Sex. It’s something we all do or have done many times but it’s a topic not everyone is comfortable talking about. But, when you think about it, our generation made it okay to discuss it. Before the 60s and 70s, sex was never uttered in close company or in public; we made sex a part of everyday life. Gen X and Y really have us Baby Boomers to thank for their open minds and being able to speak up for what they want, in and outside the bedroom!
So in light of that, how exactly did the Boomer generation change sex for our kids and theirs? Here’s just a few big examples!
1. The language
Our openness to sex has changed the most since before we were able to – Freud thought we were bubbling cauldrons of sexual lust, but we proved we were. Now, there are magazines like Cosmopolitan and Cleo that talk about sex freely thanks to our removal of the moral conflict in the bedroom. “Should we tell our partner what we want?” Absolutely! We also stopped calling it ‘intercourse’ and created new terms such as ‘boinked’ ‘screwed’ ‘made love’ ‘banged’ and ‘laid’.
Now, pornography (or simply porn) can be a bit of a dirty word and might not sit well with some of us, but our generation’s openness towards sex in the 70s consequently made porn a huge industry. Men and women can now freely access pornography online and are able to explore their wilder side and satisfy their primal urges without feeling restricted and ashamed.
3. Sex in public places
Some may argue that sex can be fun wherever it’s done but some of the most thrilling scenarios are the ones where you have the risk of being caught. We made public sex acceptable! They didn’t call 1967 the Summer of Love for nothing! Festivals, drive-ins, cars, parks, you name it – we tried it. We were like rabbits and it was this fun trend that has meant that later generations can explore nature in the most natural way possible.
In the 60s, the contraceptive pill became more and more accepted thanks to its effectiveness and ease of use. We made sex safe and enabled future generations to make a choice about contraceptive methods. No more unwanted pregnancies, just more enjoyable sex knowing we weren’t risking it. AIDS also changed everything we thought we knew.
5. Pubic hair
Pubic hair is a bit too personal still for some to discuss but that doesn’t mean that we weren’t part of a revolution of women who went from fully grown to trying the Brazilian. We made a personal decision about how we wanted to present our body and it has caused a completely different era of hair maintenance. We saw a shift in the 80s when a lot of us were in our 30s – suddenly a neat trim and bikini wax turned into a full wax i.e. not a hair in sight – hey, it was our idea! Hair removal is now the norm whereas a natural look is very, well, 70s.
It’s been over half a century since Australian swingers unleashed the sexual frustration of the emotionally-constrained 50s and swung into the hedonism of the 60s and 70s. It became the great sexual adventure of a generation and our fascination with it was epitomised in the 1969 film Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice, an extra-marital sex romp about two middle-aged couples who head off to a mountain retreat together. Then, over decades concerned with AIDS, the scene slowly faded away … or did it? Apparently not – the swinging scene is still alive and well in most cities in Australia. It’s not as much of a commonplace thing anymore, but we like to think we made openness the key to a good relationship, in whatever form it takes.
We created the internet (Gen X and Y, you can thank us later) and thus made internet dating possible, but before that we were hopeless at dating. We made mistakes and wrote the books so the younger generations didn’t have to! We had one-night-stands but were terrible at making it last in our teens. Some would find the loves of their lives but for the others, finding ‘the one’ was hard. Then we gave up and just let our mums or friends fix us up with a nice guy or gal. Nowadays, our grandkids ‘stalk’ girls or guys on Facebook before they date. Or they use dating apps to take someone out for a drink (or more). They are more discerning about who they date and can speak to a potential suitor in any country in the world!
8. The sexual revolution
Also known as the time of sexual liberation, our generation challenged traditional behaviour and attitudes towards sex, sexuality and relationships. We made it okay to have sex outside of a traditional, heterosexual, monogamous relationship. We also normalised sex before marriage, as well as usual contraception and the Pill, as well as nudity, homosexuality and other sexuality forms. We also opened the discussion up about abortion.
Do you think you had any part in changing attitudes towards sex? How has it changed for you over the years? Do you openly speak about sex? Tell us below!