Free Love – Get on the Love Train!

Culture | September 18, 2017

When remembering the counterculture of the 1960’s and 1970’s, many things come to mind. First and foremost, was the mindset among the hippy population who was actively seeking to disassociate itself from any connection to social conformity. Obviously, pushing the envelope with fashion was widespread as was the growing popularity of groovy slang, which took on a life of its own. Ultimately, the concept of free love was soon to follow! A new and radical movement was about to take off! Movies starring, Mike Myers, as Austin Powers, was an amusing tale of an inept spy who embraced these concepts, in every sense, from his funky wardrobe to his manner of speaking to his free-for-all love fests!

Free love was a social movement based on the premise that, “the man,” meaning the government and religious leaders, had no business governing what consenting adults did in the privacy of their own bedrooms. As you know, a bedroom is not the only place people have sex, but you get the idea! Not surprisingly, it didn’t take long for that concept to gain popularity. Free love was widely associated with promiscuity during the 1960’s and 1970’s, which is pretty much exactly what it was! A common mantra of this era was, “love the one you’re with!”

The free love movement sought to throw out the well-known social norms of “saving yourself” for marriage, being monogamous and even the traditional man/woman relationship. In theory, a person should be permitted to do whatever, wherever and with whomever he/she chooses. Before long, the movement had many different faces.

As it evolved, free love began to look like everything and anything including premarital sex, extramarital sex, group sex as well as same sex partners. The very meaning of free love lent itself to the concept of doing whatever felt good, at the moment. It wasn’t uncommon for a person to have sex with a partner or multiple partners they had just met and may never even have spoken to. Sex communes became popular because people could live together in a community with an unlimited potential for many different scenarios and partners. This new-found freedom and revolution was a real mind blower!  

It would be an oversight not to mention that free love was a bedfellow (pun intended) of widespread drug usage during the 1960’s and 1970’s. No doubt, drug usage contributed to inhibitions being tossed out! People began jumping on the love train, throwing all caution to the wind. Admittedly, free love had a “good-run” but before too long, the love train began to derail!

During the time that free love was in full swing, some unexpected consequences reared their ugly heads. It has been reported that between the years of 1964 – 1968, sexually transmitted diseases increased in the United States by 165 percent! Marriages often crumbled in ruin. Women were experiencing unplanned pregnancies; often with the “sperm donor” being unidentified simply because people had multiple partners. Unplanned pregnancies in the United States, gave rise to the United States Supreme Court landmark ruling in the case of Roe v. Wade, challenging the 14th Amendment, which interfered with a woman’s right to have an abortion. When it was finally decided in 1973, that women should be afforded the right to make decisions about their own bodies, abortions became more accessible and prevalent; giving rise to a controversy still playing out today.

The free love movement is a huge part of our United States history and was most definitely an agent for change. Make no mistake, however, the hippy counter-culture did not invent the concept. It has been documented as early as the 19th Century and not just in America. Controversy surrounding sex and its many possibilities, is one of those issues that knows no race, gender, economic status or religion. It has been around since the beginning of time and will surely be going strong until the end!

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.