History of Sex Surveys: Sexual Behavior in the 1970s Part 3 Conclusion

About the sex survey conducted by The Research Guild Inc in the 1970s on sexual behavior, marriage, drugs, and other topics.

Survey: SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN THE 1970s

Erotica: Four percent of the men and women said that pictures, drawings, movies, and prose showing or describing sexual acts either disgust them or cause a mixture of disgust and delight--yet from 50 to 90% admitted to being sexually aroused by such material.

Drugs and sex: Thirty-six percent of the women and 30% of the men stated that alcohol made intercourse more pleasurable; but 12% of the women and 27% of the men found that it made intercourse less pleasurable.

Twelve percent of the women and 15% of the men stated that hallucinogens made intercourse more pleasurable; 4% and 7%, respectively, say the opposite.

Forty-one percent of the women and 45% of the men stated that marijuana made intercourse more pleasurable; only 2% and 4%, respectively, reported the opposite effect.

Conclusions: "Americans are much more tolerant of the sexual ideas and acts of other persons than formerly and feel far freer to envision various previously forbidden acts as possible for themselves--and, hence, to include such acts in their own sexual repertoires."

The researchers found that "permissive attitudes about sex were more common among the young and among males than among older persons and females. Permissive attitudes generally were associated with higher education, political liberalism, white-collar status, and the absence of strong religious feelings." The age factor far overshadowed other major influences on sexual attitudes.

". . . for the past generation, a major--and permanent--reevaluation of sexual attitudes has been occurring throughout our society . . . things unseen and unheard of a generation ago or even a decade ago are now to be seen and heard on every side." Despite all this, Hunt concludes that "liberation has not cut sex loose from significant personal relationships or from the institution of marriage. . . . The great majority of people still feel that love and sex are too closely interwoven to be separable at will or for fun."

Public Reaction: Sexual Behavior in the 1970s was published in 1974 by Playboy Press. As a sign of the times it surveyed, its appearance provoked no outrage or attacks or serious challenges. By the 1970s, sex surveys had become what Havelock Ellis had hoped for at the turn of the century: respectable.

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