The Sexual Revolution

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The Sexual Revolution
AuthorWilhelm Reich
Original titleDie Sexualität im Kulturkampf
SubjectSexual ethics
Publication date
Pages247 pp.

The term Sexual revolution was coined by Wilhelm Reich in his book The Sexual Revolution. That book was first published in 1936 in German, translated into English. The English edition was 1945.

Reich wrote in the book what he saw as wrong, namely the double standard regarding morals in the society of his time. These double standards and the suppression of the sex drive would make people different. This would lead to a buildup of aggressions and frustration. Freeing the sex drive would lead to a peaceful change of society, according to Reich.

Reich dies in prison 1957, but his ideas had their effect in the 1960s when people changed their views about sex. They were more open-minded about it. The publications of people like Alfred Kinsey helped give wings to the movement.[1][2]

First wave of sexual emancipation[change | change source]

The sexual revolution was prepared by a "first wave" of pioneers who campaigned against the sexual repression which was common in the 19th century. This change began, roughly, at the end of the 19th and start of the 20th century. One impetus came from the pioneers of birth control and family planning. The books and publicity of Marie Stopes in England and Margaret Sanger in the United States, changed the lives of many women.

Attitudes towards homosexuality and masturbation were altered by the publications of Havelock Ellis.[3][4] Ellis was the first person to say in print that masturbation was normal, and did not cause any medical problems. The ideas of Sigmund Freud were also influential.[5] He believed that people's strong instincts toward sexuality were repressed in order to meet the constraints imposed on them by civilized life.[6]

References[change | change source]

  1. Kinsey, Alfred et al 1948. Sexual behavior in the human male. Saunders. ISBN 978-0-253-33412-1
  2. Kinsey, Alfred et al 1953. Sexual behavior in the human female. Saunders. ISBN 978-0-253-33411-4
  3. Ellis, Havelock 1890. The new spirit. London: Bell.
  4. Ellis, Havelock 1913–1931. Studies in the psychology of sex. 7 vols, Philadelphia: Davis. The French edition had 19 volumes.
  5. Freud, Sigmund [1905] 1962. Three essays on the theory of sexuality. New York: Basic Books.
  6. [1] Archived 2008-05-18 at the Wayback Machine Wilf Hey Sigmund Freud: Psychoanalysis and sexual repression.