Are We Experiencing A New Sexual Revolution?

Are, adult/erotic toys the new revolution in modern sexual intercourse? – Has there been a shift in the way sex toys and sex is now perceived in society? ┬áIs 2016 the year we become sex-positive? – is the 2nd Sexual Revolution coming?

The sixties were a time of free love with changing attitudes towards sex that have made it a memorable time in history, and it seems that in some ways history may be repeating itself. However our current sexual revolution seems to be more about the freedom to make responsible choices and as a society we appear to be more accepting than ever. There’s scientific proof and plenty of anecdotal evidence; from data collected around the world to the widespread legalization of gay marriage, many believe there are a myriad of factors that affect our attitudes towards sexuality that include but are not limited to aspects such as social media, access to sexual material, and general media coverage. It’s not like the 1960’s but it’s sure to be even better as we lean towards a more inclusive world view of sex, responsibility, and acceptance.

An article published in May of 2015 in the Archives of Sexual Behavior examined the changes in the attitudes towards sex during the period of 1972 and 2012 using data that was collected from the General Social Survey of US Adults. Participants were asked to agree or disagree with the statement that a certain types of sexual activity such as adult premarital sex, adult same sex, early teen sex and extra-marital sex were “not wrong at all”.

The data had surprising results showing that attitudes towards adult premarital sex and adult same sex relations had each generously improved by around 30 points to 55% and 42% approval ratings across that 30 year period. Surprisingly not all attitudes towards sexuality showed an increase in approval with acceptance of early teen sex remaining extremely low and rates for endorsement of extra-marital affairs actually dropping from 5% to just under 1%. The evidence seems to point to a more sophisticated view of sexuality rather than a more permissive one where adult consent and deception are contentious issues.

While this 30 year study focused on the rather diverse United States, the results seem to extrapolate across the globe as the Second Australian Study of Health and Relationships found. Surveying 20000 Australians between the ages of 16 and 69 they found that almost 87% were fine with premarital sex while a full 83% found the idea of an extra marital affair to be unacceptable.

Similar studies have been done in the UK through three separate National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles that took place throughout the 1990’s. Even then the results showed an increasing acceptance of same sex-relationships alongside an intolerance of extra-marital relationships. These studies across the varied populations of Australia, the UK, and the US demonstrate how society’s attitudes towards sexuality are changing over time for the better, pointing to more freedom for consenting adults with little tolerance for underage sex or cheating.

While these studies clearly show that attitudes towards sexuality are becoming more accepting the question remains as to why we’re seeing this revolutionary change. Some experts are pointing to the modern wave of social media and technology for making sexuality more accessible and commonplace, even if it’s not part of a user’s everyday life. Take for example the recent gender transformation of Caitlyn Jenner. Once an Olympic athlete, Bruce Jenner underwent gender reassignment surgery and came out as a transgender woman in June of 2015. Social media acceptance was swift followed by awards by Glamour Magazine who named her one of their Glamour Women of the Year and even accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY awards in July 2015. Some point to Caitlyn Jenner’s massive social media following; she set a Guinness World Record for amassing over one million followers on Twitter in just four hours when she set up her new account as Caitlyn.

Using another recent popular example, the 2012 book Fifty Shades of Grey by author E.L. James brought on a maelstrom of publicity that opened up the world of erotica and BDSM to women and men the world over. Becoming an almost instant best seller and creating a subsequent movie based on the novels, it brought the world of bondage and discipline through dominance and submission into the limelight. For some the effect was quite freeing, opening them up to new aspects of sexuality that they were previously unfamiliar with and exposing them to new ideas that ranged from sex toys like Ben Wa Balls to paddles and cuffs. The effect was one of widespread acceptance of this formerly hidden aspect of sexuality with women clamoring for the books and reading them openly on the beach or the bus.

With more open attitudes towards sexuality the buying of accessories to enhance the experience has become more common place and with the prevalence of online sex shops certain sexual acts have become easier to perform and experiment with. Tailoring to the needs of both men and women, online sex shops like Australia’s own Sextoys247 and the UK’s LoveHoney do a booming business with versatile toys for exploring sexuality while centering on niche specific categories like toys for gay men or BDSM toys. And the sheer abundance of these stores ensures that anyone can easily have access to a wide range of toys for exploring their own sexuality while giving them the ability to browse in complete privacy.

There’s no doubt that there’s been a long running sexual revolution occurring over the last 30 years and whether it’s a continuation of the free-loving sixties or a completely new viewpoint it’s clear that sexual viewpoints have never been as free and permissive as they are today. Through the use of social media, representation of sexuality in the mainstream press, film and books, as well as the easy accessibility to sex toys, it seems we’re becoming a gentler or at least much more accepting and responsible society in regards to sexuality. It’s never been a better time to be gay, transgender, or just having premarital sex, and according to the numbers it’s never been a worse time to be a cheater no matter where you are in the world!

References:

  1. http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-015-0540-2
  2. SexToys247.net.au
  3. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-33290341
  4. http://www.ashr.edu.au/
  5. http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/SH14099
  6. http://www.natsal.ac.uk/home.aspx
  7. http://archive.voxmagazine.com/stories/2013/11/14/social-media-influences-attitudes-about-sex/
  8. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-sunny-side-of-smut/