American civil war teen dating traditions
Unlike any other previously available form of contraception, the Pill was both reliable and controlled by a woman herself, requiring neither the consent nor the knowledge of her sexual partner. The Pill made possible the sexual revolution of the 1960s.
“I don’t confess that I take the Pill,” said one Catholic mother after the Vatican reaffirmed its doctrine against the use of birth control, “because I don’t believe it is a sin.” Within five years, 6 million American women were on the Pill. The true warriors in that revolution were young, single women, who, with the help of this new contraception, took their sexuality into their own hands.
(In the years after the Pill went on the market and before abortion became legal, about one million illegal abortions took place per year.) In 1978, the first test- tube baby was born, marking the beginning of the age of assisted, sex-free reproduction.Before the revolution, the whims of men determined the reputation, if not the fate, of women; female desire was contained within the closet of marriage; and men retained their traditional sexual privileges and discreetly enjoyed their sexual liberties.After the revolution, women, if they so chose, could dispense with men, or with marriage altogether, without giving up sex or children or a lifetime loving relationship.According to the economists Claudia Goldin and Lawrence Katz, the surge in women’s professional education occurred at the exact moment the Pill became legally available to college-aged women.“A virtually fool-proof, easy-to-use, and female-controlled contraceptive having low health risks, little pain, and few annoyances does appear to have been important in promoting real change in the economic status of women.” They concluded, “The Pill lowered the cost of pursuing a career through its direct effect on the cost of having sex and its indirect effect of increasing the age at first marriage generally.” The Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v.
In the 1950s, six in ten women were virgins at marriage and 87 percent of American women believed that it was wrong for a woman to engage in premarital sex, even with “a man she is going to marry.” By the time girls born during the sexual revolution came of age, the double standard— in practice, if not exactly in the minds of teenage boys—had been obliterated.