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The Sexual Revolution and Its Influence on Film and Literature

Today let’s talk about the topic that has created so much controversy over the decades but, not so surprisingly is a very normal thing: Sex. A topic such as sex is different for every family when growing up. Some parents are hesitant to even have the conversation because it’s “ an inappropriate conversation to have with a child” or “not necessary because I know my kid isn’t having sex until marriage.” In other households, sex is a widely known topic as it is a part of human life (Probably because it creates human life) and should be celebrated. The Sexual Revolution, also known as a time of Sexual Liberation, was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s to the 1980s.

The sexual revolution isn’t just for intercourse in a heterosexual relationship. It is for sex outside of marriage and even the LGBTQ+ Community. It means that human sexuality is a beautiful thing and us being humans means we are free, liberated, and our sexual desires should not be refrained.

Beginning in the 1960’s — men, women, gender fluid people, etc. started being more free with their sex lives.There are many kinds of sexual relations one can have, thanks to the sexual revolution, including masturbation. The revolution also made birth control pills a normal thing for women and made lives easier for everyone. It was a social movement that broke down traditional norms and barriers. Even when looked down on, the sexual revolution was an important part of the 60’s and 80’s, and still is to this day.

The Sexual Revolution started becoming so popular that it soon started showing in American cinema. Directors became more comfortable with the idea of showcasing human sexuality on the screen. Scenes in films became so erotic, they were banned and raided by the police. A few honorable mentions include Andy Warhol’s “Kiss”, Jack Smith’s “Flaming Creatures”, and James Bidgood’s “Pink Narcissus.” These films made it easier for people of any age to be comfortable with themselves and their partners. It was an era of love that not even a government ban could stop.

Revolutions are often displayed in literature as well. As events unfolded, the 1960’s did not disappoint with the classics of literature — “A Clockwork Orange”, “Rosemary’s Baby” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” being the most famous changed something about the way we see books. It showed us that if we use our imagination wisely, art can be created. With the Sexual Revolution was still going on, a whole new genre for books was created. The book that started the revolution was published in 1918, called “Married Love” by Marie Stopes. This book, about a woman’s sexual desires, was highly controversial and was turned down by many publications. However, when released, it immediately sold out and was noted as one of the most influential books of its time. “Valley of the Dolls” by Jacqueline Susann created controversy like no other — with its depiction of drugs and sexuality, “Valley of the Dolls” was met with critical praise along with critical failure. The book was often called a roman a clef, meaning “novel with a key” regarding its characters being based on real people along with some fiction.

The Sexual Revolution was a revolution that brought great change and still continues to do so. However, no revolution is ever over. We still have to fight for our rights. The LGBTQ community is under attack every day. By creating art such as film and Literature, we are bringing awareness and representation to marginalized communities. We are teaching people to be happy with themselves, their partner, and their bodies. This revolution is not over until every human being is liberated.


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