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Sex, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll

The Evolution of an American Youth Culture


Douglas Brode

Sex, Drugs, & Rock ‘n’ Roll analyzes the cultural, political, and social revolution that took place in the U.S. (and in time the world) after World War II, crystalizing between 1955 and 1970. During this era, the concept of the American teenager first came into being, significantly altering the relationship between young people and adults.
As the entertainment industries came to realize that a youth market existed, providers of music and movies began to create products specifically for them. While Big Beat music and exploitation films may have initially been targeted for a marginalized audience, during the following decade and a half, such offerings gradually become mainstream, even as the first generation of American teenagers came of age. As a result the so-called youth culture overtook and consumed the primary American culture, as records and films once considered revolutionary transformed into a nostalgia movement, and much of what had been thought of as radical came to be perceived as conservative in a drastically altered social context.
In this book Douglas Brode offers the first full analysis of how an American youth culture evolved.
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Chapter 7. The Last American Virgin: Sandra Dee and the Sexual Revolution


← 114 | 115 → ·7·


Sandra Dee and The Sexual Revolution

“If it feels good, do it.”

—Aleister Crowley, 1904

The germination of a New Morality1 began shortly after the turn of the century, increased following the First World War, then exploded immediately after World War II. Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1950) by researcher Alfred Kinsey (1894–1956) revealed “the vast difference between American sexual behavior (that) the society wanted to believe existed and American sexual practices as they” did exist.2 Adultery proved to be common among married males; 80% of interviewees admitted to having cheated. Kinsey’s follow-up, Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953), sold 250,000+ copies. The publication insisted that, far from being disgusted by the thought of sex, normal women were obsessed with it. While lingering Victorian standards insisted that “good” women must rise above such primitive instincts,3 Margaret Sanger (1879–1966) renewed her life-long crusade for birth control with financial backing from Katharine McCormick. These pioneers defied existing Comstock Laws4 and the Catholic Church, challenging a 19th century ethic that sex should not be a source of pleasure, rather a despised chore; evil yet necessary to produce children; i.e., original sin. Dr. ‘Goody’ Pincus (1903–1967) ← 115 | 116 → offered his biological skills and, on June 23, 1960, the FDA awarded a seal of approval to the first oral contraceptive, available to married women for the purpose of limiting the number...

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