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What Is A Sexual Revolution?

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Sociology
Wordcount: 1522 words Published: 28th Apr 2017

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Answer: Sexual revolution is a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationship throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s. At the end of the Second World War, Wilhelm Reich introduced American readers to some of his earlier writings under the title The Sexual Revolution (1945). Explaining that this revolution went to the “roots” of human emotional, social, and economic existence, he presented himself as a radical (from Latin radix: root), i.e. as a man who examines these roots and who then fearlessly speaks the truth that sets humanity free.

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The truth, according to Reich, was that Western civilization had made people sick by imposing on them an unnatural, destructive sexual morality. However, thanks to various modern social and scientific upheavals, the natural human life functions were finally awakening after a sleep of thousands of years. The future would restore sexual health and, for the first time, bring full human autonomy.

In 19th-century France and Germany several new “small” revolutions tried to speed up the process of modernization and to expand individual rights, but they failed. Repressive marriage and family laws and the denial of suffrage kept women “in their place”. Literary censorship hampered the free flow of ideas and kept the public sexually ignorant. Nevertheless, when technological progress made the mass production of condoms possible, many men and women began to plan the size of their families and thus quietly started a “contraceptive revolution”. As a result, they gained at least some measure of sexual self-determination, even if it remained unrecognized by the state. Eventually, however, the gap between traditional ideology and practical reality grew so wide that a drastic readjustment was all but inevitable. This readjustment was brought about by the First World War which announced the collapse of the rigid old political order. In 1917, when the revolution came to Russia, it expressly included equal rights for women and universal sexual freedom in its program. Thus, for the first time, a “sexual revolution” became official government policy.

By the same token, in the bourgeois, capitalist societies of the West which are dedicated to individual freedom, the sexual revolution continues. The right to sexual self-determination is considered as important as ever, and, indeed, various sexual liberation groups are working hard to extend it. In the United States, the struggle for an Equal Rights Amendment, legal abortion, the repeal of sodomy, prostitution and obscenity laws, and an end to discrimination against homosexuals are perhaps the best known current examples. At the same time, more and more people also take advantage of those sexual rights that have already been granted. Thus, the movement toward sexual emancipation is still gaining in strength.

It is this change in attitude, more than anything else, that amounts to a revolution. Instead of blindly following inherited customs, we now decide for ourselves what sexual activity is proper. Therefore, even if our overt behavior remains the same, it now has a different meaning. We have learned that there are alternatives, that there is nothing eternal or sacred about our sexual morality. We no longer submit to blanket taboos or suspend our judgment. In short, we have become used to questioning the legitimacy of our traditions.

At least in this sense, the talk about a “sexual revolution” is fully justified. We have to remember that significant social changes occur not only when people change what they do. It may be enough that they change the way they think about it. It may be enough that different behaviors become defensible, that moral options develop which did not exist before. The old sexual standards seemed unassailable as long as they were taken for granted. However, today radical changes of all sorts have become conceivable and even plausible to many formerly uncritical men and women. Thus, past and present are no longer reliable guides to the future. Religious dogmas have been replaced by scientific hypotheses, certainties by doubts. At the same time, our choices and responsibilities have increased. There is cause for great joy as well as for great anxiety, in the area of sex, as in so many other areas of life, virtually anything seems to have become possible.

b) Why do societies control people’s sexual behavior?

Answer: Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons. Sexual activity normally results in sexual arousal and physiological changes in the aroused person, some of which are pronounced while others are more subtle. Sexual activity also includes conduct and activities which are intended to arouse the sexual interest of another, such as strategies to find or attract partners (mating and display behavior), and personal interactions between individuals, such as flirting and foreplay. Human sexual activity has psychological, biological, physical and emotional aspects. Biologically, it refers to the reproductive mechanism as well as the basic biological drive that exists in all species and can encompass sexual intercourse and sexual contact in all its forms. Emotional aspects deal with the intense personal bonds and emotions generated between sexual partners by a sexual activity. Physical issues around sexuality range from purely medical considerations to concerns about the physiological or even psychological and sociological aspects of sexual behavior. In some cultures sexual activity is considered acceptable only within marriage, although premarital and extramarital sex are also common. Some sexual activities are illegal either universally or in some countries, and some are considered against the norms of a society. For example, sexual activity with a person below some age of consent and sexual assault in general are criminal offenses in many jurisdictions.

c) How does sexuality play a part in social inequality?

Answer: sexuality play an important part in the social inequality such as interpersonal behavior. Day-to-day interaction between women and men perpetuates male dominance. Gender differences in conversational patterns reflect differences in power. Women’s speech is more polite than men’s. Women end statements with tag questions (“don’t you agree?” “you know?”). Men are more direct, interrupt more, and talk more, notwithstanding the stereotype that women are more talkative. Males typically initiate interaction with women; they pursue, while females wait to be asked out (Eitzen, 2000:260).

Of the issues discussed in this chapter (prostitution, teen pregnancy, pornography, sexual violence and abortion) which do you think is the most important for Malaysian society today? Why?

Answer: From the sex video created by Umno to topple Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim right down to the MACC officer caught watching smut in office, Malaysian news now only have one major point to highlight: sex and pornography The production and distribution of pornographic movies are economic activities of some importance. The exact size of the economy of pornography and the influence that it plays in political circles are matters of controversy. In many countries it is legal to both produce and distribute pornography featuring performers age 18 or older; however there are often restrictions placed upon such material.

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If we were to stop for a moment and take the time to properly assess the community impact of internet pornography, it would soon become clear that internet pornography is not the height of evil which do-gooder parliamentarians and parental groups profess. Indeed, it is probably one of the main factors contributing to a Professor D’amato suggests there are two predominant reasons why an increase in the availability of pornography has led to a reduction in rape. First, using pornographic material provides an easy avenue for the sexually desirous to “get it out of their system”.

Second, D’amato points to the so-called “Victorian effect”. This dates back to the old Victorian era where people covered up their bodies with an immense amount of clothing, generating a greater mystery as to what they looked like naked. D’amato suggests that the free availability of pornography since the 1970s, and the recent bombardment of internet pornography, has de-mystified sex, thus satisfying the sexually curious.

You may well ask while this positive correlation between an increase in pornography (specifically internet pornography) and a reduction in rape has been demonstrated in the United States, do the statistics in Australia present a similar positive correlation?


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