Is the Sexual Healing Movement the New Sexual Revolution?

The great sexual revolution of the 1960s transformed a repressed, highly heteronormative culture still suffering from the entrenched, patriarchal mores of Victorianism and Freudism into a society of "free love." Birth control, contraception and the embrace of nudity and premarital sex changed the social landscape forever. Women gained the right to control their own fertility, which had never happened before in human history. Sex was now being unlinked from the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood, and was cast into the realm of personal expression, an act of pure pleasure for its own sake.

The Feminine Mystique came out shattering the happy housewife myth, followed a decade later by the first Playgirl Magazine. During this same period, the LGBT community made great strides towards legitimacy. Homosexuality was decriminalized and stricken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, and the Stonewall riots paved the way for the first Gay Pride Parade in Central Park. Amidst this this new wave of sexual energy, the kink industry blossomed, increasing public awareness of fetishes and all kinds of alternative lifestyles.

As it became clear that society would never be the same, conservative forces sought to curtail the gains of the sexual revolution, especially as they spilled over to become economic gains made by minorities. The efforts to roll back the clock have never stopped. Critics of sex-positive lifestyles claim that the permissive attitudes of the '60s, '70s and '80s are to blame for all our current problems with sexual diseases, dysfunctional families, addiction and sexual violence.

On the contrary, thanks to increasingly free sexual expression, these harmful expressions of sexuality -- disease, incest, assault, rape (including recent scandals in the military and the church) -- which have always occurred behind closed doors, are today gradually coming to the surface of society, where they can at long last can be treated and healed.

The entire sexual recovery movement and growing number of therapists and centers devoted to sexual healing is at the forefront of a new wave of sexual liberation. For to be authentically sexually liberated is not just about exercising one's right to express sexuality as one sees fit. It's also about the right to be free from all societal influences that compete to exploit our most cherished instincts, and free from the traumas and internal wounds that drive us to act compulsively and impulsively with little thought or intention. That sentence us to forever live sexually as a reactor, rather than as an actor. The sexual healing movement does not seek to inhibit sexuality by reinstating prohibitive morality, but to create choice and autonomy in sexual expression for all.