The New Scarlet Letter

Herpes, an incurable virus, threatens to undo the sexual revolution

After chastity slouched off into exile in the '60s, the sexual revolution encountered little resistance. Indeed, in the age of the Pill, Penthouse Pets and porn-movie cassettes, the revolution looked so sturdily permanent that sex seemed to subside into a simple consumer item. Now, suddenly, the old fears and doubts are edging back. So is the fire and brimstone rhetoric of the Age of Guilt. The reason for all this dolor: herpes, an ancient viral infection that can be transmitted during sex, recurs fitfully and cannot be...

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