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The Sexual Revolution in the USSR: Dynamics Beneath the Ice

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Abstract

The old-fashioned propriety and drabness of life in the Soviet Union suggested to visitors and observers in the post-war era that sexuality was deeply hidden, and that there was little question of a Western style ‘sexual revolution’ taking hold. The ‘socialist’ USSR lacked the capitalist West’s commercial culture that used sex to promote consumption. Soviet media were tightly controlled by a very prudish censorship. The regime forbade private, non-governmental organisation, so feminists and sex radicals, extremely rare in underground intellectual life in any case, could not agitate publicly for change. Yet social and economic change transformed sexual behaviour, and citizens challenged the regime’s sexual authoritarianism by direct and indirect means. There was a sexual revolution in the Soviet Union during the 1960s and 1970s, and it was marked by significant differences to the simultaneous revolutions in the West.

Keywords

  • Population Policy
  • Soviet System
  • Sexual Revolution
  • Soviet Society
  • Demographic Decline

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Notes

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© 2014 Dan Healey

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Healey, D. (2014). The Sexual Revolution in the USSR: Dynamics Beneath the Ice. In: Hekma, G., Giami, A. (eds) Sexual Revolutions. Genders and Sexualities in History. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137321466_14

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137321466_14

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-45804-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-137-32146-6

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