Advertisement

Sexual Revolutions: An Introduction

  • Gert Hekma
  • Alain Giami
Part of the Genders and Sexualities in History book series (GSX)

Abstract

The 1960s saw a series of events in Western countries that created new perspectives and practices regarding sexuality and brought a flood of eroticised texts and images into the public realm. This was the sexual revolution. Beginning early in the decade, Sweden saw debates on abortion, the Netherlands witnessed Provos that advocated general amoral promiscuity in 1965, England was host to a summer of love in 1967,1 Paris provided the setting for the May 1968 uprising and demonstrations which produced a pivotal image of the 1960s,2 and in 1969 New York’s Stonewall Inn became the symbol for gay liberation. The decade saw the ascendancy of the pill, pop music and festivals like Woodstock, feminism, homosexual emancipation and gay liberation, student revolts, sex shops and shows, girls without bras and with miniskirts, sexualised media and the TV that broadcast it all. Marriage and the nuclear family came under attack and people developed alternative relational models such as communal living and group sex. Nudity infiltrated theatre and ballet stages, cinemas showed Italian and German films containing sexual content, and the streets became the site for ‘streakers’.

Keywords

Sexual Life Sexual Pleasure Sexual Freedom Sexual Revolution Sexual Politics 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    Miles B (2010) London Calling: A Countercultural History of London since 1945. London: Atlantic Books.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jackson J, Milne AL & Williams J (eds, 2011) May 68: Rethinking France’s Last Revolution. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Escoffier J (ed., 2003) Sexual Revolution. New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Robinson P (1976) The Modernization of Sex. New York: Harper & Row. He sees modernisation as a form of optimism associating sexual life with emotional communication and contributing to a social, corporeal and moral blossoming of individuals. See also Beauthier R, Piette V & Truffin B (eds, 2010), La modernisation de la sexualité (19e–20e siècles). Bruxelles: Editions de lUniversité de Bruxelles.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Steinbacher S (2011) Wie der Sex nach Deutschland kam. Der Kampf um Sittlichkeit und Anstand in der frühen Bundesrepublik. München: Siedler; Allyn D (2000) Make Love, Not War. The Sexual Revolution: An Unfettered History. Boston: Little, Brown and Company; Sides J (2009) Erotic City. Sexual Revolution and the Making of Modern San Francisco. Oxford: Oxford University Press; Herzog D (2011) Sexuality in Europe. A Twentieth-Century History, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ch. 4; McLaren A (1999) Twentieth- Century Sexuality. A History. Oxford: Blackwell, ch. 9; Grant L (1994) Sexing the Millennium. New York: Grove Press; on abortion, Ketting E & Praag P van (1983) Abortus provocatus. Wet en praktijk, Zeist: NISSO; Herzog in this volume; Adam BD, Duyvendak JW & Krouwel A (eds, 1999) The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics. Philadelphia: Temple University Press; Downing L & Gillett R (eds, 2011) Queer in Europe: Contemporary Case Studies. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Brix M (2008) L’amour libre. Brève histoire d’une utopie. Paris: Molinari.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Leermans I (2002) Het woord is aan de onderkant. Radicale ideeën in Nederlandse pornografische romans, 16701700. Nijmegen: Vantilt discusses the mingling of pornography and radical ideas in the late 17th-century Dutch Republic.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Sodomy or vice against nature is divided by Thomas Aquinas (in sequence of gravity) into masturbation, sex in a way other than the natural (coital) way, with the same sex or with another species (bestiality). Anal sex of males with animals or with other males was often worthy of the death penalty. See for Christian and enlightened views on sodomy, Jordan MJ (1997) The Invention of Sodomy, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 144; Stockinger J (1979) Homosexuality and the French Enlightenment. In: Stambolian G & Marks E (eds) Homosexualities and French Literature. Ithaca/London: Cornell University Press, 161–85.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    See his La philosophie dans le boudoir (1795) or LeBrun A (1986) Soudain un bloc d’abîme, Sade. Paris: Pauvert.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Sibalis M (1996) The Regulation of Male Homosexuality in Revolutionary France. In: Merrick J & Ragan BT (eds) Homosexuality in Modern France. New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 80–3. In 1832, an age of consent at 11 years would be introduced, see Recherches 37: Fous d’enfance (1979); and later in the 19th century pornography became a crime. Adultery of the husband was only condemned if he brought his mistress into the family home.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    See Laqueur TW (1990) Making Sex. Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press on the new gender dichotomy; and on pornography Darnton R (1996) The Forbidden Best-Sellers of Pre-Revolutionary France. New York: Norton; Hunt L (ed., 1996) The Invention of Pornography. Obscenity and the Origins of Modernity, 15001800. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar
