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Sexual Revolution

October 23, 1994 | Sandra Gilbert, Sandra Gilbert is a professor of English at UC Davis and co-author of "No Man's Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the 20th Century."
Was the so-called sexual revolution really a revolution or did it end in regression? Did it lead to utopian liberation or old-fashioned (and dystopian) licentiousness? Cui bono --who profits--when the communal libido is unleashed? And what do transformed styles of sexuality mean for women? Should we react to the newly defined joys of sex with the shuddering puritanism of, say, Andrea Dworkin (whose "Inter-course" defines that act as an attack on woman)?
Marriage had turned out to be a big disappointment, the pregnant young woman confided. "I was so stupid, so naive to get married so young," she said. "Everyone said so, but I just rebelled against them all." Things got rocky fast. The university graduate, with a good job at a publishing house, started looking for lovers. They were easy to find. "If I hadn't been married, I would have played even harder," said the woman, 26.
Alfred Charles Kinsey, crew cut, bow-tied, a Midwestern family man, opened the 20th Century to America like the doorkeeper Janus, god of passage. Looking backward, he exposed a nation's sexually hypocritical past; looking the other way, he started a dialogue on sexual behavior that continues today. He turned up the lights with two books published smack dab in the middle of the century: "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" (1948) and "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" (1953).
May 9, 2010 | By Susan Salter Reynolds, Special to the Los Angeles Times
They love to hate him, Martin Amis, the British literati's very own Princess Di. He can't go to the airport without the press commenting on where he stopped along the way and why, where he has his dental work done and whether a particular gesture or phrase is reminiscent of his famous father, Kingsley Amis, and why. If he really hated all that publicity, you say, why announce that there ought to be booths on street corners where the elderly can...
March 4, 2012 | By Nancy L. Cohen
If the pill had never been invented, perhaps American politics would be very different today. Sex has consumed the political debate in recent weeks. To many it has been a surprising turn of events, given the near-universal prediction that this year's election would be all about the economy. If the history of the bipartisan sexual counterrevolution were better known, no one would be surprised. Conflicts over gay marriage, transvaginal ultrasounds, Planned Parenthood funding and insurance coverage for birth control are not isolated events.
No sex, please, we're teen-agers. In a rebellion some church leaders hope heralds a new sexual revolution, tens of thousands of young men and women across the country have signed covenants vowing to remain chaste until marriage. By July, organizers of the "True Love Waits" campaign hope half-a-million teens will have signed on, filling out enough pledge cards to stretch from the Capitol to the Washington Monument.
March 9, 1994 | GABRIEL ROTELLO, Gabriel Rotello is a columnist for New York Newsday and was editor in chief of the gay and lesbian newsweekly, OutWeek.
If HIV and AIDS are indeed old killers, then one final, explosive question remains: Why did a virus that was confined to a tiny ecological niche suddenly burst into global pandemic? In her forthcoming book, "The Coming Plague," Newsday reporter Laurie Garrett outlines a crucial phase needed to transform a low level of virus into the outright epidemic phase she calls "amplification."
April 11, 2010 | By Peter Terzian
Hot Stuff Disco and the Remaking of American Culture Alice Echols W.W. Norton: 338 pp., $26.95 Recently, I attended a wedding reception during which a 10-year-old boy, to entertain the adults on the dance floor, started making the point-to-the-sky motion that John Travolta patented in 1977's "Saturday Night Fever." Why was I surprised? I doubt the tiny dancer even saw the movie, but he needn't have. Thirty years after its heyday, disco has so thoroughly saturated global popular culture that its songs and signifiers are recognizable to children born in a different century.
December 14, 1986 | Mary Ellen Donovan, Donovan is co-author of "Women and Self-Esteem" (Penguin).
A few months ago, I appeared on a TV talk show with Marabel Morgan, the born-again Christian author of the 1970s' best-seller "The Total Woman," which recommended that housewives keep their husbands sexually happy by doing such things as surprising them at the door wearing nothing but Saran Wrap.
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