Support the book

Body, gender, sex

When the sexual revolution rolled out across the West in the 1960–70s, Ukrainians lived behind the Iron Curtain. Officially, we had no ‘sex,’ but  just a ‘gender relationship’. People reproduced  but didn’t talk about it.    

Several families could live in a shared communal  apartment. If couples wanted intimacy, they had  to become inventive or get married right away.  A few examples of Soviet-style bans may explain  why our ‘90s erupted in libertinism. Unmarried  couples could not book a hotel in Soviet Ukraine. Those who carried on affairs might end up in  court. A person risked jail by being homosexual  or for watching porn. Even erotic magazines  were impossible to buy, and we couldn’t buy  erotic magazines, and censors cut all the sexy  scenes from classic movies.    

When the USSR collapsed, taboos evaporated, as  well. And this ment that significant change was  on the cards. When everyone made money as he/  she could, sex also gained a commercial appeal.  A famous ‘90s motto ‘Sell yourself!’ turned the  body into a commodity. And thus, prostitution  flourished, call-girls hung out everywhere, strip  shows lured fun-seekers, and semi-naked girls  danced both in dives and reputable hotels.    

In the 90s, erotica erupted in Ukraine. A world-  leading porn star Cicciolina even came to Kyiv to  celebrate her birthday in 1995. The yellow  press covered the event, and little by little, articles  about ‘it’ emerged on pages of such newspapers  as Speed-Info. When sexuality became legal, nude  ladies posed everywhere: on posters, calendars, in  magazines. Exposed breasts appeared in every other  movie and even on the stage. Wealthy men held  crazy parties and gifted each other birthday cakes  with nude performers concealed inside or swimming  sessions with naked girls in the night pool.    

Back then, male sexuality was the only game  in town, while sexualization replaced female  sexuality. Who cared what women wanted or  whether they wanted any sex at all?    

In 1991, Ukraine abolished criminal punishment  for homosexuality and we learned about sexual  minorities. The movement for LGBT rights began  spreading across Ukraine in 1993.    

And then the 2000s swayed us in the opposite  direction.    

The sexual revolution of the ‘90s coincided with  rave culture and psychedelics — all aimed at  getting us to loosen up. Restrained millennials,  on the contrary, embraced self-control: no  drugs, no alcohol, no disorderly sexual relations.  Puritanism came into fashion with adoption of  the law ‘On the Protection of Public Morality’  under President Yushchenko. Young people  reversed to family values and treated marriage  differently ffrom their parents. The Ys don’t  consider sexual emancipation to be paramount;  they had other joys. Contemplating settling down  and having children one day, they don’t rush into  marriage. Ambitious millennials take their time  before making that crucial decision. Many prefer  first to make a career and earn before starting a  serious relationship.    

Zoomers, whose worldview formed within the  2010s, make love less frequently than their parents  being young. At first glance, this might strike most  readers as odd. After all, the Z Generation has had  the most comfortable environment for physical  intimacy. Premarital sex is no longer frowned upon.  Social networks and dating apps have simplified  finding partners and high-quality contraceptives  are pretty affordable. So what has happened? It’s  as simple as the sum of all of mentioned above:  the new generation faces the information overload  about sex. Psychological and sexual education has  taught Zoomers to listen to themselves and reflect.  They understand themselves better than their  X-parents and make careful choices. Know how  to guard their boundaries and say ‘No,’ Zs make  love only if they want to. And with partners who, in  their eyes, are worth it. Their credo is ‘quality, not  quantity.’    

New people, Millennials and Zoomers, are more  tolerant regarding gender issues. They are not as  obsessed with sex as Xs. To Millenials, sex is terrific,  but there is so much more in the world worth their  most valuable resource — time.  

This website uses cookies