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Introduction - Sex and Intimacy

Where would we be without sex? - J. Moose

The so-called sexual revolution that began in the 1960s in the United States has certainly had many positive effects on the social climate of the past forty years. It has paved the way for more frank and open discussion of sex and sexual problems, has made it easier to get needed information on sexual matters, and has fostered a somewhat more tolerant attitude toward behaviors and lifestyle choices that in previous times would have been condemned as unhealthy, deviant, or criminal. To get a picture of how far we've come in our openness about sex, we have only to compare ourselves to the mores advocated in Victorian England. In that cultural environment, words like leg or trousers spoken publicly in some company would be considered in bad taste, if not downright offensive. The carved legs of pianos were sometimes covered with specially designed cloths, as the bare leg might be sexually suggestive. If a woman was spending the night in a room in which paintings or pictures of men were displayed, these portraits were removed for the sake of modesty.

Clearly, however, the new openness of our times has not solved all our problems. In many cases it has created new ones, for both young and old. Young men and women (some still boys and girls!) are faced with more opportunities and more peer pressure to engage in sex. The widespread availability of sexually explicit material for entertainment, which the Internet, television, and magazines offer, has become a source of concern for parents and a source of difficult personal decisions for lots of us.

Sex still has the aura of being dirty" or "forbidden" in its presentation today, despite the so-called freedom that we have achieved about sex. Evidently, we still have a lot to learn.

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