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Scoot: Boomers, birth control, Viagra and sexual revolutions!

Scoot
August 28, 2019 - 11:08 am
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The anti-establishment generation of the 1960s was criticized by the establishment generation at the time because of what was described as a sexual revolution.  Through the 60s and 70s, that anti-establishment generation - the Baby Boomers - rejected the morality of the parents’ generation about virginity and premarital sex.  The most adventuresome young people became part of communes, where there was the sharing of everything from food to partners.  While every young generation reaches the milestone of sexual awareness, Boomers definitely took that moment in their lives to a new level.

Sex out of wedlock is common to every young generation, but there was one thing that advanced the cause of sexual freedom - it was the birth control pill.

Religious conservatives protested the birth control pill, which would allow a couple to have sex without fearing the possible consequence of pregnancy.  The pill was seen as a tool that would facilitate open sexuality and religious conservatives argued that the convenience of the pill would destroy the morality of America.

The birth control pill was banned in the name of saving America’s collective morality.  But the ban on birth control pills was challenged in a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court.  In 1965, the Court ruled in a landmark case, Griswold v. Connecticut, that banning the use of birth control pills was unconstitutional based on the concept of right to privacy.

There are striking parallels between attempts to ban birth control pills the name of morality and the attempts to ban same-sex marriage in the name of morality.  In both cases, the Moral Right, which arguably was neither “moral” nor “right,” believed that allowing people to take birth control pills or allowing same-sex couples to marry, would destroy American society.  In the case of birth control pills, it is obvious that lifting the ban on birth control pills did not destroy America, and there are no signs that legalizing same-sex marriage will have a negative impact on American society.  But in both cases, the fear was real.

In 1966, a feature article published in the magazine U.S. News And World Report, author Pearl buck asked the questions: “Is the Pill regarded as a license for promiscuity?”  And “Can its availability to all women of childbearing age lead to sexual anarchy?” 

In 1968, Buck wrote in an article in Reader’s Digest: “Everyone knows what The Pill is.  It is a small object - yet its potential effect upon our society may be even more devastating than the nuclear bomb.”

In the mid-60s, American society was registering seismic rumblings with the civil rights and anti-war movements, and a sexual revolution further declared war on the standards of the establishment. 

The impact the pill had on society is hard to dispute. 

In the early 90s, heart research by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer led to an unexpected benefit - an increase in penile erections.  By 1998, Viagra hit the market, and the media loved the story because it was about sex and a large segment of the population.  Early stories pointed out celebrities, like Jack Nicholson and Michael Douglas, were taking Viagra.

It’s 2019; and Viagra is joined in the marketplace by Cialis and other pills designed to bring new sexual life to older men. 

Recently, on my radio show, I talked about 6 people arrested in Fairfield, Connecticut for having sex in public.  Police say those arrested had gone to an online website, the City Hookup Guide, to find places to meet up with people interested in have random sex in a public place.  What made the story even more interesting was the fact that the 6 arrested ranged in ages from 62-85!

In addition, the divorce rate among every demographic is dropping or steady - except for those over 50.  For people over 50 the divorce rate has tripled.

There is not doubt that more aging men are sexually viable later in life because of the availability of pills to fight ED.  Could that change be contributing to the increased divorce rate later in life?  Online dating services a full of older men and it is possible many of them are actively dating with the help of the pills.

What I find interesting about the impact of the birth control pill on a young generation in the 60s and 70s and the impact of pills, like Viagra, on men later in life is the idea that the birth control pill and the ED pills have caused the Baby Boomer generation to start sexual revolutions when they were young and now when they are older.  Men may take viagra - but may no mistake that women benefit equally.

When I hear criticism of the open sexuality of younger generations today by the Boomer establishment - I’m struck by the reality that the Boomer establishment has been responsible for 2 sexual revolutions - one when they were the anti-establishment generation and today as the establishment.

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