Behavior: Rehabilitating Sex

The erotic is no longer taboo in the media or in schools. But ( a tradition of silence does not die so easily

A button on sale at Moscow's Izmailovo open-air market not long ago neatly captured the country's traditional attitude toward sex: IN THE SOVIET UNION, THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS SEX. As far as public discussion is concerned, the statement is not far from wrong. The U.S.S.R. has long been a society that is not just puritanical but almost completely ignorant about sexuality. The typical Soviet woman has nine abortions not because of liberal attitudes but because the procedure is a substitute for contraception, which is essentially unavailable. Says Igor Kon, a founding father of Soviet sociology and the nation's leading --...

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