Human beings are social animals; they crave for social contacts, and they definitely need social relationships to survive. Relationships of any kind are essential for human beings irrespective of their sex, gender, class and creed. Without them, life becomes empty, boring and lonely. Relationships change and develop over time depending upon the changing social, political or economic conditions. Many authors and scholars compared the relationships at the olden time with respect to the present age. Their works clearly stated that concepts related to love, friendship and family prevailed in the olden times are different from that of modern age.
Women’s liberation movement and gay liberation movement in 1969 resulted in redefinition of families in the United States. Even now, people reject to define what a family is. According to them, definition of a family is often what they choose.
Similarly, the last two centuries have witnessed tremendous changes in the institution of marriage. Women are now enjoying freedom and self-respect which were not given to them in the past. Women in the past were mostly considered as slaves, and they needed to obey their husbands without telling a word against. They were not given proper education and they were not allowed to work; instead, they had to look after their family and fulfill sexual desires of their husbands. They did not have any sexual freedom. In fact, they needed to keep their mouth shut and accomplish the sexual desires of their partners in beds. This situation has changed mainly because of several social reforms and movements conducted by national leaders. Presently, women can study, earn money and have an independent life even after marriage. This has greatly affected families nowadays. Women are now in a stage where they can express their likes and dislikes related to sex to their partners. But at the same time, despite the freedom given, they are being degraded by our society. Injustice towards women has increased shamelessly even more than in the traditional periods. Sexual harassments towards women are dangerously increasing, and lives of women are insecure everywhere.
Unlike in the past, an element of sex happens to come in almost all kinds of relationships, may it be at the initial or processing stage of a relationship. Be it friendship or love, partners slowly develop sexual feelings towards each other. Sex, which was considered sacred once, has now become easily and readily available for anyone anytime. Sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s paved a way for it to be viewed as a part of life rather than looking at it as an irrational thing in the past. The sexual revolution was recognized and widely spread by the mass media instantly all over the world. The sexual revolution, which was deeper, more sweeping, and longer lasting had changed the attitude one had regarding women's sexuality, homosexuality, and freedom of sexual expression.
Alfred Kinsey’s(an American sexologist)finding on homosexuality was very mush controversial and also received publicity widely. He publicized the fact that homosexuality was much more common that anyone recognized (Cahill S. & Burack C.). Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (R), who has opposed the court decision that resulted in same-sex marriage in his state, told conferees that “the culture of America is under attack.” Romney contrasted same-sex marriage with “traditional marriage” and claimed that same-sex marriage is unable to co-exist with traditional marriage and instead destroys it.
And also, easy access to birth control pills reduced the number of monogamous marriage as an institution with a monopoly on sex. Presently, both men and women are becoming less monogamous than they were before the rise of modern industrialism. Changing social conditions makes both man and woman get sexual opportunities everywhere unlike the past. The institution of marriage is suffering with this phenomenon. Half of the marriages are ending in divorce mainly because of extra-marital affairs. Family, which was once considering as a nest of togetherness, does not hold any value in the minds of people nowadays.
The sexual revolution also resulted in the emergence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as gonorrhea, syphilis, genital warts, genital herpes, which was not there in the past. Baltimore city, located in the USA, was attacked by an epidemic of syphilis in the mid-1990s. It was reported that from 1995 to 1996, numbers of affected children were increased by 500 percent. Risky and uncontrolled sex was the reason for the spread of the disease.
Kinsey also stated that women were much more interested in sex that went beyond reproduction. Education and power, which were denied to women in the past, have made today’s women express their sexual desires.
These findings of Kinsey totally tear down the expectations of most sociologists and psychologists. Despite the past, sex is now considered as a method for pleasure rather than exclusively for procreation.