Teenage dating in the 1960s leftwing dating
Over the course of this two-part article, I would like to trace how this change occurred, especially concentrating on the origin of this dating “subroutine.” Let me begin by briefly suggesting four cultural forces that assisted in moving from, as Alan Carlson puts it, the more predictable cultural script that existed for several centuries, to the multi-layered system and (I think most would agree) the more ambiguous courtship system that includes “the date.” The first, and probably most important change we find in courtship practices in the West occurred in the early 20th century when courtship moved from public acts conducted in private spaces (for instance, the family porch or parlor) to private or individual acts conducted in public spaces, located primarily in the entertainment world, as Beth Bailey argues in her book, .Bailey observes that by the 1930s and ’40s, with the advent of the “date” (which we will look at more fully in the next installment) courtship increasingly took place in public spaces such as movie theaters and dance halls, removed by distance and by anonymity from the sheltering and controlling contexts of the home and local community.In fact, a review of the literature by D'Augelli and Herschberger (1995) concluded that in response to HIV, many teens have not modified risky sexual behavior, despite their knowledge about how HIV is transmitted.Moreover, Goertzel and Bluebond-Langner (1991) reported that previous research showed there was little change in AIDS-related behavior in low-risk populations despite increased knowledge and awareness.
Associated with this sexual revolution was an increase in the level of sexual activity among adolescents and young adults that reflected increasingly positive attitudes toward and increased incidence of premarital sexual intercourse (Dunn, Knight, & Glascoff, 1992).
By the 1990s, 56% of women and 73% of men indicated they had had intercourse before their 18th birthday (Alan Guttmacher Institute, 1994).
At each age between 15 and 20, higher proportions of teens are sexually experienced today than were in the early 1970s.
For social scientists, studies of courtship usually look at the process of “mate selection.” (Social scientists, among whom I number myself from time to time, will never be accused of being romantics.) For the purpose of this article the , prior to the early 20th century, courtship involved one man and one woman spending intentional time together to get to know each other with the expressed purpose of evaluating the other as a potential husband or wife.
The man and the woman usually were members of the same community, and the courting usually was done in the woman’s home in the presence (and under the watchful eye) of her family, most often Mom and brothers.
Much of the research from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s has suggested that young persons' sexual attitudes and behaviors have become more liberal over time.