  12. 13.
    See the various editions of this book in French and English, the most complete being his (1998) Oeuvres completes. Tome I: Théorie des quatre mouvements suivi du Nouveau monde amoureux. Dijon: Les presses du réel; or Schérer R (2003) Fourier’s rally of love. In: Hekma G (ed.) Past and Present of Radical Sexual Politics, Amsterdam: Mosse Foundation, 11–17 (also on iisg.nl/womhist/ radsexpol.html).Google Scholar
  13. 14.
    Hekma G, Oosterhuis H & Steakley JD (eds, 1995) Gay Men and the Sexual History of the Political Left. New York: The Haworth Press.Google Scholar
  14. 15.
    Armand E (1934) La révolution sexuelle et la camaraderie amoureuse. Paris: édi-tions Critique et Raison (reprint Paris: Zones, la Découverte, 2009); articles on free love on iisg.nl/womhist/radsexpol.html.Google Scholar
  15. 16.
    Dose R (2003) The World League for Sexual Reform: Some Possible Approaches. Journal of the History of Sexuality 12:1, 1–15; Tamagne F (2005) La Ligue mondiale pour la réforme sexuelle: La science au service de l’émancipation sexuelle? CLIO. Histoire, femmes et sociétés 22, 101–21.Google Scholar
  16. 17.
    These two volumes were translated into English, London: John Lane The Bodley Head in, respectively, 1933 and 1939. Guyon R (1934–1938) Études d’éthique sexuelle. Saint-Denis: Dardaillon (6 volumes).Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Haeberle E (1983) Human Rights and Sexual Rights. The Legacy of René Guyon. Medicine and Law 2, 159–72.Google Scholar
  18. 19.
    See his interview in Brown RM, chairman (1949) Preliminary Report of the Subcommittee on Sex Crimes. Sacramento: Assembly of the State of California, 106. His view differs only slightly from the tenets of the French Penal Code of 1810: no public indecency but rather punish people who are a public nuisance whatever that may mean. In this interview, Kinsey says 95 per cent of the US male population commits sex crimes according to the state’s penal codes. See Irvine JM (2002) Toward a ‘Value-Free’ Science of Sex. The Kinsey Reports. In: Philips KM & Reay B (eds) Sexualities in History. A Reader. New York/London: Routledge, 327–53.Google Scholar
  19. 20.
    Heuer G (2003) The Devil Underneath the Couch. The Secret Story of Jung’s Twin Brother. In: Hekma G (ed.) Past and Present, 56–68 (also on iisg.nl/ womhist/radsexpol.html).Google Scholar
  20. 21.
    Kollontai A (1926) The Autobiography of a Sexually Emancipated Communist Woman (translated by Salvator Attansio). New York: Herder and Herder, 1971.Google Scholar
  21. 22.
    Reich W (1932) Der Sexuelle Kampf der Jugend. Berlin: Sexpol Verlag; English version (1972) The Sexual Struggle of Youth.Google Scholar
  22. 23.
    Reich W (1945) The Sexual Revolution. New York: Orgone Institute Press (translated by TP Wolfe from the German Die Sexualität im Kulturkampf, Copenhagen 1936). See Robinson PA (1969) The Freudian Left. New York: Harper & Row, also published as (1970) The Sexual Radicals. Wilhelm Reich, Geza Roheim, Herbert Marcuse. London: Temple Smith.Google Scholar
  23. 24.
    Contrary to Marcuse, Norman Brown had a more radical view of Freud’s polymorphous perversity that Brown completely endorsed in his (1959) Life Against Death. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP; see also Robinson PA, Freudian Left, 167–74.Google Scholar
  24. 25.
    See his ‘Political Preface 1966’ to a reprint of the book, discussed in Robinson PA, Freudian Left, 180–1.Google Scholar
  25. 27.
    Herzog D (2005) Sex after Fascism. Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany. Princeton & Oxford: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  26. 28.
    See Johnson DK (2004) The Lavender Scare. Chicago/London: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  27. 30.
    See Gordon DC (1968) Self-Love. New York: Verity House, and various paper-back versions. Giami A (2007) Une histoire de l’éducation sexuelle en France: une médicalisation progressive de la sexualité (1945–1980). Sexologies. Revue Européenne de Santé Sexuelle 16, 219–29.Google Scholar
  28. 31.
    Westen M (ed., 2010) Rebelle. Art & Feminism 19692009. Arnhem: Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem.Google Scholar
  29. 32.
    See Perinelli M (2012) ‘Second Bite of the Apple’. The Sexual Freedom League and Revolutionary Sex in 1960s United States. Genesis XI:1–2, 41–66 and in this volume where he discusses the radicalism of the women of the League who well realised the sexism of many men.Google Scholar
  30. 33.
    Robinson L (2007) Gay Men and the Left in Post-War Britain. How the Personal Got Political. Manchester: Manchester University Press.Google Scholar
  31. 34.
    Bayer R (1981) Homosexuality and American Psychiatry. The Politics of Diagnosis. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  32. 35.
