Throughout the history of the United States, sexual activity was expected to be reserved for marriage, a belief based within Christian values. Of course, premarital and extramarital sex still happened anyway, but when their dirty deeds were exposed, they were looked down upon by the rest of society, especially for women. Harsh punishment could follow for females caught in adultery or the night life. In some case, they might be disowned by their own family.
The repression of sexual expression led to the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Sex became less of a taboo subject, encouraging communication and availability of information regarding sexual health. Women obtained access to birth control pills to gain power over their reproduction desires. People felt more comfortable exploring their sexuality and having multiple partners. Over time, sexual customs, identity, and openness expanded even further.
Hooking up is now acceptable and standard. A sexual assault attorney working with increasing sexual-related cases finds that some of the major pitfalls of today’s sexual practices like loosened physical boundaries, less respect for others’ bodies, and objectification have encouraged what is called “rape culture.” Thanks to harmful media, people have learned a sense of entitlement, selfishness, and violence when it comes to physical intimacy.
The good news is that there is now more support for victims and advocates speaking out against sexual assault and related crimes. Society is taking steps to combat negative messages with correct information concerning consent and respect so people can feel safe in their sexual relationships and get help without judgment when they are harmed. The culture is changing again, and hopefully it brings society closer to a healthy ideal.