Will the trend to openness in sexuality continue indefinitely?
If we look at the last few decades, arguably one of the biggest trends has been one towards openness on just about every front.
The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1991 and its aftermath opened up a divide between societies. The creation of Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP) and Linux in the same year and the first graphic web browser in 1993 opened the way for an unprecedented flow of information and an opening out of old concepts of intellectual property.
The ability for open flows of information shaped attitudes, with open data a basic social expectation resulting in the rapid rise of open government, open educational resources such as Open Courseware, open scientific research such as Arxiv, and of course increased involuntary transparency and openness through platforms such as Wikileaks.
The shift to open information was accompanied by dramatic social shifts. Netherlands was the first country to adopt marriage equality in 2000. In the relatively brief time since then there are now 32 countries that recognize same-sex marriage and there have been major shifts in attitudes in most countries.
Since 2000 dozens of countries or states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana usage, with the trend clearly set to continue, indicating greater social openness to personal choices.
While there is less data available on attitudes and behaviors on kink and BDSM, mainstream magazines have been frequently covering these topics in an often-friendly fashion over the last decade, of course helped by the massive success of the book and film Fifty Shades of Grey, demonstrating far greater openness to varied sexual practices.
Bisexuality, both female and male, has become mainstream through what is effectively celebrity endorsement, augmented by plenty of media coverage.
The shift to greater openness in every aspect of our sexuality is real, even though it hasn’t been as public or obvious as some of the other shifts to openness.
The question is, will this trend to openness in sexuality continue indefinitely?
Or will it reverse, with social cycles meaning we become prudish again?
Or perhaps there’s a natural limit to how open we will be about our sex and sexuality, because many people want to be private about their sexuality or find hidden activities sexy?
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