Sex is full of lies. The body tries to tell the truth, but it’s usually
too battered with rules to be heard. We cripple ourselves with lies. Most
people have no idea of what they’re missing, our society places a supreme
value on control, on hiding what you feel. It mocks primitive culture and
prides itself on the suppression of natural instincts and impulses.
Many people accuse hippies of being promiscuous, having wild sex orgies,
seducing innocent teenagers and every manner of sexual perversion. There’s
no denying that many hippies were involved in temporary sexual relationships
and sexual experimentation unlike any generation before them. Yet this
huge experiment with Free Love was an actual sexual revolution that liberated
millions of Americans from the prevailing puritan sexual attitudes and
hang-ups of the 1950’s.
Instead of fulfilling the promise of infinite orgiastic bliss, sex
in the America of the feminine mystique is becoming a strangely joyless
if not a contemptuous mockery.
Betty Friedan (The Feminine Mystique) 1963
As kids growing up in America in the ’50s and early ’60s we were exposed
to a variety of mixed signals regarding sex and love. Love was romanticized
in the media as something that either just happened to you (love at first
sight), or a thing that grew over time as a couple got to know each other
better. Sex was something that was rarely discussed and when it was, our
elders admonished us against such horrors as masturbation and premarital
sex. This lack of communication between adults and children helped create
the generation gap.
First came love, then came marriage, then came (you) in the baby
We were taught that proper sex was reserved for those who loved each
other, got married, and had children. Thus sex, love, marriage and children
were sold as a complete package that couldn’t be separated. Any other type
of sex was considered deviant and would lead to unfortunate consequences
(bastard children, disease, perversion, and even death). These messages
about sex never made it seem like fun much less an intimate loving activity.
The few interesting things we knew about sex we gleaned in whispers from
our friends or from furtive glances at a hidden copy of Playboy magazine.
Men and women are not free to love decently until they have
analysed themselves completely and swept away every mystery from
Then in 1966 a book was published called Human Sexual Response by Masters
and Johnson. An extremely thorough clinical study, it shed light on just
what happens during sex. All of a sudden, sex became the hot topic in America.
Another popular book, Everything You’ve Always Wanted to Know About Sex
(But Were Afraid to Ask) answered some common questions about sex (not
very well). Then came The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort, which by its very
title reflected America’s changing attitude (in 1972) towards sex. At long
last, the secret was out, sex can be fun.
We do not understand these Americans who, like adolescents,
always speak of sex, and who, like adolescents,
all of a sudden have discovered that sex is
good not only for procreating children.
Oriana Fallaci (Italian author)
This rather sudden enlightenment concerning human sexuality didn’t just
happen due to a few books. America’s willingness to discuss sex was a result
of the profound Sexual Revolution already well underway. Sex was everywhere,
and the media played it up. Sexually suggestive advertising took off once
ad agencies discovered that sex sells. Foreign blue movies like I Am
Curious Yellow challenged obscenity laws and paved the way for the porno
The fashion industry took its cue and raised hemlines drastically, creating
the mini-skirt and see through blouses. Women expressed their newfound
freedom by going one step further and freeing their breasts from the confinement
of brassieres, much to the fashion industry’s dismay and many a man’s delight!
If it feels good, do it!
popular hippie saying
So what led to this sexual revolution in the ’60s? How did we
get from No sex before marriage to If it feels good do it? The answer
is simple. Hippies. The hippie movement had a profound influence on sexual
freedom in the U.S. and elsewhere. This revolution in sexual attitudes
was more than a reaction to the prudish mores of the 50s and early 60s.
It was a release from all social inhibitions that characterized hippies.
You have to see the sex act comically, as a child.
W. H. Auden
Again the Beat generation must be credited with living and writing about
sexual freedom. Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs and others
lived unusually free, sexually expressive lives. Their writings influenced
the hippies to open up when it came to sex, and to experiment without guilt
All you need is love
Ginsberg was there at the first Human Be-In in San Francisco telling
everyone to love one another. At Love-Ins, the hippies listened to, and
experienced a different view of love and sex. We learned that sex is just
another part of life like eating and sleeping. It’s a completely natural
way to express ourselves. We learned to overcome those fears programmed
into us, and to share our bodies as easily as we share our food or our
If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with…
The concept of Free Love as expressed by hippies meant you were free
to love whomever you pleased, whenever you pleased, however you pleased.
This encouraged spontaneous sexual activity and experimentation. Group
sex, public sex, sex with minors, homosexuality, all the taboos went out
the window. This doesn’t mean that straight sex, between two adults, or
monogamy was unknown, quite the contrary. Nevertheless, the open relationship
became an accepted part of the hippy lifestyle. This meant that you might
have a primary relationship with one person, but if another attracted you,
you could explore that relationship without rancor or jealousy.
