Sx in the 70s - no longer your mom and dad's idea of tying the knot.

Sex In The 70’s – Marriage Counseling And The Come Alive Generation – 1977 – Past Daily Pop Chronicles

Sex in the 70s – no longer your mom and dad’s idea of tying the knot.

Options: “Would You Buy A Used Marriage From This Counselor?” – National Public Radio – January 12, 1977 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

Sex in the 70s – if the 60s were the decade of breaking down walls, traversing barriers and challenging institutions, the 70s were the decade of figuring out how it all worked and if it all worked.

In the later 1960s the institution of Marriage, the one where two people uttered vows, exchanged rings and lived happily ever after was in the process of being dismantled. Weddings were down, cohabitation was up. Husband and Wife were now referred to as “old man” and “old lady” and nobody really thought too much about the future. We all grew up in an era where the future was dicey anyway (with atomic bombs and the like), so making anything official for the long haul seemed remote and something of a waste of time.

Along came the 70s and with it; free-love – group-love – open relationships, mass-promiscuity – three-way’s and Gayness. It chanted the credo “if it feels good, do it” and it entertained the idea that being bi-sexual could be an actual thing. In short – it was Sexuality’s open season. With the Women’s Liberation going mainstream in 1972, along came a veritable tsunami of freshly minted (or recently discovered) lesbians or, at the very least, bi-sexual women. And for their part, partially from the presence of a very vocal movement among Gay men starting roughly around the time of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, urging others who were on the fence to “come out of the closet and into the street”. A surge of Gay Pride permeated the landscape and the term “swinging both ways” applied as much to men as it did women.

It was a time when the tried-and-true institution of marriage was becoming quaint and out-dated. But it was not dead. Bridal gowns and bridesmaids and Bachelor Parties were still doing a reasonably brisk business. But the question was; with all this temptation floating around, were marriages doomed after the dewey-eyed pledges were uttered and the wedding reception was paid for.

And that’s where the new era of Marriage Counseling came in – the 70s brought with it a dramatic reassessment of the institution of marriage and acknowledged that some changes needed to be made. Extra-marital affairs were now considered healthy and almost a prerequisite to a successful marriage. Exploring your own sexuality by means of experimenting was considered perfectly okay – same-sex lovers were considered “hip and cool” and even Marriage Counselors themselves were no longer considered arms-length distant from clients. Taboos were being tossed overboard at an alarming rate in the 1970s.

This episode, part of the long-running documentary series Options from National Public Radio, explores the revamped and re-tooled business of marriage counseling by chatting with a few of the better-known practitioners of the craft.

Here is that episode of Options from NPR, as it was heard on January 12, 1977.


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