Sexual Revolutions: An Introduction

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


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’.


Sexual Life Sexual Pleasure Sexual Freedom Sexual Revolution Sexual Politics 
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Copyright information

© Gert Hekma and Alain Giami 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gert Hekma
  • Alain Giami

There are no affiliations available

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