‘Tis the most commonplace thing in the world, to love one man to
distraction and to fuck frenziedly with another; you don’t give your heart
to him, just your body . . . . There are two manners of loving a man: morally
Marquis de Sade
Free love made the whole love, marriage, sex, baby package obsolete.
Love was no longer limited to one person, you could love anyone you chose.
In fact love was something you shared with everyone, not just your sex
partners. Love exists to be shared freely. We also discovered the more
you share, the more you get! So why reserve your love for a select
few? This profound truth was one of the great hippie revelations.
Your daughter is old enough to do what she pleases . . . she likes
to fuck, loves to fuck . . . she was born to fuck, and . . . if you do
not wish to be fucked yourself, the best thing for you to do is to let
her do what she wants.
Marquis de Sade
The feeling among hippies was that what two (or more) consenting adults
(or teenagers) did in private was their business. It’s likely that many
a naïve youngster was seduced by an older more experienced hippy.
Many of the young kids who ran away from home and joined the hippie movement
were victims of child abuse (as are many runaways today). The hippie subculture
thus rejected the prevailing moral code due to the manifest hypocrisy of
adults. The tools of teenage rebellion were (and still are) sex, drugs
and rock and roll.
For hippies, sex was something spontaneous. If you met someone you were
attracted to, and the circumstances were suitable, you had sex. It could
happen in a crash pad, in a van, in the woods or at a festival. Free love
was everywhere, but especially in places like communes where sex was a
commodity. Hippies didn’t care what other people thought. I remember seeing
TV news footage of hippies screwing in a city park, enjoying themselves
with abandon, oblivious to camera crews and passersby.
It may be necessary to remind younger readers that all this occurred
before AIDS became a scourge. Nevertheless, venereal disease was a common
problem among the sexually active. Teenage pregnancy became so prevalent
that the social stigma faded somewhat. Fortunately, the sexual openness
that created these problems was soon to be addressed in public, resulting
in the opening of free clinics, sex education in schools, the liberalization
of abortion laws, and sexual product advertising. These things are
a direct result of the sexual promiscuity that the hippies unleashed upon
The puritanical inhibitions programmed by our parents, churches, peers
and schools were suddenly irrelevant. But the biggest release of inhibitions
came about through the use of drugs, particularly marijuana and the psychedelics.
Marijuana is one of the best aphrodisiacs known to man. It enhances the
senses, unlike alcohol, which dulls them. As any hippie can tell you, sex
is a great high, but sex on pot is fuckin’ far out!
The three inevitable goals of an LSD session are to discover
and make love with God, to discover and make love with yourself,
and to discover and make love with a woman.
Timothy Leary, Playboy Interview, September, 1966.
More importantly, the use of psychedelic drugs, especially LSD was directly
responsible for liberating hippies from their sexual hang-ups. The LSD
trip is an intimate soul wrenching experience that shatters the ego’s defenses,
leaving the tripper in a very poignant and sensitive state. At this point,
a sexual encounter is quite possible if conditions are right. After an
LSD trip, one is much more likely to explore one’s own sexual nature without
All nature’s creatures join to express nature’s purpose.
Somewhere in their mounting and mating, rutting and butting
is the very secret of nature itself.
The hippy reverence for nature and all things natural is part of the
pagan belief system many adopted. Pagans see sex as a joyful expression
of our animal nature and not as something to be repressed. Many hippie
events resemble the pagan rituals of old (remember the maypole dance –
Pagan!). Music, drink, dancing, and drugs are as much a prelude to sex
as a celebration.
Sex has been condemned so much, you cannot enjoy it.
Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh
Many hippies on the spiritual path found enlightenment through sex.
The Kama Sutra, the Tantric sexual manual from ancient India is a way to
cosmic union through sex. Some gurus like Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho)
formed cults that focused on liberation through the release of sexual inhibitions.
Coitus can scarcely be said to take place in a vacuum; although of
itself it appears a biological and physical activity, it is set so deeply
within the larger context of human affairs that it serves as a charged
microcosm of the variety of attitudes and values to which culture subscribes.
Among other things, it may serve as a model of sexual politics on an individual
or personal plane.
Kate Millett (feminist)
This breaking down of society’s sexual mores by hippies led directly
to the Gay and Women’s Liberation movements. Hippies brought sex out into
the open, not as consciously as those two movements did, but automatically,
because of their experimentation with free love. In fact the Gay and Women’s
Liberation movements are examples of what can be achieved through a more
refined agenda and better organization. Hippies take note!
So hippies freed Americans from their puritanical sexual inhibitions
through the practice of free love, experimentation with psychedelics, and
rejection of the prevailing hypocritical morality. This resulted
in the free flow of information about sex, an expansion of women’s and
gay rights, and society’s keen interest in the health issues surrounding