The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


How have values about sexuality in industrialized Western societies changed over the past several decades?

There have been many cultural changes in industrialized Western societies since the end of the 1960s, but the attitudes toward sexuality have undergone some of the most marked transformations. In general, attitudes toward sexuality have become dramatically more open, relaxed, and liberal. Premarital sex, masturbation, homosexuality, and the use of sexual aids are now commonly accepted practices when they used to be socially frowned upon if not actually illegal. Likewise, public discussion of sex is no longer considered taboo. Advertisements for the treatment of erectile dysfunction grace the pages of weekly magazines, and fairly graphic depictions of sexual encounters are easily found on cable television. For people born in the last few decades, it may be hard to appreciate the sea change in cultural mores that this represents. A look at television shows from the 1950s may help illustrate the magnitude of this shift. To the extent that the bedroom was shown at all in these programs, married couples slept in separate twin beds.


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