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Before the revolution, the whims of men determined the reputation, if not the fate, of women; female desire was contained within the closet of marriage; and men retained their traditional sexual privileges and discreetly enjoyed their sexual liberties.
After the revolution, women, if they so chose, could dispense with men, or with marriage altogether, without giving up sex or children or a lifetime loving relationship.
Men certainly benefited from the new sexual freedom, but for them, it was hardly an innovation.
The point, however, was that for the first time in human history, women had a choice.
With a little pharmaceutical ingenuity, the double standard relaxed its clawing grip on female humanity.
Still, birth control remained illegal in some states, and the grip of the law also had to be pried loose before women could take full advantage of the new opportunity for sexual liberation.
Wade provided women with even greater control of their own fertility, a goal that had eluded them while abortion remained illegal.
(In the years after the Pill went on the market and before abortion became legal, about one million illegal abortions took place per year.) In 1978, the first test- tube baby was born, marking the beginning of the age of assisted, sex-free reproduction.Single men had always been able to avail themselves of sexual relations outside of marriage, even at the pinnacle of American sexual puritanism in the waning days of the nineteenth century.