TURNS OUT WE CAN, says Dr. Pepper Schwartz, acclaimed sociologist and author of 50 Great Myths of Human Sexuality. And much more comfortably now…thanks to the power of the web and sex-in-the mainstream trends, like in-home “romance” parties and steamy bestsellers. “The Internet initially made it possible to discuss and buy lubricant and toys anonymously; and when drugstore.com and other mainline sites came on board, it attracted even more customers and conversation.”
From there it was on to Passion Parties—the Avon of sex toys—and the Fifty Shades of Grey explosion, which reached millions of readers and movie-goers, catapulting a formerly taboo subject into a pop-culture phenomenon. “All these things contributed to making lubricant and sexual enhancers fun to talk about and to learn about,” explains Dr. Schwartz. The result? Nightstands have been re-labeled “Goody Drawers” and the work of Masters and Johnson has gone from textbook to TV series.
Dr. Schwartz, who’s been teaching the Sociology of Sex to thousands of college students since the late 1960s has seen the shift perhaps more than anyone. “My students now ask forthright questions that would have embarrassed my peers in the early days. It’s something I couldn’t have imagined 40 years ago.”
Hillary Quinn is a national lifestyle writer, whose work has appeared in many magazines, newspapers, and websites, including Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Good Housekeeping, and Brides.