Women dating 1960s
But her newfound freedom does not lead to sexual promiscuity, rather it enhances her marriage.
With effective birth control, she invites her husband to a night of worry-free sex, promising, “Oh daddy don’t you worry none / ‘Cause mama’s got the pill.” Rather than unleashing a sexual revolution, the pill increases this woman’s enjoyment of married life.
After all, she notes, “the vast majority of women who rushed off to their doctors to obtain prescriptions for oral contraceptives were married.” The pill gave married women greater ability to plan and space children, allowing them to pursue educational and career opportunities.
(Single women’s sexual activity rose sharply in the late 1960s and the 1970s, coinciding with the feminist movement rather than the pill.) As a contemporary physician explained, “The pill does not make people decide to have sex.
What is clear is that the drug had a far greater impact within marriage itself.
The trend toward greater sexual freedom for unmarried women actually pre-dated the arrival of the pill.
After all, other effective contraceptives such as the diaphragm and the condom had been available for years before the pill was approved in 1960.
While the pill was arguably more convenient than these methods, it was not inherently “revolutionary.” The revolution came under the influence of the women’s movement, when the pill became one among many strategies that women used to achieve self-determination.
Although many of us associate a “sexual revolution” with the 1960s (and with the pill), sexual strictures eroded gradually, over many decades.