Modern Living: Sex as a Spectator Sport

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Mark the following propositions True or False:

΢ The American people have at last been liberated from the long night of Victorian prudery. The sociosexual revolution is wholesome and overdue. The mature individual is now free to decide for himself what he wants to read or see or do. America is on the way to becoming honest.

΢ The American people face moral and social breakdown. The standards that have guided us to greatness over the past two centuries are being systematically subverted by permissive courts and smut peddlers. In the name of freedom, we are being engulfed by filth. The Kick Society is a sick society.

΢ If you feel that neither of the above views is T. or F., submit your own statement. Whatever you believe, your response will indicate whether you are right, half-right, righteous, left or left out.

THE issue is as old as the fig leaf, as new as tomorrow's nude-theater opening. An erotic renaissance (or rot, as some would have it) is upon the land. Owing to a growing climate of permissiveness—and the Pill—Americans today have more sexual freedom than any previous generation, Whatever changes have occurred in sex as behavior, the most spectacular are evident in sex as a spectator sport. What seems truly startling is not so much what Americans do but what they may see, hear and read. In those respects, the U.S. is now by far the freest country in the Western world. Moreover, it happened in a few short years. Until 1933, James Joyce's Ulysses was not purchasable in the U.S.; today, the corner drugstore sells Fanny Hill along with Fannie Farmer. In 1959, the Ballets Af-ricains were not allowed to perform in Manhattan until the female dancers donned bras. When they returned in 1968, no one even raised the issue.

From stage and screen, printed page and folk-rock jukeboxes, society is bombarded with coital themes. Writers bandy four-letter words as if they had just completed a deep-immersion Berlitz course in Anglo-Saxon. In urban America, at least, the total taboos of yesteryear have become not only acceptable but, in many circles, fashionable musts as well. As Dr. William Masters (Human Sexual Response) has suggested, "The '60s will be called the decade of orgasmic preoccupation."

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