“Grant is passionate yet blessedly free of rhetoric and gush. And how welcome is her evocation of the [sexual revolution’s] optimismeven its loopy naïvetéat a time when AIDS stamps eros with death, when the religious Right uses illness to stoke sexual terror, and when the women’s movement expends more energy on violence than on sexual gratification.” The Village Voice
Sexing the Millennium
Women and the Sexual Revolution
978-0-8021-3349-6 • $12.00 • Paperback • July 1995
Sexing the Millennium is the first major attempt to analyze the cultural explosion that was the sexual revolution. It is an insightful and profound overview of our sexual psyche over the past thirty years and a frank investigation of both liberation and libertinism, in which Linda Grant eloquently argues the need for an eroticized female life. Joan Smith has said that “Linda Grant is on the side of sex and on the side of women,” and Sexing the Millennium is a compellingly thorough examination of the colossal social shifts catalyzed by that brief period when sex was free from the threats of both pregnancy and disease.
Brilliantly written, Sexing the Millennium charts the origins of sexual freedom from the Ranters’ seventeeth-century belief in sex as a liberating agent to hippie idealism of sixties counterculturegroup marriage, politicized promiscuity, organized orgiesto the intellectual backlash of the seventies and, as we stand nervously in the shadow of AIDS, to our present, postmodern obsession: voyeurism.
Along the way, Grant examines the full impact of the Pill and its origins, medically, scientifically, and socially, as well as the contemporaneous political movements and changes: the decline of the Catholic church, the rise in experimental living communities, the female desire to achieve the stereotypical male freedom for pleasure that was so enthusiastically endorsed by men.
On the heels of heated debated about the backlash against women, Grant examines the rise in violent sex crimes, the prevalence of misogyny, the brutality of porn, and the rare but compelling phenomenon of violent female response. Emerging from the failed attempt to merge male and female into something androgynous and liberated, and from a lack of interest in co-opting traditional male pleasure forms, women are reconstructing their weapons and desires.
A seminal and deeply probing examination of the period when sex seemed like a kind of solution, this book is a forward-looking analysis of why, although sex alone did not spell freedom and equality for women, it was a crucial platform from which to foresee the construction of an autonomous female empowerment. “Perhaps,” Grant writes, “sex is just the ghost of freedombut, until we have Utopia, it can speak eloquently of what the heart desires.”