    Irvine J (2004) Talk About Sex. The Battles over Sex Education in the United States. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press; Plummer K (2003) Intimate Citizenship. Private Decisions and Public Dialogues. Seattle & London: University of Washington Press.Google Scholar
  33. 36.
    See Herzog D (2008) Sex in Crisis. The New Sexual Revolution and the Future of American Politics. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  34. 37.
    SIECUS (1970) Sexuality and Man. Introduction by Mary Calderone. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons.Google Scholar
  35. 38.
    Gagnon J (1975) Sex Research and Social Change. Archives of Sexual Behavior 4:2, 111–41; Giami A (1991) De Kinsey au sida: l’évolution de la construction du comportement sexuel dans les enquêtes quantitatives. Sciences Sociales et Santé IX:4, 23–56; Ericksen J & Steffen S (1999) Kiss and Tell. Surveying Sex in the Twentieth Century. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  36. 39.
    See for an overview and comparison Bozon M, Bajos N & Sandfort T (eds, 1998) Sexual Behaviour and HIV/AIDS in Europe. London: University College London Press.Google Scholar
  37. 40.
    Bajos N, Bozon M & Beltzer N (2012) Sexuality in France: Gender Practices and Health. Oxford: Bardwell Press.Google Scholar
  38. 41.
    Celebrated as ‘pure relations’ by Giddens A (1992) The Transformation of Intimacy. Sexuality, Love Eroticism in Modern Societies. London: Polity.Google Scholar
  39. 42.
    Hekma G (2008) The Drive for Sexual Equality. Sexualities 11:1, 51–55.Google Scholar
  40. 43.
    Sinfield A (2004) On Sexuality and Power. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  41. 44.
    See Joubert B (2006) Histoire de la censure. Paris: La Musardine.Google Scholar
  42. 45.
    See Iacub M & Maniglier P (2005) Antimanuel d’éducation sexuelle. Rosny: Breal who discuss the quadrupling of incarcerated sex criminals since the 1970s.Google Scholar
  43. 46.
    Jenkins P (1996) Pedophiles and Priests. Anatomy of a Contemporary Crisis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. 47.
    Weeks J (1977) Coming Out. Homosexual Politics in Britain, from the Nineteenth Century to the Present. London: Quartet, 176.Google Scholar
  45. 48.
    Cohn-Bendit D (1986) Nous l’avons tant aimée, la révolution. Paris: Bernard Barrault; Besançon J (1968) ‘Les murs ont la parole’: Journal mural Sorbonne, Mai 68. Paris: Claude Tchou éditeur.Google Scholar
  46. 49.
    Tiefer L (2000) Sexology and the Pharmaceutical Industry: The Threat of Cooptation. The Journal of Sex Research 37:3, 273–83.Google Scholar
  47. 50.
    Giami A (2002) Sexual Health: The Emergence, Development, and Diversity of a Concept. Annual Review of Sex Research 13, 1–35.Google Scholar
  48. 51.
    Vance CS (ed., 1984) Pleasure and Danger. Exploring Female Sexuality. New York/London: Routledge & Kegan Paul; Duggan L & Hunter ND (1995) Sex Wars. Sexual Dissent and Political Culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  49. 52.
    The quote comes from Morgan (1977) Going Too Far. The Personal Chronicle of a Feminist. New York: Random House, p. 174; Dworkin (1981) Pornography: Men Possessing Women. London: The Women’s Press.Google Scholar
  50. 53.
    Heath G (1978) The Illusory Freedom. The Intellectual Origins and Social Consequences of the Sexual ‘Revolution’. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  51. 54.
    This perspective is particularly developed in France. The editors of the special issue of the review Mouvements 20 (2002) on Sexe: sous la révolution, les normes write: ‘It is clear […] that the “sexual liberation” has by and large preserved the model of heterosexuality and masculine domination’ (p. 12). In an interview for the magazine Phosphore (27.10.2008), sociologist Michel Bozon declares: ‘Sexual revolution, the expression seems to me rather pompous’; Préaro M (Spring 2010) Politiques de la libération sexuelle. Genre, sexualité & société 3, on line 18.5.2010.Google Scholar
  52. 55.
    Rebreyend AC (2009) Une ‘femme libérée’? Clio. Histoire, femmes et sociétés 29, 185–91.Google Scholar
  53. 56.
    Mossuz-Lavau J (1991) Les lois de l’amour. Les politiques de la sexualité en France (19501990). Paris: Payot.Google Scholar
  54. 57.
    See Giami A (2005) Medicalisation of sexuality. Foucault and Lantéri Laura: A discussion that did not occur. L’Evolution Psychiatrique 70, 283–300.Google Scholar
  55. 58.
    Bozon M (2002) Révolution sexuelle ou individualisation de la sexualité? Mouvements 20, 15–22.Google Scholar
  56. 59.
    Deleuze G (1986) Foucault. Paris: Minuit.Google Scholar
  57. 60.
    Foucault M (1999) Les anormaux. Paris: Seuil.Google Scholar
  58. 61.
    See Lanteri Laura G (1979) Lecture des perversions. Histoire de leur appropriation médicale. Paris: Masson and Laqueur T (2003) Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation. New York: Zone Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gert Hekma and Alain Giami 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Hekma
  • Alain Giami

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations