Agewise, I come in at the very end of the Boomers II generation and at the very beginning of the Generation X generation. I came to age during the 70s and went to high school and college during the 80s. The ending of Vietnam was on the fringe of my childhood memories. I remember Watergate as a passing news item. Disco had its heyday while I was still too young to dance to the beats. Personal computers came into the scene while the Cold War exited the stage.
Back to the topic, in my day sexual activity was going on between young adults. The party seemed to come to an end when AIDS was fully realized in the social consciousness. No longer were STDs a boogey-man that that could be cured with a shot. Now a person could die from sex, and there were too many years during which AIDS was not fully understood. Sex was dangerous and the fear was both real and imagined. The outcome was extreme caution.
Twenty-five years later, marking time from when the television movie The Ryan White Story aired, sexuality seems to be back in fashion. Some may say it is because of the media and advertising. Perhaps, but movies today are pretty tame compared to the sexploitation movies of the late 60s and 70s. Advertisement runs off of sex, but a review of ads of years past shows that innuendo is not new, and in fact, some old ads were racier in context than any amount of skin shown now. In my opinion, the apparent revival of sexuality has less apparent roots.
AIDS is a distant or non-memory in the minds of today’s young adults. This is combined with the weird social artifact of “generational amnesia”, or put another way, everything old is new again. The young adult bloggers of today are of the Millenniums generation, born between 1977-1994. The sex, drugs and rock-n-roll of pre-AIDS days is completely unknown to their living experience. With the fear AIDS diminishing, the thaw in sexuality seems to be a new blossoming instead of just another swing of the pendulum.
Are we on the cusp of a new decade of sexual freedom? I have to wonder. I also wonder if the painful lessons of past generations are lost on the today’s bloggers and writers. The old is new. Pendulums swing, each generation learns on its own time, and I stand as an aging witness to the turning of sexual cycles.