The 1960s heralded a new culture of "free love” with millions of young people embracing the hippie ethos and preaching the power of love and the beauty of sex as a natural part of ordinary life. Hippies believed that sex was a natural biological phenomenon which should not be denied or repressed.
To summarise the nineteen sixties sexual revolution and its consequences..
- The increased commercialisation and commodification of sexuality through pornography and mass media. The concomitant relaxation of censorship laws.
Sexuality became political, emerging as an axis around which new social movements organised and personal autonomy concerning reproductive choices and sexual expression.
A destabilising of the rigid boundary between the private family and the individualistic orientated public realm.
The political mobilisation of the gay & lesbian movements.
The fact that pornography was no longer stigmatised by the end of the 1980s, and more mainstream movies depicted sexual intercourse as entertainment, was indicative of how normalised sexual revolution had become in society. Magazines depicting nudity, such as the popular Playboy and Penthouse magazine, won some acceptance as mainstream journals, in which public figures felt safe expressing their fantasies.
Counter forces such as Fraenkel (1992) say that the "sexual revolution", that the West supposedly experienced in the late 60s, is indeed a misconception and that sex is not actually enjoyed freely, it is just observed in all the fields of culture; that's a kind of taboo behaviour technically called "repressive desublimation".
In his writing Marcuse explores the concept that Establishment sanctioned forms of sensual release, what he calls "repressive desublimation", complete our enslavement on the instinctual level. In order to move from that to an actual sexual liberation, it is necessary a change in our mental structures and our moral inhibitions; instead the Judeo-Christian morals still basically hold, and the small social changes are exaggerated because they are seen in that light. Even most of the self-claimed atheists, have just secularised and internalised the same old morals.
The terms and concept of sex-positive (or, alternately sex-affirmative) and sex-negative are generally attributed to Wilhelm Reich. His hypothesis was that some societies view sexual expression as essentially good and healthy, while other societies take an overall negative view of sexuality and seek to repress and control the sex drive.
Like Reich, some contemporary advocates of sex-positivity define their philosophy in contrast to sex-negativity, which they identify as the dominant view of sex in Western culture and many non-Western cultures.
According to these advocates, traditional Christian views of human sexuality define traditional Western values in relation to this subject. Thus, such proponents of sex-positivity claim that under the Western, Christian tradition, sex is seen as a destructive force except when it is redeemed by the saving grace of procreation, and sexual pleasure is seen as sinful.
Sexual acts are ranked hierarchically, with marital heterosexuality at the top of the hierarchy and masturbation, homosexuality, and other sexualities that deviate from societal norms closer to the bottom. Medicine and psychiatry are said to have also contributed to sex-negativity, as they may, from time to time, designate some forms of sexuality that appear on the bottom of this hierarchy as being pathological (see Mental illness). However, Western societies which predate Christian influence, such as ancient Greece, have often endorsed forms of sexuality that strongly conflict with Christian beliefs.
Several definitions of sex-positivity have been offered by sexologist Carol Queen:
Sex-positive, a term that's coming into cultural awareness, isn't a dippy love-child celebration of orgone – it's a simple yet radical affirmation that we each grow our own passions on a different medium, that instead of having two or three or even half a dozen sexual orientations, we should be thinking in terms of millions. "Sex-positive" respects each of our unique sexual profiles, even as we acknowledge that some of us have been damaged by a culture that tries to eradicate sexual difference and possibility.