Saturday, September 17, 2011

The 1970s - Golden Age of Sex

I was shuffling round the kitchen yesterday, making tea, and someone on the radio was talking about some new spy programme which is set in the 70s. And he had the nerve to say how bad the 70s were!

I was outraged. Because of course, not only did the 70s have the greatest music, from Led Zeppelin-led rock through prog, glam, punk and disco, the 70s were the golden age of sex.

People do like to imagine that the current time is the time when there is most sex happening but really, the 70s was the period when there was the most rampant sexual freedom in Britain.

There were various reasons for this. One, the free love ethic of the 60s finally arrived. There is an illusion about free love and so on happening in the 60s, but in reality, this only applied to a small group of people - the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and maybe a few hip writers. The rest of the country weren't really indulging in sex, drugs and rock and roll. It took them a while to catch up. But as the 70s rolled along, the rest of the country did catch up. Everyone decided that the long, long period of post-war morality had finally disappeared, and it was time to start fucking. People looked at Marc Bolan or Debbie Harry on TV, and thought, well what's the point in not having lots of sex? It makes no sense. So the idea of jumping into bed with people at every opportunity spread from a select few in London to almost everyone.

Next reason. No one in the 70s worried about catching any sort of sexually transmitted disease. Aids was unknown. Gonorrhoea and syphilis were vaguely remembered, but dismissed as easily curable with antibiotics. And in fact, I never encountered either of these diseases. As for other things, like herpes, no one had heard of them, or worried about them at all.

Also, all women were on the pill. This seemed universal at the time. No one used condoms. Condoms were regarded as a strange, old-fashioned sort of thing. It was entirely normal to sleep with someone and not even discuss contraception, because it was generally assumed that all women were using contraceptive pills.

So with no diseases and no pregnancy worries, and sexual freedom finally arriving, it was really a splendid time for shagging. No diseases, no condoms, no worries. There really was a lot of sex in the 70s. (As a side issue, everyone in Britain in the 70s was pleasantly thin. Really, there was a startling difference in body shapes between the 70s and today.)

Naturally, the handsome and virile young Millar was heavily in demand. Well I would have been had I not been practically crippled by overwhelming shyness as a youth. But I am not going to dwell on that, preferring to remember the 1970s as the golden age of fucking.