that can exist between publicly accepted attitudes and actual sexual behaviour.

Sexual attitudes had undoubtedly became more permissive over the last 30 years. The 1960's brought openly declared attitudes more into line with the realities of sexual behaviour. Social movements challenged the existing order of society. The 'New Left' and Hippie Lifestyles broke with existing sexual norms, free love and pre-martial sex was adopted in their cultures. Drugs were available and many people lost their inhibitions while under the influence.

In 1967 the Abortion Act entitled women to legal abortion on medical and social grounds, although this was a very limited service on the NHS but many private clinics opened. This and the contraceptive pill played a great part in women becoming more sexually adventurous, as fear of becoming pregnant was taken away. Societies views on abortion was very negative at the time, and there is still very mixed attitudes on this subject.

The 1970's and 1980's marked change in the public perception of homosexuals. High media profile of performers such as David Bowie and Quentin Crisp brought the idea of men wearing make up. Alot of sexual practises and preferences were brought out into the open - swinging, wife swapping and transvestism. Many clubs were started to accommodate this.

The biggest change in attitude to sexual behaviour came in the 1980's and 1990's. In the early 80's just when people's prejudices were beginning to adjust and accept the gay community along came mass ...

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