Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Britain is a country where some old men became the men they are in the 1970's

A 36 year old historian called Dominic Sandbrook has given me some insight into my past, by pointing out that it was the 1970's, when I was in my 20's and not the 1960's when I was in my teens, which were the most important years in my life.

He had an article in the 'Daily Mail' in which he made the following points :

* we love to recall the pleasures of the 'Swinging Sixties' and in the public memory, they are indelibly stamped as the decade of the 'sexual revolution', a watershed era of freedom, which changed society for ever.

* this stereotype of the 'permissive, self-indulgent Sixties' is misleading and in reality, it was a time when the great majority of the British population remained conservative in attitude and behaviour and most teenage boys not only expected their bride to be a virgin, but also agreed that a boy should marry a girl if he got her pregnant.

* step over into the 70's and the brakes come off and the key was 'the pill' which, when it first went on trial in 1960, had little impact. Then, in 1970 under pressure from the Government, the 'Family Planning Association' told its clinics to make it available to 'single', as well as 'married' women and within 3 years, 65% of young women had taken it.

* Here, in the 'Swinging Seventies', was the real revolution. For the first time, the mass of women had a reliable contraceptive and complete control over their fertility. Before that, 'having sex' had immense emotional, economic and symbolic weight attached to it because it was tantamount to choosing them as a life partner.

P.S. 'The Joy of Sex' a manual by Alex Comfort, published in 1972, seems to confirm Dominic's hypothesis.

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