A cultural shift
We must know how the sexual revolution changed American culture. From the addition of nudity into film, to the booming pornography industry, Americans are and have been exposed to sex in many ways. Below is a timeline of how the sexual revolution has changed America. This can be used to build a lesson about this prevailing issue in your church or small group.
1873: The Comstock Laws were created in the United States. These laws targeted pornography, contraceptive equipment, and such educational materials as descriptions of contraceptive methods and other reproductive health-related materials.
1885: The first men’s magazine was created, titled “Photo Bits.”
1920s: The term “sexual revolution” starts to make an appearance with the emergence of writers such as Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The culture of the Roaring Twenties was one of liberation and freedom.
“I have a rotten habit of picturing the bedroom scenes of my friends.”
1952: The Supreme Court rules that cinema as an art form is protected under the Fourth Amendment. This protected the cinema’s right to show nudity.
That same year, C.S. Lewis publishes Mere Christianity, which includes a chapter on Sexual Morality. Lewis discusses how sexual standards have changed throughout time. However, he calls out the fact that sexual standards of a society should not affect sexual morals.
1953: Playboy magazine is launched. Hugh Hefner says “Publishing a sophisticated men’s magazine seemed to me the best possible way of fulfilling a dream I’d been nurturing ever since I was a teenager: to get laid a lot.”
1960s: The true “sexual revolution” as it is viewed today begins, spreading to middle- and lower-class America and parts of Europe. Profound shifts in the view on the following topics were brought into the spotlight:
- Women’s sexuality
- Pre-marital sex
- Freedom of sexual expression
1960: The first birth control pill, Envoid, went on the market. This new method allowed women to manage their contraception without the consent or knowledge of her partner.
1965: Helen Gurley Brown becomes the editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan. She changes the face of the magazine, from a women’s magazine written by men to one of the most widely sold women’s magazines. The New York Times described the Cosmo Girl that Brown described in her magazine as “self-made, sexual and supremely ambitious. … she looked great, wore fabulous clothes and had an unabashedly good time when those clothes came off.”
1969: Blue Movie, directed by Andy Warhol, becomes the first adult erotic film to be released in the United States. This kick started what is called the Golden Age of Porn. During this time celebrities talked about porn openly and the films were taken seriously by critics.
Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.
1973: As a result of Supreme Court Case Miller v. California, a three-part test for defining obscenity, known as the “Miller Standard” is established. Under this benchmark, most pornographic material is not considered obscene, which allows the pornography industry to continue growing.
1980s: Pornography is made available for consumption on pay-per-view channels in hotel and motel rooms.
1993: The internet is launched.
1994: The Playboy website is launched.
1996: The Communications Decency Act is signed as the first attempt to regulate internet pornography. At the time, the internet porn industry is valued at over $50 million.
1998: The internet porn industry is valued at between $750 million- $1 billion.
2009: The porn industry is valued at $4.9 billion.
2015: People v Brock Turner makes headlines. Turner is convicted of 3 counts of felony sexual assault. After the case gained significant media attention, porn site xHamster puts the “Brock Turner Rule” into effect, removing and preventing videos that show non-consensual sex.
- It is estimated that at any given second, there are over 28,000 people watching pornography on the internet around the world.
- 40 million Americans regularly visit porn sites.
- Every second over $3,000 is spent on the porn industry.
- 25% of all search engine queries are related to pornography
- Roughly every 39 minutes a new porn video is created
- 2.5 billion emails are sent daily containing porn related content
As America is becoming more sexualized, many have fallen into a lifestyle of pornography addiction. You can use this timeline as a basis to speak on this problem within your church. For more information about how Christian men are using porn, download our Porn Survey.