The Sexual Culture of Baby Boomers Leanna Wolfe, Ph.D. Institute for advanced study of human sexuality February 9, 2011
Overview • Baby Boomers: 1946-1964 • Now 46-64 • 77,329,698 in the United States • 37,854,617 Males • 39,475,081 Females • Sexual Culture Mediated By: • Music • Feminism • Gender Role Revolution • Medicine • Abortion (Roe vs. Wade 1973) • Birth Control • Erection Enhancers • Consciousness • Religion • Christianity -> Atheism, Tantra, etc. • Mind Altering Substances
Changes in Sexual Expressions • >LGBT Sexualities/Identities • >Masturbation • Clitoral vs. Vaginal Orgasm • Vibrators and Sex Toys • >G-spot • Female Ejaculation • >BDSM • >Anal Sex • Polysexualities • Open Relationships • Polyamory • Swinging/Group Sex
Overview of Respondents 69 Question Internet Survey August 2009 - present 425 Participants 75.3% Completed Full Survey
Summer of Love… • Some of the ethos of the time continues to inform my sensibilities (liberal politics, social concerns, and so on). However, I prefer people (both friends and partners) who bathe, take an interest in their appearance, are smart and creative and think apart from the mainstream. Male, 63 • I was a Flower Child and went to San Francisco to experience free love. It was fantastic. No worries about pregnancy and no Aids. I experimented with many lovers and it was a fascinating experience. I got married when I was 28 and then had kids. I was married for 25 years and I maintained frank discussions with my children and was open to polyamorous relationships with later lovers. Female, 64 • Feminism and rock and roll were actually my surrogate parents and mentors for matters/philosophies of sexuality and relationships, of which I am forever appreciative and very thankful for. Male, 58 • I was 8 years old and living in Tennessee in 1967, but as soon as I got old enough, I wanted to try all the things I had heard about. Some of the things I couldn't do while still in the South and that feeling of repression has caused me to seek out transformative and mind altering experiences in all ways possible. I am constantly wanting to reinvent and change and fully experience all my edges. Female, 51 • It opened my eyes to options outside the norm and allowed me to validate what I felt naturally, i.e., that sex and alternative thinking were good for me and the world. Male, 64 • I grew up in a Pentecostal Holy Roller church in rural Arkansas. At 13 I decided something really was wrong when the preacher was kicked out of church for molesting my girlfriend. I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there and explore sex, drugs, and go to college. The times gave me the opportunity to leave that small town; I was the first in my family to go to finish high school and go to college....I took the opportunity to be independent, think for myself and live my life very differently than how I grew up. Female, 60
Sexual Activities: Older vs. Younger Older Younger
Comments on Frequency of Sex • With two careers, two houses, two cars, a kid, a dog and all that goes with that sex takes a distant 12th place for my partner. Male, 51 • I'm tired of accommodating my partner's sex drive, which has always been much stronger than my own. Female, 58 • We're still waiting for menopause to make use of birth control unnecessary, and having to "get ready" interferes with spontaneity. Daily stress and anxiety also interfere with libido. Female, 56 • I’m willing and able, but the wife can no longer have sex intercourse. Male, 63 • I have a more active sex life than when I was in my 20's. So 3-5 times a week is wonderful and balanced. Female, 62 • I'm getting more...and my appetite is growing...testosterone replacement..is the driver of my desire. Male, 63
Earlier Attractions 46.7% of Females liked James Dean Bad Boys 70.4% of Males liked Flower Girls
Changes in Use of Pornography • I've viewed with my male partners because they like it but it has never done much for me and I get bored quickly. Female, 61 • The Internet has provide an expanded presentation of female sexuality that seems to be more realistic than the older pornographic materials. Male, 58 • Very seldom used, and not in 20 years. I always liked written erotic stuff more than pictures (Moll Flanders, Fanny Hill, etc.) Female, 59 • It is more like food habits-like it for a time, then leave it alone...becomes boring. Male, 64 • Porn is so artificial and male dominated it turns me off and away from my partner. I don't care for it whatsoever and deeply believe it's harmful to people and society in general. Needs to be outlawed! Female 46 • It is a hollow stimulation and I can never hold an erection beyond one ejaculation. In times of sexual drought as I find myself in now, I have found that my use of internet porn has stayed steady. I usually use it on average every other day for at least two ejaculations. Male, 49
Impact of Feminism - Comments • Feminism led me to believe that women's life, relationship, and sexual and career satisfaction is as important as men's, and to feel comfortable and supported putting that into practice. Female, 48 • It has effected my life profoundly. In every action, it is axiomatic, I do the opposite of what a knuckle dragging Neanderthal would do. Male, 47 • Maybe it made me feel a little less guilty about having sex. Female, 46 • It created an uneven playing field where women can compete with men AND use their feminine powers while systematically stripping men of their Natural instinct of aggression. In so doing we've eroded the Natural Cause of the Propagation of the species. Male, 52 • Mostly it affected how I feel about myself, stronger, self sufficient, independent. I decided not to have children at the height of my feminist awakening -- maybe the wrong reason for not having children, but I don't regret it. Female, 65 • Gender role changes of the early mid-60s seemed to encourage much more communication of mutual needs, wants, until it became too much conversation and irritating. Many women wanted a man to be sensitive, but not communicate a lot... This profound revolution of gender is still in process, confusing both men and women--making women more angry and confused about their own needs and choices, and making men weaker in coping with contradictions, always fearing they better not be wrong. Male, 64
Talk About Sex With Parents With Own Children
Substance Usage: Older vs. Younger Older Younger
Conclusions • More Females Bisexual; More Males exclusively Heterosexual • Females have had a greater need to connect SEX with RELATIONSHIP • 13.3% of women and 15.3% of men never legally married. • The mode for having been married was once with 46.2% of women and 48.5% of men. • 1/3 of females and ¼ males cohabitated once, ¼ females and 1/5 males cohabitated twice. • Nearly 1/3 of females are now single or widowed • More than 80% of males are now either married or in relationships. • Males engage in more sexual activities than females other than receptive anal sex. • Younger respondents engage in more BDSM and more swinging. • Younger males engage in more anal penetration and participate in more female ejaculation.
Conclusions • Everyone is drawn to partners who are intelligent and warm. • Women, especially, want their partners to have a good sense of humor, good conversational skills and resources. • Males have the most interest in partners that are free spirits, wild thinkers, intense and younger than themselves. • Nearly 85% have used pornographic DVDs and Videos, males use more of everything else—especially the Internet • 90% of females identify with feminism and consider it has had positive effects on their sexual and professional lives • 1/3 of males do not identity with feminism; many now question it’s affects on male/female dynamics • Nearly half of respondents would like more sex.
Conclusions • Two-thirds have participated in open relationships with a bit more than a third currently still doing so. • More than 85% have engaged in casual sex with 57% preferring a deeper connection. Nonetheless ¼ of females and 40% of males still doing so… • 55% of females and 65% of males have had secret affairs; 7.2% of males and 2.5% of females still do. • 20% report their parents had affairs—28.4% males and 17% females contend that their parents might possibly have had an affair. • Their own parenting has included much higher (and more candid) levels of sex talk than they received from their own parents. • 100% have used alcohol; 85% have used marijuana • Older males and younger females are the bigger users of mind altering substances with younger females using more ecstasy—and older males more erection enhancers.