Monday, March 29, 2010

Sex in the '60s

Most of our bloggers are too young to remember the '60s and don't realize what it was like growing up in those days. They hear about the Summer of Love, hippies and Woodstock in those pre-AIDS days and think it was one long orgy.

I was reminded of that when I saw a story that a poll of 3000 women between the ages of 18 and 24 showed they had an average of 5.65 partners between 2000 and last year. In the '60s, it was 1.67 and by the 70s increased to 3.72 and by the '90s was just under five. Only eight per cent of today's women said they had more than 10 partners by their mid 20s.

So you can see the '60s wasn't the era of free love that it is often now portrayed to be. The problem was that abortion was still illegal (Roe vs. Wade was in 1973 although New York had legalized it before then) and the pill wasn't invented until the mid 60s and in the early years had a lot of side effects.

So for young women, sex risked pregnancy, which was still taboo for young women and illegal abortions were dangerous. One of my wife's college classmates died in an illegal abortion. So it was the era when foreplay (I actually think some of today's young people miss the joys of foreplay because they go straight to sex) and petting were much more common than having sex.

Of course, the pill and legal abortion freed up women to be able to experience their sexuality without the fear of pregnancy but that wasn't the case in the '60s. Now compared to how repressed things were in the '50s (married couples always slept in separate twin beds on TV), the times were changing in the '60s. But not as fast as people think they were.

Don't know if this interests today's women but I thought I'd pass it along.



  1. Crap -- I had a whole essay and I lost it.

    I'll summarize...

    Isn't it more important to note that most women in the 60's wanted to be Jackie or Laura Petrie and not Grace Slick? Those women didn't make the news and don't stick in our minds -- but I know my Mom was wanting to focus on raising little ones in the 60's.

    The popular view of the 60's is more a view of the 70's.

    But more importantly -- the major change is not promiscuity for 18 to 24 yr olds -- it's the fact that they're not getting married at 18 -- or even at 24.

    I married at 26-- in 1993 -- at which point I had had 8 partners(I guess I had to sleep with that extra 3 guys to make up for someone who married her high school sweetheart

    and I wasn't even close to being considered a slut - in fact -- my friends thought I was a bit of a prude.


  2. Having 'come of age' in the 90's, i can see quite a difference already between then and now in the general outlook of things. i grew up in a small town, in a conservative area. There were, of course, 'those' girls, but overall sex in high school was still kind of a big deal.
    Now, there is much said about anal and oral sex, which don't seem to count as 'sex' to many of them.
    Overall, sex seems to be drastically cheapened, and that's rather sad to me. i watched a show on Bravo called "NYC Prep". One of the girls went on a date with a guy. She didn't enjoy the date, didn't like the guy, nor did she really pretend to. Yet, she "hooked up" with him afterward. Just because. That's just what they do in their privileged little crowd. Sad. Very sad.

  3. sfp: Good point that women are getting married later these days but I wasn't sugesting that women who have had eight partners like you are sluta or promiscuous. My view is that sexuality is a normal basic need and that women have every right to do what they feel is best for them without others labeling them. And women like your mom who was raising kids in the '60s weren't the ones I was referring to. I was talking about single women. Sorry if you took offense.

    My basis point was that the perception of the '60s wasn't the reality and that the fear of pregnancy was one of the reasons.

    When Helen Gurley Brown wrote Sex and the Single Girl in 1962, her idea that single women could have several sex partners was considered groundbreaking. Another example of how the '50s spilled over into the '60s.

    And if your friends considered you something of a prude, I don't know what they'd think of my younger daughter who was so busy living life and socializing in groups that she got to be 35 and her friends started bugging her that she should go online and start dating. There are no hard and fast rules in all this. My feeling is women should make their own choices about what works for them.

    domesticdaily: Interesting that even in the '90s, there were "those'' girls. Anyway, as I said to sfp, I don't have problems with women having several partners in their single days (or not, I think women should do what they're comfortable with and not feel pressured) but I think it's better if they have some sort of feelings for the guy. But hooking up does seem to be popular these days.


  4. Very interesting, I was certainly under such misconception.

  5. @FD -- LOL -- I wasn't in the least bit offended.....not even a little. I was thinking that 5 partners in the 90's and 8 today seemed a little bit low (are they counting those embarrassing 'oh crap - what did I just do' guys? I did in my number.

    sorry if I gave you the feeling I was miffed


  6. I find that very interesting!! I personally agree with sfp, I think those numbers sound a lil bit low. It is funny. My friends would think of me as a prude (compared to many in our lifestyle), while my parents would probably label me in a totally opposite category. I will say those statistics are about right for me (the number 8) but, thats rather on the low side compared to most the people I know. :) Very interesting post FD!! Thank you.

  7. Hahaha this is excellent timing--on Wednesday I am doing a presentation on the sexual revolution of the 60's. Thanks for the info!

  8. In reading your post I literally heard Jim Morrison playing in my head . I was not active in those days I was but a child I recall Woodstock and how strangely flower children intrigued me by the freedom they all seemed to have. I think it was a simpler time a time if less want more communication and of course it was a time where all you heard was peace and love. Now we are caught up in the keep up with the jones's best car best house when in the 60's I saw kids living out a VW van dasheeki tops and no name brand jeans. I think now as an adult it was near perfect in terms of thought processes. Be nice to have that feel again this world might be so much better. "Peace"

  9. viemoira: It's interesting that the image of a time is somewhat different than the reality.

    sfp: Good to hear you weren't upset and that I misinterpreted your comments. And that was a great description -- what did I just do, guys.

    Storey: Hard to know if the numbers are a bit low but I think women who are willing to blog about their personal lives may be more comfortable with their sexuality and have higher numbers than the average person.

    Sky: Hope that your presentation went well. Tell us about it.

    Muse: Yes, there was a lot of talk about peace and love in those days and we were more of a middle class society then when the gap between the rich and the poor wasn't as large as it is today.

    But in many ways, we are a more diverse, tolerant society than we were then. Especially for minorities, women and gays. Before the Supreme Court struck downs laws in the 1960s, it was illegal in several southern states for blacks and whites to marry and now we have a black (or at least multi-racial) president. And I think society as a whole is more comfortable with sextuality than it was then. At least those are my thoughts on how things have changed.


  10. Well I was a seventies girl and had 5 or 6 sexual liaisons before 18 and no pill because my mother forbad it. Did the oral after intercourse which is in different order to today. Probably did oral and anal at the same time as a way of getting around my period. I got the sexual freedom of the seventies and learned from my mother's generation as they were all madly having sex outside of marriage and not hiding it.

  11. I am definitely SHOCKED at my "numbers" since my divorce... ;o)